Marci Wilkinson joins us from coPicasso in North Wales, Pennsylvania…
Share your story about how you became a photo organizer…
I’ve always loved my family’s history and all the heritage photos my mom had, as well as my husband’s family and his photos. I knew I needed to find a safe way to preserve and share them. I found Creative Memories over 13 years ago and was hooked on the feeling of control I had over one part of my life and knowing that I had a plan to save all of my photos. As a consultant, I helped others do the same.
Primary services and which do you most enjoy?
I offer many services, including printed and digital organization, old media conversion, slideshows, creating traditional and digital albums and backup and storage solutions. I most enjoy the organization of printed photos. I love everybody’s family! Also, I have recently worked on funeral presentations (slideshow and photo boards). I found that I really enjoyed this because of the relief it gave to those that lost a loved one. It was one less thing they had to worry about.
How did you find APPO and how long have you been a member?
I found APPO thru some Facebook groups of Creative Memories consultants that were started at the time of CM final bankruptcy in 2013. After talking to Cathi Nelson, I told my husband that I really wanted to get back to why I started with CM in the first place – to help others organize, save and share their memories.
Favorite tool or vendor you use for photo organizing?
There’s so many that I like and it changes depending on the project at the time. However, I think my favorite right now is Forever. I was hooked when I saw them at the 2014 APPO conference because I saw how my entire family, spread across the country, could share all our heritage photos with each other.
What is a big (or small) mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
I think the biggest mistake I made was not valuing myself and what my services offer people. I felt that I always had to discount for friends and family. I still have that guilty feeling but then I keep telling myself that, if that person had some kind of service I needed, I would not be offended if they didn’t give me a discount. Nor would I expect it.
Best client success story…
I really enjoyed helping my friend and neighbor when his wife died after a long battle with ovarian cancer. These are people that I have spent many fun occasions with and cared about. At first, I felt odd approaching him and didn’t want to bother him. But when I finally got up the nerve to offer him my services in creating a slideshow and photo presentations for the funeral, he was so immensely grateful. This was one occasion that I didn’t charge for because it was a gift from my heart to him.
What is your favorite family tradition?
There’s so many things I miss now that my four kids are teenagers and young adults. But the one thing we still do is where each of us sits to open our Christmas presents. Each of us has a stocking (ugly ones but they wouldn’t let me change them) that my husband and I fill before we go to bed. Each stocking is placed at that person’s designated spot that has never changed for more than 20 years. Don’t sit in anyone else’s spot! Of course, when all presents are unwrapped, my kids automatically set up their gifts and sit next to them, waiting for their annual Christmas picture.
If you weren’t a photo organizer, what would you be doing instead?
If I could be anything I wanted, I would be a nature photographer traveling the world. I love the beauty that surrounds us. I have a degree in Landscape Architecture, so my heart has always been in the outdoors. Then I would be a painter and paint those photos I’ve taken.
Are your own photos organized?
My digital photos have been organized in Historian for years. However, I am making the switch to Mylio on a different computer so not so organized there yet. The majority of my printed photos are organized but I do have a growing pile of recently found and newer photos that need to be filed. Shamefully, it’s easier to add to the pile than to organize them.
Best tip for a new photo organizer…what you wish someone would have told you sooner?
Don’t jump on the bandwagon of everything you read or see others doing. Don’t spend a lot of money feeling like you have to do it all right away. Think about what you love to do. Try some services, products, apps with small investment at first. The one thing I would recommend to definitely invest in is going to the APPO conferences!
Say hi to Marci in the comments below and share something you learned from her interview!