In our ‘Inspiring small businesses’ series we share and celebrate great stories from fellow small business owners who started and run their own business. By bringing you closer to these inspiring businesses we hope that you find motivation, tips and ideas for building yours.
Our next inspiring business is Globe+Tribe, a unique sustainable and luxury travel design agency and the story behind it shared by its founder Jen Curran.
What is it that you do?
I own and operate a sustainable + luxury travel design agency and a conservation-focused non-profit. The travel agency helps to fund the NGO work that we do around conservation and tourism.
What’s the story behind your business?
I worked in the International Development and Humanitarian Aid field for about 16 years and was starting to get really burned out – all the inefficiencies, how we were judged by how quickly we could burn our budget down, most projects not working, wasting millions of dollars on pet projects etc…
I was always a conservationist and with my background in livelihoods (eg jobs) and sustainable development I decided to start a company (with a sister non-profit) that would focus on travel, first and foremost, but specializing in sustainable travel to more remote and less-trodden locales (the places I’d been traveling and working in for 16 years).
The idea is that by supporting these businesses and initiatives that are sustainable, employ locals, and are working towards local conservation efforts we could be doing the same kind of development as before, but better. And who doesn’t like to travel! The idea is to harness those travellers who want to be a bit more conscious, impactful and sustainable and help them spend their tourism dollars wisely; as well as to encourage them to step into slightly less-trodden regions who could really use this type of development + conservation.
So our travel design agency directly supports those businesses and initiatives through client travel, and the non-profit (which receives money from the travel agency every year) supports new initiatives working in the intersection of tourism and conservation.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Probably to be honest, how terrible my last job was! I mean I am a serial entrepreneur, but not all of the ideas stick or really have meat behind them. I had been doing this type of work for such a long time that when I had just had enough of my last job I though, ok, enough! There’s GOT to be a better way of doing this and I guess we will see if I’m right 🙂
What is the most difficult aspect of running your own business?
Marketing. I know many aspects of this business inside and out, but marketing is a totally different beast. So new client acquisition is tough and that’s what pays the bills. Also as a small business, economies of scale is tough, competing with the big guys…
What is the best thing about running your own business?
Everything (except above mentioned things :)). Flexibility and creativity I think are the top two. Being in charge of making an impact in a manner that my clients understand and can see is also not insignificant – I call all of my clients my ‘Accidental Conservationists’ because inevitably through fault or no fault of my own, when many return home from a trip they ask me what they can do to help.