Miki Spotlight | NJ Brand Photographer


Ella Design Group

I am excited to launch a new series called Miki Spotlight where I feature some of my photography clients and share more about their businesses. I work with so many interesting and dynamic women entrepreneurs that I wanted to spotlight their stories along with the images that were captured during their branding photo shoots. I hope this series inspires and introduces you to some new and interesting people.

Meet Christine and Iris of Ella Design Group, creative leaders in the residential and commercial design industry. This dynamic duo is a full-service Interior Design firm that combines artistry with science and project management. They help their clients execute and achieve their interior design dreams and goals. Inspired by their adventures and experiences across cities, countries and continents, Christine and Iris are true global tastemakers who enrich their clients' lives with spaces that bring their stories to life. 

How did you get started in the design industry? 

Christine: My love for architecture and design started as a child living in New York City.  From the stained glass windows and ornate floors in my local church to the stunningly wallpapered ceiling in a friend’s home, each beautiful exposure played a role in influencing my design aesthetic.  It was probably the foolhardy confidence gained during these early encounters that led me as a newlywed to confidently request the removal of a load bearing wall and the shift of a window in my new home.  The result was stunning and soon, I plunged myself into renovation projects that led to a beautiful, much appreciated home. 

Iris: My formal entry into the design community may be less than ten years young, but my entire life in retrospect appears to have been training me to emerge as a creative designer who excels at solving challenging design dilemmas. From my parent’s clothing store in small town Germany to a three-year-long apprenticeship as an optician learning to design and craft custom frames from raw materials for customers, the fabric of design was woven into my psyche. Frequent family moves with changing homes served as the perfect backdrop for me to choose color schemes, wallpaper, fabrics and details, or even employ my sewing skills. I parlayed these skills, including a love for quilting to create a stunning home for my husband and three children in suburban New Jersey, a continent away from where my early tastes and design aesthetics were developed.

Christine and Iris merged their respective design firms in 2015 under the umbrella of Ella Design Group.

What do you do different from your competitors?

We truly listen to and try to understand our clients' needs, whether they can verbalize them or not. We also analyze their needs and try to find the ideal solution for them within their budget as opposed to just being focused on up selling. We take the time to explain the pros and cons of the design options that exist, including the budge impact.

Obviously we do great designs, but most importantly you can trust us. We am to be our clients advocate, consultant strategist, support and muse.

In addition to residential and corporate design, we now also offer e-design where we deliver your story book design to your door in a beautiful box containing everything you need to make your vision a reality.

Describe your brand style in 5 words/adjectives.

Custom, classic, curated, one-of-a-kind, modern

How do you want your clients to feel after working with you?

Excited, happy they chose us, the outcome is better than they envisioned. We love seeing the excited look on a clients when the design comes together.

How can people reach you to learn more?

New client and general inquiries: info@elladesigngroup.com

Office Locations and Hours

New City, New York
Kearny, New Jersey
Hillsborough, New Jersey

Monday - Thursday 9 am to 5 pm
Friday 9 am to 1 pm

Evenings and Saturdays by appointment only
Please call 845-634-2925

It is always a please to work and photograph fellow creative entrepreneurs. I fell in love with Christine and Iris's mission, their studio and their vibe as soon as we had our first phone consultation. It was so fun to have them both in front of my camera during our STAND OUT branding photography session. 

If you are interested in branding photos of your own, I am passionate about helping women entrepreneurs tap into their story and share their message with confidence. Let's chat and see if any of my branding packages are a good fit for your business. 




Monday Motivation | NJ Business + Brand Mentor

Monday's are tough! We're still in weekend mode but our list is long with things to do. Let's help each other make the transition a little bit easier. Every Monday, I will share a tip or trick I use to help me ease into the week. Hope it inspires you to take action and jumpstart into your day. 

Today's monday motivation is to go back and connect with your WHY. Why did you start this business in the first place? What motivated you to begin? What did you want to create and change? Think and write it down. Even, print that sucker out and put it on your wall. Remind yourself daily of your mission and this will inspire you to take action. 

As for me, I started MikiFoto + Co to FEEL a connection not only with my clients but with myself. Photography was my tool for capturing stories and creating meaningful relationships. And this connection through storytelling led to confidence and community! I now help others tap into their story and share their message with confidence.

Tell me your W H Y. I want to know!


Adventures of Shay + Karina | NJ Family Photographer

These two! This image above of Shay and Karina got more comments, likes, messages and love then most of my other photos on social media. It's obvious that these two kiddos are super darn cute but I think the magic comes from their relationship. They are cousins. They are friends. They are the youngest of three, both having two older brothers. They have fiery personalities. They are full of life. They truly bring out the best in each other. How lucky they are to have each other! Take a look at this special photo story and you will see it in every smile, belly laugh and hug.

Monday Motivation | NJ Brand & Business Mentor

My client Elaine of Simply Chic Styling. 

Monday's are tough! We're still in weekend mode but our list is long with things to do. Let's help each other make the transition a little bit easier. Every Monday, I will share a tip or trick I use to help me ease into the week. Hope it inspires you to take action and jumpstart into your day. 

Today's monday motivation is to savor the moment and do something you love even if only a few minutes. Sure it's Monday and your to-do list is overflowing. But it always will be. Make it a priority to include some fun. Schedule it on your calendar. I promise it will not only make you happier but motivate you to get all those other things done. We all need to balance work and play. So twirl, dance, read, swim, walk, shop, eat, draw - feed your fancy!

What will you do today? I started my morning with one hour of reading and feel pumped!

Finish 2016 Strong | NJ Branding Mentor

Oh my! Here we are in October already with only a few months left in the year. Halloween is around the corner and then it's fast track into the holidays. It's a high energy and exciting time. And it also seems to be launching season with so many new courses and programs being released to finish 2016 strong and productive.

If you are feeling the itch to grow yourself or your brand this Fall, here are some course ideas that will inspire - challenge - encourage and empower you. I am passionate about learning and highly recommend :

1) The Own It Academy: This ten-week group coaching program led by storytelling guru, Jessica Rasdall, will help you unearth your signature story for your brand, craft it like a pro and allow you to share it with flare to your audience. The Academy is a step-by-step blueprint to finding your core biz story and includes 10 talented guest experts including moi! 

2) Reclaim: Led by my friend and transformational life coach, Amy Naim, Reclaim is a six-week online mastermind group for those that are drowning in the daily grind and feeling lost. She will help to wake you up, EMPOWER you to step BOLDLY into what you truly desire in your life, and connect with others doing the same. 

3) On the Road to Full-time: Are you finally ready to take the plunge and make your hobby or side hustle business your full-time gig?  My gal-pal, Kat Schmoyer of Creative at Heart and Dear Sweetheart Events, is teaching a six month online e-course and group coaching program that will teach you a tangible, no-fluff education to push your business to the next level. 

4) #WEonline2016: 25+ of the most influential digital entrepreneurs in the industry will be joining together at a free virtual summit from October 24-28 to help you tackle the key issues that derail consistent business success. Live virtual talks and expert Q&As with leaders like Sally Hogshead, Jen Scalia and Dana Malstaff. This online conference will be jam packed with valuable information.

I am a firm believer in investing in YOURSELF and continued learning. It's a great thing to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things. That is when change and growth happen! It could be as big as quitting your full time job and going for your dreams or as small as watching one of the free webinars listed above. There is no better time then now. Just keep on striving!


Monday Motivation | NJ Brand & Business Mentor

Monday's are tough! We're still in weekend mode but our list is long with things to do. Let's help each other make the transition a little bit easier. Every Monday, I will share a tip or trick I use to help me ease into the week. Hope it inspires you to take action and jumpstart into your day. 

Today's monday motivation is about confidence. Where do you find it? How do you channel it? We have all had those days when it's hard to keep your head up high and fear, doubt, imposter-syndrome...it all creeps in. We need to kick out those confidence killers. Instead, I encourage you to think about your vast experiences in the past. Celebrate all the things you have done that have contributed to who you are. Write down your skills and talents on a piece of paper and carry it with you. Listen carefully to the compliments and kind words others say about you and your work. This is the $$$ that fills your personal heart bank. Feel good and confident about who you are today😍. 

What ritual, mantra, tip do you have to boost your confidence?

The Get Gorgeous Experience | NJ Headshot Photographer

So much more then a headshot event! The Get Gorgeous photography experience is about empowering women to feel and look their best. It's about sharing your message with confidence and becoming the face of your business. No need to hide behind your logo or product. Now you can show up and post your photo as part of your branding strategy. 

So what is the Get Gorgeous headshot event? I am so glad you asked! 

It's an all inclusive photo experience at the Blow In Blow Out salon in Summit, NJ. We service ten women in ten time slots from 9 AM to 12 PM. We have a dream team of experts who will take care of all your needs. When you arrive, we have an expert stylist from BIBO to blow out your hair. Then makeup artist (Lucy Chambers Make Up) uses her skills to make you look like YOU but the best version of yourself. Next, I review your clothing options to create two looks that we will capture in our session. We always photograph two looks because it's good to have options. Then, we meet with our jewelry stylist who will accessorize your outfit so that it looks complete. She has a table of options for you to borrow from necklaces to earrings to bracelets. 

After you are pampered and coiffed and dressed, then you and I will do some photo magic in my indoor "pop up" studio space. It's clean, fresh, modern and the perfect backdrop for a contemporary portrait. No fake screens or artificial lights. Just beautiful, always-flattering window light.

The whole process takes about 2 hours. In that short window, you will not only receive amazing services from professional stylists but also will connect with other like-minded entrepreneurial women. It's about networking, marketing, brand confidence and community building.

After the shoot, you will receive a gallery of 15+ proofs to view. I work lightening fast so most of my clients see their images within 7 days of the photo shoot. As part of the package, you receive one image which I will then edit and send to you to use for your biz and personal pleasure. Here are some examples of the finished product.

Some testimonial love from the event :

"The photos I received from Mallika were outstanding!  Working with her was relaxed and natural – the ideal environment to allow her to capture perfect images.  Her ability to reach in through her lens and draw out the nature of her clients is magical.  A true professional, she seamlessly integrated my ideas and made them work beautifully for my business.  I now have exactly what I need and am looking forward to using them in my marketing materials, social media and business site." 

"This is my first official head shot! A BIG thank you to Mikifoto, Lucy Chambers and my hair by Blow In Blow Out in Summit - also where the photos were taken. After all that attention, I really felt beautiful! The feeling lasted most of the week. And when Mallika sent me the photos, son of a gun, I am beautiful ;-)"

Voila! That is the entire Get Gorgeous experience which will result in images that will help your business stand out. All for $299. I am so proud of this event and collaborate with the best creatives. We have serviced over 150 women in the area. If you would like to join us, there are only four spots left in our December 1st event. Click HERE to sign up. We would LOVE to have you!

Monday Motivation | NJ Brand Photographer

Monday's are tough! We're still in weekend mode but our list is long with things to do. Let's help each other make the transition a little bit easier. Every Monday, I will share a tip or trick I use to help me ease into the week. Hope it inspires you to take action and jumpstart into your day. 

My client Andrea of Smarty Organized. 

New season, new week, new day. Mondays always feel like a re-start button. Today's Monday Motivation is a reminder to get started. Think about what you want to achieve in this LAST quarter of the year for both life and business. On my list....personal goal is to cook more at home and work out at least three times a week. No excuses! My biz goal is to fill the 12 seats of my new creative workshop, Style Snap & Share and secure sponsors. Don't wait for all the details to be perfect. Progress is better then perfection!

How about you? What do you want to jumpstart this month? Remember it's the doing that makes the difference! Have a great week.