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

Hi Allison, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
To me it seemed like there was no other path. I took the conventional route and completed college and I even majored in something completely different than what I am currently pursuing now. Believing something would just stick and I would find myself on the “appropriate trajectory”.

I wanted to be a photographer all the way through high school and my teacher actually told me, as well as many other people,that it wasn’t the right approach and that I should finish college regardless. What’s amazing is that even though I was extremely busy with school and working as a server in a restaurant, I continued to take photos for fun.

On a whim I took a course in management and then I realized that I loved it and could take a minor in entrepreneurship. To me that’s what really struck me, like “wait a minute I can make this creative thing work for me”.

Mainly because I always believed that photography or owning your own business was unrealistic. Something that “those people” could do but not me.

So oddly enough they were right to say that I should go to school because it was the confidence that learning how to learn gave me. I then reached out to fellow entrepreneurs/mentors in my industry and took a course called the “Six figure business map for Creative Entrepreneurs”. At that point I knew I was in the right direction and it was all about asking the right questions to the right people. From then on I had found the exact map that I could replicate for my charcuterie company as well. And I will say it’s been extremely rewarding to know that I have forged away for myself rather than slaving away at a 9-to-5 job that I hate.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I never thought I was creative. I truly thought that I was just someone that liked to take photos and it wasn’t until I heard from people that I truly admired for their craft say they felt the exact same way.

Even with my charcuterie company I constantly criticize myself and compare myself to others even when others are applauding my work.
This I will say is the most challenging part yet most universal aspect of becoming a creative entrepreneur. The realization that with each level you achieve a higher status, there will always be someone to compare yourself to and you have to have faith in your personal journey.

So in no way has this been easy but oh my goodness it’s been extremely rewarding along the way.

The charcuterie company happened by accident I felt a need to fill this gap in the industry where I and my family felt excluded because there was no non-pork options or halal options for the muslim population. Or at least not many that I could find at the time. But I remember there was a huge sense of excitement when I came up with the idea. So much that I could not sleep until five or 6 AM. I created all of the branding in one night and bought all the things I would need and came up with all the different board options. This was not normal for me. I love my sleep. But I just knew that that magical feeling, that idea that everyone is hoping for, dreaming of, it CAME TO ME and I wasn’t going to let it go.

The biggest take away that I want people understand about my brand is that I truly care for people and it comes from a place of wanting to create an experience that is inclusive exciting unique and personal. I do the same with my wedding photography as with my charcuterie boards. I’m sharing a piece of myself which is vulnerable but at the same time it’s my way of connecting with people that would otherwise be known as strangers. Set a refer back to that beginning part where I said that I didn’t feel creative to this day I still don’t feel creative but I do know that I love people and I love connecting more than anything else and that comes out of my work.

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.
This is amazing of a question because my friend recently did that to me and I got to see my own city in a completely new way. For one of the days I would make a charcuterie board and we would go down to the Laguna Beach tide pools. It’s one of the most unique things to see all of the different pools of water and a great place to take photos as well especially around sunset the way that the light gleams off of the rocks and water. After that I would take them to the rooftop lounge at La Casa Del Camino and have Mojito‘s (virgin or otherwise) facing the water.

Another day could be spent shopping at the lab anti-mall and thrift shopping at the various hidden gems all around Orange County. We’d probably end the night with a great meal and a trip to Bruin bar in Costa Mesa where they make kraft cocktails. We probably have pho at Sup Noodle Bar where they give you unlimited noodles and have the best soup I’ve ever tasted.

For the next day I would take them to my absolute favorite donut shop in all of town that’s family owned in Tustin. Oliboli Donuts. What’s amazing about them is that they fry all of their donuts to order so everything comes out hot but not only that the dough is much healthier than the usual dough and much better flavor that leaves you feeling satisfied without the achy stomach. We would lounge at the pool all day then I would take them to the sunflower fields at Tanaka farms to take photos and pick flowers.

One of the days would be spent in old town Tustin where I live walking around the neighborhood and checking out all of the old architecture and dreaming about which home we would buy. Many of those homes have orchards and sell their produce right out front on a little stand where you can leave money in a jar on an honor basis . I buy avocados for three for a dollar . We’d probably get Baskin Robbins since it’s close by.

We’d go see the latest Marvel movie and one of those fancy theaters with reclining seats and walk around the spectrum window shopping and people watching.

Overall everything we do would be focused on being in the moment soaking it in with all of our senses. (:

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s so many people to think but I have to specifically mention my teacher David Ochi from UC Irvine who pushed me to start my photography business with absolutely zero knowledge and got me my first assignment. This was the moment that I realized you really don’t need to know in order to start, if anything just starting gains you the most knowledge of all.

I also really appreciate my mentor, Jai Long, from his “course six-figure business map for creative entrepreneurs”. This course skyrocketed my knowledge and helped me too bridge the gap between myself and people much further along in their businesses.

Website: Halalcuterie.com Darlingsanddreamers.com

Instagram: @halalcuterie @darlingsanddreamers.co

Linkedin: Allison Greenlea

Yelp: Darlings and Dreamers / Halalcuterie

Other: Google both those names (: Darlings and Dreamers / Halalcuterie

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