My grandparents were the inspiration for the Save Family Photos project. I'm lucky to have matriarchs and patriarchs who love telling stories. My grandmother had a wall of family photos that I walked by often. On that wall, I saw faces full of hopes and dreams before I ever existed. Every time I walked by that wall, I realized My story started before me.

When my grandfather died, I wanted to celebrate the legacy he left behind. So I started scanning old photos of him — from his childhood to his military service, from marrying my grandmother to raising my mother. Then, I posted a photo and a story about him on Instagram and invited family and friends to do the same. In turn, they encouraged people in their networks to share. Now I receive thousands of family photos and stories from around the world.

Save Family Photos started as a personal project on Instagram and quickly grew into a virtual campfire where families gather to share their stories, one photo at a time.

What it does

weGather is a free, purpose-driven app that helps families capture the stories behind old analog photos in a fun, social way. Rather than focusing on digitization and storage, weGather focuses on story collection using the power of crowdsourcing. weGather is narrowly-scoped, launching with a focused feature set that's optimized for mobile devices. We're creating an app that's fun to use and most important, gets multiple family members involved quickly!

Challenges I ran into

Finding (the right) software developers. We believe in building a team, not just a product. Great teams build great products! So after an extensive search, we are grateful to have a team of four wonderful developers and designers in Berlin, Germany. My husband, Andrew, serves as the head of product and technology.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Posting a family photo and story every day on Instagram since September 2013, and growing our community to 25,000 loyal followers. You can get involved with our community here: link

What I learned

Family photos are universally appealing. They're the glue that holds our stories together across generations. Simply put, they're the best way to trigger family storytelling!

What's next for weGather

Lots of iteration, followed by a monetization strategy. My husband, Andrew, earned his MBA recently and weGather was the basis for his thesis. A portion of the thesis focused on growth and monetization strategies, so we already have some ideas for next steps. :)

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