Entrepreneurial photographer enjoys capturing ‘moments in history’

Aug. 20, 2019

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Maggie Sweets, owner of Maggie Sweets Photography and the winner of this year’s EmBe Young Woman of Achievement Award.

Name: Maggie Sweets

Age: 28

Hometown: Sioux Falls

What brought you to Sioux Falls?

I came from Ethiopia in 1997 with my father, Eyob Mergia, who was an artist here in Sioux Falls.

What keeps you in Sioux Falls?

My family, church and my business.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

My favorite part about my job is taking moments in history that cannot be repeated and creating an image or art piece that a family can cherish forever. I know that the pictures I create for a family will be passed down to their children and their children and so on. When I photograph an expecting mother, I know that one day her children will look back at her photo with their own kids and say: “This was my mom when she was pregnant with me. Isn’t she beautiful?” That’s really special to me. In addition, I love doing what I call dream sessions with young children where I really get to know these little ones and, with the use of photography and digital post-processing, make their wildest dreams come true.

Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

I decided to become an entrepreneur in 2016 after realizing that I needed an outlet to be creative as well as a way to meet new people and create lasting relationships. In addition, I love being able to schedule time for volunteering and spending more time with my family and friends.

What has been the biggest surprise about owning a business?

The biggest surprise in my journey of becoming an entrepreneur is realizing the amount of self-discovery that has to happen. I believe you need to have some level of “grit” to make it, along with the ability to adapt, change, handle criticism and be open to making swift turns if something doesn’t work. In addition, I have learned that, especially in Sioux Falls, creating meaningful relationships with your clients and other entrepreneurs is a must. People need to feel a connection to you in order to be interested in your product. It’s been such an amazing journey, and I’m always learning! 

Describe your business in three words.

Whimsical, artistic and lasting.

What’s your favorite way to give back to your community?

With the age that we live in now, I believe that good photography is a must in portraying the story of your family and your business. For this reason, I often offer my services to nonprofit organizations and charities to help spread awareness of their missions. Some of my favorite organizations that I love working with include Make-A-Wish South Dakota, Captain America of Sioux Falls, along with the Helpline Center. In addition, I love telling the stories of inspiring women in our community, which is why I created my passion project earlier this year where I meet, interview and photograph strong and inspiring women in our community. For this year, I have four to five women lined up. I absolutely love Sioux Falls and can’t think of anywhere else I would rather be doing these things in.

What’s one business you’d like to see in Sioux Falls that isn’t here now?

I love low-carb foods but find it difficult to go out to eat with my family or have any type of desserts when I go out. I know that the “keto” lifestyle is very popular now along with the other low-carb diets and have always thought it would be amazing to have a low-carb restaurant or bakery since I find it hard to find the time or patience to make my own. I know they are popular on the coasts and would love to see one in town or even an existing bakery or restaurant adopt these ideas.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In the next five years, I see myself expanding my business and continuing to photograph families and children as well as high school seniors. In addition, I am also in the process of teaming up with other organizations for special art projects coming up in the next few years that will allow me to do a lot more fine art photography and even dream sessions. I am very excited for that! Lastly, I would love to do an art show in the future with many of the projects I have been doing on the side for the last couple of years. I have lots of stuff in the works, so we will see, but most of all, I am just really excited to continue growing in Sioux Falls. It has changed so much, even in the last five years with a market that really values art, so I feel like anything is possible! 

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Entrepreneurial photographer enjoys capturing ‘moments in history’

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Maggie Sweets, owner of Maggie Sweets Photography and the winner of this year’s EmBe Young Woman of Achievement Award.

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