THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE HANDLES
What is it all about? How did it get started? What’s the purpose?
I had the idea a few months ago to do an “inside view” into what the life of a blogger is like on a day-to-day basis. The idea originated when I met someone at an event for the first time and they recognized me from my Instagram feed. They asked me, “How are you enjoying being a full time blogger?” I couldn’t help but laugh; I wasn’t sure where someone would have gotten that idea from… And though it would be awesome to be a full time blogger and make my living from it, that is not presently the case. I explained that my actual career involved owning a hair salon and being in the beauty industry for 17 years, and then I shared a little bit about myself. It occurred to me that people have no idea who I am in my daily life (my actual name, what my profession is); they didn’t know anything about me aside from a few pictures that I post and my blog articles). I guess I had never thought about it before. How would they? It was at that moment that I began to think… Wouldn’t it be fun to put together some sort of series that offered a window into the lives of who bloggers really are?!
Social media has completely changed our daily lives; it has become a source of inspiration and an avenue for information. It facilitates a place for social connection and sometimes, it is just a place to find a photo that brings a little slice of joy to our lives and makes us smile. It’s completely accessible everyday and all day long. It is powerful and amazing. It has transformed everything! My initial idea was for this project to feature perhaps 4-6 bloggers and share their stories about what inspires them, explain what they do and how they got started. Charleston has a large creative community and I quickly found some people willing to get on board with the idea. Then the idea grew… I loved the original concept, but I had several people that I came across who weren’t necessarily bloggers but had really cool Instagram accounts or other social media feeds. I wanted to include some of these people as well, so I decided that the project needed to evolve beyond the scope of just bloggers’ lives. The original idea was still there, but it began to morph into something more diverse, to include people who are using their social media outlets to do interesting things, sharing worthwhile causes in the community or who use their social media outlets to promote their businesses in innovative ways. I wanted to offer a platform for people to share their story from their own perspective and in their own voice. I thought that it would be most cohesive for the series to develop a standard set of questions that everyone involved would answer in their own one-on-one interview and given their own blog post. I decided that each person would be highlighted in their own article with a new one posted each day until the series was complete. Everyone in the series is Charleston-based with the exception of my #1 personal inspiration that I will share more about later (when we met, he lived in Charleston, but has since moved to pursue new adventures near Cape Cod).
HOW IT ALL CAME TOGETHER…
People have asked me how I got the idea to do this project and how I pulled it all together. Three words: INSPIRATION + NETWORKING + COLLABORATION. Community involvement is extremely important to me. Several years ago, I got involved with a great outreach campaign through Charleston Place Spa called, I WILL REFLECT. The program is geared towards advocating sun safety and offers advice about how to protect yourself and loved ones against melanoma. They designed these great bracelets that turn purple when in the sun to remind you to apply sunscreen. I love them and wear one everyday. We live in a very sunny place and I love the beach as much as the next person. But skin cancer is a rising problem and it’s important to be safe. At one of the fundraising events they held that I volunteered with, I met some bloggers (this was before I began blogging) and through it, I formed some new friendships. Years later, some of those same people are now on board with my project. Isn’t it amazing how life comes full circle? You have to take chances, like skirt! magazine took a chance on me earlier this year when they launched their blog and asked me to be their food contributor. This experience has exposed me in ways I never thought possible. Find something you believe in, get involved, meet new people, collaborate to promote good causes and cool projects! And remember to have fun!
Through this amazing adventure I have met some really awesome people, formed new friendships, and made great contacts for future collaborations. Now, I am stepping back to reflect on the inspiration I’ve found from these people. I am proud to announce that we have 45 amazing and talented people who will be featured in this project. There are an array of industries, professions, hobbies, crafts and interests featured in this massive creative community collaboration: Cars, Watches, Food, Drinks, Fashion, Lifestyle, Bloggers, Writers, PR Agents, Editors, Community Outreach, Radio, Healthy Living, Chefs, Mixologists, Small Business Owners, Designers, Movie Production, Beauty, Jewelry, just to name a few! Once I had assembled the group, I organized a 3 day photo shoot that the amazing & talented Franklin McGuire photographed and Laurie (Bohler Park Interior Design) did a wonderful job assembling and staging the set for it!!! It was super fun and a great way to get to spend a little more time getting to know our HANDLES. Everyone was having such a great time meeting on set during the shoot that I got the idea to have a launch party for everyone involved to meet, mingle and get to know each other. I reached out to my friends over at Striped Pig Distillery (who I had met during a tour and interview for an upcoming blog article), told them what I was doing and they loved the idea! They offered to get on board, as well as their location for the evening. Every good party needs food, music and activities, so I made some phone calls, reached out on social media, and BAM! MAGIC HAPPENED. We had 2 great food sponsors get on board and supply us with some amazing bites: Thurston Southern Catering and Barony Tavern (BIG thanks, guys…I’m still thinking about how good everything was!!). I know some people over at Ear for Music and asked if they wanted to join our project and help us out with some tunes; they loved the idea too, and arranged for the super talented Nathan Salley to do an acoustic set (which rocked)! We also needed some other party basics: drinks, napkins, tables, etc… I made some calls and we were fortunate enough to have some great companies agree to sponsor us: PrimeSouth Properties, Charleston Place Spa and The Wilbert Group. It’s amazing what can happen and come together when you reach out of your comfort zone and embrace an idea. A few other special thanks that need mentioning: Dee Dinwiddie (took some great photos at the Launch Party — thanks, man!), John Park at Arts + Sciences Marketing for designing an amazing logo for us and taking care of all of our media design stuff for #TPBTH (it’s super cool — I actually cried when I saw our banner, LOVE IT!!!), and my Charleston Food Writer blog and logo designer, Tommy Burkhalter (WARP 8 media)… Without you, Charleston Food Writer as we know it would not exist. Your work is brilliant!!! THANK YOU!
MY PERSONAL INSPIRATION
Last year, just when I was beginning my blog and social media handles, I came across an Instagram account that I fell in love with. The feed had the most beautiful food pictures (they were interesting, different, innovative… And it touched me, deep in my soul). I couldn’t stop looking at them and reading the descriptions; they inspired me. Then, through the exchange of some likes and comments on Instagram, I met the Chef whose feed I had been following. We had a great cup of coffee and we created a collaboration where he came to my personal garden and made a 3 course dinner using my herbs and veggies. SO FUN. He changed how I thought about food. We have became good friends since then, and I credit him for not only changing how I view food, but for changing how I view life. That’s how inspiration works; you can’t make it happen, its just hits you, strikes you, moves you. However, what you choose to do with it, is up to you. Thank you, Ari Warsaw, for being you and changing me!
I hope that you will follow along over the next few weeks as we get a glimpse into the personal lives of some of our favorite social media people in Charleston. Enjoy getting to know…
THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE HANDLES!!!
Candy (aka Charleston Food Writer)