We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Grate and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandon, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Deciding to start my own business is one riskiest things I’ve ever done. However, it has changed the trajectory of my life. The concept of ‘playing it safe’ was immediately redacted from my thought process. Risk quickly shifted to return on investment and that investment happened to be me. Moreover, risk has reiterated that we talk ourselves out of things faster than we consider giving it our best try. Failure or not, it’s the personal fulfillment in knowing you gave yourself the opportunity to succeed. Case in point: starting a photography business and thriving in it indicates that it was a risk well worth taking.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Let me begin by saying that the words entrepreneurship & easy are not synonymous. I began my career nearly six years ago and it all still feels brand new to me. There was a lot of trial & error in the beginning and sometimes, there still is. My first client, who I still work with closely allowed me the opportunity to experiment. The synergy we created led to a ripple effect in my professional career – that working relationship led to another, then another, and another. Six years later, I am most proud of my confidence & determination to keep going and for always wanting more. I am even more proud of the relationships that I’ve built and the remarkable individuals who trust my vision enough to allow me to create with them.
As far as challenges are concerned, I face them every day. We all do. It’s called the inevitability of life. But what I will say is that even when I am faced with adversities and adversaries, I find a way to adapt until I’m able to regain control or find a solution.
Of all the lessons I’ve learned so far in business, the biggest one is to remain professional always. It’s something that I am passionate about as it relates to my photography business, but also as it relates to the mindset of my peers. So many entrepreneurs have the skill set but lack that professional aspect, which I’ve witnessed damage their respective businesses and brands. No matter how impeccable the work that I create might be, I want all of my clients to be taken by how competent I am at what I do and the lengths that I go to to ensure their experience is exceptional. To me, it’s the core of what successful entrepreneurship is.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There is so much expansion happening in Charlotte, NC right now! But if I had to entertain a friend for a bit, it might go a little something like this:
-Breakfast at Midnight Diner (always get the Shrimp & Grits)
-Check in at either the Kimpton Tryon Park (get a room facing Romare Bearden Park), Grand Bohemian, or Ivey’s Hotel.
-Some outdoor activities at The Whitewater Center
-Sunset drive through Uptown
-Dinner at Superland
-Brunch at The Crunkleton
-Visit the Mint Museum
-Check out The Royal Tot for drinks
-Dinner at O-Ku, Yume, or The Warmack (for my Sushi lovers)
-Visit SouthPark Mall for a luxury fix or the Charlotte Premium Outlets
-If you’re brave, go skydiving at Piedmont Skydiving (been there, done that, and loved it)
-A spa date at the Ballantyne Hotel
-Dinner date at Steak 48, The Fig Tree, or Toscana (can’t go wrong either way)
-Two night trip to Asheville (Biltmore Estate)
-Potential for a day trip to Charleston
-Seasonable mention: Carowinds
-Honorable Mentions for food: The Waterman Fish Bar, Lulu’s, The Cellar at Duckworth’s, Fin & Fino, Mizu
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My loving parents & grandparents instilled a dedicated work ethic, good manners, integrity, humor, and above all humility. I like to think the way I was raised, coupled with my own perspectives and will to break free of traditional small-town norms has been most impactful in this version of me today, especially the part of me that was confident enough to become a small business owner. There are so many others I could mention, but a special thank you to one of my biggest cheerleaders & closest friends, Synera, who lifts me up like no other. Your support is invaluable to me.
All images were captured & provided by Brandon Grate Photography, LLC.