By Brianna Lopez and Jessica Espinoza
The COVID-19 pandemic allowed people the downtime to re-evaluate their careers and explore new interests. As a result, many started small businesses—from baked goods to clothing lines—and redefined what it means to be a professional. No longer just suits and briefcases, a professional could look like the person sitting next to you in your theology class.
In fact, Barry’s very own student, senior graphic design major Ryan Parker, started his business in the summer of 2020 with his sister Savannah, a former Barry student. Their business is called Rayne Beauty, Photography, and Graphic Design. The siblings work alongside their brother Brandon as a “onestop shop” for all things videography, photography, graphic design, and styling.
According to Parker, the inspiration behind the business is their family.
“We come from a family of entrepreneurs, so we had a lot of encouragement and support in our decision,” said Parker. “Seeing so many people in our family doing what they love for a living was inspiring to us.”
Such inspiration was certainly a contributor to the new business boom during the pandemic. According to CNBC, about 4.3 million new business applications were filed in 2020. This number is almost 1 million more than the previous year.
As a new member of the professional world, Parker expressed that he has faced many challenges as a young professional.
“There are people who think being a young business owner means that we are inexperienced,” said Parker.
Parker and his siblings’ response to this pushback is to prove people wrong with the quality of their work. He believes this quality shines through via the company’s website.
The website lists the company’s services as wedding photography, professional headshots, brochure creation, web design, custom artwork, and custom press-on nails. Their array of services is what they believe makes them a true “one-stop shop.”
Parker does admit that he often gets nervous or feels unprepared to “step into the unknown.” Still, he makes sure to not let it stop him from doing what he loves— running this business.
Further, as a young professional, Parker has learned that image is important in gaining clientele.
“I think everyone has a different idea of what a professional looks like...and that’s fine,” said Parker.
He adds that many people may think tattoos are unprofessional, but he has some and it “hasn’t stopped [his] business.”
While it may have once required a threepiece suit and slicked back hair, the owners of Rayne are working hard to redefine professionalism in 2022.
“There is so much anxiety that stems from the high expectations placed on someone’s appearance,” said Parker. “I would like to make [it] an easier experience for people—a world that is more open."