If you were to tell me that I would be an entrepreneur in a country 11,000 kilometers from my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, I would have laughed. Yet here I am running my own business, TopTia Photography.
I officially moved to Japan in 2011 as an English teacher, biding my time before graduate school. But photography had been a hobby of mine since I was 13 years old, and the beauty and unique qualities of Japan kept me on the go, camera in hand.
In 2015, I wanted to push myself more as a photographer and began to build my portfolio. In doing so, I met many people, several from FEW, who praised my work and encouraged me to take up photography full-time. Their words were kind, but the thought of taking the leap terrified me. Everyone around me believed I could do it, but I spent many months asking myself if I could. Can I create a thriving business? Can I give my clients a solution to their problems? Can I grow as a better person and photographer?
This past year my strengths have indeed grown in providing professional photographic services to my clients for events, portraits, food and products. I have worked with many of the FEW ladies this past year, and providing aid to the community has allowed me to feel a strong sense of contribution to the FEW family.
March 2017 will complete TopTia’s first year in business. In this first year, I have advanced in communication skills, technical skills, and confidence. I am confident in TopTia’s brand and look forward to providing a visual catalyst for other entrepreneurs and businesses in the upcoming years. I’m also excited to be working on a project combining my backgrounds in education and photography to create an online, and in person, junior photography course for English-speaking students.
I’m really looking forward to contributing even more to the FEW network. See y’all at the next meeting!
See more of Tia’s photographs at: http://toptia.com/
Q&A with tailor Melanie Uematsu
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘One Size Doesn’t Fit All,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with our speaker, tailor Melanie Uematsu. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Hear about women’s love-hate relationship with the fashion industry, why one style doesn’t fit all, and how […]Published on 28th June 2017
June Meeting Recap: A Personal Journey: Japan’s War Brides
By Lisa Matsumoto, Public Relations & Communications Intern Members and guests alike joined FEW’s monthly meeting on June 8th to hear the story of Japanese war brides, a story often overlooked and untold. We welcomed Lucy Craft, a filmmaker and former FEW member in the 80s, to reveal their hidden stories. As a daughter of […]Published on 28th June 2017
May 2017 Women’s Start-up Club Recap: Location Independent
The FEW Women’s Start-Up Club (WSC) attracted its largest audience on May 31, 2017, with three panelists sharing how their online-based businesses are succeeding, independent of location. Below are summaries of their presentations. Be sure to check out their sites for more inspiration! The next WSC event is “Mentoring and Networking” on Thursday, June 29. […]Published on 22nd June 2017
FEW Community 2017 Survey – We’d like to hear from you!
FEW has launched its biennial FEW Community 2017 Survey, and we invite all FEW members and friends to take part! The survey will take no more than 10 minutes to complete. By sharing your feedback, comments and suggestions on FEW programs and events as well as your past and future experiences with FEW, you will help us ensure that we continue to meet our […]Published on 20th June 2017
Event Recap: Mirai no Mori Back to Nature Outdoor Cooking Program
FEW members and friends spent a fantastic day as volunteers at Mirai no Mori’s Back to Nature Program on June 10th. On the outskirts of Tokyo, in beautiful and green Mitake, we met with the staff and volunteer teams of Mirai no Mori and a Saitama children’s home to support a program designed to empower […]Published on 16th June 2017
All Levels Yoga Class by FURLA Yoga
Join us for a relaxing Sunday afternoon yoga session and get energized for the week ahead! Noriko from FURLA Yoga, a FEW Strategic Partner, will teach a hatha yoga class in English for all levels.
FEW & Mirai no Mori Concert for a Cause
We invite all music lovers to join us for a special concert at 2ND HALF in Takadanobaba and enjoy a fun evening filled with great music for a great cause-- supporting FEW Community Services Strategic Partner Mirai no Mori's Back to Nature Program!
One Size Doesn't Fit All
Join us for the last meeting of the current FEW year as we hear from Melanie Uematsu, a tailor, on women’s love-hate relationship with the fashion industry, why one style doesn’t fit all, and how we can solve this issue as individual consumers.