Direct selling is a great option for those seeking additional income on a flexible schedule, but it also provides practical experience and professional development in business, marketing, and many creative fields. We love hearing stories from our Wine Guides about how their small wine business has helped them excel in their full-time jobs, or discover new passions and talents. Here’s one story from a Wine Guide who found a whole new professional focus, all because of wine.

Explore more success stories from real Wine Guides

For Kisha Dlugos, a West Virginia-based Wine Guide, the Traveling Vineyard wine business has led her to a new creative passion—food and wine photography. In fact, we were so impressed with her work that Kisha is now a regular content producer for Traveling Vineyard, creating many of our very sippable, snackable wine and food images, like the one featured on this blog. We talked to Kisha about how she went from passion-for-wine to food and drink photographer.

Kisha Dlugos Wine Guide Professional Development in Direct Selling is Photography
Kisha Dlugos is a Wine Guide in West Virginia whose passion for food and wine photography inspired her to study the craft and launch her own photography business. She discovered her unique talent and explored professional development with direct selling.
When you first launched your Traveling Vineyard business, what were your needs and what were your expectations for your business?

When I first launched my business in late February 2015, my expectations were quite honestly that I would just market a few bottles here or there and make some extra cash (not much) to supplement my full-time salaried job. The extra money would go towards paying off neurological medical bills that my son had acquired. Once the bills were paid off, I could mainly enjoy the personal discount. This was a simple side gig with friends and fulfillment.

Your food and wine photos were an instant hit among our Wine Guide community. In the past five years, you have taken your passion and talent to the next level. Tell us about your journey.

When I started this journey in 2015, I knew I liked to drink wine, that was it. I knew nothing about food and wine pairing. One day, I picked up my iPhone and snapped a pic and, let’s be honest, when others tell you how great of a job you’ve done, you sit up a little straighter and keep trying your hand at it. Originally, I started snapping photos to show my Facebook friends how I paired my wine with food and to help my sales, but then Wine Guides and Traveling Vineyard found them helpful. I kept snapping, I began to learn how to style the photos better, my sales began to rise and I like to think that some of that had to do with creating great photos that customers could imagine themselves enjoying.

In 2016, I earned the “Above & Beyond Award” from Traveling Vineyard, which meant so much to me and I think it was at that point that I realized just how much my tribe appreciated my talent. However, I think in the past year I have demonstrated tremendous growth with my photography. I enrolled in an online food photography school and invested in a Sony Alpha camera. Traveling Vineyard truly helped me discover so much more about myself and my entrepreneurial spirit.

How do you see your passion evolving in the future?

I have recently started my own photography company, Iconic Lens Photography, which mainly focuses on product photography such as food and wine. There is always something to learn and grow with in photography. I hope my craft dramatically improves year over year.

Do you have a passion that you’re ready to explore by starting your own income-generating direct selling business? Wine is a great product to choose. Reach out to us to learn more.

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