The founder of Editor’s Edge, a New York-based creative agency, discusses the entrepreneurial life, a ha moments, and the importance of deadlines.

As told to Hannah Cohen

I studied photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the School of Visual Arts. After 13 years as the Photo Director of Conde Nast BRIDES Magazine, I left my “Devil Wears Prada” life behind to spend more time with my family and get back to my roots as a photographer.

I was over the long hours and the full-time corporate grind. My job went from being creative on set to being an accountant in a conference room trying to save money for a sinking industry. Sadly, magazines are the Titanic of the media world, and I was lucky to get one of the first life boats off in 2011.

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At first, I was working solely on my photography business, Kristi Drago-Price Photography, when [the idea of] Editor’s Edge came to me.

It was the New Year 2012; I was full of anxiety moving from a full-time job to a freelance life, so I went to yoga to calm the f*ck down. So there I was in warrior one pose, trying to think about what set my experiences and me apart.

My creative teams had always given me positive feedback on how I was able to present constructive criticism and insights in a “spoonful of sugar” manner—meaning I’d make them laugh and [they’d] get inspired to make the changes needed in their work. I also realized that, from my years working in magazines, I was well-trained in curating a body of work and/or conceptualizing visual content.

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It came to me that I had an “edge” as an editor that I was taking for granted—before, it was really easy for me to sit in my corporate tower looking at portfolios and websites and say “what are these people thinking?!?” It wasn’t until I was on the other side, working as a freelance photographer, that I realized how hard it is to edit down your own work to present your true brand—and that people hadn’t updated their website in three years because they were busy being small business owners. There was no supply closet to go to, no IT department, no administrative assistant…I was now all of these roles! Why not share my insights and experienced eye with the world?

So I moved from warrior one pose to warrior two and back to downward dog, and Editor’s Edge was born.

The first year of my non-cubicle career was figuring out how to be productive on my own. I didn’t realize how much my productivity strived at BRIDES magazine because there were strict deadlines. When you’re on your own, there are no strict deadlines because you set them yourself. I find I need to set a meeting or announce a launch to force deadlines on myself.

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Additionally, when you work from home there is no commuting (yay), but that also means you can get holed up indoors on the computer all day. I try to go for two walks a day around Astoria Park to get my 10K steps in. I also find it clears the mind because entrepreneurs are always thinking about work.

I just completed a rebrand of Editor’s Edge, including a new website. It was an interesting experience to put myself in my client’s shoes for such an intense process. I hunkered down, swallowed my own advice, and basically said, “God, no wonder people hire Editor’s Edge—this is so hard!” It’s exciting (and nerve-wracking) to put your brand out in the world. I’m looking forward to working with new clients to discover their visual voice and sharpen their brand.

I also still take on a handful of commissions to photograph weddings. I am still a photographer at heart and love creating memories for clients that will be passed down to future generations.

I receive an interesting mix of feedback. I find the Baby Boomer generation consistently asks in a worried tone, “How is business? Keeping busy?” My own generation, Gen X, says, “Wow, you are so brave; I could never work for myself.” And the younger Millennial generation says, “I want to be you when I grow up”—which is super flattering.

This year, I’m focusing on three areas: Plot, Plan, and Produce. I’m basically trying to be more proactive in business (and life) and less reactive. I also want to foster clear communication: Don’t be afraid to tell others what you expect and want from them.

Learn more about Kristi and Editor’s Edge on the Editor’s Edge website.

hc-portrait
Hannah Cohen is a storyteller, adventurer,
and image maker based in New York City. You can see
more of her work at hannahcohenphotography.com
.

All photos courtesy Hannah Cohen.

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