It started in July 2013. At that time, our goal and mission was to bring fun and creativity into the world through designing and screen printing clothing. Over the last few years, we realized our passion wasn't clothing, but rather a deeper desire to help people reach their personal dreams and take their business to the next level.
Photography triggers emotion. Reaching the emotions of human beings and sparking that connection is very important to me as a photographer. A single image that conveys enough passion in its entirety can uproot emotions from a viewer in an instant. It can change someone’s perspective, while also allowing their imagination to expand. It provides a visual story for someone that may not have the opportunity to see it with their own eyes.
I have been photographing the beautiful landscapes of Washington state for the majority of my life. Until about a year ago, when I knew that I wanted to take my love of photography and create something beautiful, inspiring, and powerful. I am guilty of being ignorant of the importance of conservation in my earlier days. It wasn’t until I began delving myself into the works of other conservationists, such as Shawn Heinrichs and Paul Nicklen, that I realized just how important it is that we voice these issues and become stewards of the earth that we were entrusted to be. I realized that I could make a difference to the people around me, not just through word of mouth or my actions, but through a camera lens. Many of my adventures have brought me to see the damage that us humans have done to the earth. Whether it be the large amounts of trash in the ocean, the harsh chemicals polluting the air, or the frightening inevitability of global warming. These losses will be devastating for our planet’s future.
When I’m capturing a photo for the sake of conservation, I try to keep in mind whether or not the photo will trigger an emotional response. Do any of those emotions encourage the viewer to take action? Does it tell a story that could not be told with just words? Having the opportunity throughout my life to go and visit some of the most beautiful places in the world, I have been drawn to the act of their preservation. So not only can I use photography to share my experiences of travel, but I can also immerse people into places that need protection, whilst bringing awareness to the conservation that is already in place in those areas.
I was recently asked “What’s it like to use your camera skills to bring attention to conservation in the area?” — It allows hope to rise and flourish. Being able to influence the way someone views environmental conservation and bring about change through photography is an incredible thing to experience. So the “why” behind what I do can be broken down to just three simple words… Photography triggers emotion.
Written by Ashley Lindsay
Instagram: @pnwxnomad | LindsayVisuals.com
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery, especially when the scenery changes.
We recently had a winter storm that was quite uncommon in our area and so I decided to go our and take some pictures from the road that I live on. It was an exciting day and I had a great time capturing some of the perspectives that you don't get without the snow covering everything.
The one focus though is a change in what you're looking at and the depth of field for your photos. It's amazing what happens when we change our perspective to see things in a new and unique way, instead of the same way that the rest of the world looks at things.
Every single person has the ability to create. Use your ability and find a new shot!
It was 2017 and I was working as a Graphic Designer for a software company. Our weekly marketing meeting had been completely derailed with this one comment:
“Did you guys hear about the Microsoft study in 2015 that found the average person’s attention span comes in at 8 seconds? They were comparing it to that of a goldfish, which is 9 seconds!”
While this finding was a mixture of both thought-provoking and slightly offensive, we morphed our hum-drum meeting into a brainstorm sesh.
How on earth were we going to capture our audience in 8 seconds or less?
1. Home Page on Your Website
Any traffic that comes to your website should be able to tell exactly what you sell/do within 8 seconds of looking at the home page. Moreover, there should be a clear Call-to-Action (or CTA) as close to or within the hero image at the top. Engagement on your site is top priority! Whether it be lead capture for marketing emails, a sales funnel that sends users directly toward making a purchase, or a link to your most-recent blog post, each of these encourages users to interact with your website, get to know you better, and, eventually, become a converted lead.
2. Authentic Videos/Images
The age of the stock photo has come and gone. I say that, not to write-off stock photos (they are valuable in their own right), but to encourage authenticity. When a user looks at your website, Facebook, Instagram, or blog, they can almost always tell if an image is one that was purchased online or one that was taken by a member of your team. Studies show that people are more likely to buy from you if they know who you are, what you believe, your dreams, your goals. Authentic videos put a “real” face to the name of your business. I recommend professionally taken videos/images for your website and, while you can do a mixture, more smartphone-taken videos/images for your social media. You want your audience to relate with you, showing a more vulnerable side of what you do will do just that.
3. Value-Driven Content
Content Content Content! It is ALL about content! If you want to maximize on those 8 seconds, make it worth THEIR time, not yours. If we take a moment to get real about human psychology, we are not interested in what you are interested in. We are interested in what WE are interested in. Your audience is self-centered, they have their own lives, their own schedules, their own problems. When you add content to any platform, be it your website, social media, or blog, make sure you write it with your audience in mind. I recommend creating an ideal client profile for your business and then tailor your content to them! Of course, don’t keep that content so focused that only that specific clientele will buy from you, but work to find your niche and harness it!
Use your time wisely and turn your followers into raving fans! Remember, we only have 8 seconds. Tick Tock!
Written by Indya Oakes
Instagram: @IndyaOakes | Facebook: Indya Oakes
I started pondering and asked myself “Why?” Why was that wrong? Why was my way right? Why were my thoughts more “intelligent” than hers? There were so many “whys” running through my mind and I felt like I was learning the art of block building in a new way. I mean, sure, they were designed to be used a certain way, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other possibilities.
As I observed her playing, and helped to aid in the process, I began thinking about creativity.
Creativity is defined by dictionary.com as, “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.”
What’s the purpose of creativity or imagination if I’m just going to tell her how to do it “correctly?”
Doesn’t that negate the whole idea that we’re working toward? Just because her method of play doesn’t fit into my very small box in my very small world, it doesn’t mean that she’s incorrect. It means that she’s different. Her brain works differently. She thinks freely because no one has told her to think like a mindless drone and fit into their box. I’m terrified that one day, a “legalistic thinker” will “train” her to see things in only the way that they believe to be accurate.
Authenticity. A simple word with much deeper meaning, especially to a human being. Whether you are working to grow your business, your social media presence, or maybe you’re simply searching to define who you are as a person, authenticity is something you should strive for. It’s our originality, our weirdness, our ability to stand out among the masses that attract others to us.
Think back to when you were a teenager, hoping that special someone would look your way, what did you do to get their attention? For some, especially my husband, Jay, jumping off a roof onto a trampoline seemed to be the best route. For others, it was how they dressed, who they were friends with, or the things they had. Popularity in High School seemed directly linked to the type of car you drove or if your parents owned a house on the water, at least in my experience. While that brings up all sorts of ridiculous memories, we can learn something from our petty, teenage selves.
Well, my feet are killing me, my throat is sore from screaming on rides, and my babies are passed out in their car seats. I begin writing this as our day at Disney's California Adventure comes to a close.
First and foremost, I MUST thank Eric and Casey McBride for giving us their double stroller. It was a life saver having a space for the kids to not only sit, but fully stretch out and nap.
We started our Disney Parks adventure at Disney's California Adventure by arriving at 11:30 with Ashlen having just woken up from a nap. After changing one diaper and one pull-up, we we're on our way.
Starting with Mater's Junkyard Jamboree gave us a great example of how the rest of our day would go. Ashlen was in love! She would chime, "Again?" Over and over.
It was then that I realized how amazing Disney is to families with babies. We took advantage of their Rider Switch program more than once. I even got to sneak away at the end of the night and experience the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride that has now replaced Tower of Terror.
I want to brag about my incredible babies. I got to watch my almost two year old jump up and down in excitement when she met the characters she loves. It was at multiple times that either Jay or I started to tear up at the beauty that is watching our exhausted little girl dance, wave hello and shout at the top of her lungs, "Hi princess!"
Having two under two at Disneyland Parks can be challenging. There were times that Oliver would fuss because of the sensory overload with the lights and sounds. Then there was the struggle of keeping Ashlen in line, waiting patiently, and not brushing up against the people ahead of her (oh the concept of boundaries!). But nothing was better than the smiles Oliver would give to people walking by! We were stopped constantly just because passersby fell in love with his personality.
Ashlen's absolute favorite Disney Princess is Cinderella. Her love started with a tiny duplo character in a blue dress who she quickly named, "Ella." With Halloween approaching, I searched high and low for a Cinderella dress, knowing she could don it at Disneyland. After a Value Village discovery, some sewing help from the ever-creative Nana, and the sparkliest shoes, we had a mini "Ella" in our midst.
Our day at Disneyland started much earlier. There was so much to do! Our number one goal was to see Ashlen's reaction when she met her favorite princess in person. We woke the kids up at 6:30, got Ashlen dressed in the parking lot and sought out some princesses.
Ashlen got to meet Ariel, Cinderella, and Snow White all while wearing her special dress. Cinderella, in particular, was very amused at meeting herself.
The day at Disneyland unfolded in the most ideal way. Ashlen loved It's a Small World and said, "Hi baby!" to every single animatronic doll we floated by. She also had a blast in Minnie Mouse's house and got to meet Mickey!
Oliver seemed in awe of It's a Small World too and definitely didn't mind the dips on Pirates of the Caribbean. Most of all, I keep going back to the joy on his face as he smiled to everyone exiting Autopia.
What a wonderful trip it was. Many have thought us crazy for attempting such an adventure. Our kids may be a bit of work, but finding the fun amidst the fussing makes it all worth it.
Living, working, and raising two babies under two in a trailer is quite the adventure. It’s NEVER dull, each day presents new and exciting challenges, and I guarantee you will have a bundle of stories by the time your trip is over.
I’m writing to you from our 24’ converted cargo trailer in Medford, OR. This is the second stop on our month-long trip with destinations in California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada.
It was six weeks ago that we decided to turn 4 work-related meetings into a month long trip in our trailer. At that time, the trailer was a mere cargo space with a kitchenette. But, with a little elbow grease, we rolled up our sleeves and turned a metal tube on wheels into the comfortable home it is!
Our daughter, Ashlen, is an independent, fireball of a 22 month old. She is passionate, adventurous, and has welcomed her toddler-like freedom with open arms. You can imagine creating a space for her to run wild while the rest of the family relaxes takes a bit of work.
Our son, Oliver, just turned 4 months. He is holding up his head, insisting on tummy time, finally plays with toys and loves his jumper.
I will say, I have never been so thankful for IKEA and the gizmos and gadgets that promote relaxation within a tiny home! My absolute favorite items during this trip either started with some IKEA inspiration or came directly from the store. There’s the wall-mounted folding table, the folding outdoor table and chairs, the collapsible hamper, the wall-mounted spice racks, towel bar and hooks, the shelving and endless array of storage tubs, drawers and containers, and the wall-mounted shoe storage we use as toy bins.
There are many other things I have fallen in love with, for example, the water filter that attaches to the faucet. You never know when you’ll be hooking up to a hose or using water from a truck stop. No longer am I worried about poisoning my family with my cooking (by using the water, my cooking ability is another story…).
As I scoured the internet, reading every Mommy-Blog that mentioned RV Living or Camping with babies, I could not find a solution to my bunk bed problem. We needed bunks that could fold down and make room for quads and other large toys during travel. But with two little ones, the younger at risk of scooting out of bed and the older needing to be “walled off” from the world so she could shut her eyes, I needed a very specific sort of plan.
Years ago, in planning for a trip to Mexico, we discovered the KidCo collapsible tent that can be used in place of a crib. Preventing rolling off their bed, no risk of suffocation, and the set-up is as simple as pulling it out of its packaging. We repurposed this tent for Oliver on the top bunk and strapped it into place by using tie downs through the exterior loops. An added benefit is that on extra cold nights, I know he will be warmer than the rest of us because the tent holds a little heat.
For Ashlen, we had to be a bit more creative. As you can see in the pictures, her bed is inside of a pop-up ice cream truck. It has a floor, so we squeezed her mattress inside and created what she now calls: her room. It provided just enough privacy that she is not distracted by our working, reading, or late-night TV watching, while still being a fun place to use her imagination with her toys. She’s decided to tell everyone that it’s Mama who is driving the ice cream truck and it’s not uncommon to hear a seemingly random, “french fries!” after she’s gone in there to rest (french fries and burgers are printed within the decor).
The rest of the survival comes from the ability to relax in such a small place. And that, my friends, is all in the details. The rugs, the framed scratch-as-you-go map, the die cut sticker wall decor, the pillows and blankets, even the twinkle lighted mountain banner. The little things can turn your space into a home that you look forward to coming back to after your daily adventures.
In all honesty, Jay and I can successfully work at our desk while Oliver plays in the jumper and Ashlen dives into her toys with Daniel Tiger playing in the background. The trailer life takes work for sure. But as long as everything has its place and you’re willing to remain flexible and spontaneous, you’ll find yourself with funny stories, great memories, and a level of closeness with your family that you never had before.
Note that our trailer does not have a bathroom. We did this intentionally because of the added maintenance, cost and space that is taken up by a toilet and black water tank. Ashlen is happy to use her potty chair and we don’t mind taking advantage of the RV park restrooms and showers.
For those of you who worry if this can work for your family: Jay and I decided long ago that we could train our kids to do just about anything as long as we committed to training and put in the work for a solid three days. After that, they’d have a new routine and we could live our lives without the challenge of added fussiness.
Mom Tip: never leave the trailer without a key. You never know when your toddler is going to flip the switch on your deadbolt. :)
The items mentioned above are highlighted only because of how much I love them and how much I love sharing my experiences. We are not paid by the companies to review them, nor are we using these products as intended by the manufacturers (ex. the ice cream truck is not marketed to be used as a bed). If you want to try them out, that’s up to you!
Where you start is just that, the start. It isn’t the end. Just because something starts off in a way that isn’t traditional, doesn’t make sense, seems strange or has an abundance of quirks is not evidence that it’s going to fail or never work out.
Washington Concept began in 2013 as an excuse to design graphics for articles of clothing and really, an excuse to get free hoodies. Now, as I say free, that term is used loosely. In hindsight, those sweatshirts were the most expensive articles of clothing I’ve ever owned - it would’ve been cheaper to buy tattered designer t-shirts from Kanye’s line of clothing than it was to get a business ID, buy a screen printing press and flash dryer, have screens created, purchase supplies (ink, tape, squeegees, solvents, etc.) and make large quantity orders of blank t-shirts and sweatshirts.
That being said, had I not made the investment, effort and mistakes that I did and learned the lessons I learned, I would not be where I am today and my family would not get to experience the enjoyment from the work that we do.
Since 2013, Washington Concept has gone through some major transformations as a company: from event planning to simply a business name sitting on the proverbial shelf collecting dust.
Today, we are confident in doing what we love and pursuing the excitement of helping brands convey the story that lies beneath the surface of who they are. There’s always more to who you are, as a person or a brand, that people want to know, but so many stories go untold because they didn’t “seem important.” As a company, we push back against that theory and argue that the story beneath the surface is the most important part of marketing. It’s the story that connects you and your customers on an emotional level and creates a unique dynamic that helps them relate to what you’ve been through, experienced, or the quirks that make you, YOU.
There’s a time and place for your story. The question is, how will you share it and communicate what you’ve learned through it in a way that is fun, creative, intriguing, and builds a bridge of connection with those around you? That’s where we come in.
Oh man, I am so good at running away. When faced with pain, literal or figurative, I run. I do everything I can to avoid it. Even in moments of confrontation, I find myself wishing I could curl up into a shell and hide.
The irony is, I face potential pain each and every day. Am I going to be hurt in a relationship? Will I make a mistake at work? Will I stub my toe? All very real possibilities, some a greater risk than others. But the risk of stubbing my toe or messing up at work doesn’t keep me in bed all day. Life will pass me by if I’m not willing to live it.
When Jay and I were praying about having our now three month old son, I was terrified. The fear of giving birth again was far worse; I knew what to expect this time, and it was going to be awful. But did it stop me? No. I knew in my heart that one day of pain, nine months of feeling gross, would turn into a lifetime of fun. Out of a beautiful marriage would come one more little one. A little boy we had prayed for years before his existence.
Now, I am no stranger to risk. I love a good adventure and that tends to get me in all sorts of interesting situations. In 2016, when I was pregnant with our daughter, we sold our house in the hopes of finding our dream home on some property. We ended up semi-homeless for three months, bought a toy-hauler, and lived in that for a year. During that time though, we found the perfect place: five wooded acres with a little shack, ready to become the dream.
In 2017 I quit my traditional job to pursue our marketing business full-time alongside my husband. Being self-employed has its many quirks: No paid healthcare, no paid vacation time, no consistent paycheck, no financing for two years, business taxes, etc. However, it also means I get freedom. Sweet, glorious freedom. I can be a stay at home mom, raise my babies, go on adventures, spend time with friends, and work when I want to. My decision to leave the traditional job could have caused pain for my family and I, but if I hadn’t taken the risk, I never would have discovered this freedom.
Embracing the pain that life throws our way is how we grow, how we achieve our dreams. The challenges of family, providing financially, building relationships, come at us every day. The risk of pain is everywhere. But living, truly living this life, is done by taking chances, becoming vulnerable, and fighting for what you want.
Jay & Indya Oakes
The Pacific Northwest is our home, Marketing is what we do, Adventure is what we love. Let us tell your story.