Years in Tampa Bay
For 38 years, I’ve been calling St. Pete my home. But my connection with this place goes much deeper. My great-grandfather established Amick & Son, the first pest control company in St. Pete, 91 years ago. As a third-generation native of this amazing city, I have a strong sense of connection with the Tampa Bay area – as does my husband, Jon, who is also a 3rd generation Burg native.
I’m the one steering the ship at Little Llamas Portraits + Boutique, or as we like to put it, I’m the “Head Mama Llama.” I have also been running Alison Amick Photography since 2012, providing photography services to local families, as well as working with commercial clients such as Dove, Pampers, Enfamil and Marriott. My husband has been in AdTech since 2013, working with large brands and advertising agencies, which is a great compliment to my creative focus.
What do you do?
Our mission at Little Llamas is twofold: We capture the beauty of childhood through our black & white “personality photos” as well as offering stylish designer children’s clothing that’s sustainably made, comfortable to wear and FUN. I’ve crafted a space where children are encouraged to be themselves, both in what they wear and how they are portrayed in photos.
Why do you do it?
I’ve always been captivated by the charm and simplicity of childhood, and I wanted to create something that reflects just this. In today’s digital world, nurturing children’s creativity and self-expression is more important than ever and my goal is to do just that. Also, running Little Llamas also offers me an opportunity to share valuable business lessons with my daughter, much like my great grandfather did with his family and my father has with me.
What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)
You know, my journey with Little Llamas started with my love for capturing the real, playful spirit of kids through commercial photography projects for kids clothing brands. Through photographing children’s fashion early on in my career, I always had this sweet spot for how clothes let kids express themselves. It’s high time St. Pete got more options for kids’ clothing. It’s been the same old fast-fashion chains or a roll of the dice with online shopping. As a parent, I’m set on sourcing quality, eco-friendly options for my kids, no compromises. So one day I thought, why not bring these two passions together here in St. Pete? And boom, that’s how Little Llamas Portraits + Boutique was born.
What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?
First, in family or kids’ photography, people often think it’s all about posing perfectly and smiling at the camera. For me, it’s about capturing those authentic moments, the giggles, the pouts, the mess – all of it! Authenticity cannot be forced. The magic happens when my clients let loose, let kids be kids, and the finished product shows just that. It’s purely magical, and I love my job.
Now, when it comes to children’s fashion, many folks assume it’s all about the cute factor. But let me tell you, there’s more to it at Little Llamas. Yes, our clothes are definitely adorable – a refreshing change from your average big box store offerings – but comfort, quality and sustainability are at the forefront.
More importantly, we’re mindful of our “textile footprint.” Did you know that the fashion industry contributes to around 10% of global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater? That’s huge! But here at Little Llamas, we are intentional about choosing brands that share our commitment to reducing this impact.
What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?
Balancing the intricacies of running multiple businesses and being a mom of 4 and 6 y/o wild kiddos can be quite challenging. Lots of time I feel like I have too many hats, but it’s also what keeps me energized and motivated every day. Thankfully, my wonderful husband helps keep me organized and my head on straight.
What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?
Treat your clients right, give them the care they deserve, and I promise you, it’ll come back to you tenfold. We are constantly evaluating new tech to streamline processes and make the customer experience that much better and it has paid dividends both from a time-suck perspective but also from a bottom line perspective. And when something in your business feels more like a burden than a passion, it’s worth considering outsourcing. Don’t drain your energy on tasks that don’t light you up. By delegating, you’re freeing up your own time and mental space to concentrate on what you love and do best. This isn’t just beneficial for you, but also for your clients.