Monthly Archives: April 2015

Dreamers + Achievers: Kevin Frey of Puritan Brew Co.

Puritan Brew Company, though new to the town, has already made a heavy impact on the community of Fayetteville. As a coffee and beer destination, Puritan continues to be a gathering place both day and night for meetings, studying, conversation, a morning caffeine boost or a local beer spot to end your day. Personally, I have loved the addition of Puritan to our little town. I’m always welcomed by familiar faces when I step in the door, and have loved seeing the community that Puritan has cultivated. Kevin Frey, owner of Puritan Brew Company, has taken the time to share a little about his journey in opening up his own coffee + beer shop, the ups and downs of owning your own business, and fears he has conquered along the way.


1. Where did the idea for Puritan come from?

Ultimately Puritan came from the love of people. We wanted to see people come together over a quality drink and in a space that encouraged conversation.

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2. Have you always wanted to be a business owner?
I always wanted to do something that Im passionate about and that pushed me to be creative. I grew up with an entrepreneurial father who instilled a lot of wisdom and knowledge when it comes to the business world, so when dreaming about what I would do “when I grew up” the idea of being my own boss and making my own schedule didn’t sound too bad. So, I think in a way, I’ve always wanted to be a business owner.

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3. What are some things in your past, big and small, that helped you in the process of opening Puritan?
Watching important people in my life fail, get back up, and try again. I grew up watching my father truly believe in his businesses and put everything he had on the line to start them. There is a big step between dreaming and then actually doing. Im a dreamer, and by watching my father I saw first hand the courage it takes to actually step out and pursue your dreams.

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4. What are the most difficult and rewarding things about being a business owner?
I think those go hand-in-hand. There is nothing like the feeling of walking into a place that is “yours” or taking home a paycheck that comes from a place that you love and worked hard to build but on the flip side you have to make the tough calls, you have to fire people, you have to take the risks.

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5. What has been the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Every time I see my grandfather he says, “Do the best you can with what you have everyday and leave the outcome to the Lord.” – I don’t think there is a better piece of advice.

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6. What encouragement or advice would you give to others who have dreams of opening up their own business?
Surround yourself with people that are smarter, older, wiser and more blunt than you. If I wasn’t surrounded by people that know more than me and that have more life experience than I do then Puritan would not exist.

Also, it’s so important that failure is acknowledged as an outcome but that can’t get in the way of your dreams. We had to see it through, even if we fell straight on our faces, because we believe in it. We believe that people enjoying conversation, a quiet corner, a cold beer, a good book, a delicious cappuccino, whatever, is worth the risk. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back.

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7. Best memory of Puritan so far?
We are surrounded by an incredible group of friends and family and without them Puritan would not have been possible, but seeing strangers catch the vision of Puritan has been the most rewarding thing. I remember about three weeks after we opened looking around and realizing that I only knew 1 of the 40 or 50 people inside. That was an amazing feeling.

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8. What is your definition of success? Success is getting to do what I love. I know that may be cliche but that’s the truth. There is nothing better than getting to do what you are passionate about.
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Website Launch!

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Yay! The day is finally here! Blake Reynolds Creative has finally launched! On my website you’ll find a little information about my background and education, samples from my portfolio, photo galleries, and more! Super excited to get my ‘career’ going (job searching now, cough cough), so feel free to share with friends who need a little help in their creative department! Woo!

Dreamers + Achievers: Maura Griesse of Maura Dawn Photography

Born & raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Maura Griesse has made her mark on Northwest Arkansas, both as a photographer and an active member in the community. From a young age, Maura has been passionate about photography, and is using that passion to fuel her business, Maura Dawn Photography. Maura has roots in NWA, specializing in family, portrait, wedding, and fashion photography, but has recently expanded her territory and influence globally, shooting for Dubai Fashion Week and Judith & James in Kenya. Maura has an incredible gift, and has stewarded it exceptionally well, impacting the lives of the people she works with every day. Today, she’s here to share some of her experiences in running her own business.

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1. When did you first know you wanted to be a photographer?
When I was in the 9th grade. I became the photo editor of the Ramay Jr. High yearbook staff. Haha. But seriously. Ever since then it was my dream to become a professional photographer.

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2. What we’re some of the small, difficult steps that you had to walk in order to get to where you are today?
Goodness. I’m not the most business minded or administratively gifted person. So that has been a struggle and HUGE sharpening experience for me to learn to do it well.

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3. What are the main ways you have changed as a photographer from the first time you started your business until now?
My style has changed and evolved into something I am completely proud of. For the beginning of most amateur photographers “careers” it’s incredibly hard to not copy or compare yourselves to other successful professionals. It was so important to me even as a 19 year old to not copy another artist. It made it harder at the start but I love that I can proudly say I started my business honestly. My style wasn’t the cleanest, pretty posey and very saturated. As I grew I became more confident in how to work my camera and with that my individual style blossomed.

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4. What are some of the most difficult and rewarding things about working for yourself?
One of the most rewarding things about working for myself is having the freedom to shoot whenever I want. Whether it’s just for fun by myself or a shoot for a client. I’m the one that makes my schedule. So much freedom. It is an amazing blessing to get to run your own dream job, especially at my age. Trying my hardest to not take it for granted. One of the most difficult things about working for myself has been time management. See how those both go hand in hand? Vicious cycles can ensue if I’m not careful. Still learning how to do this better.

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5. What do you love about photography?
I love capturing that one magical perfect moment.. Over and over. I LOVE meeting new people and hearing their stories. I just love people in general. And love talking. I love that feeling knowing I have helped make my client comfortable and confident in front of the camera. I also love Jesus and He is truly the reason my business is successful and my clients are comfortable.

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6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Pray before each and every shoot. Helps calm me down and focus on the One who gave me this gift. This helps me be less prideful by placing The Lord before myself. He guides me on shoots. Thank goodness.

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7. What advice would you give to others wanting to do freelance work full-time?
This is the hardest job to have if you are wanting a perfectly consistent salary. Especially starting out. Keep your mind open and money managed to help get you through the slower months. If this is something you feel called to do then be bold and tackle it head on. Don’t do it halfway. If you’re making this your full-time job then put in the full-time hours. It is really easy to let the day slip into nothingness when you don’t have the accountability to punch a clock. Own it and do it well.

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*Side Note
: I must say, I’m a big fan of Mrs. Maura Griesse. She’s my boss, and one of the sweetest, selfless, intentional people I’ve ever worked with & known. Thanks for being great, Maura. I’m continually learning from the way you do life, faith, and business. Love ya x