Meet Cali Brutz

Cali Brutz
Occupation: Owner/Partner of (once like a spark) Photography & Borrowing Magnolia
Alma mater: University of Georgia
Major: English
Social Media: (once like a spark) Photography | Borrowing Magnolia | Personal Blog | Facebook | Twitter
Fun Fact: I can do a very good impression of Louis Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly”.

How long have you been in Athens? I went to UGA as an undergrad and was here from 2004-2008. I left for a few years and moved back last Summer.

What are some benefits to having an office space? Before I had an office with Four Athens, I was working out of my house. While there are a lot of benefits of working from home, you are still working alone. One of the biggest benefits of having an office is being surrounded by other people who are doing cool things and making things happen. It’s been amazing to bounce ideas off of people, as well as have a reason to get dressed before 2pm.

Tell me about your company: I have two. My first one, (once like a spark) Photography. We started in 2008 and manage an umbrella brand of wedding photographers across the nation. From the front end, we have a core team that handles all the advertising, marketing, branding, client communication, and scheduling. Then we send teams of photographers out to shoot weddings. We also handle all the bank-end work; we do all of the post-processing, prints, and albums.
Launching at the end of this month is my second company, Borrowing Magnolia. Borrowing Magnolia a digital brokerage service for high-end wedding dress rentals and sales.

How did you start this journey? When I graduated from UGA, I did photography as a hobby and eventually got to a point where I was shooting friends’ weddings. I brought my sister on board, who is currently my business partner for both companies;  she helped with my marketing, branding, and advertising for my own photography. We had a lot of success with it. After awhile, I started meeting other photographers who were not achieving the same level of success as I had as a photographer. I started to realize that there are many talented photographers who may not have the interest nor the skills to run a wedding photography company. We saw a need and started to recruit photographers with a similar aesthetic. We are now in 15 markets with over 40 photographers overseen by an executive team of 8 people.
Borrowing Magnolia sprang from my experience in the wedding industry for the past 6 years. We’ve seen a lot of changes in the way brides are doing weddings. Brides who are in this Pinterest culture are aspirational while being highly economical. The DIY (do-it-yourself) scene is big for the same reason. Brides are wanting to be able to have nice weddings with things of value without having to pay the premium.
In addition to the rising Pinterest and DIY trend, I have a story of my own that led to the idea of Borrowing Magnolia. Before I got married, I fell in love with the first dress I tried on and bought it on the spot. The next day I woke up and hated it. I decided that I would sell it online so that I could purchase another dress. As soon as I placed my dress online, I was completely blown away by the number of people that contacted me. However, it wasn’t to buy my dress, instead they wanted to pay me some type of fee in order to borrow the dress. My own personal experience in combination with seeing the rising trends in the wedding industry led to the creation of Borrowing Magnolia.

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