After chopping turkey, she types away on her new indie wedding blog.
by Mick Kelly . portrait by Matt Rose
For years, Jennifer Callahan has been up before dawn arranging sweet potatoes. While most of us snooze, the former photography instructor rolls into the West Asheville Earth Fare to set up the deli case—a steaming bar of savory foods and salad in one corner of the local chain’s store in the Westgate shopping plaza. When she moved to the area from Nashville a few years back, college-level teaching posts were hard to find. Earth Fare has been her full-time job for four and a half years. When she has time, Callahan works as a wedding photographer, scrapping with the swelling crowd of local photogs for wedding and portrait work.
Then it occurred to her: Why not be a blogger? Asheville has all sorts of bloggers, from foodies to mommy bloggers to art-scene chroniclers. A handful of photographers seemed to blog as a way to promote their work, but no one was rounding up local wedding-related services in one spot. Thus the idea for ashevilleindieweddings.com, which she launched in May. She says she pondered the idea for a year and a half and then came across one key bit of research that helped her pull the trigger: according to Google Keywords, a search-term tool on the site, Asheville-area residents searched for the phrase “indie wedding” about 6,600 times a month. “My blog is an answer to people interested in that topic,” she says.
So far, she’s sold and donated a few ads, has categories for services like props, décor and cake, and links to a dozen or so other area photographers. Her audience? Hipsters, DIYers and anyone else looking to go intensely local (or perhaps save cash) planning an offbeat, arty wedding. “People start planning a wedding, but there’s a disconnect from their style in their regular life,” she says. “What they end up with looks like just another wedding.”
She’d like to make the blog her full-time gig, but until it generates more ad revenue and feeds her photography business, she’ll stick with deli work and blog on the side. She estimates her site gets about 175 unique viewers each day. Occasionally, that spikes to 400 or so. In the meantime, she spends her days doing things like slicing 800 pieces of cheese. With any luck, her digital numbers will stack up in a way that lets her leave her days of cheese slicing behind.
Check out www.ashevilleindieweddings.com.