Presidential proclamation designates every March as Women’s History Month, setting aside the month to honor the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. As part of this year’s celebration, GOOD Morning Wilton will run a month-long series highlighting the significant contributions by women of Wilton. While a month isn’t enough time to highlight every woman worthy of acknowledgment, we hope to make this an annual series and revisit our outstanding community of women every March.
For our next installment of the series, we invite you to meet Wilton resident Peggy Garbus, owner of Peggy Garbus Photography.
It’s hard to picture Peggy Garbus doing something that didn’t include a camera. Not only is she a contributing photographer for Wilton Magazine, but she has a thriving portrait photography business based here in Wilton. She is always in-demand, working primarily with families at every stage of life.
“Personally, my absolute favorite thing about being a photographer is becoming a small part of a family dynamic for the short time we’re together,” says Garbus. “I love watching families interact and learning about each subject as we work together.”
But before she became a portrait photographer, Garbus worked in a number of corporate roles in New York City. In fact, her journey to New York City from Ohio came about because of her gender. “I made a connection in college at a ‘Women in Communications’ event, which led me to my first job. I was one of two women hired to round out a mostly male sales team,” she recalls.
Eventually Garbus landed at Merrill Lynch, where she was part of a team that covered the taxable debt retail desk–products like corporate bonds, preferred stock, and bank CDs. While that might seem like the antithesis of the artist’s life she now leads, Peggy admits that she loved working on the trading floor, and particularly enjoyed the pulse of the City.
It was the birth of her first child that prompted Peggy to leave Merrill Lynch. As much as she loved working, her calling as a full-time mother was much more compelling.
Coincidentally, it was also motherhood that served as the impetus behind the launch of her photography business.
“In 2004, one of my girls participated in the Fall show at Wilton Children’s Theater,” reminisces Garbus. “I quickly volunteered to take the cast headshots and dress rehearsal photos. Later that year, I photographed my first family. Over the years, I built a rather large scrapbook of local work with the hope of ‘one-day’ turning my passion for photography into a business.”
Fast forwarding to today finds Garbus enjoying the best of both worlds–pursuit of her passion with the flexibility to raise her family on her own terms.
“Owning my own business has enabled me to point the business in the direction that works for me. It has given me a lot of flexibility while raising my children, allowing me to conduct sessions when it worked best for our family’s schedule.”
Families new to Wilton often get their first introduction to Garbus’ talents by way of fundraising events hosted by The Children’s Day School of Wilton, Zion’s Hill Preschool Program, and The Wilton YMCA–organizations that Garbus says were all part of her family’s life when she lost her husband at a young age to cancer.
“They embraced us and lifted us up at an extraordinarily tough time.”
Garbus says that the local community has not only been there since her business’ beginning, but has also been an extraordinary help in propelling its growth. “Whether it’s photographing an event or donating a session to raise funds, I’ve been afforded a significant opportunity by many Wilton organizations to establish a business presence.”
“The Wilton Women’s Network of Small Business Owners has also been a tremendous support,” says Garbus. “We bolster each other, either online or in-person. Having watched friends open and grow businesses in tandem with mine, I believe that the fellowship we’ve shared has made our lives as a solo-preneurs feel more like we are part of a team.”
That support of the community has come full circle according to Garbus, as she herself is a big supporter of all things Wilton. She is currently involved with The Wilton Library, The Wilton Woman’s Club, and Ambler Farm. She is also part of the Wilton Continuing Education team, teaching several classes, including one on how to take better family photos.
Second only to that is Garbus’ personal satisfaction in knowing that she’s provided a priceless service of preserving family memories for her clients.
“Having photographed hundreds of families over the years, nothing is more gratifying than to walk into a client’s home and see a family portrait or a series of children’s portraits gracing their walls. Their children may have gone off to college, an older parent may have passed, yet it’s a beautiful thing to have been able to capture–and forever enjoy–a particular time in their lives.”
When Garbus isn’t working, she’s still taking photographs, albeit for fun, or working in her garden. The garden is burgeoning as she admits to now trying to “tame the woods.” She also spends as much time as possible with her children, who are still in the area, and are her inspiration.
“My two daughters and son motivate me to do my best and they have honestly shaped the path on which I am on today. They impress me and inspire me every single day.”