Meet Cassie! This incredibly talented mother of two, is the co-business owner of Giella Barbara Photography based out of Allendale and opening a new studio space in Midland Park NJ. From the beautiful photos of her gorgeous family, and her stories of her connection with her clients through her own personal experiences, we were so captivated by how down-to-earth and honest she was in our interview. We especially loved the story about her cameo on a childhood favorite show! We loved getting to know more about this relatable and warm-hearted Bergen North Mom!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Bergen County?
I have lived in Bergen County my entire life. As a little girl I lived in Fair Lawn, then moved with my mom and my sisters to Mahwah. I even bought my first home with my husband in Waldwick right before we got married. This past year, my little family has moved to our forever home in Ramsey. We bought an old 1890 farmhouse and are renovating it little by little. I love designing and decorating as a hobby so this has been fun! I share some of my before and afters here https://www.instagram.com/cassie_gbpstudios/
Bergen County has also been the location I have chosen to open my business, Giella Barbara Photography. Our first studio opened in Allendale and we are currently moving to our second studio space in Midland Park. As you can see, Bergen County has been very good to me, and has been the location of most of my lifetime memories.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
I am “mommy” to Maddox and Ellie. Oh, and I cannot forget our 7 year old Bulldog, Abbie.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
Let’s be honest here, I share a lot of my life on social media https://www.instagram.com/cassie_gbpstudios/ , and most of what I share is the good (as most people do). I think a lot of people see my daily adventures and smiles with my kids, a fun growing business, my new home – which I am all thankful for and am super happy to have, but I think most people would be surprised to know that I struggle daily with anxiety and I am a big advocate on getting new moms help post-pardum for anxiety and depression. Being in the newborn photography business, I work with new moms and veteran moms on a daily basis. I have so many heart-felt conversations about post-pardum anxiety and feel blessed that my job allows me to connect with other moms like myself who work and/or run a household all while cooping through daily anxiety. Being a mom is so hard as is, having this extra weight and worry on your shoulders makes it that much harder. I think it is super important that moms have a safe space to know they are not alone. I hope that having gone through it myself, that I can be that safe space for moms who are newly going through it.
On a lighter note, something kind of funny and that would surprise people is that when I was 10 years old I was on the show Full House. I was in a scene at Jessie’s smash club.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
I have to thank my husband. His understanding, flexibility, support and patience has really allowed me to take the time to grow personally, professionally, and finally into the mom I am today. I think it’s important to have someone that cheers you on and allows you to explore personal change and growth. My type A personality doesn’t make me the easiest person to deal with to start, and then throw a little anxiety on top – let’s just say he may deserve some kind of husband award. I have to thank my mom as well. She raised my two sisters and I with such strength and grace, that I try daily to just be half of the mom she is. I feel blessed that my kids have her to look up to and I have her helping me through this crazy ride called motherhood.
Favorite things to do with your kids?
We love two things the most, being outside and eating out. That being said some of our favorite Bergen County spots include restaurants and outdoor outings. We love hiking up at Ramapo Reservation and through the Celery Farm in Allendale. We also love visiting Abma’s Farm and The Wyckoff Environmental Center (Maddox loves all the animals). Those are defiantly weekly occurrences for us.
We love eating good food – besides Ellie (she prefers to only eat chocolate) I would consider our family some major foodies. Some favorite eating spots include S. EGIDIO PIZZA in Ridgewood (Ellie loves their oven baked shrimp), Stella in Ridgewood (Maddox loves their meatball sliders!), Varka, Cafe Amici, Bare Burger, and L ‘Arte in Ramsey (Holy Yum)!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I am half owner of Giella Barbara Photography. Myself and my friend, Renee Giella, opened Giella Barbara Photography in 2016 after both having successful photography businesses on our own. We opened our studio in Allendale and have been there for 3 years. We have recently just leased a new space in Midland Park and are currently moving there. We have won 201 Magazine’s Bergen’s Best Photography and 201 Family’s Best Family Photographer in 2018. To say we are grateful is an understatement. This dream started when my aunt and uncle bought me my first real camera followed by having my son, Maddox. It hasn’t been easy and has taken a lot of learning and work to get to the place where we are in business, but I could not be more proud. We photograph families throughout Bergen County and beyond. I think the most rewarding part of the job, besides getting to cuddle newborns all day, is becoming friends with so many Bergen County families. So many clients have come back year after year and I honestly consider them friends at this point. Getting to capture their kids growing through the years and watching them become an older brother and sister is so rewarding. I feel lucky to be a part of these precious moments that families want to freeze time of and the fact that they choose me means a lot.
I am also proud to say we hired our first employee last year. The fact that I get to give a job to a fellow mom is also extremely rewarding. I think nothing is stronger than mom power (I mean look at what we can get done during nap time), so to have a company running on mom power in my eyes is pretty cool.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
This community is everything when it comes to support. Bergen County has some pretty awesome moms that are running some awesome businesses and empowering one another. I can’t think of anything better. Between the supportive photography community in Bergen County to all of the women running small businesses that show support, I think it’s a great thing. We lift each other up and lean on each other in times of need, to have that is a gift.
My friends and clients are a big community of support as well. Without loyalty and the relationships I have built while building this business I would be nowhere. I hope every client, fellow business owner, and friend knows how grateful I am to them.