There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Eat Work Play (one of Charlotte’s fastest-growing millennial-focused online publications) or its co-founder, Davon Bailey (one of Charlotte’s top young professionals under 30). We recently sat down with Davon to learn more about Eat Work Play (EWP) and his vision for the burgeoning platform.
Hi Davon! What brought you to Charlotte?
I moved to Charlotte in 2013 after graduating from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. I interned at Bank of America as a compliance analyst, which turned into a full-time job.
Nice. How long were you with Bank of America?
Three years, but I recently took time off to pursue EWP full-time. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, but it was so worth it. I’m able to give EWP more of my time, passion and attention. Since then, it’s really taken off.
What’s your vision for EWP?
When I moved to Charlotte, I didn’t have family or friends in the city; I didn’t know anyone. All my friends on Facebook were in Maryland, and I mainly used LinkedIn for professional purposes. And, I couldn’t meet people. I wanted to find out about the best restaurants and events in Charlotte. I needed a way to connect with people, so I created EWP. Originally, it was a group chat of about 10 people—this was at the beginning of the summer when I moved here. By the end of the summer, there were more than 300 people in the group chat. Fast forward two years later, and more than 60,000 people use EWP to find out about the best restaurants and events in Charlotte.
Wow. Did you ever imagine it would grow to be that big?
I’ve always had the goal of bringing EWP to other cities, so I’ve had my eyes on reaching millions of people. Right now, I’m taking baby steps and following my plan. Eventually, we will launch in other cities.
How do you see yourself competing with other media outlets?
We see ourselves as Charlotteans’ brother or sister. We’re your friends. We’re not journalists and don’t claim to be journalists. Other outlets observe what’s going on in the city, but we’re actually in the city. We’re a part of the young professionals, and we exist to bring people together. Every day, we’re finding ways to bring people together.
How do you decide what to feature on your website and in your newsletter?
I always ask — “Is it a jaw-dropper? Is it something I would recommend to my friends? Would I go to it?” Our whole concept is to drop “fun bombs” throughout Charlotte. If it’s fun and exciting, and we think people are going to enjoy it, we feature it.
If someone wants to pitch you a story idea, what are you interested in?
If it’s a fun bomb and something that would make you run and tell your friends, we’ll cover it. We cover anything from fashion to events to food. I like connecting young professionals outside of the work environment (that’s the work part). We’re all professionals but we can all hangout and have fun.
Thank you, Davon, for sitting down with us. If you’re interested in contacting Davon, please feel free to email him.