Woman Up Cleveland
Exploring CLE with Haley
Updated: Feb 15
Haley Greathouse - The Cleveland Bucket List Founder
Haley Greathouse united her passion and love for her city and turned it into an expanding online empire that highlights all the best things about home and travel. Greathouse, a Northeast Ohio native, always thought that she would leave Cleveland, OH, and never look back. After finishing her degree at the University of Central Florida, she moved back home and realized that amazing things were happening right in her hometown. This discovery inspired her to showcase these opportunities to friends and show off the beauty of her city, encouraging them to visit and move to Cleveland. She mentioned, “I searched for resources online, and wasn't finding exactly what I was looking for. So, I launched the [Bucket List] Instagram at first, just posting all the places that we were going, and the things that we were doing.”
Around 6 months in, Haley realized she wanted to take things a step further and begin sharing more content with her followers. She wanted to provide more recommendations for things that she loved in the area and found that Instagram was limiting what she wanted to say: “I wanted to have a platform where people could go find resources and learn about more things and see more options than the one place we were suggesting. So, I launched the website later that year, and then The Bucket List has just grown from there!”
What started as a resource for seeking out activities and events in Northeast Ohio quickly evolved into a one-stop shop for all things local with over 53,000 followers. Although this audience has grown tremendously, the team at The Bucket List has never lost sight of its purpose. Haley noted that “We focus on things that we've experienced so that we never share anything that we haven't experienced or done.”
When asked perhaps the toughest question of all, what is your favorite part of Cleveland, Greathouse couldn’t choose just one feature (understandably so!): “I think that it depends on what you're looking to do, or you're looking to accomplish. My favorite part is just being so close to the water and having the lakefront and Cleveland Metroparks. I think that these are so unique to Cleveland, and it provides ample opportunity to just get outside and explore while still having all of the fun aspects of living in a city.”
Next, we dove into the complexities of social media and what it can be like to run an online account with such a large audience. For her favorite parts, Haley mentions, “The ability to showcase small businesses. It's honestly a free platform for people to find their voice and to be able to share things about themselves and their business.” She goes on to mention that one of her greatest joys with starting The Bucket List has been the opportunity to connect with many small business owners and learn about their stories. Hearing about why they started their business and where it is heading is one of her favorite highlights of this role.
As we know, there is always a catch. We explored more of the ways social media can be damaging and how a bigger audience can equal bigger opinions. The Bucket List aims to uplift the community and share positive recommendations, but it can cause complaints about differing opinions. Haley stated that “A lot of times we get comments and things on social media that call out bad service or bad things that happen, and that's something that's out of our control.” Haley keeps a positive attitude through it all and reflects on her content with pride and confidence. It can be a tricky tightrope walk to navigate differing opinions on topics that people are passionate about, but Haley certainly handles all of it with tremendous grace: “That's always hard for me to balance. Making sure that we're sharing good content, and we're listening to what people have to say. The Bucket List exists to be a positive influence, and anything negative should be discussed with such [small] business.”
We also touched on the ways that social media has evolved and how she has been navigating the changes in The Bucket List’s online presence since 2018. Back when this journey began, Haley remembers the ease of gaining new followers, the unsaturated market, and the ways the team had to adapt. She stated, “I think we grew to ten thousand far faster than we've grown past ten thousand.” Luckily, her marketing degree and career as a marketing professional have given her the confidence that she needs to keep experimenting and finding new ways to follow trends (i.e., TikTok) while remaining original. Ultimately, transitioning with a new platform can feel daunting, but Greathouse remembers the goal of meeting her city’s audience and providing the recommendations they seek within their city.
When asked about the most incredible opportunity The Bucket List has given her, Greathouse immediately mentioned her story of being invited to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction in 2021. She shares how much fun it was to walk around the museum during the pre-party, see all of the exhibits, and be in the same room with the incredible performers. “It was an incredible experience, not only just for us, but I think it's cool to highlight that this comes to Cleveland and that people can also be a part of that experience. I love being able to showcase things that people can also attend.”
Growth is something that The Bucket List team always has on its mind. Haley explained their strategy for growth with their audience, “We don't focus on highlighting parenting content right now because we don't have kids, but we see that our followers are requesting that topic more often, and we're all getting to a place where that's on our minds as well. So, we’re making sure that our content continues to grow and shift the people that are interacting with us and following us.” The team at The Bucket List values the content they are creating and hopes to continue connecting with as many people and businesses as possible as they continue to grow. Haley stated that “I love that the Bucket List provides an opportunity for small businesses to get in front of so many people, and just being able to continue to support these small businesses is important to me. As social media and everything shifts, there are a lot of things that we might not be able to even predict that we could jump into or learn or try. So, it's just making sure that we're keeping up with everything and providing what people are looking for.”
As if beautifully showing off Cleveland wasn’t enough, the team recently expanded to include a new account, Our Great Bucket List, which highlights more travel-based content from trips and adventures the team embarks on. Haley highlighted the reason for the shift is more meaningful than you may think: “The Cleveland Bucket List is focused on small businesses in Cleveland, and while we do get opportunities to interact with brands outside of Cleveland, I want to make sure that our page is staying true to supporting local.” Not only does Greathouse and her team do an amazing job at bragging about all Cleveland has to offer, but they also go above and beyond to be sure that the content stays authentic and serves the community that supports it.
Beyond growing beyond the local community, The Bucket List team itself has seen some growth in the last few years. The first two The Bucket List interns started a few years back and were college students who set out to explore Cleveland when they were home on weekends and during breaks. Starting with administrative work and exploring, the interns soon developed the idea for The Akron Bucket List, another offshoot of The Bucket List group. Last year, another intern came on board to add focus back to events in Cleveland. Generously, Greathouse passes many of the sponsorship opportunities from The Bucket List onto the interns as a way for them to make money for their work. She states, “It is really fun and rewarding for me to be able to provide them with something as well as the skills and experiences. And it's been fun figuring out adding in different voices and figuring out different perspectives as well.”
Finally, we touched on yet another adventure from the Bucket List team: their subscription boxes. In the 2021 holiday season, these quarterly subscription boxes launched with an idea that Haley had yet to see available in Cleveland. Each box features goodies from local businesses as well as things that encourage recipients to get out and explore coupons, gift cards, treats, discounts, and more that have appeared in past boxes. Boxes are delivered four times each year, leaving room for different subscriptions to either one, a few, or all four. “It was just about encouraging you to learn about small businesses around the area and add some new products to your lineup.” The boxes will continue this year and have expanded to feature businesses from Akron, Canton, and other NEO cities as well. It isn’t too late to snag the 3 remaining boxes for 2023 through the Cleveland Bucket List Website!
Haley’s hard work and passion for Cleveland are evident in everything that she does, and we are honored to share her story here as she continues to do amazing things for the Cleveland community. She has such an incredible ability to unite people and it is clear how proud she is to highlight others and their passions in Northeast Ohio and beyond. We deeply admire Haley’s commitment to Cleveland as the opportunities continue to grow. Through new accounts, interns, and the continued highlights of our community, Haley shows drive, thoughtfulness, and grace. We are proud to be able to share her story and are excited to continue to support The Bucket List team as they continue to grow and soar to new heights.