Raised in a home atmosphere that instilled a strong work ethic, these fraternal twins started to show their independence in middle school and haven’t looked back since.
Stratfield-area residents Daniel and Jacob Madwed, 18, got their start at Hillel Academy, a Jewish day school that once operated in Fairfield. At the end of 8th grade, they transferred to Westchester Hebrew High School, from which they are now graduating.
“Our whole upbringing was centered around having a good work ethic and being involved in school and the community as much as possible,” said Daniel, who spoke on behalf of both boys.
Daniel pointed to an experience in 8th grade as their first independent achievement. “Our class of 13 had to raise funds to go on a school trip to Boston,” he said. “My brother and I organized two school dinners to help achieve that goal. The dinners spearheaded all the class fundraising, pulling in almost $3,000 and making the trip possible.”
In 9th grade, the twins’ mom, Regina, a photographer with a Fairfield-based business called Capitol PhotoInteractive, was approached by a client about covering a bat mitzvah, to do photo favors. “The client actually asked if Jacob and I could do these captures,” Daniel said. “My mom didn’t think we’d have time, but we surprised her and accepted that work and other opportunities along the same line. Our motivation initially was a desire to earn enough to buy a new car. We thought we would just do a few jobs and be done with it, but it grew into a great success.”
In 10th grade, the boys went to the town of Fairfield and registered their photo business under the name Capitol Photo and Sons. “It really took off and we were making money on our own, without being reliant on our mom to lend support,” Daniel said. “We had four mini printers and a camera that Mom loaned us. We paid her back within the first couple months, bought three more printers at $1,500 each and three more cameras.”
The business experience has been valuable. “There’s constant interaction with customers and we’ve really learned the principles of customer service,” said Daniel.
All the while, the boys focused equal attention on their schooling. “Jacob served as an official photographer for the school’s Drama Society production this year and covered many other school events, while also playing on our school’s varsity baseball team,” said Daniel. “I served as co-president of the student government, co-captain of the mock trial team, yearbook editor and co-editor of the school newspaper.”
Daniel is also a member of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society and both volunteer at school and community charity functions. For their efforts, they were honored in 2010 by Jewish Family Services of Bridgeport and by their synagogue, Congregation Ahavath Achim, for youth leadership.
“At this point, Jacob has decided to move the business in an entertainment direction to pursue through college and beyond,” said Daniel. “We will continue to keep ourselves as busy as possible and know it’s very important to give back to the community. You can’t always work, work, work to make money for yourself. It feels good to do things for others, especially if it’s for a great cause.”