When Takera Gholson decided to combine her love of food with traveling, she never imagined it would evolve into a blog that allowed her to connect and engage with people all over the world. Hailing from Washington, DC her journey in content creation began when she was working with small businesses in the hospital industry to raise awareness about their services through vibrant and eye-catching food photography. When she began traveling with her husband she was inspired to create a blog based on questions she got from friends and family regarding her unique experiences. Flights and Foods is a food and travel blog whose mission is to “explore dynamic sites, delicious foods, and create great content along the way.” We sat down to chat with Takera about her business, blogging, and where she finds community as a Black content creator.
Photography is the driving force behind how Takera connects with her customers and readers online. Since she was a child, Takera was fascinated with the ability and power of a picture to capture moments. Her passion for photography merged with her gift of storytelling and she began to share her journey online. Flights and Foods was created out of Takera’s love for delicious cuisine that would make any #foodie’s heart skip a beat. As a frequent traveler, she planned several of her trips around “a dish I had seen on television or a new cultural cuisine I would like to try.” She takes pride in the fact that since starting her blog her passion for food photography has grown, and now she snaps photos of decadent dishes wherever she travels. These mouth-watering photos are featured prominently on her social media and blog where readers can learn more about the flavors and creation of delectable meals.
Running a Business On-The-Go
Takera has been happy to see her business flourish and grow in community, network, and connections that present her with new opportunities to collaborate with fellow foodies and restaurants in DC.
“While traveling and in the local DC area, I often am able to interact with restaurant owners, chefs, mixologists, family cooks, and hotel staff. Making new friends and telling their stories through my blog is my favorite part of having my own space on the internet. The stories behind the scenes aren’t often told, and sometimes I have the pleasure of being the one to tell them.”
Although the pandemic limited Takera’s travel excursions in 2020, she was able to pivot her business and collaborate with local restaurants in DC to spotlight their businesses through food reviews and chef interviews. When a business chooses to partner with Takera, they have the option to select from a variety of services that go beyond just a standard food review. Restaurants can elect to choose from a range of services; such as sponsorships, collaboration, food photography, and social media partnerships to amplify their online presence.
Commitment to Community
As a self-proclaimed #Blackfoodie Traveler, Takera is committed to highlighting and spotlighting diverse restaurants and chefs from all over the world. The heart of Takera’s brand focuses on giving prominence to Black-owned businesses and people of color because she is deeply invested in the Black community.
“My community enjoys the ‘behind the scenes’ content and are further encouraged to support these business owners because they now know their story, and may even be able to identify with their journey.”
Each portion of her blog and business is created with the intention to be a valuable resource. She credits her website as the anchor of her business because WordPress plugins give her the ability to tailor her website to her needs. Flights and Foods not only shares food and travel experiences, but useful resources, stories, and bold and bright photography.
“I don’t only tell my personal stories but those of others in the hospitality industry as well. Highlighting several categories on my blog creates flexibility in the information I am able to share, ensuring the content is valuable and relevant to everyone.”
Getting Started In The Industry
Building a website and creating a brand all begins with a single step forward. It’s saying “Yes!” to your dream and opening your arms to the possibilities that await you. Takera shares her tips and guidance for blogging and starting a website below:
Here are a few tips to get started in food, hospitality, travel blogging or just starting a new business:
- Find a niche that works for you. Whether it’s brunch, drinks, exotic foods, or luxury destinations.
- Reach out to other creators in your niche and build a relationship. You may be surprised to learn how many folks are willing to help you on your way or answer your questions. Realistically, everyone won’t have the time for an hour long conversation, but you’ll never know who may be willing to give you thirty minutes of their time just to support you and your business.
- Take note of the times of year to purchase that plane or train ticket. Buying early can save money.
- Even if you don’t know how to build a website, purchase your domain name and secure your business handle on all social media platforms. This can save headaches down the line if you decide to become more active on social media or build that website.
- Take advantage of free resources. Use your website’s analytics to determine what your customers are engaging with most. Research the right plugins and apps for your business to gain insight and direction forward.
- Recognize when you need to take breaks. A common theme among many entrepreneurs starting out may be to work exhaustive hours and experience burn out. Before you get to that point build in time for vacation and set a schedule for yourself.