Writing Sample: Yellow Door Cottage Origin Story

Part of my freelance contract with Yellow Door Cottage involved creating their website and launching their blog. Click for the original blog post.


How interesting can an origin story for a little Air BnB really be? Isn’t it simply that two good friends wanted to open up a small hospitality business, and so they did? Well, guess again. This story is characterized by unexpected twists, side-plots, and a hefty dose of luck.

Let’s go back in time. Not too far – just back to 2015 when Angie and her husband, David, visited Niagara-on-the-Lake for a weekend at White Oaks Spa and Resort with their childhood friends, Tara and David. The four explored the city, visited many wineries, perused the Outlet mall, and had some much needed spa time at White Oaks. In brief, the four fell in love with the region.

A loose plan was set: they would try to purchase a winery together. At this point, you’re probably wondering how Fil fits in this story: she was back at home, offering enthusiastic support to Angie, even helping her research real estate listings for wineries.

Unfortunately, the winery dream had to be paused as there were more urgent projects. Angie and David desperately wanted to update their house, which was 15 years overdue. Not to worry – Tara and David went on with other plans, and the four scheduled another vacation for the following year.

Flash forward slightly, months later, when Angie had secured a contractor to make her house renovation plans come to life. Not one week after committing to the plans, Angie’s husband came to her with a listing for a perfect, new house. What were they going to do? They already paid the down payment on the renovation, but this other house was a life goal. Here, dear reader, is where we have no choice but to believe in luck. According to Angie, “I must have been brushed with a four-leaf-clover when I was born”….

The contractor scheduled to work on her renovation had just finished a project in Niagara-on-the-lake. He had built the Yellow Door Cottage. He offered to translate the renovation commitment into a down payment on the cottage, if Angie wished to own it.

Fil came with her when Angie went to see the cottage for the first time and said she’d like to co-own it with her. Fil had always loved Niagara-on-the-Lake, too, but back when there were talks of the winery, it didn’t line up with her vision. Fil’s dream has always been to run a Bed and Breakfast. Living far outside of NOTL, she knew it wouldn’t be logistically possible to run a fully operational B&B right away, so co-owning an AirBnb would be the next best thing. Plus, it would help the friends stay close after Angie moved to her new house (see About Us for more on this).

Angie was ecstatic. With her expertise in running corporate administration, and Fil’s expertise in hospitality, the two were wonderfully suited to complement each other. Furthermore, running this AirBnb would put everyone in a great position to work toward their respective long-term goals; when the timing is right, Angie and David will return to her plans to co-own a winery with Tara and David, and Fil will retire with her husband, Julien, to live in NOTL full-time and run a B&B.

It’s been four years since the opening of the Yellow Door Cottage. Since then, Fil and Angie have hosted ___ guests, orchestrated several iterations of redecorations, and driven back and forth on many, many, many occasions. Tara has also opened up her own AirBnb just around the corner from Yellow Door – check her out here [link embedded]. Most importantly, everyone is happy. If the cottage had emotions and the capacity to express them, I bet she would say she’s the happiest of all.