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I’ve stalked Natalie from afar for YEARS. The first time we connected I was sitting in my cubicle and we’ve been online friends ever since. Natalie said it best, “It’s so fun when your online friends end up being dope in real life.”
Natalie’s business has evolved over the years (and she’s also been through some serious stuff as a business owner!) Videography was the only thing Natalie ever wanted to pursue growing up. Video was the one thing that was hers. But growing up, TV, commercials, and film were the only options. Natalie was 15 when YouTube came out— she didn’t realize how much
At 16, Natalie became aware that videography was a pipe dream. She felt stupid that this was even a dream of hers. So stupid that she totally dropped it— it was dead to her. She completely left it behind after graduating high school. She nannied in Spain, traveled around, and making ends meet.
In her 20s, Natalie was married and living on the west coast. She decided to do YouTube when her and her husband, Nick, did van life. Her friends in the wedding industry quickly picked up on her talent and asked her if she had ever considered pursuing videography as a career. It all came rushing back to her— that passion that she felt while checking books out at the library.
I’ve never been proud of myself the way I feel now. In a lot of ways, it’s been very healing.—Natalie, VIBEHAUS
Natalie knew that her passion was with brands, but the “safe” option felt like weddings. Even though she went into videography, she went into the “safe” option that ended up blowing up in her face with Covid.
From brands, to weddings, to influencer work Natalie learned early on how not to be inspired. Watching other people’s stuff and comparison was the worst thing she could do. Paying attention to fellow creatives is something she avoids.
Moving to New York City, going on walks and being inspired and listening to music while taking in the energy is what truly inspires Natalie.
Transitioning and Reinventing
Natalie launched the full branding side of her business a month before Covid hit. The plan was to slowly pivot over the course of a year or two, but that timeline was clearly pushed out.
The last year of weddings, Natalie and her husband found out that his Mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and that she was going to die. She had less than a year to live. They were living in their van at the time in California with weddings on the west coast. They had 30+ weddings to shoot, but finding out that their life was changing they made the decision to move to Minnesota and travel to their work.
Towards the end, Natalie began to feel resentful and bitter when shooting weddings. She was attending other people’s life events while simultaneously missing the final life events of their own family. The difficult reality was that you couldn’t reschedule a wedding, but not everyone was empathetic of their situation.
Not an Option
Before videography, Natalie believed she couldn’t amount to anything. She broke down crying to her husband that she was dreading her own future. The only thing she could think of was being a Mom, but that she had nothing else going for her. Starting a wedding business for not only herself but her family, it was empowering to realize power in her own life.
As hard as it is some days, she can’t imagine leaving the dream behind. It’s weird to feel proud of herself, because she didn’t know she could ever accomplish what she had. But quitting isn’t an option.
For the people that don’t believe in themselves— you know in your gut what you’re supposed to do. Even though it’s scary, take the risk anyways. You have to be your own biggest believer. The people closest to us are often the ones that are the the least supportive.
Betrayal in Business
Natalie is no stranger to betrayal. The day she moved to New York, which was a year after her mother-in-law passed away, one of her best friends hurt her and her business. She was forced to take down her website (which as a creative entrepreneur is your platform!) She had to walk away from a team she built from the ground up and restart completely. Six months later, she found out the person she was going into business with was a scam artist. Completely blindsided because another friend hurt her, it was so easy to feel like she was crazy.
The emotions are still high. The hurt is still there. From grief to betrayal, there was a lot to process during this season of life. So how did she not let that stop her from operating her business? By surrounding herself with good people.
Surrounding Yourself (and your dreams!) with good people
When everything happened, the only reason Natalie made it through was because of three of her friends: Yessy at Oxford Comma Co., Sara with Sara Welch Photography, and Gratiana with The Refined Brand. The three of them came around Natalie and supported and believed in her. It was the most meaningful experience after going through what she did.
Could she have pulled through? Yes. But Natalie’s dreams and VIBEHAUS wouldn’t exist without them. Their support was life changing. True friends really stepping up and being there for her is what got her through. Which is a testament to having to surround yourself with good people, even when you’ve been hurt before.
VIBEHAUS does full-scale production for photography and videography. They also have education: The Brand Film Formula and The Great Super 8 Masterclass. Rolling out soon is a community called The Vibe— for photographers, videographers, on-set creators to connect and learn. You can also expect retreats!
Advice for Your Younger Self
Stick with therapy, learn finances, and learn how to invest.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Natalie spent most of her adult life traveling and living on the west coast. She’s now based in New York City and runs Vibehaus a photo and video production company that is for women entrepreneurs as well as education for videographers and photographers.