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YEC Series Student Spotlight: Kelsie Conard, Kelsie Conard Photography

By: NetWork Kansas

Kelsie Conard Photography

Q: Describe your business and how it's grown since participating in the YEC Series.

A: "My business is a photography business called Kelsie Conard Photography. I started this business when I was 15, just taking pictures of my friends. I had a yearbook teacher in my school ask me to come teach her students how to frame a picture around a person, and from that I had two seniors ask me to take their pictures, which is when I started charging per session. 

Once I figured out that people actually want me to take their pictures and people started noticing me on Facebook, Simone asked me to join in the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge with the class above me, because she believed in me.

During this I started to make my dream a reality. I started to create a business plan, and had hopes and dreams. Once the day rolled around for the competition, people noticed me more. I had a sign up for future pictures and had 20 people sign up! I have taken almost all of their pictures. 

My business has grown like crazy since I got my name out. I went from two seniors when I was 15, to five seniors and many families when I was 16, and it just keeps growing!"

Q: What were your key takeaways from participating?

A: "My biggest take-away from this competition was self confidence. The competition instilled a belief in me that people noticed me, saw my prices, and wanted me to take their pictures. The judges told me what to fix with my plans to help me grow. 

Another big take-away was a legit business plan. I was 15 and enjoyed being behind a camera. I had no idea where I wanted this crazy 'business' to go, but Simone helped me see where it COULD go and HOW I could achieve this.

Lastly, I took away prize money. This didn't go to some new clothes - it went to a new lens, which improved my pictures and got me more business."

Kelsie Conard Photography_2

Q: What are your plans to grow your business in the future?

A: "I have a crazy future but a big a bright one. I am currently at K-State and my major is Elementary Education because I have always wanted to be a teacher and I absolutely adore children. With this, I know I won't have a job during the summer and will always have breaks. This allows room for a business!

Wanting to go back to Western KS, being a teacher will supply a stable income for me. But if I could have my own studio, be successful, and just take pictures, I would LOVE to do that. It has always been a huge goal of mine to offer studio pictures but being 17 makes it hard to purchase a studio and equipment." 

You can view the Kelsie Conard Photography website here.