When Roxy Garrity moved back to North Carolina from New York City right before the pandemic, she saw an opportunity to merge her digital media entrepreneur skills with her interest in real estate.
Garrity came to the area with a journalist’s background, having worked as a local TV news reporter in markets like Tallahassee, Nashville and New York before she switched to creating virtual branded content and meteorology reports. In New York, she plunged into the startup world and got hooked, she said, when she developed an app that provided outfit recommendations based on the weather.
But after working at digital media company LittleThings, Garrity moved to Raleigh with her husband and started a family.
It was closer to her original home in Winston-Salem, and it was the perfect time and place to unveil a new hyper-localized media company and lifestyle brand: The Raleigh-Durham Girl. The Raleigh-Durham Girl just joined the 10th cohort of the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP)—aka RAP X—and is primed for growth.
Where The Raleigh-Durham Girl differs from other online news startups is in its focus on feature and lifestyle content specifically for Millennial and Gen Z women. A localized Refinery29, if you will.
“I want to create another resource for young millennial women, Gen Zers, even men to connect with each other and form relationships and read about what matters in their community by other people who live here,” Garrity said.
Instead of publishing economic development announcements, for instance, the publication is featuring people in their homes, showing house tours and being an honest resource on the costs of living in the area. It already has more than 5,000 fans on Facebook and has been growing steadily since launching late last year.
Garrity describes it as “for locals, by locals.” No agenda, just covering topics other local publications may neglect, like home life, insider real estate coverage and dating. Garrity hopes to begin hosting in-person events soon to boost local engagement and growth.
Imagine an early-day party akin to Daybreaker in New York and San Francisco, she says. Meditation, yoga, even a full-on dance party with a DJ and juice sponsors—all before work. That’s what Garrity hopes to bring to the Triangle this spring or summer as pandemic concerns fade.
“I think it’s been harder connecting face-to-face and obviously we haven’t done any events, but that’s something I would love to do,” Garrity said. “As people are getting more comfortable going out and doing things, I think we will.”
Triangle-area startup resources have begun taking note of The Raleigh-Durham Girl too. After its soft launch in November, the company won a $3K grant from a pitch competition held by the Raleigh branch of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives).
Now the startup will be participating in RAP. Garrity sees the accelerator as a way to build connections in the Triangle given that she moved here right before the pandemic.
“I feel very excited to get to know other people in the tech community here,” Garrity said. “I do think they can offer me a great, vast knowledge in terms of what I need to do to be successful in this area because they’ve helped so many startups grow and raise money in the Triangle.”
Down the line, Garrity envisions national growth for the publication. She sees The Raleigh-Durham Girl as a business model that can be copied in other cities. There could be a Charlotte Girl, a Wilmington Girl, a Winston-Salem Girl, each with a local editor running the business—and that could be just the beginning.
So far, The Raleigh-Durham Girl has explored releasing content in a variety of formats. There’s an email newsletter offering exclusive invites to local events, an Instagram account, and hopefully soon a Tik Tok presence, Garrity said. Her first step to expand The Raleigh-Durham Girl’s would-be empire is to grow its social media presence and hire talented people, she said. She’s looking for a technical co-founder and a part-time managing editor.
“I do want to grow the team,” Garrity said. “I don’t want to do it by myself. And I’m hoping with the (RAP) cohort and leveraging those connections, I’ll be able to get the right people and the right team together in order to really make an impact in the local media scene.”