Meet the Lady Who Tells You What’s Hot In Paris

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President and CEO, Girl’s Guide to Paris

Doni Belau, Girl's Guide to ParisFeatured Lady Doni Belau is passionate about Paris. In 2000, after many visits to the city of lights, Doni and her husband bought an apartment in the 6th Arrondissement during an impulsive moment. After many return trips to Paris with family and friends, Doni decided to share her inspiration, knowledge and love of the city with other women. Since launching Girl’s Guide to Paris, Doni has grown her website to include shopping, dining, culture and art, guides, travel tips and offers, Parisian bloggers and a membership option. Girl’s Guide to Paris has been featured by many magazines and blogs, as well as on The Martha Stewart Radio Show.

A University of California Los Angeles theater major, Doni spent ten years in the film business producing TV commercials and music videos. After taking time to raise her two children, she returned to the labor force and spent eight years doing political consulting (including Eliot Spitzer’s New York Gubernatorial campaign) and not-for-profit work. “After all of that, I finally decided to do what I truly loved and started Girl’s Guide to Paris,” Doni says.

Although she always wanted to be an actress, which evolved into being a director, then to working in politics, what Doni has always loved is doing something new, exploring new worlds and traveling. “I decided to launch Girl’s Guide to Paris so I could leave politics and combine what I love with my work – all things French and Paris, in particular.”

A trip to her local bookstore, along with some searches on Amazon and web surfing, convinced Doni her idea was viable. “I found an art lover’s guide to Paris, a wine lover’s guide, a shopping guide, etc., but no guide for women,” she says. “Women are drawn to Paris in a very strong way, because Paris equals beauty.” Doni also did research to determine whether or not the market was there. “As it turns out women make 90% of all leisure travel decisions and women 40 – 60 years of age are the largest growing niche market in travel,” Doni says.

A friend of Doni’s, who she took with her on a girl’s trip to Paris, suggested that the site be called a Girl’s Guide, and so it was. “Plus I had an apartment in Paris for about six years and everyone already asked me where to go and what to do there, so it seemed natural,” Doni explains.

Girl’s Guide to Paris focuses on what women want in the city of lights. “Since we’ve started, we’ve seen a few competitors, but our site continues to grow and expand,” Doni says. “We think we are on to something. We’ve noticed that women feel safer in a community of like-minded women giving and receiving advice, like you do with your girlfriends.”

Bringing authenticity to Girls’ Guide to Paris are the bevy of women bloggers on the ground in Paris who experience and write about the most up-to-date information regarding what’s hot in Paris.

The resources on the website are free, but a membership option is now available for women interested in getting discounts on tours, classes, hotels and Girl’s Guide merchandise purchased through the site.

Today, Doni has an agent working on selling the Girls’ Guide to Paris Guidebook. She’s also taken the Girl’s Guide to London, New York, Barcelona, Rome, France, Africa and Asia URLs. “We’d love to take it around the world via website and in book form,” Doni says.

Doni is also involved in Ubuntu Africa, a non-profit she founded. The organization is dedicated to providing lifesaving healthcare and support services to HIV positive children and teens in Khayelitsha, South Africa.

What we learned from Doni: “In the beginning you want to do it all, fast. Building something big takes time and must be done with care.”

Take Your Time
“Don’t feel you need to try everything all at once. Experiment and learn along the way.”

This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe® Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.

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