It’s another #MangoMonday and I’d love you to meet Mo and Nancy, founders of Mango Studios, Toronto wedding studio. Did you know that the Mango story is a love story, really? Once upon a time in the far away land of Toronto, the dashing young Mo met the most charming lady named Nancy and guess what? Instead of holding hands and walking into the sunset together (so last century), they decided to do it one better. Pairing Nancy’s visual talent with Mo’s business acumen, they decided to conquer the world. Later, one day while they were mucking about with ideas they wrote down the letters of their own names and Mo And Nancy GOvindji shaped MANGO. Magic.
Mo and Nancy are wedding photographers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and the founders of Mango Studios. Their big hearts and sharp minds continue to inspire all of us here at Mango Studios. Get to know them a little bit better and find out how Mango Studios started below.
How did you meet?
Nancy: We met at photoshoot in 2003 when I was in University studying photography and I had a part time job as a commercial model. Mo was shooting a campaign for Nokia and I was one of the models on the shoot. The rest is history. We quickly became best friends and have been inseparable ever since.
What was the first impression of each other?
Nancy: If you’ve ever met Mo your first impression is usually wow he is SUCH a nice person. And it’s true. He really is. He cares… a lot.
Mo: Nancy’s confidence and big personality caught my attention. She was sweet but not in that fake nice way, she was authentic and honest and that’s what really struck me.
How did you start in photography? What artists and photographers do you find yourself inspired by?
Nancy: I was always heavily interested in the arts as a kid, whether it was drawing, painting, acting or utterly obsessing over ballet. I was always involved in the arts in one form or another. There wasn’t one defining moment where I knew photography was my destiny. I just always knew that I had to be involved in some sort of creative field. I’m inspired by all sorts of artists. Right now, I would say I’m currently obsessing over: Painter/ sculptor – Marcel Duchamp, Singer/songwriter – Maggie Rogers, Author – Maya Angelou, Poet – Sarah Kay, Ballet photographer- Karolina Karus, Actor – Lena Headey from GOT, Prima Ballerina- Lana Lunkina, And CJ – Hendry’s technical drawing skills. But ask me next week and my list will have completely changed.
Mo: My father was a photographer growing up, my mother ran the business side of the studio. I was naturally into photography, cameras, gadgets, design, art and tech. But what really got me excited was the idea of building a business of my own one day. I never actually thought I would be a photographer professionally. But then that all changed while I was working as a network engineer at a tech startup back in 1999-2001. I found myself picking up night shifts since they were slow, so I could work on editing my photos, and designing things. When the dot com bust hit, we were faced with either moving to a data center in Denver or choosing other jobs. Tech work wasn’t as cool and sexy as today. I chose to follow my heart and dive in head first into photography full-time. But I wanted to build something that was big and made an impact. I just didn’t know exactly what it was at the time. I’m still working on that ….
When and how did you start Mango Studios?
Nancy: I was in school majoring in visual arts (photography, painting and drawing) when I first met Mo. His father was a photographer and he was shooting commercial work. When we first became friends both of us had a creative background in photography and so we started collaborating on different creative photography projects. One thing led to another and we eventually started shooting weddings together. As I’m sure you know MANGO stands for Mo And Nancy GOvindji.
Mango Studios is consistently being recognized as the top wedding photography studio in Canada. How did you achieve it? What makes Mango Studios so successful?
Nancy: A lot of hard work. We are always innovating, and trying new things. Four core concepts below:
- Having team members who think like innovators and think BIG
- Challenging industry norms – always going above and beyond and remaining a step ahead of industry standards.
- Having comprehensive metrics – we measure output and input of every aspect of the business on a constant basis, see what works and iterate and fix what doesn’t.
- The work is honest, real, cool, the type of photography we’d want for ourselves. It’s simple really.
How would you describe MANGO’s style?
Mo and Nancy: Light, cool, honest, stylish, timeless and fun. While MANGO is a luxury brand, we are a relaxed group of individuals who are very easy to get along with. We’re a team of visual storytellers documenting what we see, and how we see it.
Define the MANGO experience?
Mo: There’s no one size fits all to photography, so our entire experience at MANGO is tailored around who you are as a couple.
Before the Wedding – We get to know everything about our couples, from where you hang out, how you met, what kind of music you listen to, all the things that make you unique. Then we collaborate on picking the right photographer. We’re a small team, so this process is pretty intimate. This whole process is made fun and easy with the help of your MANGO event coordinator.
During the Wedding – Our style of shooting is simple, fun, and non-intrusive. We use a number of signature simple cues that make “posing” a thing of the past. Couples often ask us how we get people to look so natural in their photos. It’s simple, it starts with working with a photographer that makes you feel totally at ease. Then we tie in our simple MANGO cues. It’s effortless and fun.
After – Because we’re a full service studio. We have a dedicated team of post production designers and artists that make your photos look stunning and flawless. You can expect your photos to be ready within 4 weeks. We’ll also send over some teaser images to satisfy all your social media followers 😉
How do you define “Great Wedding Photography”?
Mo: Did the image make you smile, laugh or cry? If yes – it’s great.
Our work is all about capturing raw emotion. Lighting, design, composition, are all the technical attributes, but a great photo is achieved when documenting that special moment. That usually can’t be put into words.
How do you define success in business and personal life?
Nancy: Success is celebrating those around you and cheering them on to become their very best selves. In return, you will soon hear the cheers of those celebrating your journey. I get to wake up every morning and go to work with my two best friends in the entire world; my husband and my dog and we get to collaborate with some of the most amazing creative minds in North America. This is what success is all about for me.
Mo: To us success is simply measured by happiness. It just so happens that great photography, design, and surrounding ourselves with amazing people is what makes us happy. It’s simple really, our business continues to thrive because we genuinely love what we do.
You are both very active in Toronto’s charity scene. Why is giving back to the community is so important?
Nancy: Success and giving back go hand in hand. You can not have one without the other. The spirit of giving back is the very essence of a successful life. When we elevate one, we elevate all, and soon all of our common interests are met. For us, Success is not just about what you can achieve, but what you can help others achieve as well.
Mo: I think it comes back to the point above about happiness. Maybe it’s a bit selfish, but giving also makes us happy. But any of the charity work we do is typically as a team at MANGO. I think there’s something to be said about putting capital back into the organizations that make Toronto such a great place to live.
Best advice you’ve ever received about being an artist?
Nancy: My high school guidance counsellor once advised me to forget about the arts and focus on a more stable career. He said and I quote “if you want a job after university you are going to have to do something else.” I was determined to prove him wrong.
Best advice you’ve ever received about being a business person?
Mo: “Sit, sit, walk, walk, don’t wobble” – Kevin Kelly. This Zen proverb has had profound impact on me lately. The idea here is two part, it’s about being present and being focussed on the whatever you are currently doing. So if you’re speaking with someone, be present without distractions. If you’re walking, focus on the walk, and not on your phone. Personally I get distracted easily. For example new ideas be they technology, new projects and so on. I’ve learned that in order to get more high quality work done it’s imperative to focus on the task at hand, complete it, then move on to the next thing.
What gets you up in the morning?
Nancy and Mo: Our dog Bernie. Lot’s of fresh coffee. Excitement about getting to work and building and designing all the cool, new stuff we’re doing at MANGO.
What is the cutest thing on planet Earth?
Nancy and Mo: Bernie and his grumpy judgemental face.
One thing you’d like every bride and groom to know before their wedding?
Nancy: Your day will come and go very quickly, remember to sit back, relax, don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the moment. Coordinating a wedding can be stressful but stay calm and focus on the big picture. A wedding is a gathering of your closest family and friends in one room to celebrate your love and commitment to each other, celebrate that and live in the moment.
What makes the MANGO team different?
Nancy and Mo: We love that MANGO is like this microcosm that represents everything about Toronto. We’re a crazy melting pot of individuals from every part of the world and a mix of cultures, religions and genders. But somehow, everything works so harmoniously. Everything we do is centered around documenting love stories in photographs. So without sounding overly sappy, it’s a pretty awesome place to work.
Did you love this post? Check out other Mango Monday articles here:
Inside Mango Studios – Toronto Wedding Photographers
Candid Wedding Photographer – Tyler
Photojournalistic Wedding Photographer – Melissa