CPC FEBRUARY CLIENT HIGHLIGHT: Aliyah Dastour
February Client Highlight
Name: Aliyah Dastour Title: Founder and CEO
Company: Alimond Studio
Years In Business: 5+
CPC Services Used: Aliyah has been a CPC one on one business consulting client since 2014. She works directly with Gale Paige and additionally has an employee consult with Gale.
Aliyah Dastour of Alimond Studio
by Ashley Sonneville
Aliyah Dastour was at a crossroads when she decided to open her own business, so that’s where we’ll start:
After earning a degree in Biology, Aliyah married her best friend Raymond and was debating a career in medicine when she took a job assisting students in an afterschool program. Her knack for creation quickly surfaced as Aliyah made photo projects for the students to work on. Stunned by the quality of these casual projects, parents hired her to take their individual and family portraits. As her side work received rave after rave, a new vision began to form—one of photography as a career path.
Smart enough to know that she didn’t know what she didn’t know, Aliyah sought training and mentors in the fields of both business and photography. In 2009 she took a chance and opened Alimond Studio in Leesburg, Virginia. Just five years later she is sought after by both individuals and corporations, recently taking 900 headshots for Xerox at their annual conference.
Alimond is a full service photography and video studio, and professional headshots are its biggest seller. Aliyah attributes this to savvy clients who are well aware that through social media they are being sized up by potential clients every day. There is no chance to say something clever or warm, there is no hand shake, it starts with their photo and her clients know it.
“Your headshot really is your personal brand whether you are a job seeker or a chef or an attorney. Details matter. Smile or lack of smile matter. You can look at a good headshot and a bad one and see the different impression each will leave immediately.” says Aliyah.
With now over five years of experience as a business owner under her belt, I asked Aliyah what she considers to be her best decision so far. Without hesitation she replied: “Consistently investing in learning, even when it would have been less scary to leave dollars in the bank or spend them elsewhere.”
Aliyah has a genuine desire to offer her clients the best and is willing to work on herself and her business to accomplish that. Nowhere is that more apparent than in her response when asked how she came to work with CPC: “I actually hired [Gale] to help an employee, but as I listened to them work I realized it was me who needed help. Inviting somebody into your business is not an easy decision but I began seeing results right away.”
She continued: “Gale has been my best investment since I decided to grow my business last year. She challenges me to think in ways that have propelled me forward along. She stands beside me and helps me navigate where to spend my time and money to get the best return on investment. In the 3 months we have been working together I have already seen a 300% return on my investment and am SO excited to see where we go together in 2015.”
On working with Aliyah, Gale says: “Well, her professional headshots are off the charts magnificent and I completely agree with her that you must have a good headshot regardless of your work these days. I’ll be doing my second one with her this year as well as family photos and videos for my business…Aliyah is just a beautiful person inside and out…she is also one of the smartest business people I have ever worked with. It’s a privilege to call her a client. I cannot stress how proud of her I am.”
As of this writing, Alimond takes up most of the third floor of an office building in the heart of downtown Leesburg. It’s big enough to feel roomy and cozy enough that the client feels at home. In 2014 Aliyah found the perfect studio manager in her sister Amira, whose demeanor makes it impossible for even the most nervous client to feel anything but at ease on arrival.
Talented hair and makeup artists are available at the studio or to travel to offsite locations. Suffice it to say Aliyah has left no stone unturned in making sure her clients are comfortable and happy so she can do her job—present them exactly how they want to be presented.
On a personal note, Aliyah has two beautiful children and a large extended family that she enjoys spending as much time as possible with. To recharge, she and her husband take the kids and head to their favorite bookstore followed by dinner at her three year old son’s beloved Texas Roadhouse.
Any regrets about opening her own business?
“No. I love what I’m doing and am going to do it as long as I can.”
The sighs of relief from her clients can be heard for miles.
Find out more about Aliyah and Alimond Studio at www.alimondphotography.com ___________________________________________________________________
© Ashley Sonneville 2015. Ashley Sonneville loves every part of writing Client Highlights for business owners and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.