Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Wendy Newman. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Wendy, appreciate you joining us today. Can you walk us through some of the key steps that allowed you move beyond an idea and actually launch?
Wendy began the Mandala/Kaleidoscope Project in 2015 as an exploration of the deconstruction and reimagining of select photographic images. Each unique creation is the product of hours of precise analysis and manipulation, with multiple image layers, instructed always by the caprice of inspiration. After I finished the first mandala, a friend said, “that would make a gorgeous scarf”, and so it began. It took 5 months to find the high quality printers.
In 2016, Wendy began creating wearable art, incorporating her photographic mandalas of Asheville into the design of women’s fashion, including, leggings, kimonos, umbrellas and scarves. Her company, will expand this exciting concept to new applications and new cities and custom work for individuals as well as businesses and corporations.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I have been working as a professional photographer for over 45 years, been published in various media from magazines to greeting cards, and have won numerous awards. For ten of those years, I was the owner and director of The Modeling Connection, a chain of finishing schools, modeling schools and agencies in Florida, where I taught etiquette, social graces, skincare, make-up, photography, dressing for success, self-esteem building, creating resumes and skills for job interviews. I am a former Miss Florida with a degree in fashion design from Miami International University of Art & Design in Miami, FL. It wasn’t until the the images fell onto the fabric that the magic started to happen and an industry for custom designed art and accessories was born. My family moved to Asheville in 1999 where I discovered a new world of astonishing locations and changing seasons. I can’t wait for that next new-fallen snow, or blooming flower field, or waterfall to fill with spring rain. I am continually inspired by so many of the unique settings and characters in this special city.
The Mandala Project is an ongoing endeavor of love. Each one takes days to create with endless hours of creation from the beginning of the original photograph to the finished print. Not every image can be a kaleidoscope and images such as flowers can become multiple kaleidoscopes. Each image different and unique. The art can be seen around Asheville and permanent installations at the University of Maimi, and Emabassy suites in Greenville and the Arras Hotel in Asheville as well as on leggings, kimonos, umbrellas and scarves.
I have taught photography at UNCA, Carolina Day School, in the homeschool sector, and I teach private classes in my home, around Asheville and Florida.
I also donate a great deal of my time photographing terminally ill children, cancer survivors and warriors through “Wendy’s Cancer Warriors” and to which the proceeds of all my art sales go, providing the warriors with images as well as photo shoots in Asheville, surrounding areas and Florida. I was a finalist in the WLOS Person of the year for my Cancer Warrior work.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
The most rewarding part of my business is definitely my non profit, Wendy’s Cancer Warriors. Nine years ago, I photographed my first Cancer Warrior in Florida, from there people learned of my free photos for all who are battling this dreadful disease. I not only donate the the photo sessions but all actual photos as well. Wendy Newman Designs funds the project and it is why I get out of bed in the morning. In the beginning it was difficult photographing terminally ill children, but when the parents saw the pictures later after their Childs passing, I knew by the joy in their heart that I would do this as long as I possibly could as a service to my community.
Alright – let’s talk about marketing or sales – do you have any fun stories about a risk you’ve taken or something else exciting on the sales and marketing side?
When I first began making mandalas and collaging them onto fabric, I made my first pair and gave them to a friend moving to Chicago and I wanted her to remember Asheville and our yoga classes. I presented them at a going away luncheon and that day I took over 20 orders for leggings, no website, or anything, but went home and with the help of my daughter began the business that day out of necessity. Ladies luncheons are the best.
- Website: wendynewmandesigns.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wendynewmandesigns/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendynewmandesigns/, https://www.facebook.com/wendyscancerwarriors/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendynewmandesigns/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wendy+newman+designs
- Other: https://www.facebook.com/wendy.newman.77/
Wendy Newman Photography