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Chelsey Burnside, Journalism ’12, and Cainan Querido, RTA School of Media ’12, co-founded content marketing company Studio Sophomore and have just launched a travel platform.
Photo Credits: Mike Rousseau (inset), background photo courtesy of Wellington Weekend Guide.
When Chelsey Burnside and her partner Cainan Querido graduated from Journalism and RTA School of Media respectively in 2012, the media industry was shifting dramatically, causing the couple to reconsider their career paths.
“Journalism, at the time, felt like a risky choice,” says Burnside. “But interviewing, storybuilding and figuring out what is in the public interest are all things I use in my day-to-day.”
The pair met in residence. They both had signed up too late for Pitman Hall and ended up at the Primrose Hotel. When they discovered they were both Faculty of Communication and Design students, they started walking to classes together. They have been inseparable since.
Their instincts around storytelling drove them to co-found Studio Sophomore.The company produces online content to fill the editorial calendars of all types of brands like Dove, Old Navy, Porter Airlines, Volkswagen, Banana Republic, Leafly, Sony, Kobo, Ace Hill Beer and Rethink Breast Cancer. They employ individuals (mostly fellow Ryerson graduates) from various creative industries in order to achieve their content creation goals.
“There will always be a market for great storytelling,” says Burnside.
Good Weekend Co, an online travel platform, co-founded by Ryerson graduates Chelsey Burnside and Cainan Querido, recommends destinations for short getaways. Clockwise from left: Nottawasaga Lookout in Duntroon, Ontario; a guest cabin at the Firelight Campground in Itaca, New York and the yurt on The Buffalo Farm in Mattawa, Ontario. Photo Credits: Via @ontarioparks, @firelightcamps. Yurt by Melissa Payne Riel.
Since then, the couple’s digital storytelling has grown to include a side project called @EscapeToronto, an Instagram account that documents great weekend escapes within three hours of the city. It currently has a following of over 20K.
Their target market of young, upwardly mobile professionals, loved the curated content and Querido and Burnside knew they were onto something, so they decided to make @EscapeToronto into a side hustle known as Good Weekend Co. with co-founders Jansen Sullivan and Erin Andrews.
The site, which curates the best accommodations, restaurants and experiences within driving distance of the city, helps individuals plan that quick weekend escape at the click of a mouse with options that already have the couple’s stamp of approval.
“It’s for people who want to get out of the city and grab that fresh air,” says Burnside. That includes more than their original target market. “We are finding that young families are using the service and individuals often take their parents along.”
The pair have plans to grow the site, first to the Ottawa region and then into other major cities where people are in need of a great escape.