Being a military spouse can be tough. It often involves moving to new cities on a regular basis, making finding employment especially difficult. That was the case for Vista Bartholomew. But instead of working odd jobs at each new location, she came up with a creative solution.
Combining her passion for photography and her entrepreneurial spirit, Bartholomew created VistaPix Media. The company specializes in digital photo scanning, video transfer and similar services. And Bartholomew has even used her business as a way to help other military families in a unique way. Read more about her story in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does:
Offers digital photo scanning and preservation services.
Currently the business offers digital photo scanning, slide scanning, video transfer and photo preservation services. Customers can send their photos and other materials into VistaPix Media and the business offers various options for transferring or preserving them. Customers then pay a fee based on the number of photos and specific services they require.
Giving personal attention to each customer.
Since Bartholomew has had to go through several moves with her family, she understands how difficult it can be to preserve family photos and memories. For that reason, she takes care to offer great service to each individual customer.
How the Business Got Started:
Bartholomew struggled to find meaningful and fulfilling employment while moving from one military assignment to another. She also struggled to organize and preserve her family’s photos and memories. So she decided to merge her own need with her passion for photography to create a business. She explains:
“As a military wife that was always on the move, I understood the risks and challenges to sacred family keepsakes like photos as they are packed up and subjected to various elements. I created VistaPix Media to give others like myself a better solution to preserving these memories through digital scanning.”
All 50 of the company’s employees, including the owner, come from military families. Bartholomew thinks it is important for her company to show this type of commitment to supporting military families like hers. And she also thinks it has created a truly unique working environment. She says:
“Because we all understand ‘military life’ our work environment maintains a unique level of camaraderie and support.”
Deciding to only hire military spouses and veterans.
“As a wife of a service member myself, it was important to me to give back to the military community in any way that I could, which is why we made this choice in employment. While we understand why other businesses choose to outsource their service and employees, we felt that keeping the entirety of our business within the United States was the right decision.”
Focusing on families over profits.
“I think there’s a lot of risk involved in getting any business up and running, and when that business is also dedicated to creating opportunities for its employees that aren’t necessarily laser-focused on the bottom line, and working to take current industry services to the next level, there’s a great deal of risk involved. Fortunately for us, thanks to our emphasis on quality and personal connections, we’ve experienced steady growth since our founding.”
How They’d Use an Extra $100,000:
Hiring more employees and adding more services.
Bartholomew said she would like to eventually expand the company’s digital scanning services to make sure that customers have more options. And of course, she would also like to hire even more military spouses and veterans as part of the VistaPix Media team.
Enjoy the experience.
Overall, Bartholomew said she’s happy with the decisions she’s made to run her business. But she admits that she might have worried a little too much during the business’s early days. She says:
“As I look back now and see how far we’ve come, I wish I could give myself more faith that it would all work out. In terms of specific strategies, I’m very happy with my approach to this business and wouldn’t change a thing in that regard.”
Images: VistaPix Media
Inspiring. Business is really her only choice given her situation. But I guess it is really meant for her as she found her niche.
I don’t think it was her only choice but it definitely seems like it was the best one for her!
It’s great she found something that worked for her, and it seems to have gone from strength to strength. I’m wondering though, what happens when/if it’s time to move again? I mean, the business seems mobile enough to absorb the move. But what about the employees?
I believe it is mobile and employees have the ability to work remotely as well.
In which case, fabulous! Mobility/remote working is power.