Today we’d like to introduce you to Caitlin Monson.
Caitlin, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always loved cooking. Even when I was little, I was always in the kitchen with mom watching her bake or prepare dinner and was just so fascinated with it all. And then at the end of my senior year in high school, I suffered from an eating disorder… It came out of the blue honestly and had nothing to do with my appearance or anything like that. It was just at a time in my life when I felt like I had no control over anything and food was the one thing I could control… So I did. Worst period of my life! But after a few years of getting help, I’ve found ways to cope with those disordered thoughts and taught myself how to love food again. And boy do I love food! Making it, eating it, photographing it… You name it, I love it!
Which is exactly what sparked Kalefornia Kravings! I figured there had to be other people out there that were just like me and wanted to have a healthy relationship with food. (That sounds so weird saying that out loud, but it’s so true!) So I started an Instagram account and just posted random meals I would make during the week and before too long I had people telling me how much they loved my recipes and wanted me to make a website. That turned into me becoming more interested in food photography (which is a HUGE passion of mine now) and working with brands to create healthier meals for people. I love what I do and I love that I’m able to inspire and help others at the same time!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t been easy. There’s been plenty of days where I second guess my content and start comparing myself to others and their “appeared success”. But thankfully I have an amazing fiancé and family who support me wholeheartedly. I have no idea where I would be without them.
But I think that’s the hardest part of it all; the comparison game. Especially in the social media world, it can be such a challenge to believe in your content and believe that you are doing enough. Earlier on, I can remember pulling all-nighters to make sure my posts were published on time. I always had to have content to show every single day. And everything, I mean EVERYTHING had to be perfect! It was exhausting… But I felt like I had to be perfect and do everything right for my business to take off. (Which couldn’t be further from the truth.) It wasn’t until I sort of stop caring about “what I was supposed to do” and just started being me and sharing more of the good AND bad parts of my life, that’s when everything changed. Brands/companies started reaching out to me, more people started following me and everything just seemed to fall into place.
Don’t get me wrong, I do still struggle with comparing my content and success to others, but I also think it’s gotten a little easier to handle now too. Especially after talking with a few blogger friends, I’ve realized that we’re all this way. It’s hard and it’s a hard industry to break in to. But we all get it and we’re all here to support each other which is why I love my food blogging community!
Please tell us about your business.
I am a content creator/food photographer. What does that mean? Simply put, it means that companies will send me products that they’re trying to promote. I’ll then take one of their products and create a recipe with it, style it, photograph it, write about it, post it to my social media and then send back all of my materials for the company to use as they please. It sounds pretty straight forward but it’s fun and allows for a ton of creativity!
I specialize in developing recipes that are healthy, easy to follow and use a majority of ingredients that won’t break the bank. I believe that cooking should be fun and should be for everyone no matter how big their budget is. I’ve seen way too often where people want to cook and want to create healthy meals for themselves but they just have no idea where to start. That’s where I come in! I not only give you ideas for healthy recipes but I also show you how I made them through tutorials too.
What I think sets me apart from others in this industry is that I don’t just put any old recipe out there. If I’m putting something on my website or social media, you better believe that it was tested multiple times and tastes out of this world amazing! (Just ok is NOT ok in my book!) I don’t care how long it takes, I will make sure that recipe is delicious! It might not always look pretty because some foods (ahem lasagna) are just not photogenic at all. But you better believe that it’ll be the best tasting lasagna of your life!
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
This is such a hard question because I feel like success looks different for everyone. For me right now, it’s kind of a mixture of physical and emotional accomplishments. What I mean by that is if I end up hitting all the physical goals that I set for myself but I’m completely drained or don’t love what I’m doing anymore, then I don’t know if I can define that as being a success. I’ve always wanted to love whatever career I chose and fully believe that balance and happiness is the key to living a fulfilled life.
That being said, I do have a few physical markers that are always on my radar:
-Hitting 10k on my Instagram account. (I’ve always felt like that’s when you know you’ve arrived when the first “K” appears by your name. ;)) But it would also give my account access to more features too which would be incredibly helpful.
-Seeing a gradual rise in page views on my website. As long as it doesn’t drop dramatically, I figure that I’m doing ok.
-Collaborating with big name brands! I LOVE collaborating and forming relationships with brands (especially one’s that I use all the time). I just think it’s so important to keep building your community and the more brands you connect with, the more exposure you have.
- Website: http://kaleforniakravings.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @kalefornia_kravings
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/kaleforniakravings/