Detroit Mom’s Local Love series highlights local women and the businesses they have built. We love supporting small business! Today’s Local Love Spotlight belongs to Kara Bradley, owner of Modern Social Detroit.
We started by asking Kara to share a few fun facts about herself!
- She was born and raised in Chicago, but is now a permanent Michigan transplant after graduating from MSU.
- She has over 15 years of experience working for Fortune 100 companies on some of the world’s most well-known brands.
- And, when she’s not working full-time or on Modern Social, you can find her gardening, planning and designing her full-house renovation, schlepping her daughter to one of her activities, or keeping busy in some other way. She never sits still!
We asked Kara to share a little bit more about her business with us. Get to know Kara and her business, Modern Social Detroit, below!
How did you come up with the idea of your business, and how did you start?
“I saw a gap for a higher-end, luxury photo booth experience in the local market. The “Kardashian style” photo booths were at peak trend and the company known for that look was charging several thousands of dollars for their service and travel. I knew I could bring a higher standard of professionalism, customer service, and luxury feel than what was being offered by existing photo booth companies in the metro Detroit area.
“In 2019, for my corporate job, I had been researching different photo booth technologies when I stumbled across the booth I eventually purchased to start Modern Social. I fell in love with how customizable it was, and saw a huge potential in its ability as a marketing tool (which I do by trade). At the time, I loved my job, but the role I was in didn’t allow for a creative outlet.
“I called my husband, ran through the profit potential with him, and pitched him the idea of the business. I’ve run through a million business ideas with him in the past, but to my surprise, he was fully on board with this one! I met with my financial advisor to pull the amount I needed for start-up costs from my investment portfolio, and the rest is history!”
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?
“Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. I had a very clear vision for what I wanted to do and didn’t deviate from it. I have been fortunate to not make many mistakes, and any mistakes I did make were critical to developing my skillset as a business owner, so I am grateful for them.”
What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?
“Know your audience. You will not be for everyone, and that’s okay! Decide what your niche [is], drill into it, and stay consistent in your branding.”
Have you faced adversity in business due to being a woman? How did you navigate that?
“Not at all. I have found countless opportunities that have come from being a woman-owned business, whether it be from networking events like Met or Detroit Moms or from clients that sought me out because they wanted to support a female business owner. Some of my closest friends are female business owners, and I have found that the women entrepreneur scene in Metro Detroit is strong and has tons of opportunity for anyone who wants to pour into it.
“I would argue that we actually have it a little easier than men; men in the business world can be cutthroat, competitive, and not willing to ask for help. Women genuinely want to lift each other up and support each other!”
How do you persevere in challenging times?
“I launched an event business three months before the entire world shut down for a pandemic, so I can talk for hours on this subject! I think it all comes down to belief in yourself. When something is not going well, you can either look out the window or in the mirror. I always look in the mirror, and there’s nothing that bugs me more in life than a victim mentality.
“When the world shut down for events, I looked at what I could be doing differently. ‘Party in a box’ drop-off photo booths [were offered] for people to have drive-by outdoor graduation parties, birthdays, etc. I networked with other business owners in my space. I could’ve sat around feeling sorry for myself but I put one foot in front of the other and tried whatever I could to just keep going because I wanted to prove to myself that I could be successful.”
What impact do you want your business to have?
“It’s pretty simple. Our job is to capture memories. Life is short and photos last forever. I want those photos to be timeless. I want the subjects behind the lens to feel great about themselves and be captured enjoying life! No one is ever sad in our photo booths, and that’s one of the things I love about what we do.”
What are the pros and cons of being a woman business owner in 2023?
“You have a fantastic network of other women to support you. Women are unique in our ability to multi-task (especially mothers!). And, we have such a unique skillset to be able to juggle a lot of things at once. We are resilient, strong, and we can hustle better than anyone. We can come from all different walks of life and have nothing in common yet still be able to bond because we are women. There are zero cons to being a female business owner!”
What knowledge would you share with someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?
“That taking a chance on yourself is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. Gambling on your own work ethic and skills seems daunting. But when you find success, you can hold your head high that the reason is because of you and no one else.”
What do you do for personal and professional development?
“I have received a lot of professional development in my corporate career and am very grateful for that. A lot of my development [is focused] on how to communicate effectively. I have found Insights Discovery to be a great skillset in navigating communication with different personality types and understanding how to come across to them.”
What mantra or quote do you live by?
“‘The Man in the Arena’ passage/speech by Theodore Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.””
What’s your favorite place in Detroit or Michigan?
“I travel SO much that my favorite place is home with my husband, daughter, and two dogs.”