This is a story about my failure and why I burned out from my culinary business.
When I began my culinary career I started it because I found out I had Celiac disease, and it was well before gluten free was a “thing” and on every shelf in the grocery store.
After waking up from a procedure to find out what was wrong with me, the doctor told me he thought it was most likely Celiac disease. My groggy, drugged self responded saying, “I can’t have that, I’m Italian.”
I figured I’d defy him and show him I was fine by going home and eating a giant bowl of pasta and bread. Of course I was sick for a week after that.
Fast forward a few months, I became inspired to create this business after years of people telling me I needed a restaurant (which I knew I never wanted). As I began building my business I found so many other missing pieces to the gluten free menu that were not available at the time.
I began filling orders for whatever people wanted. Mozzarella sticks, “coming up!” Breaded chicken tenders, “you got it!”, and on and on it went.
At the same time I was in the middle of trying to fill wholesale orders for the gluten free ravioli I had mastered and the bread options that I tested so many times - I swear I still wear the extra weight.
The ravioli and the bread were insanely popular, but I continued to keep filling order after order of what people wanted at the moment.
I never stepped back and considered what the masses really “needed” and not what a few families (that I loved) “wanted”.
This ultimately led to my burn out - trying to serve everyone and everything with no plan of action. I didn’t know how to communicate effectively with my audience in a way that guided them to recognize me as an expert in homemade gluten free bread and pasta, and most of all it didn’t make me stand out above the growing competition in the industry.
So what does this have to do with food photography? Well, it all goes hand in hand. You have to differentiate your brand and by doing that you need a clear marketing plan to speak to your people. And in today’s “noisey” world, getting noticed is difficult to say the least.
But by understanding the preferences, interests, and aspirations of your target audience, you can adapt your images to capture their attention and appeal to their desires as long as you have a clear path for them. This is why having a niche is so important.
Now, of course, I am not saying pick two things to cook forever as that is likely not your business model. But whether it's through the choice of styling, plating, or overall visual aesthetics, catering to your audience's tastes sets you apart from brands that take a more generic approach.
I now see my past failure as a huge gift because had I not been burned out, I might not be here, serving you.
I found my niche and gift for food photography within these lessons. But I share them now because I don’t want you to have to go through the same thing I did.
I am always saying that my mission is to see your business succeed and this is the reason why.
If you need help, and you’ve been in business at least a year, let’s jump on a call and figure out how I can help you grow.