Today we’d like to introduce you to Juan Lechuga.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Juan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in Mexico and moved to Dallas at the age of 6 when my dad was transferred for work. We were only supposed to stay long enough for my sister and I learned English and then we’d to move back, yet here I am 22 years later, a naturalized citizen and a business owner. I guess my English isn’t good enough yet!
I have a very fortunate immigrant story. Unlike many people, my family was sponsored through my dad’s company, and though the process was long and expensive, we were able to build a life here and I’ve been able to pursue my passion with a lot of family support along the way. I don’t know that I’d be where I am today without the pragmatism and work ethic my parents passed on to me all throughout my childhood, which has helped me avoid a lot of pitfalls along the way.
Icarus Independent Productions has been a work in progress since 2007, when a friend and I got the ridiculous idea that we wanted to make a feature film with no idea what we were getting ourselves into. At the time, I was a freshman studying film at SMU with a standard definition camcorder I bought on Craigslist and some garage lights from a hardware store. We called in every favor we could, sweet talked business owners for locations, made our friends be actors, built sets out of PVC piping, and ultimately got enough footage for a trailer and not much else. Nonetheless, the experience was invaluable for learning how to stitch together something from nothing, utilizing every resource to its fullest potential so we could create on our own terms. Back then we didn’t know we’d call the company Icarus, but that production is where the ‘Independent’ came from.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There’s definitely been some hiccups along the way. One time a tornado hit my hometown of Rowlett and took all of our film equipment with it about a month before we were set to film a wedding. It would have been a great excuse to cancel, but instead I went and bought up what used equipment I could find on short notice and did the gig. Every challenge is an opportunity. I now use that story to put clients at ease when going over our contract’s ‘Acts of God’ clause. If a tornado didn’t stop us, you know we’ll get the job done.
Aside from that, we’ve gone through many of the same growing pains most businesses can expect. Lack of cash flow, ‘creative’ payroll solutions, difficult schedules, months without competing against every ‘cousin with a camera’. I’ve often gone weeks without getting a full night’s sleep, but I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done and continue to do.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Icarus Independent Productions – what should we know?
Icarus Independent Productions is a full-service video and photography production. If it requires a camera, we can do it. Our main focus is on content production and marketing for small and medium sized businesses, typically working with tight marketing budgets. We are the production team that fills the void between big budget ad agencies and DIY cell phone marketing.
I believe small, local businesses are the heart and soul of a city’s economy. No one goes to New York and asks where the nearest Pizza Hut is, they want to know what is special about the town they’re visiting. I’ve built this business around the idea that a mom and pop shop should be able to compete with a multi-million dollar advertising campaign. Quality is quality whether or not it has big budget marketing behind it. To accomplish this, we have to be a very creative and flexible with time, resources, and ideas. We own all of our equipment, pack light, and work fast so our clients don’t have to worry about budgets getting out of hand. We also offer monthly retainer options for clients who need a constant stream of fresh content, which is easier on their checkbooks.
We also do real estate photography and video for residential and commercial realtors. We have a very quick turnaround time and competitive pricing, which includes retainer options.
The final part of the business is what most photographers know as their steady paycheck: weddings & events. What sets us apart in this space is that we are again, a high quality but affordable alternative, which has made the company attractive to often under-served communities where the typical option is a family member who owns a camera. For instance, we’ve been fortunate enough to work on a number of events with the South Sudanese community in Garland and word of mouth there has kept us busy.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Everyone in my life. I don’t believe in the myth of the self-made man, nobody does it alone.
I can never thank my parents enough for teaching me prudence, pragmatism, leadership, and work ethic. My wonderful girlfriend Megan, for putting up with the ups and downs of a startup business and helping drive so much of the company’s growth through skillful networking. Josh, my business partner, and his family as well, for being supportive throughout the many years of testing out hair-brained ideas. My networking group, Champion Networking Alliance, who have been an amazing source of leads and advice over the last year. Also, The Drawing Board Coworking Space for not only trusting us with their digital marketing as a client, but also providing us with an amazing office space to call home.
All of my wonderful friends who have supported me, harassed their connections, sent me clients, worked on productions, and everything in between. And of course, my incredibly talented team: Ryan, Tracy, and Sarah, and everyone else who’s been in and out over time.
I wouldn’t be here without them and so many other people.
- Our small business marketing packages start as low as $400 for photography and go up to $2500 for a full monthly retainer.
- Event pricing starts at $750 and we offer a 10% discount for paying in full at the time of booking.
- Real estate pricing starts at $99 for homes under 3000sq ft.
- Address: 1900 Jay Ell Dr
Richardson, TX 75088
- Website: icarusindependent.com
- Phone: 469-865-7459
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/icarus_independent/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IcarusIndependent/
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRLnzxrgbbgVnYybigljO2Q