Saskia Nelson is the talent behind the multi award-winning and internationally acclaimed Hey Saturday, the world’s first and coolest dating photography business.
Hey Saturday specialises in creating gorgeous, show-stopping dating profile photos that help single people stand out online and attract tonnes more dates.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I grew up a really tall, mixed-race kid in the home counties during the 70s and 80s and so I got used to standing out like a sore thumb wherever I went. At the time I found it pretty challenging, but now I can look back at that period and see how it shaped me to be the person that I am today. When I decided to create my own business, I knew that I was probably going to break some rules and do things my own way. When you’re used to not fitting in, this becomes second nature. So, in terms of setting up a photography business, I wanted to try something fresh and unique to my experiences and skillset. When people assumed I was going to become a wedding photographer (because that’s what a lot of photographers were doing at the time), I knew that wasn’t for me – I’ve never been married and it’s still not made it on to my list of priorities – but that assumption made me think about my own personal experiences and I realised that my 8 years of online dating (and all the awful profile photos I saw during that time) might finally come in useful. I went on to create the world’s first dating photography agency.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
My career is developing in an organic way depending on what feels right at the time, the contacts and collaborations I make and the growth and direction of the online dating world. But yes, even though it’s organic, I still sit down and plan it. I always create work goals for a year ahead and usually talk though any key strategic plans with my boyfriend, which helps me work though how I’m going to deliver on the goals and targets I’ve set. I’m not a natural goal-setter though. I think it’s fair to say I’m a messy, creative who could happily work away with no real structure in place, but it’s something I pushed myself to do in order to keep growing the business and challenging myself.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
I’ve faced quite a lot of challenges along the way, but I’d say the worst ones were self-made. What I mean by that is I sometimes create problems out of nothing because my mindset isn’t where it should be. While I’d love to say I have robust, indestructible self-believe 100% of the time, that just isn’t true. Self-love is like a muscle that you have to keep working at, much like going to the gym. And the times I’ve struggled the most with the business are when my self-love/self-belief reserves were low. Luckily, I am usually able to step back and figure out what is happening and why. I now prioritise working on my self-love as much as working on my physical health, if not more. As soon as my self-belief is firing on all cylinders, I can handle pretty much any challenges coming my way.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
Mentoring is awesome if you get matched with the right person. I’ve both mentored and been a mentee and both of those have given me a fantastic opportunity for learning, growth, making new connections and coming up with new ideas of working. Just brilliant.
I also consider myself lucky in that I have a boyfriend who is super interested in supporting the business alongside supporting me. Despite having a full-on, demanding corporate job and two cool kids, he still makes time to help me with the legal, financial and strategic side of things when needed.
I also try and surround myself with cool, creative role models, like my mum.
What do you want to see happen within the next five years when it comes to diversity?
I love how, right now, black people, people of colour, people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community are all embracing the power of digital and social to create their own media, businesses, fashion lines, entertainment platforms etc. They no longer need to kowtow to the old, traditional way of getting ahead (usually set up by institutions steeped in white privilege), but can side-step it and power on to create products, services, news outlets, platforms, etc designed specifically for their community by their community. I want to see so much more of this and the next step will be when these platforms are then consumed by the masses and go mainstream.
I can’t wait to fast-forward and live in that exciting and diverse world.
Do you have any advice or tips for budding entrepreneurs?
Yes, two things…
Following on from my earlier point about self-love, I’d recommend prioritising working on yourself alongside your business. I truly believe the fastest way to creating a successful business is to have rock-solid indestructible self-belief. If you’re even slightly doubting yourself right now, get on the case, everything else will follow so much more easily.
Secondly, learn everything you can about brand while you’re coming up with your business strategy and developing your services / products. Brand is everything and everything is brand and when you understand that.. and how to create an awesome one from the get-go, you can’t go too far wrong. For me, creating and activating your ideal brand should be the next critical thing on your agenda after creating your indestructible self-belief.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Helping people find love, get married, have babies… it doesn’t get much better than that.
But I also love working on and growing something that I’ve created in a way that works for the lifestyle I want.
And finally (am I allowed three lol?) supporting female photographers to grow in experience, confidence and talent.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
My next challenge is growing the Hey Saturday brand further in the US both in New York City, Los Angeles, but then beyond into more cities. I’m also obsessed with encouraging single people to date with high levels of emotional intelligence to ensure a better, healthier and ultimately happier online dating experience so I’m working on a campaign/project in 2019 to focus on self-love. Yup, I’m obsessed.