Creator of TopTia Photography Tia Haygood admits being an unlikely entrepreneur. Having never studied any aspect of business management, the 30-year-old American experienced a bumpy ride when she launched her start-up in 2016. But her cheerful personality and positive, people-orientated outlook soon made up for any lack of business acumen she might have had.
Proactively engaging with the foreign community in Tokyo through non-profit organizations, mentoring groups and local activities is what kept bringing Haygood supporters, fans and clients.
Now, more than two years on, she is traveling not only within Tokyo but also across Chubu and Tohoku to photograph people, business owners, products and events. Her goal is to help companies and individuals enhance their brand by enabling them to put their best foot forward visually.
Savvy Tokyo sat down with Haygood to find out what has kept her going and how an entrepreneur’s dream can become reality.
How did you get into photography?
My grandmother was the photographer at family gatherings and I always admired her. When I was 13 I teamed up with her, taking photos at family functions.
At high school, I took courses in photography. I learned to hone my skills and develop my own film in a dark room. I got into digital photography in college, but it was a hobby: a way to document my time at school. The artistic and commercial aspects didn’t blossom until I came to Japan.
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