By Alyssa Martin, Staff Writer—
UTC alumna Yee Won Wilkey founded and started following her calling during her years at UTC with Wonderly Creative, her growing photography and videography business.
When Wilkey moved to Chattanooga her freshman year of college, she planned to pursue a career in communications and marketing. However, her perspective started to shift once she took Billy Week’s photojournalism class halfway through her college career.
Wilkey stated that she did not have much interest in photography and only took the class as an elective; however, once she started taking the class, it was not as easy as she anticipated.
“It was really hard, and I was really bad at it, but Billy Weeks just teaches you about documenting people and telling people’s stories in a humanitarian kind of way,” said Wilkey.
“You have to do it very objectively; you can’t touch anything when you’re taking photos. I really love people, and the way Billy taught me about telling people’s stories through photographs really resonated with me.”
After finishing Photojournalism 1, she decided to stick with it, which led to her taking photographs of friends and family members. Wilkey recalled that she once even told her friends she would buy them slushies if they allowed her to take photos of them.
Wilkey said that the first time she was ever paid for her work was for a Christmas card shoot of her brother’s family; she charged around $25.
From there she continued to grow her business and eventually settled with the name “Wonderly Creative,” a play off her name.
After Wilkey graduated, she began working part time marketing jobs and doing photography on the side until one day her husband suggested she take her business full-time.
This question allowed Wilkey to take leap and start her business full time in 2017. As of a year later, she is booked through the end of the year with 30 wedding projects, her current main focus.
In the upcoming year, Wilkey plans to add more balance to her business with one day a week of rest.
“Our culture tells us, we gotta hustle, we gotta grind, we gotta work, and I absolutely believe in that, but I also believe, I gotta be mentally healthy.”
To view Wilkey’s portfolio, visit @wonderlycreative on Instagram or www.wonderlycreative.com.