The Remnant Collective was created to capture love in its truest form and in return, share love by giving back. We are so DANG blessed that we get to work with in love couples on a regular basis. Think about it – we get to surround ourselves with the most beautiful thing that exists, love. Because we get to capture that love and are so filled with it in return, we get to give it back by doing an annual project that can make a difference in our world.
Hey there, it’s Ashley – and I wanted to share the story of how this idea came to be with you all. This is a personal story for me, but I think it’s something worth understanding as we begin this journey together.
In 2016 I went though a divorce from a man who was emotionally & verbally abusive. When I built up the courage to leave, I was in an awful place in almost every way. I moved to Charlotte to live with my parents. This was a new city for me as I was born and raised in NY. Everyone was continually asking me why I chose to go into the wedding industry after a rough divorce, but I knew in my heart that love was something far better than what I had experienced. Every couple I met inspired me to believe in something greater than what I had experienced & challenged my negative views on relationships. This job has taught me perseverance & hope – and I believe it’s been a crucial part in my personal healing. I experienced something that didn’t reflect a healthy version of love, but my hope was and still is to capture true love in its most raw form & to hold onto the best that love has to offer. I believe true love is a very real thing & feel privileged to be inspired by it every day.
Shortly after moving to North Carolina, I started working in a hospital doing new born photography as I threw myself into my business. I began to grow Ashley Steffens Photography from the ground up as I did this hospital job to support myself. My business was everything to me in this time – I was determined to show my ex that he was wrong about who I was / what I was capable of and probably bordered on an unhealthy obsession with work. But, at the end of the day, it got me to a point where in one year I had so many inquiries coming in that I couldn’t handle them all myself. I wouldn’t claim this is the healthiest way to find motivation, but I believe it all worked together for the good in the end.
Part of what got my business to this point was a partnership with Destination Elopements. In the beginning, I was trying to create a certain look in order to attract a particular client by doing styled shoots that showed what I loved to do most – a bohemian, free spirited, more laid back approach to weddings & elopements. At the time, Katrina Evans (the owner of Destination Elopements), was working at a venue that I hosted a styled shoot at. We worked extremely well together & she asked me if I would like to partner with her in her new business endeavor – an elopement company. I honestly didn’t think it would be that much work but was excited about the prospect of photographing elopements, so we began to work together. Her business blew up & I grew alongside her.
At the point I could no longer handle all the inquiries I was getting, I began to throw around the idea of hiring associates to help me. At the same time, I had been thinking a lot about how I went to school for film & journalism in order to tell stories that had a greater purpose or could help the world become a better place / to shed awareness. These two ideas collided into the Remnant Collective.
Between my past of abuse, why I went to school & my growing business – this all made sense. I wanted to help people who were in situations like my own or other unfortunate places of life while still using my skill set & what the Lord had blessed me with in that moment. The Remnant Collective became a place for community, passion & giving back – it’s my dream.