Most successful businesses and projects are led by pairs or groups of people who work very well together. Having a good relationship between the business partners facilitates all planning and managing, leading to better results in the long term.
This is the case when it comes to the people behind the successful photography business Graphiking Photography. The people behind this business are Cindy Dikoume and her partner Chukwualuka Sammy Oguejiofor.
Cindy and Chukwualuka met in college when they both went to study at Northern State University in South Dakota. There they fell in love and quickly after Cindy decided to invest in Chukwualuka’s photography and design skills, so they decided to start their brand, Graphiking Photography. But this was a risk given their little exposure to business.
“I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT BUSINESS, NEITHER DID HE. BUT I WATCHED VIDEOS EVERY NIGHT AND HE WATCHED VIDEOS TO HELP HIM IMPROVE AS WELL. WE BOTH INVESTED IN THIS OVER TIME, FROM BUYING EQUIPMENT TO PROPS, AND RUNNING ADS. WE HAVE LEARNED THAT WE HAVE MADE PROGRESS EACH TIME WE INVEST.” CINDY SHARES.
Graphiking Photography is a photography and design business that provides multiple services delivered by the artist Chukwualuka with the creative direction of Cindy. They make themselves available through their website and contact channels.
Cindy believes that her main motivation to start Graphiking Photography was seeing the talent in her partner and being encouraged by her parents to chase after her goals. She has enough drive and motivation to stand on her own and believe in her skills.
“THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE WHEN STARTING A BUSINESS IS HAVING THE INCOME TO KEEP INVESTING IN THE BUSINESS SO THAT IT REMAINS SUSTAINABLE. BESIDES HAVING FAITH IN YOURSELF WHEN EVERYONE ELSE JUST BELIEVES YOU ARE WASTING YOUR LIFE AND YOUR TIME.” CINDY SAYS.
What was crucial for Cindy was believing in her partner’s skills and in his vision for the brand. He had always loved photography and designing and was able to awaken these skills when he came to the United States from Lagos, Nigeria to study art.
Cindy’s biggest obstacle was finding what exactly she was good at, to then be able to direct her focus there. She is a hard believer of mastering all traits but overtime it has not proven to be quite helpful for her. Instead, what has been more effective is narrowing her focus.
“MINDSET IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT MINDSET THEN YOU ARE NOT READY TO GO THROUGH AND OVERCOME EVERY SINGLE CHALLENGE THAT STARTING A BUSINES POSES.” CINDY STATES.
In part this is why Cindy advises those starting their business to stay surrounded by people who believe in them and if that is not possible, she advices to believe in themselves ten times harder than anyone else.
“IT IS DEFINITELY WORTH IT TO SEE YOUR CREATION COME TO LIFE.” CINDY SHARES.
At Graphiking Photography, Chukwualuka does all the “manual labor” by being the photographer and graphic designer behind the brand, while Cindy does all the socializing, making sure the art and work is disseminated and promoted, while also being the creative director of the brand.
“IN THE NEAR FUTURE, WE WOULD LOVE TO WORK WITH BIG FASHION BRANDS AND TAKE OUR BRAND OVERSEAS. WE WOULD ALSO LIKE TO HAVE OUR OWN MAGAZINES AND A CLOTHING BRAND.” CINDY SAYS.
In order to achieve this, they need to keep working on their brand and putting all their efforts in leaving an impact. For Cindy, fear means failing without trying and her biggest fear is precisely leaving this world without making an impact.
“SUCCESS FOR ME MEANS GOING FOR YOUR DREAMS WITH THE RIGHT MINDSET, AND PUTTING IN WORK EVERY TIME AND KNOWING THAT WHATEVER THE OUTCOME, YOU DID EVERYTHING YOU COULD.” CINDY SAYS.
For Cindy, success eventually leads to or helps maintain financial freedom, which is essentially not having to live paycheck to paycheck. But instead, being able to take care of her family, afford to have her child with her and be able to raise him. It means being able to see her family and most importantly, afford to go to the hospital whenever it is needed.
In order to accomplish this, it matters that Cindy continues to direct Graphiking Photography in a clear way, with a narrow focus. Part of what helps her accomplish this is knowing that the only person she really is competing with is herself.
“MY ONLY COMPETITION IS ME, PAST ME AND FUTURE ME.” SHE SAYS. “I DIFFERENTIATE MYSELF BY SEEING MY GROWTH EACH AND EVERY TIME.”
After four years with Graphiking Photography, a photography and art brand that was created in the midst of college life, Cindy is looking to continue to grow the brand and reach more people, by working with other brands and growing their resources. To follow their work, go here.