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Say hello to the Madhüs Masterminds!

In our first edition of the Small Business Spotlight, I had the chance to sit down with the two lovely owners of Kingston Road’s hippest coffee house to chat about small business, creative community and really, really good coffee.

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If you’ve been to Madhüs then you already know that the warm & welcoming presence, competition-worthy espresso, exceptional music and general lovely vibe is all thanks to Kendra + Byram, the masterminds behind this Upper Beach gem.

Madhüs opened in February of 2014. In fact, the lease for their location became available on the very day that Kendra said goodbye to her day job (serendipity? I think so!). They opened Madhüs out of a love of community and wanted locals to have a home away from home – a place with really good energy that felt both inspiring and welcoming. As artists themselves, they especially wanted to enable people to express their creativity in their space (and of course enjoy their really good coffee and home cooking!). What started out as Kendra pursuing her dream became Byram’s “adopted child” and is now very much a labour of love for both of them.

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As locals (they live a couple of blocks away), they had long felt the need for a place like Madhüs – which didn’t exist in the Upper Beach. They longed for a creative space with local art and photography hung on the walls as well as great live music in their own neighbourhood. They knew they couldn’t be alone. Judging from the happy people that have filled their space since they opened – it’s clear they were right!

For Kendra, what makes this place so special is how phenomenally it has exceeded her expectations: customers have become family. Along the way, they’ve also amassed a solid team of friends, family and staff who help make Madhüs the warm and friendly place it is. For Byram, it is especially gratifying to see people get creative and inspired in their space (I can attest – it’s happened to me!). They have a customer who has proclaimed that she, “has to come in here to write poetry” and another who comes in every day to work on her novel because it’s the only place she can write. It’s like a twenty-first century Parisian salon. According to Byram:

 

“Art is underestimated in its ability to influence us as both individuals and community. It’s part of the ergonomics of how people move and feel – in 100 years it will be more a part of our lives.”

 

Having two teenage daughters, Kendra stressed how important it is for young people to be involved in music & art. In fact, it also influenced their decision to open a coffee house rather than a bar – they wanted the next generation to feel welcome there as well. In fact, they have hosted open mic nights for the under 18 set and has featured both music and spoken word. Kendra’s own daughter has performed with her guitar.

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They strongly believe that small businesses shifts the focus away from corporate culture and back to community – spending face-time with our friends and family and supporting each other in our creative endeavors. In Kendra’s words,

 

“It’s the authenticity of it – everything we do is from the heart.”

 

Small businesses build communities and make them healthier, more sustainable and frankly more enjoyable for those that are part of it. They promote a healthier environment for people to raise their families and are inclusive of the diverse members of their community.

 

“There’s a certain honesty and transparency about owning a small business. We share and help each other out – in fact the other day the folks over at Stone Pizza ran out of red peppers and they came over to us to help them out. We look out for each other.”

 

If you haven’t been to Madhüs yet, the Madhüs Mini Sessions on October 4th is a great reason to check it out. Lisa Tait Photography is proudly partnering with them to offer a day of photography Mini Sessions in the café, culminating in an exhibition at Madhüs a month later. Check out this page for more information…there are only a few spots left!

xoxo Lisa

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The Skinny on the Madhus Mini Sessions

Music, art, community and really good coffee. Celebrate all of these wonderful things in our warm & awesome community by taking part in the first-ever MADHUS MINI SESSIONS on Saturday October 4th @ Madhüs Café on Kingston Road.

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Here’s the skinny:

Short lifestyle sessions of you and your loved ones enjoying the cozy & welcoming space at Madhüs – taking the Fender Rhodes for a test drive; banging on the (wooden) drums (depending on your age ;), blowing on the harmonica, reading a book (or having a tickle fight) or just chilling on the big comfy couch.

After 20-30 minutes – you’re all done! And you can reward yourselves with the best mocha this side of Woodbine and a home-baked treat (all baked with love in-house).

A few days later, you’ll review your 5-7 hand-edited images and you will select your favourite to be printed on a beautiful, 16 x 20 bespoke natural wood print (hint: this is also a darn good time to order holiday cards – wouldn’t it be nice not to have to check that list twice?).

To tide you over, you’ll receive (and post) your custom Facebook timeline photo… and check it 5 times per day to see how many likes you get

A few few short weeks after you enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend with your friends and fam, you will return to Madhüs for a special launch party. There it will be – your favourite image up there on the walls – part of an official, week-long exhibition (bucket list = check).

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You’ll be so enamored with your print and so excited by having it in an exhibition that you may be tempted to take it off the walls and hide it in your coat on your way out – but you resist because you also want to win the grand prize full of goodies. Happy day – you can share your enthusiasm with your friends and family and win the contest!

You see – your image will also be posted on my website here – where you can spread the word about your piece electronically and invite your friends & fam to leave happy comments showing their appreciation for the cuteness of your clan.

You’ll also encourage your people to go right into Madhüs to see the beaut for themselves (and to grab one of those incredible mochas). They’ll be so happy you’ve introduced them to their new favourite coffee house. While they’re there – they can even comment on your image directly from their phones by scanning the QR code (those black square things) hung beside your artwork. Done and done.

You’ll also use your Madhüs gift card to have another mocha (you’re addicted now) and do some recon to encourage strangers are voting for your image too.

When you collect the most happy comments in the week the exhibition is on – you will win that grand prize! You’re on Cloud 9 and then you remember that you also get to take home your new family heirloom. It’s a good day.

The grand prize is so great that it practically makes it worth it to enter the contest alone! It includes:

And we may be adding more from other local shops before this is all said and done! Pretty sweet indeed.

So what are you waiting for? Nab one of those 8 spots now (update: only 6 left)! 

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For more details, check this out.

xoxo Lisa

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Hippity Hop…

Toronto Easter Baby Photographer

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.

Irish toast

 

One year ago, my little muse donned a shiny silver & green tiara in honor of this Irish day of celebration.   We’re not much for princess culture in our house but even I have to admit – it was pretty darn cute.  It also contributed to some of my favourite shots of her.  I loved them so much that I’ve used one of them on my business cards and other marketing pieces (you may recognize it!).

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When I brought it out this year, her big blue eyes sparkled with delight!  What a difference a year makes.  She will be two in May and is not only fully mobile now but very verbal.  She was happy and easy going last year as well, but this year she could understand me and respond when I asked her to “please stand right… here.”  It’s pretty fantastic to see how much she has changed.

Irish Princess Lisa Tait Photography

My little toddler has also become quite the baker in the last little while.  What better way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with the under five crew than with some green cupcakes?  For an extra boost of green (and perhaps the illusion of making these treats a little healthier), we made mini zucchini & pecan cupcakes with bright green cream cheese frosting!  Delicious.

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Here is the recipe if you’d like to bake some St. Paddy’s day treats with your own little leprechauns. 

So easy and so, so yummy!  We substituted organic red fife flour for all purpose without sacrificing taste.  I’m sure they would do well with a gluten-free flour too. We didn’t even need the luck of the Irish to make these a success!

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Are you doing anything to celebrate with the little leprechauns in your life?

xoxo Lisa

PS – Do you like to bake with your family?  An activity like this can be a super fun (and tasty!) way to do a photoshoot.  It documents some of the fun you get up to as a family and you barely even notice the camera is there!  Email me to book your kitchen party photo session 🙂

Yummy Kid Friendly Cupcakes Lisa Tait Photography

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a little tip on how I keep organized and get things done…

Lisa Tait Photography featured on Design Aglow

 

When you run your own business – you don’t just wear many hats, you wear ALL of them.  Throw in raising a family and having a life and it can get pretty crazy.  I recently found Design Aglow’s Big Picture Planner and it has been a game changer for me.  I highly recommend it for any small business owners who want to take charge of the chaos and translate it into success!  Check out my review on the Design Aglow blog today:

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The Big Picture Planner has been helping hundreds of photographers to stay organized and achieve their goals. We are ecstatic about the positive feedback we are receiving! Lisa of Lisa Tait Photography shares, “I’ve purchased many products from Design Aglow (and will likely purchase many more!) but this one has been the most fun to buy, customize and utilize. It totally satisfies my Type A left brain but still ignites my creative right brain. It’s the perfect union of form and function. I’ve been able to customize it to suit my branding and my needs (and wants!) – I’ve included a monthly check list, a blog schedule, a local business contacts page, some collage pages for free-thought and tactile clippings… and more. Even better, the Facebook group associated with this is full of positive, creative people who have even more incredible ideas for customization, how to use it and where to buy or make some of the accoutrements. This group has gone beyond the planner to become a supportive area for entrepreneurs to float ideas and discuss business challenges.

The tutorial and templates were easy to use and I love that there are InDesign files included with products like these – it make it so simple to change text and customize color.

The beginning of the year is a great time to reflect on where you have been and charge forward towards all you want to accomplish. Having a plan is essential to making this successful, but if you aren’t equipped to implement it then a plan can easily gather dust. Having a planner like the Big Picture Planner makes you want to use it. When you consult your plan – daily, weekly, monthly – it helps you stay on track. It allows you to be objective about your business and keep those blue sky items in mind while breaking down the everyday tasks it takes to get there. This thing is chock-full of useful tools that cover all gamuts of your business and keeps it all in one place – from big picture goal planning to marketing trackers to lists of recommended reading and even a place for income & expenses to help you stay on top of your funds…the Big Picture Planner is far more than a planner – it is a small business bible.”

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