Tyanna and I met the way all of the most kismet connections happen, by chance. It was 2020, the most polarizing year of my life. I was taking care of my ill father, dealing with the death of my elderly dog, trying to make sense of a global pandemic, while simultaneously entering into divine friendships, collaborations, and seeing the growth of my business in a new light. Tyanna and I met after she won a giveaway that Rebel Vintage and I had hosted.
Ty used the clothing she had won in the giveaway in a photoshoot she had scheduled, and as soon as she got the photos back, she offered these gorgeous photographs of her on a beautiful rooftop scene in Mama Ochre clothing to me to use. I didn’t have to ask, she knew the value that good product photography would have for my business. I was humbled. It felt like the first time someone had given me a gift via the authentic joy of the products I'd created.
Post giveaway, the first time Ty and I connected in real life was after I’d asked her to model for Mama Ochre. I am an amateur photographer, and she a professional one, but my insecurity prevented me from asking her to use her skill sets for my benefit, and I instead asked her to model (but let's face it she was perfect.) That day was eye opening for me, I had done most of the shoots by myself with a tripod up until this point and I realized I had no idea how to make someone comfortable behind the camera. Our friendship blossomed that day, while we were awkwardly switching roles, laughing at my poor photography skills and coaxing her son to join in the photoshoot with candy. Our connection felt infinite. Like we had known each other forever. There was a realization that we both had; we wanted to support each other and help our businesses grow.
Earlier this year Ty and I had a conversation at Field Brewing, and it was one of those conversations where ideas were flying faster than pen on paper could record. We were figuring out how to move together to help each other achieve our goals. Finding each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how we could fill in those gaps for each other, out of sheer desire to see each other win.
After planning out our goals, we walked around looking for cool spots to take photos. We found a house that had a sign in the window “An Appeal To Heaven” Naturally my angel loving self begged for a shot in front of the window. Just as we were setting up the shot, a car pulled into the driveway and a woman got out puzzled by us photographing her home. Quickly we complimented the sign, and politely asked her for her permission to snap a few photos with it. She willingly agreed, and even moved her trash can out of the frame. We snapped literally two photos and hurriedly walked away laughing about our awkwardness. While we were looking at the photos on the camera preview, I googled “an appeal to heaven” and we were surprised to realize this was a mantra for a whole concept regarding not enough religion in politics. Yikes. “The Appeal to Heaven flag is flown to show who a person is – a man or woman who does not look to men or government for approval, but lives by principles of their convictions and appeals to the Almighty for protection, provision and justice.” (google) So… we had a few more laughs and cropped the photo for use without any offensive ties.
Our professional connection quickly morphed into a friendship. Tyanna is always down to join me on one of my wild last minute adventures. One of my favorites was earlier this year when we took our children to the Heron Art Show called “What Do You See, See What You Do” featuring Brenna Lachele. We met there and when I tell you Ty has been one of my biggest supporters, I mean it, she showed up wearing Mama Ochre head to toe, and even her son was wearing a crewneck that my daughter had hand painted in my studio.
I didn’t know much about the art exhibit, but something was calling me there that night. Before entering the room there was an artist statement saying “this is a space for you to come to terms with yourself. The work encourages individuality, intuition, and a moment to be seen” confirming what I'd felt on my journey with Ty thus far. We were both helping each other realize this very important piece on our journey. In seeing each other, we were encouraged to see ourselves through each other’s eyes.
After the art show we made our way to Anngelo’s Salon and Workshop for a Sofar Sounds secret show. We had no idea who the artists were (that’s the whole point of Sofar), but we took our kids and made ourselves comfortable on the floor waiting for the show to begin. Ty and I also share the desire to expose our children to all forms of art and culture.
This past week we succeeded in our first editorial photoshoot for Mama Ochre. It was divine timing because we had both been busy building our brands this summer and it felt like the perfect moment to come together and showcase our strengths. I invited Sara of Lux and Ivy to model with me. Sara has been a close friend since high school, and the three of us created this comfortable, easy, candid vibe during the photoshoot that felt a lot less like work, and more like we were all living our childhood dreams simultaneously. We danced between photos, laughed nonstop, and really saw love flowing in every direction. Tyanna was being a confident boss behind the camera, and Sara and I posed confidently and happily after what seemed like a lifetime of taking photos trying to fake it (at least for me.) It was a moment of pure gratitude for the journey, the trust to follow the pings that led me to meet Tyanna, to trust her, to open up on this creative journey, and to accept the help.
I received the photos at night, while my best friend was over and we were sitting in my kitchen when the text came through “check your emails :)” The email preview was so professional. Everything about it seemed luxurious and elegant, something I hadn’t had the luxury of seeing in my inbox beyond wedding photos. My “Anti-Plastic Club” logo filled the frame from a cropped photo of the tote bag, and the entire preview page felt branded in the most satisfying way. It felt like such a celebration waiting for those photos to load. Each collection was separated under tabs at the top “If You’re Lonely” “We’re On Each Other’s Team” “Proud Of You” making it so easy to navigate back and forth between them. Ty created simple intentional actions that truly made an impact for the viewer.
The first collection “If You’re Lonely” was shot downtown behind our favorite photo studio Blot (which will definitely be the location for our next shoot) and Tyanna was pure magic in capturing the perfect moments, some of my favorites were the totally candid shots.
The next collection “We’re On Each Other’s Team” was shot on the canal, under the bridge, because my vision was very concrete heavy, minimal color, and focused on candid movement.
The final collection “Proud of You” was my favorite. The shirt has such a serious meaning to me, and was the catalyst for Mama Ochre to be reborn into something totally authentic, totally vulnerable, and from one of the darkest places I'd been. I’m proud of you.
The concept when said to one’s self is a whole different blog post that cannot be condensed, but getting to capture two colorways of this design with a friend of mine that has been crucial to my professional journey in this industry, by a friend that has encouraged my growth was such a sweet moment.
When we saw this photo come up on the camera preview we all screamed and I jumped in the air. Sara had the idea to do a hair flip, and Tyanna caught the perfect moment where you can still see her face visibly, with her wild red hair arching perfectly back.
It felt like we made it. And we did.