Jordan and Shelby Wormley have been telling tales by images and video since they have been youngsters, inspired by adults of their lives to embrace their passions.
In 2020, after years of speaking about their mutual pursuits and objectives, the Lancaster metropolis couple determined to create an area enterprise by which they might inform the tales of households and communities, together with nonprofits and small companies they consider in.
“WE & Company is a storytelling company,” Shelby, 31, stated. “We help people craft and tell their stories through different ways. Primarily it’s been through photography and videography, and writing. A lot of the work we do as of late has focused around more social justice work, preservation of history, highlighting people in the community and just helping organizations and businesses tell their stories …”
“In today’s world, there are so many ways to tell and share a story, as many ways as there are different types of people,” Jordan, 30, stated. “We’re helping them to craft their story and share it in a way that’s going to be consumable by a large variety of people.”
Together since their late teenagers, when a mutual buddy launched them, the Wormleys married in 2016. With each having moved round so much —largely rising up in York County — they embraced Lancaster as their new dwelling a number of years in the past.
“When we got married, we just saw a niche that wasn’t being served in our community that we could fill,” Jordan stated. “We really started talking about how can we take our passions that we already have and marry that together … which is how we birthed WE & Company.”
The firm identify is a mix of the “W” from Wormley and the “E” from Elaine, the center identify of each Shelby and her grandmother.
“The ‘and Company’ is everybody we’re honored to partner with and work with,” Jordan added.
The couple has gotten to know their adoptive metropolis by the analysis they’ve executed earlier than a few of their storytelling jobs.
The couple has created movies of well-known girls locally on the Lancaster Women of Color Committee’s annual brunch.
It was the empowering feeling they acquired whereas creating movies for the 2019 brunch that spurred them to type their firm. They purchased some “starter gear,” and took entrepreneurship courses by SCORE and ASSETS Lancaster.
These days, they work out of shared house on the PhotOlé Photography studio on East Chestnut Street.
The Wormleys’ initiatives have included profiling Vona, an organization that sells merchandise made with batik cloth to European and American markets so as to help artisans in Mozambique.
WE & Company additionally profiled Lancaster neighborhood members who’ve been named YWCA’s Women of Achievement, and advised the story of the early plans for Evita Colon and Solise White’s A Concrete Rose micro-winery and occasion house, which is quickly to open on South Duke Street.
Shelby Wormley has been taking photographs since she was a toddler.
“My mom got me my first Polaroid when I was 12,” Shelby stated. “And I was obsessed with the (television) show ‘Rocket Power,’ and there was this little brown girl who had a video camera and a skateboard, and I wanted to do both of those things.” She quickly acquired a video digital camera and “would just record things aimlessly” — together with unity marches her mom organized in York.
After finding out communications and images at York College, Shelby turned a manufacturing assistant after which a photo- and video journalist with the information staffs of every of the key tv stations serving Lancaster.
In the final two years, Shelby’s images have been chosen for the juried Art of the State exhibit on the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.
And, because the inaugural Social Practice and Community Engagement Artist in Residence by Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Sustained Engagement with Lancaster, she created a images exhibit exhibiting the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns at Black-owned barber outlets and salons in Lancaster. Titled “The Shop Presents: Essentials,” it ran all through March on the Susan and Benjamin Winter Visual Arts Center at F&M.
While working for ABC affiliate WHTM in 2020, she and her reporting associate visited Mr. Vic’s Family Styling in Lancaster “to do a story on the impact the shutdown had on his business,” Shelby stated. “If you grew up in barber shops and salons in African American communities, it’s very hard to explain that familiarity, other than it’s just a feeling. … I felt like I found a place of refuge. Even for a moment.
“We’re in the midst of the pandemic. It’s the midst of protests, a lot was going on in the world and there weren’t a lot of places where I necessarily could go to feel safe,” she stated.
“It really just stuck with me.”
For the ultimate challenge of her residency, she photographed homeowners and prospects at Black-owned barber outlets and salons, tying the photographs along with written quotes from each teams, annoyed on the shutdowns of those so-called “nonessential business” — that are vital as neighborhood hubs.
Jordan Wormley first picked up a video digital camera at age 11, when he began doing work for his church in York County.
“I just kept working at it, eventually I became head of production and then I started working with other churches,” he stated. “Which led me to go to Temple University, where I studied mass media and communications.”
Jordan went to work in manufacturing on the West Chester studio of the QVC purchasing community.
While Shelby works full time for WE & Company, Jordan additionally works at DAS, a distribution firm in Palmyra.
One of the WE & Company video initiatives he’s most pleased with is profiling Genesis Meadows, an area highschool scholar who has benefited from the sports activities and tutorial and cultural enrichment packages of Advantage Lancaster.
“That was a cool project,” Jordan stated. “They are taking these students from these local schools that don’t always get the opportunity to go out to visit colleges and play tennis or learn about history and go to museums and go to Broadway shows.
“That was something that resonated with me,” he stated, “because as a kid (in Baltimore) I was told about the importance of doing those things. I got to do some of those things and I know how it affected me. I know how it changed my outlook on life.”
They’re additionally engaged on a challenge that tells the story of the lives of Jordan’s grandparents in Baltimore.
The two look to develop their enterprise and proceed studying about their adoptive metropolis. “Something about this city is special,” Jordan stated. “Lancaster is one of the first places that felt like I want this to be my home and it’s because of the people here.”
“Very often people will go into a community and try to tell a story that they think needs to be told without really knowing the people and the community,” Shelby stated.
“I remember realizing I can’t tell the story of this place and do it justice without knowing about it,” she added. “You have to be invited into those spaces. That’s something we learned as storytellers, and something to be mindful of because it’s been such a learning experience.”
WE & Company might be reached at 717-342-6712 or by e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.