Shabina Dewji of Wanderinginyyc on Being a Tourist in Her Home, Calgary
Shabina Dewji of Wanderinginyyc on being a tourist in her hometown, Calgary. Shabina creates content showcasing local Calgary businesses, events, and restaurants. Her passion is helping others explore the fantastic city of Calgary and providing honest reviews on the foods and experiences she has throughout the city.
Who is Shabina Dewji?
Shabina Dewji is a content creator with a passion for being a tourist in her own city.
She started sharing on social media after her husband pointed out she was always researching and telling him about new events around town. This habit started during the pandemic.
“I was checking on what’s going on? What can we do this week? And, he was really kind of a catalyst. He [was] like, “Why don’t you just start posting?”
Shabina started sharing about events and businesses in Calgary on her Instagram. She loved chatting with like-minded people on social media about these interests. Shortly after, companies started reaching out to her about how she was sharing Calgary events online.
“[The businesses] were excited about that feature because they thought it was a good place for them to have their events to try and just have more Calgarians know more about it.”
During the pandemic, Shabina focused on taking more pictures of food from local restaurants to support them during this difficult time.
Shabina Dewji shares, “I didn’t expect it [her social media] to grow as much as it did or people to like the content that I’m sharing, but somehow it did.”
Shabina Dewji shares three primary types of content on her Instagram: food content, events content, and vendor spotlights.
Her creative process for news and events posts is going through pages of Google news every week and looking for different events happening in the Calgary area.
In terms of her news and events content, she shares, “Actually, it’s surprising because I didn’t think a lot of people like that kind of stuff, but the engagement on those posts is not really through the Instagram post itself, but it’s my links that I’ve posted. It’s amazing – so many people are interested in what’s happening in Calgary.”
Shabina’s vendor spotlight is a newer content category for her that showcases local vendors and businesses. She notes that local creators and businesses can reach out to her for a shoutout on her vendor spotlight posts.
Regarding food content, “There are so many amazing restaurants in Calgary that I’ve never had the chance to try out before this… I had my favorites before starting before really getting into the food side of wandering.”
Shabina Dewji notes that she loves the opportunity she’s had to explore many different cuisines. Recently, Shabina tried Filipino food and reported that it was “absolutely mind-blowing.”
Her viral content varies, but Shabina Dewji shares that she had a viral post in late 2021. The post was a repost of hers about the weather in Calgary and the dramatic lows and windchill the area would be experiencing.
“I posted it earlier when the initial warning went out and then a second time when the warning went out, and that post went crazy. The reach on that individual post was close to 40,000.”
Shabina’s Instagram Strategy
Shabina Dewji shares that she thinks her success on Instagram is due to her support of local businesses.
“Before the pandemic, I was all about getting out of Calgary, like we traveled so much in different places, and then once the pandemic hit, it really kind of hit home to me, how much people were struggling.”
She shares that she is excited for future travel now that things are opening up again, which she will incorporate back into her content. However, the local content is an integral part of her life now.
“I also think what makes me unique is that it’s not just a food blog. It’s news. It’s events. It’s really just everything about Calgary that’s interesting.”
Shabina Dewji shares that she works with brands, primarily local brands in Calgary. This often includes partnerships with hotels or restaurants.
She notes that Canalta Lodge has been one of her most enjoyable partnerships so far. For the collaboration, she went up to Banff and recorded mini vlogs which she shared on Instagram.
Another notable collaboration has been with Monster Mini Golf. She hosted a giveaway with them and had a great response from her followers.
The pandemic has been hard on the business, but she reports having a wonderful time working with the lovely owner and playing a couple of mini-golf games. She actually had one of her first dates with her husband at Monster Mini Golf, which made this experience especially sentimental for her.
Regarding brand insights, she shares, “To be totally honest with you, I try not to look at my insights at all because this is a hobby for me… It’s not my full-time gig. I have no plans on making it a full-time gig. I do it because I find it fun.”
Choosing Brands to Work With
Shabina Dewji shares that she is picky with the brands that she works with, which has saved her headaches in the long run.
“I don’t want to work with brands that expect a positive response just because we’re collabing and working together. I want brands that are looking for a genuine response on their product because I don’t want to encourage my followers to try something out or buy something which I didn’t appreciate or like in the first place.”
She also shares that she would love to see more honesty in the creator world. While she doesn’t go out of her way to be negative, she does note that sharing negative experiences and reviews is still helpful to others.
“We need to be honest with what we are experiencing and sharing because that’s kind of our responsibility [as creators].”
When asked about her dream collab, Shabina explains that she would love to work with Tim Hortons because she goes there frequently for their coffee.
“I have this new obsession with their London fog… so I’d love to work with them.”
Visiting Calgary? Shabina shares that she would take a friend to Boun Giorno, which has incredible Italian food.
“I have a really good memory of that restaurant. We celebrate most of our anniversaries at that little restaurant. It’s the cutest. They have Italian vibes and a great stone fireplace, and it takes you back to Italy.”
Her top recommendation for someone visiting Calgary is to visit the Calgary Tower and the Glenbow Museum, which has free admission.
In closing, Shabina shares that she is very excited about the Calgary Stampede in July.