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She's the Sh*t: Cassie Huck

Cassie Huck and her husband, Austin, founded Hive Studios, an independent photography and video production company based in Boston and New York. Cassie and Austin work together and with their clients to masterfully shoot and create unbelievable content to elevate brands. We like them especially because they donated our video tutorials for our Give-A-Sh*t Knit Kits! (sentence about working with them) Cassie inspires us with her ability to balance her demanding work schedule with being a superstar mother.

City:
Boston, MA

What’s your favorite part of the day?
My days have some amount of routine but almost never look the same so it’s hard to say… I will say I appreciate the quiet moments when they happen, whenever and wherever they happen. Where I can take a moment to look around me with immense gratitude. And if I’m being honest, if there’s food involved.

What did you do before you started Hive? What skills and experience did you have to be a producer at your own photography studio and what were some of the biggest things you had to learn on the fly?
Before starting HIVE.STUDIO I was working freelance as a Graphic Designer and Video Editor, and learning how to be a Mom. It was a nearly perfect situation caring for my (then) newborn son and working in those odd hours that didn’t necessarily fall in between 9 and 5.
Eventually I took some hours photo retouching and then project managment at a photo studio where Austin was working full-time. While there, I helped build more efficient systems for tracking product and pre-planning shoots. That studio didn’t have the same business model Austin and I wanted to pursue later, in fact HIVE was only a distant dream we weren’t planning to pursue for many years, but it was a great primer and we worked with some fantastic people. Then a lot of different factors all fell into place at once, and it looked like a good time to take that leap. We started HIVE.STUDIO and jumped in with both feet. I started by doing what I already knew how to do, and designed the HIVE brand from the ground up. I still get to design the HIVE brand on a daily basis, from treatments to marketing pieces to social media and our website. Being one-half of the HIVE brain, I have my hands in a lot of projects, some days I’m on the phone planning shoots with amazing art directors and some days I’m mopping the floor or taking out the trash!
The biggest thing I’ve had to learn on the fly has actually been communication. As the producer, I’m advocating for both the client and my artists to make something truly special and unique happen. It can be a tightrope act sometimes, sometimes my whole job is to put out fires, it’s often full of adrenaline, and I really love it.

Your business partner is also your LOVE partner. What is it that makes you two work so well together and do you have any advice for couples who want to work together all day erryday?
Austin and I have been in love for over 12 years, and before that we were just childhood friends. No one “gets me” more than he does—sometimes he knows what I’m feeling before I do, and he also knows me well enough to call me on my shit. I can say “shit” on this interview, right?
Working with my husband and best friend is the dream for us, it actually feels natural to intertwine our life with our work. We’re both artists, we’re family people, and we love what we do. We have many of the same priorities, so when our goals are aligned on something we know we’re going to find the right path to that goal together. We both have our own strengths that we bring to the table. The challenges come when our ideas compete, or when a disappointment at work feels personal. We work best when we freely communicate, and when we give the other person space to shine.

What’s the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job isn’t when a model’s agent decides to pull their model 24 hours before a shoot, or when we have to make a rainy look sunny, when something breaks on set or even not getting chosen for a bid I spent all day creating a kick-ass treatment for. The hardest part is always when I start comparing my success with other people’s. It’s incredibly easy to get sucked into that kind of unhealthy thinking, and both Austin and I work really hard to not buy into that nonsense and just do our thing. We work hard to live up to our (very) high standards, not somebody else’s.

When I asked you and Austin to donate our video tutorials for Give-A-Sh*t Knit Kits, you were quick to say yes and that giving back is a part of your business model. Can you tell me more about that and some other philanthropic shoots you’ve done in the past?
Sure! Our work and life philosophies are the same, so it’s important to us to give back whenever we have the time and resources. We don’t take what we have, especially our health, for granted. Getting sick can happen to anybody for no apparent reason. I don’t just think it’s nice to give back, I think it’s our responsibility as human beings. The Give-A-Sh*t Knit Kits is such a great program for the warriors battling cancer, it was absolutely a no-brainer! We’ve also been able to donate our time and talent to the charity Fizz Apparel, who donates school books to children in rural Bangladesh for every shirt purchased, a much needed service in reaction to that area of the world affected by rapid climate change. The models and hair and makeup artists also donated their time, it was amazing. In July, we’ll be producing a shoot to promote the equal representation of people with disabilities in advertising and media, definitely a cool project to look forward to this summer!  

You have two of the most adorable children on the universe. How do you manage your time as a working couple and fun young parents?
Haha thank you!!! I’ll tell you this: even though I work more now than when I used to have my full-time job, I get to see my kids more. Both Austin and I get to spend more time together and with our kids. We aren’t required to be at work at certain hours just to fulfill certain salary requirements, we are project-based. There are also busy seasons and slower seasons in this business, and we work really hard to prioritize both our family and our work. And we’re very lucky to not have to ask permission or have to think about sick days or vacation time—it’s all up to us.

What’s your fave STIK product and why:
You mean besides EVERYTHING?! I love the Motley Beanie in Heather. The knit pattern and colors are eye-catching and classic, the raccoon fur pom-pom is so gorgeous, and all the STIK hats feel luxurious but are also super warm. Perfect for New England shenanigans. But one of my prized possessions is the custom shit Christina knit for me—my STIK hat HIVE knit right into the pattern. It’s AMAZING and people always stop me to ask where it came from.