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Meet Alice and Grace Yoon of GREY & ELLE in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alice and Grace Yoon.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Alice and Grace. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Grace: I always had an interest in photography but I only started to pursue it seriously after I went through a long battle with Hodgkin lymphoma. That was a difficult period in my life and photography became my outlet. After I interned for photographer Lauren Greenfield, I was working freelance and thinking about an MFA in photography when Alice left her corporate job in design. As sisters and best friends, she and I had always wanted to work together, and that’s how Grey & Elle started.

Alice: I went to school for interior architectural design and I was working for Gensler, an architectural company, designing commercial interior spaces. I wanted to work on something personal that allowed more creative freedom – after taking on some freelance work with Grace; we realized we could make Gray & Elle work and we recently celebrated our first year in business. We’ve been fortunate to work on a variety of projects, from fashion and product photography to editorial content and set design.

Has it been a smooth road?
Alice: The saying “you don’t know what you don’t know” is so true for us. Our first year was the year of “YES,” where we decided to take on every project that was offered to us. We needed to understand what we really enjoyed doing, and where our strengths as a designer and as a photographer were coming together. We are constantly learning something new and we face new challenges with every project.

Also, suddenly becoming a team of just two employees after coming from a corporate background makes you realize how you have to wear different hats for your company. No one is going to pick up your slack; if you don’t do the work, it won’t get done. We’re lucky to have each other, to work through the challenges and celebrate our successes together. We were also lucky to find a community of entrepreneurs (Bossladies Magazine) early on who exposed us to people and opportunities that helped us with the many questions we had on how to build our business. The community you surround yourself is invaluable to sustaining your company.

Grace: Figuring out what direction we wanted to take our company was a struggle. We needed to learn what types of projects to pursue together as a team. Saying “yes” to everything that came our way helped us figure out what we’re really good at and what we love to do. There were some growing pains and we still go through it now. We’re so blessed to have worked with wonderful clients and amazing brands and I believe we are getting more opportunities to work on our dream projects.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the GREY & ELLE story. Tell us more about the business.
Grace: Grey & Elle is about photography and design. We’re two sisters collaborating to produce product, portrait, lifestyle, fashion and editorial photography, and we help our clients with art direction and conceptualization for their brands. I love working with our clients: the best part of this job is learning about them, their backgrounds, and then helping them show the world who they really are and what they’re trying to accomplish.

Alice: We like to help our clients find their own authentic stories and viewpoints and then bring them to life in our work. We want our design and our photography to evoke a real response, from the client and their customers, and we want our work to reflect our pride in getting to know our clients and the presence they want to have in front of their community.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Alice: We live in a unique time where social media allows us to find people and resources that weren’t as accessible in the past. It plays a huge role in how we find clients and how we showcase our work to the world but it’s also a constant reminder that we have to have a unique point of view and stay true to our work to stay ahead of the competition.

Grace: Working with Bossladies and a mostly female clientele has been amazing and I expect to see more women starting their own businesses and telling their stories. Photography and design are always evolving and growing in new ways, and we have to keep an open mind on how to approach new projects, how to share our work and grow an audience for this growing group of entrepreneurs.

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