We connected with Creative Couples a couple months ago and became instant fans! We love what we do and love creativity, and this company love couples in business two-gether, how cute is that?! We had a great Skype chat with Megan and really enjoyed sharing with her about what we do and why we do it. We love being a creative couple and are thrilled that they wanted to do a feature on us.
To the Creative Couples Team: thank you for doing what you do and believing in us creative couples! – Chris + Toni
Here is what Creative Couples is all about…What is a Creative Couple? A Creative Couple is a couple in business twogether. They are not only each others better halves in life and love, but in business as well. Creative Couples are able to life their lives with balance and love while successfully owning their own business.
Chris and Toni Wheaton of Heart Stone Films Will Make You Look Like A Movie Star
Photo by Shane Snider Photography
Creative Couples interviews so many bright entrepreneurial couples with great ideas, inspiring stories, humble beginnings and celebrated successes.
Without fail, each feature we publish fosters new realization, reflection and inspiration among our staff and readers; myself included.
After my recent interview with Toni and Chris Wheaton of Heart Stone Films in North Carolina, I have found myself remembering examples they gave and business practices I’d like to adapt. That doesn’t happen frequently – but when it does, I am appreciative for the inspiration.
In 2008, just six months after being married, Chris, 26 and Toni, 27 bought Heart Stone Films two-gether. Young, creative and savy the Wheaton’s continued to grow the Barton Creek Weddings business into a reputable, exceedingly popular company known throughout the South Eastern United States.
Their first year in business brought 20 weddings, the second, 30 and this year Heart Stone Films has made over 50 wedding videos. Growth like this is impressive; however, after four seconds of watching one of their films, it’s easy to understand why they are so keenly sought after. Chris and Toni can make anyone look like a movie star.
You both have very different backgrounds; what made you decide to go into business two-gether?
Toni: It was a no brainer as far as knowing this is what we wanted to do. It was always my dream to own my own production company.
Chris: I was in the mortage banking world. Very different. And as everyone knows, that came crashing down right at the same time our relationship started. I took a big interest in what Toni was doing and really liked it. That’s what lead us into talking about having a business together and pursuing it – and it has ended up working out.
Once you left banking, did you ever think you’d transition into the wedding industry?
Chris: (Chuckles) I never did. I have been an athlete my whole life playing sports in highschool and college. I always wanted to get married, but I never planned on being at someone else’s wedding every weekend of the year.
You were both in your early 20′s when you bought the business, was this a difficult decision?
Toni: It was a no brainer as far as knowing this is what we wanted to do. It was amazing because we had just been talking about wanting to do this. It was a three month long process of negotiations and talking to our business coach and advisor. At times we didn’t think it was going to work out and I was a wreck over it…he was pretty calm…But we learned the art of negotiation in the process and was definitely we’re happy we did.
Chris: It was an easy decision in the sense that it was made for me. It wasn’t as though I had this life long dream of being in banking, so it wasn’t hard for me. I love doing creative things, I love the process and I looked at as if it was a challenge to take on. I welcomed it.
How has owning a business two-gether been on your relationship?
Toni: My parents always worked together so I’ve always been used to it. Also, the type of the person I am, I need to be around the people who are close to me all the time. I love it.
People say all the time they don’t understand how they could never work with their spouse – and for me, we’re best friends and that’s what keeps us together. At the end of the day, we know it’s always going to work out and we’re going to be together forever.
Chris: It’s really natural and normal we don’t know any other way. We just spend all of our time together anyways, so work is always fun.
Even though you spend so much time two-gether, you decided to separate your personal and work life by getting office space outside of your home. What made you do so?
Chris: First and foremost it was too easy for us to just be at home and hang out. So we felt it was just time to get out of the house and add a little more structure to our day. Secondly, we didnt want to meet people in our house or coffee shop. We wanted people to feel comfortable that we’re an established business, you know where to find us and we’re here to stay.
We take this seriously, this is our full time job and it’s important for people to know that.
Toni: Our personal and work life was colliding at home. Gear was all over the house and it was hard to separate ourselves in our house. Now, we turn our emails off every day at six o’clock. If we need to send an email and it’s after six, we’ll set it to send out the next morning. We started that a year ago, creating boundaries, and that was the best decision we’ve made.
Turning off your emails! That’s impressive.
Chris: At first when you’re starting your business, it’s so awesome to have your emails all the time and hear that little ‘ding’ when you get a new email. But we have to look at the reality here; we’re trying to spend time together and if someone wants something or needs something – it’s someone else pulling on our time together. It was an easy decision.
What is your favourite part about working two-gether?
Chris: (Quick to answer) Everyday when we leave the house we’ll go and get something to eat together. We’ll use that first hour, hour and a half together before we go into the office and I think that really sets the day off in the right day.
Toni: (Smiling) I agree. For me, I just need to be around him. I have to be with him, I don’t care what we’re doing. I love that he’s fallen in love with something that I love and am passionate about. It’s turned out to be so amazing and to be able to work with someone who I love, who loves me, who understands what I’m thinking and who makes our work better. I love that.
Last 2 photos by Shane Snider Photography