Today is our 1st birthday!
Yes, that's right, Flying Dress Aruba was born one year ago today...
Let's take you back to the start of how one crazy idea turned in to a viral success on One Happy Island...
Back in 2019, I (Stacy) was having a chat with a friend over cocktails and I mentioned how amazing the flying dresses looked in Greece and then said, "Why is no one doing that here in Aruba?" and her response was, "Why are YOU not doing it in Aruba?!".
That was my "light bulb" moment when I thought to myself, "Yeah, she's got a point!"
So, from that day I started researching everything I could about the flying dress and decided that somehow I was going to give it a try.
Fast forward a few months and the pandemic happened. Aruba, like the rest of the world went in to lock down and my dreams of starting a flying dress business had to be put on hold.
During that time I was still working behind the scenes on this idea and that is when I quickly realized I couldn't do this new business venture alone... I needed a partner in crime!
Edrick was the first (and only) person that came to mind when I was thinking about starting Flying Dress Aruba... I have known him for almost a decade and he is like a little brother to me... And he also happens to be a super duper ridiculously talented photographer!
Together we really do make magic so I knew he would be the right person to team up with for this exciting project.
When I approached him with the idea he immediately said, "YES!" and that was the moment Flying Dress Aruba as you know it today was born!
We purchased the domain name, started building the website, ordered tailor made dresses, registered at the chamber of commerce and started to practise "test" shoots with friends to create content ready for the big launch!
We spent so many hours brainstorming, trying out new locations, learning "techniques" to make the dress fly... It was exhausting and at times we thought, "What are we doing?!" but we carried on and continued to hone our skills so that when the day came we would be 100% ready and raring to go.
Of course, nothing runs smoothly when starting a new business and Flying Dress Aruba was no exception.
The first time we ever tried on the dresses to do a test shoot, our dear friend and model almost fell off the pier and in to the sea because the wind was so strong!
I remember crying my eyes out, thinking what a disaster this was going to be but Edrick was there by my side to keep us going and spur us on.
We tried every pose, angle and throwing technique we could think of. It was hard work but we were so determined to make it work. We did not give up.
Practise! Practise! Practise!
Every spare moment we had we just did photoshoot after photoshoot after photoshoot.
Our patience and determination finally paid off because the results of those first photoshoots looked incredible! We were both so proud of what we had achieved and could not wait to share our new business idea with the rest of Aruba....
Little did we know what a sensation we would cause and become fully booked up months in advance!
We naively thought we might get one or two photoshoot bookings a week... But within a few months we had both quit our day jobs to focus on Flying Dress Aruba full time, and we haven't looked back since!
The last year has gone better than we could ever have expected.
We have photographed 348 incredible women so far...
THREE HUNDRED AND FORTY EIGHT!
And girrrrrrrl, let me tell you, we have learned a lot from those ladies!
Lessons Learned :
What we offer is soooooo much more than "just a photoshoot", it's a liberating, empowering and confidence boosting experience.
Everyone has a story. We have met so many strong and inspiring women who's stories are both heart-wrenching and up-lifting and we will be sharing some of those personal experiences with you here.
Women are their own worst critics. I really wish this wasn't true but sadly it is. The amount of requests we get for photoshopping body parts and what some would consider "flaws" has blew our mind! We never anticipated that women would be so harsh on themselves. When we photograph you we think each and every lady looks beautiful in the flying dress but we have now come to understand that everyone has areas of their bodies that they're not 100% happy with or confident about. Even if we cannot see this "flaw", we appreciate that it is something personal to the individual so we do our best to edit the images to a high standard, magazine quality but in a realistic and natural way, which leads us to lesson number four...
We cannot do EVERYTHING! This was a tough lesson, one that led to both of us almost having a burn out. With such a high demand for bookings, and then all the editing requests we kept getting, plus running the website, managing reservations, content creating, social media, planning and scheduling etc we knew we needed help and it was time to expand our team. This year we hired a second dress assistant, Jen and also an editor, Josh, and going in to 2023 we plan on hiring even more staff so we can continue to give the best possible service ever... And to avoid exhaustion and burning out of course!
"Love what you do and you will never work a day in your life". I have no idea who coined this quote, but damn, it's so true! Even though myself and Edrick have worked non-stop this last year; sunrise starts, late night finishes, sacrificing time with family and friends, working weekends and every hour in between, it's been 100% worth it! To see our clients go from being all shy at the start of the photoshoot to then blossoming and having their confidence boosted by the end makes all the success taste so much sweeter. The reaction and feedback and amazing reviews we receive lets us know we are doing something right. Not only have we built a business from scratch but we have also built a recognisable brand and an exceptional reputation that we are proud of beyond words!
It's been a wild ride so far and we feel like we are just getting started!
Buckle up, sit tight, and join us on the rest of our Flying Dress Aruba journey because we've got some HUGE announcements for 2023 coming up very soon!
Watch. This. Space.