by Liz Fox
Posted 3/11/2013 12:00 am
A new baby and toddler boutique has opened its doors inside a local photography studio in Mountain Home.
Wee Giggles is the new addition to the studio of Tamara Smith, a local photographer specializing in family portraiture. Smith, who opened her business in 2005, established the boutique after the idea was given to her by her mother-in-law, a woman with more than 25 years in retail.
“My inspiration for creating a baby boutique was that it just seemed to fit well with my photography business,” Smith said. “Children are such a joy. … The clothing selections that I have in Wee Giggles look great in portraits — [they] enhance, not take away.”
The building, which Smith has rented since March 2011, is a 2,000-SF space in Mountain Home’s Town East Shopping Center. Building improvements, lighting fixtures and constant updating of photography equipment have cost more than $20,000 since Smith’s lease was signed, and merchandise for Wee Giggles will continue to add expenses.
Smith currently is the sole operator of her business, conducting day-to-day sessions as well as operating around big-picture ideas. But she sometimes consults her colleagues in the photography business and calls on her husband, who helps her on big, sometimes overwhelming projects.
“Although my husband has a full-time career of his own, he helps me run my business,” Smith said. He is “sometimes my assistant during photo sessions and especially when shooting weddings.”
Before opening her studio, Smith was an elementary school and junior high teacher. Teaching family and consumer science, a class geared toward home economics and professional skills, inspired her to consider photography as a career. This was in addition to an already existing interest, one that formed at an early age.
“I bought my first camera when I was a young girl, at around age 10,” Smith said. “I [later] began teaching scrapbooking classes at a scrapbooking store. Many people who took my photography classes complimented my work, which also encouraged me to further pursue photography.”
She wants to continue to expand her business in terms of space, skill and reputation, Smith said.
“My goals for the next five to 10 years are to continue to grow my business,” she said. She added that she wanted to improve “in my photography skills and to replace or exceed my teaching salary that I gave up when I quit teaching.”
Wee Giggles’ grand opening is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 12. More information can be found by contacting Tamara Smith at (870) 404-3314 or by visiting TamaraSmithPhotography.com.