We had the good fortune of connecting with Kirsten Gilliam and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kirsten, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started my own business in 2016 after being laid off from a marketing director/in-house photography position for a local hospitality group. Photography had been a hobby since 2012 but experiencing that sudden shift motivated me to find a way to do it full time.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Having an open mind and saying yes to new challenges is how I stay busy. Especially in the beginning, I said yes to absolutely everything and because of that I was able to expand my wheelhouse quickly and adapt to different shooting styles. So much of my work is focused on food now but I never pass on an opportunity to do something different. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve done this, I’m constantly evolving and will always welcome projects that push me creatively.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In an alternate reality where I was entertaining out of town friends (hopefully one day soon), these would be some of my go-to local/neighborhood spots: Coffee at Uncle Beans and eating at Teotihuacan, Nancy’s Hustle, Pinkerton’s BBQ, Riel, and Uchi. We’d grab drinks at Under the Volcano, Bad News Bar, Lola’s Depot, Poison Girl, Grand Prize, and dance the night away at Barbarella. Some not-to-be-missed moments would include Drag Brunch at Boheme, patio drinks at Brasil, bringing the dogs to Raven Tower, and enjoying a daytime glass at Montrose Cheese and Wine. We’d for sure visit The Menil and MFAH. I’d also arrange a private wine tasting in our backyard with Uplifting Wines.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to multiple people. I run a one woman show but none of it would be possible without the continued love and support I’ve received over the years. There is absolutely no way I could have struck out on my own without my husband, Lance. He was on board with my freelancing from the very beginning and has given me unconditional support through all of the many challenges and triumphs I’ve experienced while figuring this out. He’s always there providing positive reinforcement however he can and I’m so grateful to have him. A big shoutout goes to Grover Smith and the Indie Chefs Week organization. Since 2017 I have traveled the country, met some incredible people, and gained so much experience thanks to the community that he’s created. 2020 was a major blow to our industry but I’m hopeful and look forward to the day when we can reunite with all of the amazing people that this company brings together. I also have to recognize all of the hospitality groups, PR teams, individuals, families, and friends that have put their trust in me and given me so many opportunities. I am constantly learning from them all and appreciate their business and support more than they know.