Elemental TeamWork 

Wedding industry professionals make up Be Couture and work collaboratively to create a rich sense of drama for special events, advertisements and media content.

Story by Lindsey Mitchell
Photography by Melody Hood

Shop owner and stylist Emily Goodin has always had a keen sense of what prospective brides and partygoers want, but may not say they want. She is putting this skill to good use along with three business associates who have been working together to create a unique service for ad agencies, businesses and individuals in Chattanooga. They have a method worked out to give their clients what they really desire—“a bit of drama!”

The women include Angela Folmar, owner of Luminous Beauty Boutique, a spa and salon for makeup, Genia Church, owner of Epiphany Salon and Day Spa and Melody Hood, owner of Innamorata Photography, specializing in fashion, events and portraiture, as well as Goodin. Together, the women market themselves as Be Couture, a one-stop shop for promotional, advertising and personal photo shoots.

The women first starting thinking of ways they could work together in a more official capacity one evening after Church, Hood and Goodin collaborated on a photo shoot for Goodin’s store, Boutique Couture. “We just had a great time working together. We started discussing ways we would like to expand our own personal portfolios and individual industries,” says Church. “It made sense for us to work together to provide a service that fulfilled all of a client’s needs in one place. Emily is the stylist, Melody is the photographer, I do hair and Angela came on board as the makeup artist.”

“The service we can offer to companies, magazines, and ad agencies is unique in the fact that they can hire one team to complete their project from start to finish instead of dealing with the stress of having to hire multiple people for a shoot,” explains Hood.

In addition to providing convenience, the women are also hoping their creative backgrounds will appeal to clients who want something unique. “Maybe a client comes to us with a preexisting idea in their mind. Be Couture would love to help them take that idea to the next level,” says Goodin.

Working together came very naturally, as the four women are friends and have collaborated in various professional and personal capacities over the years. Folmar worked with Church at Epiphany Salon and Day Spa as an aesthetician in the early 2000s and as a makeup artist for some of Goodin’s bridal shows. “I even bought my wedding dress from Emily in 2008 and Melody was my wedding photographer,” says Folmar.

Recently Be Couture completed a project aimed to showcase their artistic and creative abilities: a themed photo shoot called the “4 Elements.” Each of the women took on the persona of earth, wind, fire or water based on their personalities and used their individual skills and talents to create the looks.

Angela Folmar of Luminous Beauty Boutique 

“Each one of us is really one of the four elements. We all bring something to the table in terms of business and styling skills,” explains Folmar. “We took this shoot a little further artistically to showcase our more thought-provoking and creative side. It shows clients that we can create all kinds of looks, from very natural to a much more dramatic and artistic.”

On top of pushing their creative boundaries, the photo shoot also made the professionals swap roles for the day. “I thought that it would be beneficial for us to be in the role of our clients - sitting in those seats having our hair and makeup done, being styled, being in front of the camera. We now know every side of what our clients experience and we know each other on a much deeper level,” says Hood.

“It was interesting because I had never really been on that side of the camera before,” adds Church. “We were actually taking ourselves out of our own element and relying on the others more.”

Genia Church is definitely most in her element when working with hair. As a Lead Technical Hair Color Educator for Schwarzkopf Professional with over 16 years of experience, Church has styled hair for two New York Fashion Week events, working with designers Betsey Johnson and Alice and Olivia.

Photographer Melody Hood has also received national and international attention for her photos. In addition to opening her own photo studio over 10 years ago, Innamorata Photography, she has won several awards, has photos printed in a variety of magazines, blogs and ad campaigns and speaks annually at WPPI, the world’s largest photography convention.

Church and Hood aren’t the only ones who have excelled so notably in their careers. After years of working as a licensed aesthetician and make-up artist, Angela Folmar opened Luminous Beauty Boutique in 2009 and creates custom mixes of mineral make-up products to perfectly match every woman’s skin tone.

Finally, Goodin has owned Boutique Couture, an upscale event and eveningwear shop on Market Street, for eight years. She helps coordinate the annual Go Red for Women fashion show event to bring awareness to heart disease and is the Style Watch reporter for Hits 96 radio and News Channel 9.

To say that this group of women is qualified is clearly an understatement. Because each artist involved in Be Couture has already experienced a high level of personal success in her own respective field—photography, hair, beauty and styling—working together provides exciting challenges.

“We each have our own niche that we excel in,” explains Genia. “When we come together, we push each other creatively to make new looks we wouldn’t be able to create otherwise. We also are able to bounce business ideas off each other, as we are all women business owners and face similar challenges and circumstances. It is very helpful and reassuring to know that you have partners.”

To learn more about Be Couture and view some of their work, visit www.becouturegroup.com.