Often we hear the biggest regret in people’s lives is that they didn’t take more risks, but what are we doing to really inculcate this mindset? While people shallowly utter that they want to be more adventurous, this company is documenting those that are actually doing it. Trep Life is on a mission to make you and millions like you ‘take risks and live adventurously’ while you still can and before regret sets in. With an inspiring story of their own, they cover the enlightening decisions and life stories of others at scale.
AlleyWatch spoke with cofounder Teresa Bigelow about her inspiring journey, the origins of the company, and how she wishes a company like hers was around when she was younger.
Tell us about the product or service.
We’re a video-focused media company that gives a voice to the intrepid. Through our original series, as well as custom branded content, we tell stories about entrepreneurs, artists, risk takers, and purpose-driven people who live life on their own terms.
How is it different?
We focus specifically on short-form documentary content about people who embody the intrepid lifestyle. Everything we create passes through this lens. And more recently, we’ve shifted our focus to stories about women, specifically.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
From a content marketing perspective, we’re in a market that’s projected to be at $300B by 2019. Our corner of the market (the intrepid) is harder to quantify, but that’s because it’s so universal. Almost everyone has a passion or a dream, and more and more people are sidestepping the conventional life path to pursue it. Studies are showing that 72% of high schoolers want to start a business someday, and we’re only 5-8 years from those people entering the workforce and becoming consumers. Brands are catching on to the value of engaging with this mentality.
What is the business model?
Right now, it’s a combination of custom content created for brands who are marketing to entrepreneurs and the intrepid lifestyle, as well as revenue share through third-party distribution.
What inspired the business?
My business partner, Malachi Leopold, actually launched Trep Life as a web series with Inc.com. Around the same time, I brought an idea to him to create a scripted series about young women working in the tech industry. What we’re working on now is a combination of the two, based on our shared desire to tell the stories of women kicking ass in the world.
For me personally, the motivation comes from my own experience moving to New York. When I moved here after college, I had some pretty lofty dreams and ambitions, but not one of them included entrepreneurship. It didn’t even occur to me that I could start my own company until I was in the same room with women who were doing just that. The strange thing is that my parents were extremely aware of gender biases — my mom did her best to steer me away from the “boys do this and girls do that” mentality — and yet, I still somehow grew up believing that only men are CEOs. That’s how I realized just how much impact the media has on our psyche and notions of what we can and cannot do. I want to create content that I wish 15-year-old me had seen.
What’s it like to be a female founder building a business in NYC? What resources have you found most helpful?
I’ve always felt the love in NYC. Dell released a study in June that ranked the best cities for female entrepreneurs, and I wasn’t at all surprised to see New York at #1. I think it’s the culture of diversity that makes a difference. With access to an endless number of opportunities, cultures, events, communities and industries — all colliding at the center of the world — we have a unique opportunity to build a multi-dimensional network. I’ve found that curated events like #MentHERnyc are super impactful. It’s rare to be in a room full of women who are going through the same thing you are.
And, at least for me, there’s a sense of freedom to embrace the full expression of myself in NY without judgement. I can exist in multiple worlds and in multiple circles here, and I haven’t experienced that in any other city I’ve lived in. That freedom allows space to cultivate confidence and self awareness — both vital for thriving in any career path, but especially entrepreneurship.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
There are so many! The most important milestone is completing production on our female founders series, releasing it to the world and getting more eyes on the content than the first two Trep Life seasons combined. We’re also building a data platform, which will hopefully have some momentum within the next 6 – 9 months.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Build from the heart, not the ego.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
I would love to have a long juicy conversation with Samhita Mukhopadhyay. There’s something really potent about the idea that sexuality, love, our relationships (to ourselves and others), social change and feminism are all connected. The “sex & dating” beat is often extracted from the traditional feminism narrative, but I actually think it’s the most important, as it represents the core of our humanness. Samhita is one of very few prominent feminist voices who has addressed this.
Why did you launch in New York?
Well, my co-founder is actually in Berkeley, so we have sort of a multi-city thing going on. But as a media/content/tech company, I think it’s important to be in NY and immersed in the film, production and art culture, as well as the media and tech industries on both coasts. What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Tao Downtown. I love the aesthetics, the food, the vibe…