We had the good fortune of connecting with Katherine McMahon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Katherine, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?

In August 2020, I launched VineyardsandVoyages on Instagram as a way to turn my passion for travel and food into a career. I have an intense a deep love of travel, discovering hidden gems, exploring this beautiful world, and experiencing great food and wine. I have a deep desire to see every inch of the world.

I have often told friends about my experiences. I had been doing that on my personal Instagram account for over a decade and I would get many messages from friends asking for help with travel plans, tips on places to go, reviews of restaurants etc.

In the summer of 2020 I was at a crossroads, trying to find a new directions for my life. On an August afternoon I was relaxing in the gardens at a hotel in Santa Barbara, watching a butterfly, and I thought about an idea for a blog that my best friend Stacy and I used to talk about. In our vision, she would write about wine, I would write about food and we would write about travel together. But we never got started. Why not now? I hadn’t heard from Stacy in a few weeks. I was going to contact her.

But then I received the shock of my life. Stacy had passed away suddenly from cancer. I was devastated. So I decided I needed to do it, immediately and whole heartedly. For her. For me. For the fact life can be fleeting and I could not let it escape me.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?

Building an Instagram business takes patience and focus. On day 1 you have no followers, no content, no reputation. To generate value through posting, you need enough of all three such that businesses take notice. It took trial and error to find my voice and style and create content that people wanted to see. I also found that the “wine babe” space was crowded. I set out to differentiate myself from the rest by covering the entire travel, food and wine lifestyle, working on my photography, and engaging my fans with something substantive to say.

Three moments I am particularly proud of:

1) posting a negative review of a winery. In this business there is pressure to always be promoting and never criticize. But I had to be true to myself and honestly say when something was just not that good. Because I did, my followers have more faith in my positive reviews.

2) I was recently asked if I would sell just my photos. My posts often feature a photo with me in it that is usually taken by my husband. But I I follow that with several photos of food, wine, landscapes, buildings, etc that I have taken. I put a lot of thought and effort into the light, focus, frame, and color of these photos. To be recognized for the quality of these photos and to be offered to be paid for them is a great honor.

3) On my own initiative I began approaching hotels, asking for complimentary stays in exchange for posting content about my experience at the hotel. My efforts built my reputation and recently I got up in the morning to find emails from hotels I had never contacted asking me to come stay for a few nights and offering a full itinerary of dining and experiences. Felt good that they are now seeking me out.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
That is what my business is all about! My posts are intended to guide people where to eat, drink, visit, etc. I collect stories under headings for later reference and occasionally make travel guides for locations.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband has been the man behind the scenes. He drives me on my voyages, sips wine with me, helps me pack, gives me advice on content, and takes some of the photos you see on VineyardsandVoyages. He puts up with all my demands and has mastered my best camera angles. I am grateful to him for doing life with me and loving me with every inch of his being.

Website: www.vineyardsandvoyages.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vineyardsandvoyages/

Image Credits
All images to be credited to Vineyards&Voyages

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