It’s a safe bet that question is asked every day around Dallas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, North Texas was home to three of the 10 fastest-growing counties in the nation between 2020 and ’22, — Kaufman, Rockwall and Parker — and Collin and Denton county were among those with the largest net population gains.
Relocating to another metro area is daunting, but luckily immigrants to Dallas have a resource designed to make them feel right at home: Dallasites101, created by Kara Cecala and Lily Kramlich-Taylor. They’re Dallas immigrants, naturally: Cecala is from Connecticut and Kramlich-Taylor from California. They met through mutual acquaintances after moving to Dallas for work in 2014 and bonded over a shared love for their new home.
“We kept meeting a lot of other transplants who didn’t love living in Dallas,” Kramlich-Taylor says. “They would talk to us about how they would go to work and go home and didn’t know how to meet people. They didn’t enjoy the city, and it made us really sad to hear because we were having so much fun.”
The pair started an Instagram page to share their experiences with other newcomers.
Dallasites101 — the name is a riff on introductory college courses — was created in 2015. The original goal was to serve a niche market of newcomers. After the two got their first offer of money from a local restaurant to place a post on their Instagram site, the model shifted as more offers came in.
Today, calling them influencers is a stretch. Cecala and Lily Kramlich-Taylor’s creation has become a small, booming media and marketing business located in a converted house in the State-Thomas District. They employ more than two dozen people and have expanded into newsletters, event planning, advertising and media management.
Planners naturally look to the future, and the pair already have their eyes on further expansion. They’ve created Austinites101 on Instagram, and they founded 101Media as an umbrella group for their efforts, which include managing social media for businesses and possible expansion into other cities. Cecala says they’re moving carefully on entering other markets, since key to their success here is the fact that they are here, talking knowledgeably about the city they grew to love.
In the meantime, their Dallasites101.com website continues to expand and has become a go-to resource loaded with event news, lists of popular venues and businesses, and news on the latest trends.
“We truly just wanted to encourage people to get out and about in Dallas and have a great day here and not second-guess living here,” Cecala says. “We really felt like we wanted to create community here.”