Call her the Poo Lady, call her “Miss Sunshine”, call her our “game for anything” gal, she is our beloved Wendi, a joy to behold, source of so many smiles, a talented and multi-faceted phenom-a- woman empire. Enjoy a special glimpse into the life of dear, Wendi B.True. She has her own artistic bend, a special range of products and that mysterious & specialized scent we all know and love.
Today we feature a woman with a true heart of gold and one of LTD 7’s biggest team players: A vendor at both of our locations, Wendi B. True.
Living the Dream,
Even though you express yourself through your work, our readers want to know:
How did you get started? “What’s your story?”
My Dad loved photography. For the first ten years of my life, there was always a Polaroid camera sitting on the china cabinet, loaded and ready so we wouldn’t miss “that moment.” When Dad traveled, he would use his 35mm camera and shoot slides. Upon his return home, I would sit down with him in the kitchen and watch him project each image on the dining room wall. He would tell me where each picture was taken and then he would critique his images. I found the whole process fascinating!
I carried my Fisher Price camera with me everywhere. My father passed away when I was 10 years old of a massive heart attack, but his love of photography quickly turned into my passion as I hit my high school years. I joined the yearbook staff and took photo journalism. I was living the dream! The school furnished me with an amazing camera, film, and I got to attend every event the school had and capture it on film.
“Santa” bought me my first 35mm camera, flash and zoom lenses my freshman year in high school. The summer between my Sophomore and Junior year, Mr. Burdick, our Principal, contacted me and asked if I would be interested in learning how to operate a dark room. Of course, I said, “Yes!” The school purchased all the needed supplies and allowed me access to the dark room that was already set up in the AG department.
I grew and learned so much those last two years in high school. Being able to take my work from raw material to finished product was such an amazing feeling. I went on to Blue Ridge Community College where I became a photographer for the SCA. I photographed and sent to press the very first, “People and Places of BRCC,” a calendar of students in a variety of places in and around the communities that serve the school.
From there, I went on to work at Clemmer Photography, running the dark room, and assisting on photo shoots and weddings. I learned to frame and cut mats. Then I went to Gitchell’s, F-Stop, and eventually I opened my own business. In my prime, I photographed over 40 weddings in one year, photographed more sports teams than I can remember, took photos for UVA alumni weekend formals, Spinsters, and all of the individual class photos for Mary Baldwin College’s yearbook, and did the photography for one of Dr. Fox’s huge capital campaigns. I also photographed her Christmas card for three seasons. The list goes on and on… Staunton has been very good to me.
Is this a full time job? Do you think some day it will be?
This is not my full time job. At one time it was, but the timing was wrong. I was a single Mom, with two small children and it only took 3 years to realize that owning my own business was not the best option for my family. I do not see it becoming full time again until I can retire from my current Marketing profession.
You are an animal lover. How did you become so attached/interested in animals? I understand you have a service animal. That is a special bond. Please explain.
Artemis /Wendi: TWIN DAY AT WORK AND MIGHT I ADD.. WE WON!
I have always loved being around animals. To this day, I still want a Monkey. Growing up, I had a Persian cat, named Sam. He lived to be 19 years old. I had fish, lizards, hamsters, hermit crabs, and a couple of dogs.
I have a service dog named Artemis. It is very hard to describe the amazing bond she and I have. I adopted her when she was 4 months old. We started training together and once she completed her intermediate training, she began spending every moment with me….and I mean-every moment. She went to the bathroom with me, went to work, shopping, sleeping-you name it-she was there. She “learned” me, basically.
After a lot of training and “together” time, she learned to detect if my heart rate was too high or too low or if my blood pressure was too high or too low and she can also detect my blood sugar levels. I recently got a pacemaker and she was in the hospital bed with until they wheeled me into the procedure room. She was waiting to get back in bed with me as soon as I was wheeled out. We are a team. I look after her and she takes care of me.
What else do you do? Why license plate art? That sounds interesting. Is there a plate you don’t have and want? Where do you get them?
License plate art just kinda happened. I started by purchasing a few plates at local yard sales, then it grew into bulk ebay purchases, because the demand became far greater than what was available locally. I make key chains and signs on old barn wood. I have also offered license plate coozies and bracelets. Some letters are much harder to find than others and you really have to search to find them. I get creative sometimes: a “7” turned upside down can be an “L,” in a pinch.
Tell us about your letter photography? That is very specialized. What made you become interested in that genre?
Lynne Breeden inspired my letter photography. She called me one day and said, “Hey, what do you think of this?” and told me about the idea. I said, “Let me try.” Then the bug bit me! I loved it! It was not uncommon for me to head downtown or to a college campus and get lost for hours looking at the architecture and roaming around to find “letters” hidden in the most bizarre places. I can easily say that not one week goes by that I don’t add letters to my collection. Even my kids love finding them and telling me about them. The best was when my daughter was a freshman in college; one morning, I get a text from her with an attachment and a note saying” “Hey Mom, my waffle looked like a great ‘E’ this morning. Thought you could use it.” I did use it and I still do.
How did LTD 7 come into your work?
I met Lynne through The MaDee Project and we became friends. She knew my work ethic and my drive in the entreprenurial world. She called me one day and asked if I was interested in being part of a new adventure she was about to embark on. Without hesitation or even knowing what she was going to do, I said, “Yes!”
Do you ever encounter resistance from the public, taking pictures, or with your animals?
The biggest resistance I encounter with taking photos is that people in general hate to have their photo taken. I try to explain to them that it only takes a second and if they keep throwing their hand in front of their face it only prolongs the inevitable and gives me a challenge to get their photograph. Landscapes and still life photos are much easier.
I have a million stories I could tell you about Artemis and me in public. People just go bonkers when they see an animal in a store or a restaurant. Ok, I know it is out of the norm, but we have all seen dogs before, so why do most folks act as though it is their first time ever seeing a four legged creature? One of the best stories I guess is when the greeter at Applebee’s in Suffolk asked me if I needed a Braille menu. There are a lot of misconception about service dogs. They do much more than help the blind.
What is the most unusual thing that has ever happened to you while working?
The most unusual thing that has ever happened to me while working happened during a wedding, many years ago. We had just arrived at the reception after a beautiful ceremony at a nearby church. Everyone was milling about, getting their seats and such. The bride and groom came in, were announced, and things were going well. But then, one of the guests comes up to the groom and states, very jolly and bright, that this wedding was “…much better than the groom’s first and he hopes this one is his last.” Well, guess what? The bride did not know her husband had ever been married before! A huge upset happened and the bride and groom left and the reception was ended. No cake, no nothing. That is still the craziest thing I have witnessed on a job, to date.
You have a nickname…the poo lady. Can you tell us about that?
I am the POO lady. Funny though. Until, I became the POO lady, I frowned upon folks talking about their bathroom #2 escapades and especially jokes of such nature. Then I saw a Poo Pourri ad. I thought, “How fantastic!”
Spritz the bowl before you go and no one else will ever know.
What a great jingle! What a wonderful way to “cut” down on all of those #2 smell jokes. Our customers loved it! Then I became obsessed with POO. I have carried note pads, made from elephant poo; and sold elf poo, snowman poo, and reindeer poo mints at the holidays. Lynne has had to veto quite a few of my POO items. She has had to be the voice of reason or I would have the most bazaar poo items that are at best, “tacky.” (Thanks, Lynne, for keeping me in check.) But fear not, I am always on the look out for the best POO items.
What would you like to share with dreamers like you? What one piece of advice would you say pushed you the furthest in this dream?
To all of my dreamer friends out there: Stay focused and never loose sight of your dreams. Strive everyday to do one thing, be it 1 minute or most of the day, toward your passion and dreams. Surround yourself with like-minded people and get rid of the ‘Negative Nellies’ in your life; there is no place for them on your path to success.
The one idea and inspiration that has stuck in my mind the longest, came from an older man, over 25 years ago, and I don’t even know his name. He said to me, “I barely know you, but I know that whatever you decide to do in life, you will be successful. Follow your dreams.” I found it odd at the time, but as the years pass, I find myself remembering his words and thinking, “I can do it.”
Other items carried by Wendi: Locally made dog treats(Augusta), gourmet dog bakery (Augusta) treats, Corkcicle (Rowe) and Swell bottles (both locations) Snow-to-go