After leaving corporate marketing to start her own photography business, Shana Lloyd knew she could leverage her success in business into a great way to give back to the Dayton region. We sat down with Shana to find out a little more about what inspires her to make a difference.
What do you do?
Lady boss and owner of Goodness + Grace Co., a photography collaborative specializing in family, couples and portraits of little funny faces with a unique mission for serving the Dayton region. In addition to owning G+G, I am also a freelance photographer for Blush Senior as well as several commercial brands in the region. 2016 has been an amazing year for us and 2017 looks bright as we expand into wedding photography and begin the hunt for studio space.
What charities does your business support?
Goodness + Grace Co. was evolved after much thought into how I could really forge two passions of mine in to one beautiful movement. While professional photography was the dream, giving back has always had higher rank in my heart. Family photography being our primary focus, I felt there was a perfect synergy between using our work to help organizations in Dayton that directly serve struggling families in the region. From poverty, to drug abuse, to domestic violence, some of our city and its people are fighting daily to not become a statistic. In our region there are hundreds of agencies lending a hand. Goodness + Grace Co. recognizes their work and wants to be the hands and feet to their mission. Because of this, 10percent of our session fees are donated to monthly recipients, to organizations who have made it their mission to impact so many lives.
Since our rebrand in August, we’ve helped House Of Bread, The Mustard Seed Foundation, local families, and last month we reached our biggest goal to date – feeding 100 families for Thanksgiving in partnership with The Hope Foundation of Greater Dayton. We were thrilled to achieve our goal of donating 100 turkeys to the Hope Foundation as well as completing the meals through other donations from our clients. This month’s mission has been a huge success for our little business and we recognize that without the Dayton community we could have never accomplished it. This is why I love this city so much.
In December, we will be hosting various pro bono family photo events for organizations including The Mustard Seed Foundation. Anyone interested in partnering with us for a future mission can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What inspires you to get involved by donating?
From a very young age, I can remember coming home at night from school and crying about experiences to my parents. From learning about poverty in other countries, to a peer being bullied, or having an illness -- whatever it was there was always a cause I had to help. My father would always tell me that one day I would change the world. I realize now I was just a very dramatic child that grew up to be a very dramatic adult. Mel Brooks said, “If you’re quiet, you’re not living. You’ve got be noisy, colorful and lively.” I am noisy about the things that matter to me. My entire life I have been surrounded by so many people I admire doing great things with their lives and their talents and while the reality is my contribution might be small in comparison, I’ve always felt called to help wherever I can. Hearing from people I’ve helped fuels me to only do it more, and my hope that I might inspire others to do the same keeps me going. Whether it’s monetary donations or volunteering my time and talents, as a business owner who feels so supported by the community I feel it’s only right that I support the community back. I think we’ve created a beautiful and unique thing here, our clients are always excited about working with us but I think knowing our mission and that they get to contribute to it makes all the difference. The idea that I get to do a job that I love and create meaning in this world, in our city is pretty rad.
What led you to photography as a career?
I’ve always had a love for the arts, and I was always a hobbyist but never really had the confidence to pursue it as a full-time career. I’m the first to admit that my skill has a long way to go in comparison to those who have been doing it for years, but that doesn’t lessen my passion – in fact it drives me to just keep learning more from them and my mentors. In 2015, after 17 years in marketing, I took a leap of faith making the decision that I wanted more from my life and to find a higher purpose. Supported by my husband, friends, and family who all encouraged me to move forward was surreal, the doors that opened made me feel like it was just meant to be. It’s kind of strange at 36 years to decide you want to go out and find yourself, but that is what I did and picking up a camera professionally helped me to do just that - to find my purpose. In the last year, my life has changed dramatically, from building new relationships to seeing the world through a different lens, pun intended. I love what I do now and I wake up every day excited to work. There’s something incredibly exciting about seeing something you created grow; for me it’s like my baby. It’s crazy to think what we’ve accomplished in our first year, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2017 and starting my business here in Dayton was the best decision I could have made.
What do you love about living in Dayton?
Community, culture, music, art. It is a small but fierce city on the rise - what’s not to love? Aside from a short stint and relocation for work to Columbus, I’ve been in love with Dayton since moving here in 2010. It broke my heart leaving, so much so I was here pretty much every weekend while working in Columbus. In 2015, I moved back permanently after marrying my amazing and talented husband, tattoo artist John Lloyd. We live downtown at The Cannery Lofts, which we love and the location is central to just about everything we enjoy doing, which is awesome. We fantasize about being adults and buying a home downtown one day. It’s been pretty fantastic to watch the growth here over the years. Restaurants, breweries, local shops, the best trails and I would be remiss not to mention flowers from Sherwood Florist all just a few minutes away. It’s hard to even think about moving away. Coming from the East Coast, I might also mention that the people here and how nice they are is definitely a perk. We love living in Dayton and the community that has been so good to us.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Dayton?
Gosh that’s so hard to narrow down. I am still mourning over Olive leaving us, but Corner Kitchen has my belly and heart now overall. I love Wheat Penny, just fell in love with Old Scratch (the Angry Beekeeper pizza is life changing) and Tacqueria Mixteca gets my vote for best Mexican food.
What do you think is Dayton's best hidden gem?
Not entirely sure how hidden, but as an avid outdoor enthusiast I would say that our Metroparks have some of the best views and trails for hiking – especially in the fall. Whenever I post anything on Instagram, people ask me where that is as if I am on some wild adventure, nope it’s just Dayton. We travel all over backpacking and camping but some of our best trips have been right here. We recently hiked and backpacked the TVT (Twin Valley Trail) in Germantown, I couldn’t believe it was in our backyard all this time. The parks here also offer the most incredible backdrops for photography.
What will Dayton look like in 10-15 years? And what will drive that change?
Everything that’s old will be new again. The resurgence here is inspiring. The use of old structures for new homes and businesses is uplifting (literally), and the migration of more folks downtown is breathing new life into an already amazing city. I’ve been to so many cool cities across the country, but one that definitely comes to mind is Austin. What I love about Austin so much is that despite it’s major growth it’s maintained its authenticity rooted in a hip, artistic scene and a community driven culture. I think Dayton is headed there. Forward thinking, innovative ideas being put into action, young and older generations, various industries, artistic communities and businesses are all working together with the same vision for this city – that’s the beauty here and if I had to think of one thing that is driving Dayton’s growth it would be COMMUNITY.