In 2007, Leng Vong Reiff went to work with several nonprofits and a large advertising agency in Des Moines after graduating from Iowa State with degrees in advertising and design. However, after entering the corporate world, Vong Reiff developed an interest in running her own business.
“I don’t come from an entrepreneurial background, but it became a passion of mine,” she says. “I realized I wanted to do it on my own.”
Vong Reiff soon began freelancing for companies in the area under the name Akili Design & Marketing Services. She helped create the marketing materials for many local businesses, and that often involved a lot of DIY photography out of her own garage. She has taken pictures of many products in her garage, including jewelry and watches, but one of the most memorable photo shoots came courtesy of the Iowa Steak Company, one of her clients.
“They dropped off huge deep freezers full of meat in my garage,” she says. “We spread it all around, made it look nice, and took pictures. It made me hungry, actually. It looked really good.”
Growing up in Urbandale, Vong Reiff always had a passion for the arts. Her parents encouraged her hobby and sent her to art school when she was in the eighth grade. She took classes there until she graduated from high school. Her work, she says, is the perfect combination of her interests, including art, design and marketing.
“I always knew I wanted to do something professionally that involved art and drawing,” she says. “I just love being creative.”
Though she has always enjoyed photography, Vong Reiff says she has developed more of an appreciation for it through her work. She even helps out her friends on the weekends with their photography needs, like school photos or portraits.
Last year, Vong Reiff moved her business out of her home and into a full-time office space in Windsor Heights. However, she still uses her garage for photography and expects to be busy snapping product pictures with the holiday coming up. Vong Reiff says she’s happy she’s made her own career path, and she’s glad she’s had the opportunity to work so much from home — and her garage.
“I love the flexibility,” she says. “Sometimes I feel like I’m on the clock 24/7, but I’m on the clock on my time.”
Contact Darren Tromblay at 953-4822 ext. 304 or email@example.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of What’s In Your Garage?