I have the pleasure of featuring my very close friend Quenest Harrington. We met in 2008 in Nashville and have been close ever since. It is like our paths were destined to be together forever. She went to grad school at my undergraduate Alma Mater MTSU then she relocated to Atlanta before I did. She is truly remarkable at her craft. If you look at the entire website all of the photos (single and group shots) were taken by her! She also serves on the Board of Directors and assists me with AYCM in so many ways! I really appreciate all of her help! She is such a dope person and a jack of all trades! She works full-time at iHeart Media and runs her own multi-media business on the
If you are interested in the creative space this is going to be a great read for you! She drops some really good jewels that can take you far. This is for the photographers, graphic designers, web designers, and digital marketers like myself. I am always learning and trying to improve in my craft. I love highlighting this various topics and talented women to empower you ladies. There is so much to cover so we are one blog at a time.
1. Tell us more about Quture Media. What was the inspiration behind it?
I started freelancing in college, not really knowing that I was creating a business! I was a broke student just trying to make extra money on the side. I created Quture Imagery in 2008 since I was strictly doing photography at first. Once I learned graphic design (through my cousin) I worked for his company for several years before deciding to officially start my business, and rebranded it Quture Media to incorporate the graphic and web design aspects.
2. What is your educational background for this career field?
I started taking photography classes in high school, then chose Western Kentucky University’s award winning Photojournalism program with a minor in Marketing. After taking a year off to live at home I decided to attend Middle Tennessee State University to expand my education by acquiring an MBA with a concentration in Marketing.
3. What inspired you to go into this creative career field?
Ever since I was in elementary school I liked to take pictures! I have albums upon albums of my little school friends at home. I would take disposable cameras or polaroid cameras to school at every event or for no reason at all. It was expensive for my mom to constantly pay for the developing costs (I’m aging myself with this story!) and she saw something in me so she signed me up for a photojournalism course for kids with the local newspaper in Louisville. I ended up winning one of the top honors (I didn’t even realize it was a competition) and received a scholarship for the photos I took. It inspired me to buy my first film camera and attend a high school that had photography classes. The design aspect was actually taught to me by my cousin Charles Rice. He wanted an apprentice to help him with his design business so I learned graphic and web design initially from him while still in college.
4. What is the biggest lesson you have learned thus far? What's your favorite part of this career?
All you have is your reputation… word of mouth can make or break you! Most of my clients have been referred to me through others. With that being said, I know design/photography is subjective. You won’t be everyone’s ideal aesthetic. But even if I can’t ultimately help someone I try to always keep a good rapport with potential clients and refer them if I know someone who can better assist them!
My favorite part is definitely seeing satisfied clients, making people’s ideas come to fruition or getting emails/texts when people love their photos or graphics. I enjoy working with small businesses especially. Seeing other people with a lot of drive and passion just inspires me more! Shooting family events or special days like weddings are always positive experiences as well.
5. What is your least favorite about your career field?
Maybe because design and photo fall under the “art” category, it can sometimes be more difficult for others on the outside looking in to understand how labor intensive it can be. People often underestimate the value of the field. I’ve had people ask for things and then not follow up, not knowing the amount of work that was already completed.
6. What advice would you give a mentee possibly looking to start a multi-media business?
Master your craft… take lessons from someone you admire or use YouTube! There are plenty of adult education schools like General Assembly with tech/software bootcamps and long term classes. I feel like many people want to say they have their hands in many things or are quick to give themselves a title when they are just learning the craft themselves. It took me many years to even offer graphic design services in my business partly because I wanted to be at a skill level I was comfortable at before I advertised to the public.
Also hone in on what it is that you enjoy and if something doesn’t truly make you happy or it feels like a chore, don’t offer that service. Don’t just pick a craft because you feel like it will make you rich; the money will come if it’s something you love! Network, network, network. And there’s nothing wrong with volunteering your services from time to time if it will make you a strong connection and/or level up your skills.
7. How has it been working for iHeart Media? Any advice on breaking into the radio business in any position?
Never a dull moment! It’s a blessing for me. So many people lament that they don’t use their degree and Sallie Mae can “have it back” but I’m fortunate enough to say that I’m using both, every day! My job as a Digital Production Coordinator allows me to do a variety of creative tasks (photography, videography, design, social media, CMS management and more) and work with some amazing people. With getting into radio, it depends on what position you’re looking for. But one of the best ways is common knowledge across many fields… start from the ground up! Many of my coworkers started in part time positions and now are on-air personalities, promotions directors and more.
8. How do you balance working full-time and running a business?
Planners are life! I’ve always been an OCD, “list” person so keeping track of my weekly tasks in a planner helps me keep everything together. I try to take time out on Sundays to evaluate and prioritize what type of work I have coming up for the week! Late nights and weekends are definitely a regular occurrence for me, but when what you do doesn’t feel like work to you, it’s really not a big deal.
9. What projects do you hope to work on in the future?
I consult clients, mostly within small businesses, and I’d like to potentially offer branding classes in the future. I love to talk brands and guide people on marketing strategy. It’s one of the key elements to a successful business and I feel like it’s often overlooked and undervalued. Eventually a space of my own where I could design and have a small studio would be awesome!
10. What keeps you motivated and energized?
Seeing drive from my branding clients definitely keeps me motivated. Iron sharpens iron! I’ve met some amazing entrepreneurs along the way. I try to stay on top of my health and fitness which keeps me energized. I’m also a serial learner so I’m constantly trying to learn new things. Gotta compete with yourself!
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