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I'd love to see more members step up to the plate and organize their own events as Lakisha did. I believe that this "decentralized power" is what sets Shabby Chic apart from other groups.

Shabby Chic Models and Photographers was founded by Melissa Westbury in 2011, and I became the Organizer in 2012. The original objectives of the group were simple casual events at outdoor venues, and this tradition continues.

Also in 2012, Manny Dhaliwal came on board and assumed a Co-Organizer role, which was an important milestone as he brought more serious and elaborate concepts to the group such as the Piano and Sugar Skull themes.

Meanwhile, the focus on simple casual events continued with an emphasis on encouraging other members to try their hands at organizing events. As a result, the group went in two distinct directions which lead to occasional scheduling and creative conflicts.

The end result of this was Manny's decision to step down as Co-organizer while remaining an active regular member, and his founding of the Models-Photographers-Beauty-Art-Fashion Group of Houston group in 2014. I'm proud to be one of the first members, and hope that many of our members join as well while remaining active here.

Although it's not uncommon for members of one Meetup group to spin off another, more often than not the relations between old and new groups are adversarial. We have an opportunity to buck the trend by having two groups which have many members in common and fully support each other with little overlap.

Earlier on, there had been discussion on whether "Shabby Chic Models and Photographers" was still the best name for the group, but now more than ever I believe it is. We will continue to emphasize simpler, no-cost events with looser, and outfit requirements, encourage members to try their hand at organizing events of their own, and test new locations and ideas through smaller experimental events, while Models-Photographers-Beauty-Art-Fashion Group will quickly become Houston's best group for affordable elaborate events.

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