Do you remember, back in college/university, teachers asking you to submit a career plan for then next ten years? Year one was fine, year two was reasonable, but year ten felt like an absolute lifetime away. How could I possibly start to plan where I’d be in ten years time? And yet, here I am today, after what feels like the blink of an eye, celebrating my tenth business birthday. The big 1-0. Double digits. A whole actual DECADE later. Per tradition, I’m off to buy myself a mini bottle of fizz and a giant bunch of flowers to celebrate, but before I do I thought I’d reminisce over the past year and my accomplishments, as well as a little throwback to where it all started in 2009…
Perfectly timed with the transition into the roaring (hopefully!) twenties, the internet trend of the moment is the ten year photo challenge, so here’s mine. This photo was taken at my graduation ceremony in 2009 – literally a couple of days before I registered as self-employed. Honestly, I’d just had my hair cut so my fringe was the right length when it wasn’t squashed down by a mortarboard! Graduating right at the peak of the recession, people were being made redundant left right and centre. The make up company I had been working for part time during my degree had also announced they were about to close their doors at the end of the year, so it was an easy decision to register myself as self-employed and have a go at running my own business.
Back then, I had big dreams of becoming a concept artist for Hollywood blockbuster films, or an environmental animator for Pixar. Focusing on my digital illustration and photo-manipulation goals, I actually applied for my ‘dream job’ at Pixar three times before realising that my love of photography was more than just a hobby. By 2010 I was spending most nights of then week photographing burlesque performers in dimly like basement bars in London and by 2011 I had quit my part time employment to focus on being a full-time freelance photographer. Aware that my brand name no longer reflected my chosen path as a boudoir and burlesque photographer, in 2013 Tigz Rice Illustration ‘levelled up’ and re-branded to Tigz Rice Studios, with a fancy new website and integrated blog (it was a big deal at the time!) Not all of the content from my original Blogspot account was migrated over so I’m missing the early years, however you can read about Year 4, Year 5, Year 6, Year 7, and Year 8 – which saw another rebrand from ‘Tigz Rice Studios’ to ‘Tigz Rice’. Apparently I was so busy I forgot to do one last year for Year 9, oops!
So what happened in Year 10? Well, a lot actually! Some key highlights for me include another incredible European tour with Miss Victory Violet and shooting an editorial campaign for one of my favourite lingerie designers Emiah Couture (both to be featured on the blog in due course). However, the main focus of Year Ten has been creating STRIP/TEASE – my brand new book. Publishing a book has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, but honestly the process of creating STRIP/TEASE has been so much more rewarding than I could ever imagine. Signing contracts at the end of 2018, the first 7 months of 2019 were spent channeling all of my creative energy into shooting brand new, never-seen-before images with burlesque performers from all around the world. During that process, I had the privilege of attending my first ever Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender and spending time with burlesque legends, shooting in many new locations, as well as the incredible opportunity to meet and photograph seven Miss Exotic World Titleholders. The remainder of the year has subsequently been spent writing, designing, proofing and then marketing the book ready for its release. It’s been busy!
I am so proud of what Working Class Publishing and I have achieved in the last 12 months. It feels so fitting that it launches today, on my tenth business birthday. I can’t wait for it to be delivered into people’s hands! If you’d like to own a little piece of Tigz Rice history, please do consider buying a copy of my book – it would mean the world to me for your support.
So what’s planned for the next decade? Well, I’m planning on sitting down and writing a career plan for then next ten years over Christmas, so if you have any suggestions feel free to slide them into my inbox or comment below!
Order your copy of STRIP | TEASE now!