This summer, Anna Lisa (Falzone) '08 and Porter Grieve '08 launched their blog and Instagram account, Recess City
, into a business and full-time travel lifestyle just weeks after marrying in August 2017.
With 52,000 followers on Instagram
, the Boston couple shares evocative, artistic photos of beautiful destinations around the world, and models minimalistic, ethically-made fashion pieces on location. The Grieves make a living and fund their travel through deals with fashion companies, hotels, and restaurants that earn a spot in their photos.
On August 31, the pair flew to Rome to begin three months of paid travel around Europe, where they will stay in mostly luxury hotels, meals included, in some of the most popular and photographed cities in Italy, Greece, Spain, Morocco, and more. Anna Lisa Grieve estimates the total value of their hotel stays is somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000, but after working out deals to feature and review the hotels on their blog and hand over a batch of photographs taken at each, they’ll pay nothing.
The young entrepreneurs often have to explain that they’re not just taking an extended honeymoon or spending their parents' money. Their partnerships with brands and hotels can earn them as much as $500 for a single Instagram post. Companies are willing to support the Grieves because they've carved out a niche with a very desirable, fashion-conscious audience of young women in Europe, Australia, and the United States.
The couple seeks out partnerships with businesses that share their dedication to environmentalism. "We weren't exactly enthusiastic about how the fashion industry uses these social platforms to drive readers to consume," says Anna Lisa. "We didn't love feeling like a pawn in a game with questionable ethics, and we wanted this space [online fashion and travel photography] to be something more than art and entertainment; we wanted to contribute something that compelled people to think differently, and we wanted our platforms to encourage others to aspire to do good."
Anna Lisa and Porter Grieve have been together since they were students at Shore and, later, at Brooks School. Before turning their passion for photography and travel into an environmentally conscious fashion business, they worked at various positions in writing, finance, and social media in the United States and Europe.
Now, in the midst of an around-the-world trip to launch their new business, they say they are aware of the risk they’re taking by launching a social media venture instead of pursuing traditional jobs, but, argues Anna Lisa, "Now is the best time to take the plunge. You just say your prayers and you take the risk. Better to take the risk than to sit at a desk and wish that you had."