With the average cost of an American vacation looming around $1,145 per person, according to an American Express study, high cost can deter hard-working people from taking their well-deserved time off. Even more, once they decide to take that trip, a huge chunk of their budget can go into lodging, which can limit the remaining amount allotted for adventure. Here’s where our 2017 Winter Fellowship Team, Peregrinator’s Paradise, comes into play.
Cara Berrigan of Peregrinator’s Paradise identified this issue as a student at Duquesne University’s School of Business, and together with her partner Tess Dorr developed a mission to help people get the most out of their vacations by focusing on investing in experiences and taking advantage of the tiny homes niche market for lodging.
Read on to see what Berrigan has to say about Peregrinator’s Paradise’s journey and how it’s here to help you answer the call of wanderlust.
Q: What is your product/business?
A: Peregrinator’s Paradise is a tiny house hospitality company dedicated to bridging the gap between two emerging trends in the U.S. market: the tiny house movement, and the rising demand for low-cost vacation lodging. We plan to rent out tiny house units to vacationers and travelers so they can invest more money in experiences rather on lodging. Essentially, we aim to be the low-cost vacation alternative for our guests in whatever market we are in.
Q: Talk about your startup journey – how did you get to where you are today?
A: The idea for Peregrinator’s Paradise was born in the fall of 2015 when I began to take notice and realize that vacation and travel accommodations within the U.S. can be extremely costly, with half or more of a person’s budget going towards lodging instead of being spent on actual experiences. I have also always been a huge purveyor of the tiny house movement, and for some reason these two ideas went hand-in-hand for me, and it all just clicked.
With this business idea in mind, I entered my entrepreneurial capstone course at Duquesne in the spring of 2016, pitched the idea to my class, and soon after was approached by Tess Dorr, who is now my current business partner and co-founder of PP! With us both being peregrinates (hence the name!) with a passion for both low-cost travel and vacationing, we quickly started to breathe life into the business. Peregrinator’s Paradise has entered and competed in programs such as the CMU Venture Challenge, MIT Enterprise Forum PitchFest, MyPath Program at Chatham University’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship, and has won first place in the Small Business Management Plan Competition at the National Leadership Conference for Phi Beta Lambda. So even though we are still an idea-stage startup, we have had some small successes along the way!
Q: Tell us a little more about yourself, your background, and team (if applicable)
A: Tess and I are both graduates from Duquesne University’s School of Business, where I double-majored in Entrepreneurial Studies and Marketing and Tess majored in Finance and minored in Entrepreneurial Studies. I have a background working and interning at various startups in both D.C. and Pittsburgh, and Tess has experience with both startups and currently lives in Harrisburg working as a Revenue Analyst.
Our individual backgrounds for the business truly began during our sophomore year of college. I studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland through the “Duquesne in Dublin” program, and Tess simultaneously was studying at Duquesne’s Rome Campus in Italy! We equate our study abroad experiences as a pivotal aspect of our business: we both feel that these experiences placed a whole new level of importance on travel, and how spending less money on lodging allowed us more money for experiences.
Q: What’s next for Peregrinator’s Paradise?
A: The next steps for the business depend on a few different aspects: if we can secure a piece of property here in Pittsburgh that we can put our test unit on, if our Kickstarter campaign succeeds (launching in either May or June of this year!), and if our partnership with a tiny house manufacturing continues and progresses. If we succeed with all of these final steps, then we will have our first test unit here in the Pittsburgh market within the next year.
Q: What excites you most about working in Pittsburgh?
A: It’s an exciting time to be working in Pittsburgh, especially as young entrepreneurs looking to start our own business! Pittsburgh has an exciting, fast growing, and incredibly well respected entrepreneurial community, that is a high contender with areas of the country such as D.C. and Boston. To be a part of a community that truly wants to be engaging and help cultivate ideas and new businesses is an incredible opportunity. We are truly grateful that we get to be a part of such a communal entrepreneurial environment here.
Alloy 26 Fellowship Program
Our fellowship program grants accepted companies the chance to join our inspiring space for a FREE six-months stay, with ZERO equity fees, and no obligation to stay after the program ends.
We will be accepting fellows on a rolling basis in the future. Check out more information at alloy26.com. And check back to learn more about our other 2017 Winter Fellows!