That’s the mantra that cycles through emails, hashtags and mindsets at Seaminx. They’re the artist agency that represents my work as a prop stylist and Elaine, the guest of honor for today’s Style Story, is co-owner and mama-Minx extraordinaire alongside her equally awesome business partner, Sunni. Together, the two of them have been representing stylists, hair and makeup artists, assistants, and now photographers in the Dallas market for nearly 18 years and their wings are spreading further to places like New York, Austin and LA.
Christopher, Elaine’s multi-talented husband, is a plant buyer and manager at a local organic garden center as well as a musician with over 60 album credits for his band over the past 20 years. Together, they make one heck of a dynamic duo. And they have the most lovely way of living in their garden bungalow tucked away in the foliage of East Dallas.
Due to some recording difficulties, I don’t have a podcast to accompany this story. So, a bit out of ordinary protocol, Elaine is sharing her answers to my questions in written form below.
- What does a day in the life of a talent agent look like?
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ELAINE – Busy. I can start receiving text messages as early as 5:00am and sometimes as late as 11:00pm. This can be due to weather issues, illness, flight cancellations, etc… I always check my email before getting out of bed and check it before I go to sleep at night. All hours in between are spent contacting clients, making sure artists are working, making sure everyone has their schedules, juggling schedules when jobs overlap, keeping the website up to date, and squeezing in a lunch break at some point. I am part agent, part mentor, part mom. I love my job and feel so honored to work with such a talented, intelligent, creative group of people.
- What’s growing in the garden these days?
CHRISTOPHER – Tagetes Lucida (Mexican tarragon), Conoclinium (Mistflower) and Anisacanthus quadrifidus (Hummingbird bush) are blooming nicely as is Malvaviscus drummondii (Turk’s Cap). Summer phlox is still blooming along. Fall veggies are planted and we just harvested an early crop of limes.
- Any words of wisdom for a newbie gardener? Especially in difficult climates like Texas?
CHRISTOPHER – Get to know your soil and choose plants wisely. Native plants can handle our weather changes best. We may have droughts or an abundance of rainfall. Knowing how the soil is handling moisture is very important. Too much moisture or not enough is the most common reason plants fail. Be one with your soil and feed your plants.
- Have you tackled any recent design projects? If so, what did you do and how did it turn out?
ELAINE – We recently painted our bedroom. It is black. Walls, ceiling, woodwork, everything! We have 1930’s textured plaster walls so it was not an easy task. We removed the television, clock, anything with lights that would glow in the room at night. The outcome is what we hoped to achieve. A cozy, dark, sleep cave. It is very difficult to wake up in the morning!
- Describe your Fall uniform.
ELAINE – Hmmmmm. Soft black or grey tshirt, jeans, black booties or black Converse high tops, black leather jacket. If I feel like being colorful I will carry a purple, blue, etc.. handbag.
CHRISTOPHER – Jeans, boots, pruners… an appropriate hat. T-shirts and ragged out sweaters. Ready to go play in the soil.
- With so many work responsibilities at home and at your fingertips, how do you prioritize time and space to unplug and disconnect?
ELAINE – If something needs immediate attention I am always available. It is very convenient being able to walk into my office and take care of something right away, even at 1:00am. When I “go home for the day” I close the door to my office but from time to time in the evening or on weekends you will find me at my desk jotting down an important thought or downloading images that are so inspiring that I can’t wait until the next business day. At the end of the work day or on weekends you can either find Chris and I working in our garden or greenhouse, or relaxing on one of our screened in porches listening to the sounds of nature, or watching “the kid show” (what we call it when the children on our block play in the street). Chris is a musician/audio engineer and we have been collecting records for the last 23 years so lounging in the music room/studio playing records is also another favorite way to unwind.
CHRISTOPHER – I make lists and plan my actions to maximize my time. I always try to include a reward on the list.
- What are the unique joys and challenges of working in the photo industry?
ELAINE – It is especially fun turning a the page in a magazine and coming across the work of one of our talented artists or seeing a commercial that they worked on. I feel like a proud mother when I see beautiful work that we booked them on! Another proud moment is when we receive a glowing review on the work of one of our artists. Being in the photo industry does not come easily or quickly. One has to pay their dues and give 100%. One of the biggest challenges in our industry is getting someone’s foot in the door. Once the foot is in the door it is up to the artist to do their best and keep the door open for more opportunities.
- Any advice for an aspiring stylist?
ELAINE – Be kind and work hard. Be patient, punctual (if you are not 15 minutes early then you are late), attentive and prepared. Keep your phone on silent! If a client is critical of your work don’t dwell on it, make it a constructive experience. Communicate openly and honestly with your agents.
- What’s the last thing that made you laugh? Cry? Get butterflies with excitement?
ELAINE – I laugh a lot. I am on a conference call with my business partners several hours a day. Sunni is in Pennsylvania and Aubrey is Austin (unless she is on a plane). We have the phones on hands free and just hang out together as if we are in the same office. There is usually a lot of daily laughter between us. It IS the best medicine! The last time I cried was on my birthday this past Wednesday. My best friend knew Chris was taking me to my favorite sushi restaurant for dinner and when we arrived he had my favorite bottle of wine waiting for us. It was so thoughtful and unexpected that I cried in front of our waiter. Tears of joy. Happy news almost always make me shed tears of joy. Not to sound corny, but when I look at Chris I get butterflies. After 20 years (this December) of marriage he still makes my heart flutter.
CHRISTOPHER – My brother came to visit recently from Japan with his wife and son and new baby girl. We haven’t seen them in two years and had a wonderful visit with lots of laughing and excitement.