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1,000 COSIGN’s Meet Kara Shannon & Lily Kramlich-Taylor, Co-Founders of Dallasites101 | COSIGN #116 of 1K

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Name: Kara Shannon & Lily Kramlich-Taylor
Company: Dallasites101
Title: Co-Founders
Instagram: @dallasites101
Current Location: Dallas
Favorite quote: “Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.” -John Steinbeck

“Dallasites101 began as your #Instaguide to becoming an #InstaDallasite, when we recognized the need for a public platform to help Dallas transplants who were new to the city,” says Kara Shannon and Lily Kramlich-Taylor, the founders of Dallasites101. They both became Dallas transplants in 2014, after being offered jobs shortly after graduating from college. “Dallas was a random choice for us though, we only knew a handful of people and hadn’t spent much time in the city prior to moving here,” Lily says. “However, for myself, it was much easier finding a job in Dallas than anywhere else I was looking, which really speaks to the job market and business environment here.”

While they both went to school in the Northeast, the two come from opposite sides of the country, Kara is from Connecticut, and Lily is from California. They met after moving to Dallas, when a mutual friend invited them both to a birthday dinner. They shared the same challenge once they relocated. “We didn’t know much about what to do or where to go or how to meet friends, but we felt empowered to integrate and enjoy living in Dallas, and Dallasites101 really came to be when we also felt empowered to help others find that same sense of ‘home’ here,” Lily says. “We began posting our adventures around town on Instagram, which eventually led to us creating live experiences off the ‘Gram for our followers. And from there Dallasites has morphed into what it is now: a hyper-local media company, focusing on encouraging both new and native residents to continuously discover and engage in the city.”

Dallas did provide the pair with some culture shock. “It was definitely different!” Kara recalls. “And most people here have never even heard of where we went to school! The biggest shock was the small school versus large school mentality though. Obviously, everyone cheered on the Pats in the Northeast, but college football wasn’t really anything special. Here in Dallas though, football is the focus of every Saturday and Sunday in the fall. Also, sororities weren’t as important as they are down here … I owned a preppy JCrew skirt decorated with anchors. It was nautical and went along with the East Coast vibe, but the first time I ever wore it in Dallas, I was asked if I was a DG (Delta Gamma).”

“After a couple months of posting on Instagram, we had made so many connections that we wanted to meet them all,” they say. To do this, the duo planned a casual happy hour, invited a couple hundred people, and ended up packing the restaurant. They took this success and ran with it. “From there, we began doing a lot more live events and experiences, both privately for Instagram influencers and publicly, for our followers. That, we think, really helped solidify Dallasites101 as a brand, not just an Instagram. And then over time, we worked up our other platforms and offerings, as well from our website, to private consulting to social media workshops and beyond, to create what we are now.”

The two-woman team handles all aspects of Dallasites101, from the photography to the content creation, and everything in between, and has since day one. They have added a few freelancers and contractors to help the cause, but the core team remains the two of them. They are in the process of rebranding themselves as a “hyperlocal media company,” as opposed to influencer/Instagrammers, but they admit it has been challenging. “We obviously do have an influential platform on Instagram, but it’s not the Lily and Kara show, but rather a guide to experiencing the city, that happens to live on Instagram. Because our content doesn’t focus on ourselves, we don’t see ourselves fitting into the traditional mode of an influencer or blogger,” they say. “We also don’t see ourselves as a traditional media company either, but a crossover between the two, with the end goal of creating easily digestible content that any Dallasite can find useful for enjoying the city.”

The brand is expanding, and now includes Localites101, a place where the ladies share their travels. As regular travelers, they would post their experiences on Dallasites101, but it didn’t exactly fit the established theme. “Those posts never really did well with people, our followers want to know about Dallas, not the random restaurant we visited in Madrid,” they say. “Therefore, we created a travel Instagram, and really focused on making it different from the rest, through our city guides. Our posts are broken up by city, so we feature just one place for a period of time and then move on. But we actually don’t have any team members in other cities or countries, the content and photos are sourced from our own experiences or experiences from our freelancers here in Dallas who travel a lot as well.”

Dallasites101 is ever evolving, and effective top of the year 2019, the duo has transitioned to doing Dallasites101 full-time. “We were so constrained by time in the past, Dallasites really moved based on the asks we received,” they say. “It’s exciting to think that we will actually have time now to think more about the future and guide Dallasites in that direction.” The two look to continue to grow and expand, and to help to bridge businesses, brands and events in Dallas with Dallasites.

Kara and Lily #COSIGN:

Sarah Webb – @DallasLoveList
Jake Ryan Hull – @jakeryanhull
Paige Martindell – @paigeforrest
Amber La France – @Amberlafrance
Dani Rios – @littlemixico
Her.HQ Team – @her.hq_
Giselle Ruggeberg – @jadeandclover & @petalpushers
Brittany Cobb – @fleastyle
Michael Reese – @JackMasonBrand
Cassie Brown – @SmartCityApts /@cassie_brownn

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