Imagine traveling to your next destination to be stumped on how to avoid being seen as a tourist. No worries, D-RAVEL is a one-stop-shop for a travel and dress blog.
D-RAVEL is not a traditional blog. It provides its travelers with each city’s unique hideaways. 85 cities, 25 countries and 30 states have been covered by influential people all around the world.
What makes D-RAVEL separate from the rest is it is one platform for local influencers influencing you on the best shopping, the best restaurants and the best view fronts. This dress and travel service grants you the deets on how to shop like a local, the fashion trends you must pack for and travel tips for exotic to frigid temp locations.
“The goal is helping travelers feel more comfortable and prepared to come to a new and unfamiliar city,” said Grace Rigdon, the founder of D-RAVEL.
“Better helping travelers feel inspired by local bloggers and influencers in that area that love to do what you and I like to do: dine at beautiful restaurants with amazing sceneries. We don’t want Google’s hottest restaurants, obviously, that’s K.F.C. in some places. We want the hidden gems of the city.”
Where all this inspiration and creativity for D-RAVEL stemmed from Rigdon’s experiences at Iowa State University. She attended ISU and graduated in May of 2020 with a degree in apparel, merchandising and design with a minor in journalism.
Her journey began as an aspiring fashion designer but after her freshman year, she discovered that wasn’t her niche. Her niche was for journalism and fashion, the best of both worlds.
Throughout college, she spent her academic years and summer breaks grinding to refine her knowledge for the two. She interned at Hearst Magazine in New York City as a beauty intern where she wrote for magazines like Cosmopolitan, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar.
After a once in a lifetime experience in the big apple, Rigdon was presented a position as an SEO intern at Meredith Corporations in Des Moines, Iowa. This opportunity allowed her to hone in on her niche for editorial.
Internships were not the only college experience inspiring her to push the limits of her career. Studying abroad in Glasgow, Scotland gave her insight on travel beyond the states. It was an experience she could not have dreamt in her dreams.
“It was the craziest and coolest memory of my entire life and I honestly never had an experience like that,” said Rigdon. “The memories I made [in Glasgow] were my absolute favorite. The people were incredible, the food was awesome and the schooling was unforgettable. It will never be forgotten.”
Glasgow was quintessential to D-RAVEL’s creation. Besides, enrolling in a random entrepreneurship course her senior year, studying abroad opened her eyes to service essential for all the travel dummies out there. As a traveler herself, she always had this thought when abroad that there was this lack of information from locals.
Locals are the know-it-alls of the area and should rediscover the city through their testimonies of what they think are the best boutiques, best burger joints and best dive bars in their area.
So, amid the country declaring a nationwide pandemic and travel bans spanning across the oceans, D-RAVEL was successful from the gate. You would assume one would not search for where to travel next but in fact, D-RAVEL was what every travel frenzy fan needed.
“Because of the pandemic, I was able to create a cool and unique community that was focused around giving each other local tips and recommendations,” said Rigdon. “Overall, it made people excited to go out and travel again. I had to get creative, but it allowed me to get connected with people more and create more of an individual relationship with more users.”
Rigdon is a bustling gal. She somehow finds a way to balance two careers. Not only is Rigdon leading a dress and travel service blog but also leading a team as marketing director for deetz, an app that presents you deals and events in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“After going through my CYstarters accelerator program at ISU, I knew that I loved the pace of the entrepreneurship world and working for a startup was something I was really interested in doing because I knew I would be able to wear so many different hats,” said Rigdon. “While working for a company I would be able to do a ton of different experiments and have initiatives that I probably wouldn’t have in a traditional base role.”
She always thought after graduation she would find a career in editorial but after being laid off from a potential career in NYC, she jumped the gun on D-RAVEL.
“I would advise my previous self to continue to try new things even when you think you are secure,” said Rigdon. “If I wouldn’t have had this itch to see what this entrepreneurship class was like, I would be in a different space working for a corporate job, not have started my own company and not working for different sorts of companies. I just think that if you get comfortable in what you think will be best for your life, you can really miss out on awesome opportunities. I thought the whole editorial world was set in stone for me but the only reason I thought that was because I curated that for myself.”
Her best advice is to not put a focus on the vision, instead allow other opportunities to arise.
In a coincidence manner, it all happened for a reason. Now, she’s fueling her energy of creativity into improving the experience for travelers. A little something she has in the works for D-RAVEL is allowing her readers to request a city. If they haven’t covered the city you plan to travel to next, they will. D-RAVEL is about catering to you and allowing you to search for a destination.
“The goal of this feature is to completely curate stories based on your needs and gravitate towards finding new influencers that have that information,” said Rigdon. “I can’t read the reader’s minds and where I find all these influencers is based on my preconceived thoughts of where people are wanting to travel to, so I think this element will really personalize D-RAVEL for the people following it.”
If you thought that this is where D-RAVEL was stopping, think again. In March, Rigdon is collaborating with a friend who is an artist on Etsy for travel-inspired home decor. Moreover, this summer D-RAVEL is pitching to partner with the Chamber of Commerce in cities.
D-RAVEL will not present you with the basic shopping malls in the area or the classic, tourist attractions. Instead, they will offer you the rare finds of the cities only those who have lived there for quite some time. D-RAVEL lets you have a little secret on a beginner’s guide to road-tripping, the best sights and eats in Chicago, Ill or how to travel on a budget.
What better way to promote a city than from a local themselves. Locals are the know-it-alls of the area and should rediscover the city through their testimonies of what they think are the best boutiques, best burger joints and best dive bars in their area. Rigdon and her team of locals will answer all your travel and dress questions and needs.
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