We speak to Allira Potter on working the side hustle

“I started [my Instagram account] a couple of years ago and it was purely because my family were so sick to death of me posting food photos on my Facebook,” Allira Potter laughs.

“So I thought I’d give Instagram a go. Initially it started with me just posting where I was eating and saying, ‘Hey, these are all the cool cafes in Geelong’. Now it’s me showing people what I’m cooking and since then it’s blown up.”

Meeting over breakfast at the popular Geelong West cafe King of the Castle (a favourite of Alliras), it’s easy to see how these moments of enjoying food came to be shared online.

It was at this same cafe where Allira was given the chance to reinvent her Instagram account, from simply sharing her own creations to helping local eateries showcase their offerings via social media.

“It was about 18 months ago when someone approached me and said, ‘Do you do other business’ social media?’” she says.

“[At the time] I said ‘No I just do mine’, and so my first photography job was with Robbie Lecchino from King of the Castle and it’s been full on since then.”

In that moment, her account of Grub Guide evolved into She Takes Photos, and her new business venture of photography and social media management began.

More than a year since that initial question was posed, Allira has worked with Geetroit Foodie, King of the Castle, the Pickers Union, Bottles and Barrels, White Witch Botanicals, Minc Fitness and many others.

Demand for her services has seen Allira build on her food photography by entering into the lifestyle, travel and small business industries. This growth so early in her business venture is testament to Allira’s skills in photography and on social media. Requests have become so frequent, Allira has had to drop down to four days a week in her full time job to stay ahead of the workload.

Of late Allira has toyed with the idea of freelancing full time, but for now she’s just enjoying the return to nurturing her creative side and love for food, particularly after working as a chef.

“I’ve always had a very creative background in the arts and then I stopped. Two years ago I picked up the camera and it just felt natural to do it,” she says.

“I’m just a girl who loves to eat and photograph things.”

With an increase in café and food photography amongst Instagrammers in Geelong, Allira realised the importance of staying unique in an over-saturated platform.

The changes saw her showcase her food creations at home as well as documenting her day-to-day life, including candid conversations with her audience about living life on social media and overcoming anxiety.

“It is so important to keep relevant and so important to do your own thing and not copy anyone else,” she says on the matter.

Entering into a plant-based diet and with a background as a chef, Allira has been requested by multiple businesses for her experience on creating delicious vegan meals. This experience came early on in her venture via King of the Castle, where several of her creations featured on the menu.

Beyond a plant-based focus in her dishes, Allira is passionate about pursuing the use of native ingredients in her cooking. As a proud Yorta-Yorta woman, Allira is an advocate for Aboriginal culture, communities and health and is excited to share part of her culture through her food.

“It’s only been up until this year to get accessible native ingredients around Geelong,” she says.

To the young Aboriginal women in her community and her following of over 11,000 people on Instagram, Allira is an inspiration and the perfect example of what it looks like when you follow your passions.

When Allira isn’t behind the camera or at the stovetop, she spends her downtime training at F45 in Geelong West and playing for the Barwon Heads football team.

Follow Allira on Instagram and Facebook, website coming soon.

Written by Amanda Sherring.

Images supplied by She Takes Photos.

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