The Story of our Lives
Lou Mayo and Martin Helfer were two young boys from Brooklyn who were serving their country on the island of New Guinea as members of the Army Air Corps during World War II. Martin was an aerial photographer... and Lou was the kind of Sergeant who could persuade the Captain to let him use the company jeep for runs into town.
Our History began, ten years later, in June of 1955, Lou Mayo and his partner, Martin Helfer opened a small, 3,000 sq. ft. studio at 9 East 19th Street in New York. While they started off photographing furniture in the showrooms of Chicago's Merchandise Mart and here in NYC Furniture Showrooms, they soon came to realize that they could keep busy all year 'round if they had a studio in which to shoot their clients' furniture designs as soon as they were developed.
When the '60's came along and the furniture industry began to leave New York for Southern environs, Mayo Studios turned to photographing Bedspreads and Curtains an industry still very strong along Fifth Avenue.
From the start it was Lou Mayo's goal to be the leader in this field... Charging maybe a little more than his competitors but giving a whole lot more by emphasizing the artistic beauty of the photograph. Lou always had a dream of being involved in Hollywood TV production. He took this inspiration and applied it to product photography, offering his clients an unusually inspired approach. This has been the ongoing credo underlying Mayo Studios' success and reputation in servicing the Home Furnishings Industry for 60 years.
Lou was given an opportunity to provide photography of Domestic Products for the newly created JC Penney Catalog whose headquarters at that time was on 34th Street in Manhattan. It wasn't long before Lou found himself with an 18,000 sq. ft operation in what was now rapidly becoming the Photography District. But Mayo Studios required lots of space to build its sets and so Lou was forced to move to more affordable quarters on the extreme West Side of NY in 1982.
His son, Mark had recently joined the firm and he was able to broaden their client base and services. Their reputation for detail and their passion for excellence provided them with an opportunity to grow, year after year.
A New Beginning
Sadly, in 1993, Lou Mayo passed away. But with every ending comes a new beginning. After working with his father for 17 years, Mark asked his wife Sandy, a former fashion buyer with Bonwit Teller, to join him at the Studio. This was the beginning of the next era in the company's success. Sandy has tremendous energy which almost instantly ignited a new team that was being formed at the 10th Avenue Studio. Her extensive background in New York Fashion gave her the insight to recognize the role that fashion plays in Home Décor. Sandy inspired a tremendous sales growth by capitalizing on her ability to completely understand the creative needs of her clients.
Sandy & Mark share an office and enjoy working together, along with Teddy, the studio dog and Spiritual Advisor. They are involved in the reviewing process of all photography that is created in their Studio.
Along with his general manager and lifelong friend, Mark Polott, Mark Mayo began taking steps towards Digital Photographic Services in the mid Nineties. JC Penney recognized the two friends' efforts with a much-coveted Technical Services Award in 1996 – this, because Mayo Studios was the first of their Studios to successfully attach a JPEG Test Photograph to an E-mail. Now the JC Penney Art Buyers could review a new image – immediately! The cost and time savings to JC Penney was extraordinary. Today – this feat has become quite ordinary... At the time it was a breakthrough!
Sandy Mayo loves Showroom Decorating almost as much as she enjoys fashion. By the late Nineties, she assembled several teams to successfully dress up the NYC Showrooms of many of America's leading Home Furnishings Manufacturers. The confidence that she has instilled in her clients has given Mayo Studios countless new opportunities for growth. Sandy developed a new philosophy for the company to encompass all of these aligned services. "We Know How You Want To Look."
To accommodate their continuing need for more space, in 1999, Mark & Sandy built a dream studio across the East River in Long Island City. Just 2 stops from Grand Central and directly across from the #7 Subway Train and the Long Island Railroad, clients enjoy the built-in conveniences of Mayo Studios' 33,000 sq. ft space.
The Third Generation
The Mayo's welcomed the Third Generation to the Studio when Mickey Mayo joined the firm in 2007. A graduate of the Carnegie Mellon School of Design, Mickey worked at Tank Design in Cambridge MA where he was Senior Designer servicing FedEx, supporting both online and print initiatives before returning to New York City. Mickey's experience in interactive design is allowing Mayo Studios to expand horizontally into a broad new range of services. Most significantly, Mickey is determined to push the Studio to merge photography and design to offer clients a one-stop brand development solution.
The Mayo Studios Post Production Department has become a full service operation offering: Photo Retouching, Color Correction, Print-Ready CMYK Conversions and SWOP/GRACOL Certified Contract Prints – all provided in house.
It started with a photograph. It has become a total image service. The vision that Lou Mayo created 60 years ago has not changed: To provide the best possible service to our customers through a passion for quality and innovative set design.
Lou used to say, "You gotta make the customer believe that just by purchasing the item displayed in our photograph, their home will look just like our shot!"