Posted by: larnymackblog | March 30, 2011

Elegance in Simplicity

What do you get when you combine a retired executive from US Gypsum, her next door neighbor, and a burning desire to continue tradition? You get Tea with Dee.

Through a business associate (a facilitator of a mastermind group), I was introduced to Dee Fletcher, a retired power-house of a woman, who decided 3 months ago that she wanted to impart the age old tradition of garden tea parties. With her neighbor Marsha, they crafted the concept of hosting tea parties in the homes of guests. Dee would supply all the table settings, including vintage china tea sets, exotic imported teas, beautiful linens, and all the prim & proper manners and etiquette instruction one would expect from such an event.

“I want a photograph of Marsha and I. I’m going to make a postcard and mail it out.” That was Dee’s first request. Dee laid out her marketing plan and strategy. It was simple and to the point. It did however, lack today’s technology. I explained the need for website presence, graphics design, and internet communication between her and the prospective client base.

I introduced her to Theresa Jackson of Orchard View Color. Theresa is a wonderful designer and has a “touch” for these types of projects. After they met, Theresa was stunned by Dee’s high speed energy level. “I just hope I can keep up with her.” I turned over the reins to Theresa for project management. In this situation product photography is down the list from logos, web design, and business stationary. It’s important to know where everyone should be in the creative pecking order. When Theresa was ready we all had a pow-wow to work out a shot list that would tell Dee’s story. Simplicity was the order of the day.   We wanted clean, home spun with a touch of class.

We shot right in Dee’s backyard. After an exhaustive long day shoot where I forgot to use sunscreen, we had 50+ images to select from. Dee loved them, couldn’t wait to show ‘em off and discuss it with her peeps. After several days of silence and knowing there was a time crunch (imposed by Dee herself) I called.  With a bit of panic in her voice she said, “I don’t have to pick the finals do I? There are too many good ones.”  That’s what a product photographer likes to hear!

Theresa and I selected the images. A few days later, the website was complete. Theresa designed beautiful business cards, hang tags, and product labels for the Exotic Teas that Dee would be offering, and completed a WordPress styled internet site. My images added the visual storyline and voilà, Dee has a business. Theresa and I both know that content is king for any website but also acknowledged that the deep layers will come with time. Dee knows this is simply part of the new business model. She’s already prepared to talk about the latest tea party, show photos of excited guests, and share with the world her passion for elegance and civility that a tea party can bring.

So let’s sum up shall we?
1. From business concept to launch, 4 1/2 weeks.
2. Images delivered in 3 days.
3. Website designed in 2 weeks
4. Product line developed and tagged, 1 week
5. Oh yes, the postcards were delivered last week

Dee has already booked her first Tea Party for April 15th, and I’ll be there to cover it. Be sure to check out my other North County photography projects!



  1. What a great story of talent and opportunity coming together! Very interesting reading, Larny, and kudos to you and Theresa.


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