CHICAGO — The four founders of Chicago-based Daily Urbanista never expected the website to become much of anything when they congregated for drinks about a year ago.
"All I knew was that I was meeting a group of people for drinks to talk about dating and a year later, here we are building a brand," said Gina Pedroni, of suburban Bensenville.
Pedroni "met" fellow founders — Laura Vecchia, of Lakeview, Brandy Gonsoulin, of Lincoln Square, and Lisa Marie Chatroop, of Gold Coast — when they were all on the same online chat where the topic of dating came up. Their common interests — all four are in their 30s and single — led to them discussing the idea of creating a blog, which was cemented when they organized a get-together for cocktails.
The site at first was called "Secret Lives of Chicago" and focused strictly on dating. Eventually, it expanded its reach to topics like travel, lifestyle and entertainment, and earlier this month, its name became Daily Urbanista.
Justin Breen says the creators are hoping to expand their audience:
"We originally wanted a platform that allowed us to tell our stories, mostly around dating," Gonsoulin said. "As the project has grown, we realized that a place where people could come find information on living a single, urban life was our next evolution.
"From lifestyle and travel to dating and entertaining, Daily Urbanista hopes to give readers access to the best people, places and things Chicago and the world has to offer through first-hand writer experience," Gonsoulin added.
Daily Urbanista has more than 2,000 Twitter followers and more than 1,400 Facebook likes. The four founders, who all have full-time jobs in marketing, said they spend more than 10 hours a week each — unpaid — managing the site, writing stories and uploading content.
Vecchia said the best part of her role has been "being able to express myself in stories, across multiple areas such as dating, traveling, and food and drinks."
The founders, who hope to eventually make the site profitable, said they would like to add more contributing writers, from Chicago and beyond.
"This was all organic and it continues to grow and, while we have a strategy, we are allowing the natural direction this project wants to take to happen," Gonsoulin said.
For more information on becoming a writer for Daily Urbanista, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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