TravelEatSlay – a London based apparel company & a community of travellers
TravelEatSlay provides travel apparel as well as hosting group day trips around Europe connecting like-minded travelers with travel experiences that do not break the bank. TravelEatSlay is not just a brand… it’s a movement. We are changing travel perceptions one day trip at a time. Merchandise, events, group trips, experiences, and community.
“When your clothing sums up your holiday” in a nutshell these three words that evoke feelings of power, independence and a really good time. Providing apparel, travel content and invitations on day trips that don’t break the bank. This brings a community of solo, like-minded jet setters, creators and explorers together.
CAROLINE SANDE – THE FOUNDER
Caroline Sande is the founder behind TravelEatSlay brand. Having worked in an international events company that gave her the privilege to travel around the world, stay in luxury hotels and eat amazing food- She was inspired to build her own brand. In 2018, she left that fulltime role to focus on business development and growing her brand further. With zero experience of e-commerce, her initial experience of building her brand was trial and error. However, her passion for travel fuelled me to continue and explore new avenues to get her brand out there.
Here is Caroline Sande in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) When did your start your company and what inspired you to do so?
The brand was birthed in 2016, inspired by my own travels having worked for an international events company. I wanted to provide a travel item that travelers can take along their trips (like a memento or souvenir)
2) How do you handle traveling and handling the business as well?
Because the business is travel-related it kind of goes hand in hand. Through travelling, I am showcasing my brand by wearing the merchandise and creating travel content for fellow travellers to see. That way the brand is constantly being seen whether through the group trips or virtually on social media. Secondly, as I do not travel for long (day or long weekend trips) I can still manage the business when it comes to shipping orders or responding to email enquiries.
3) On what criteria do you host the trips and how is it different than other travel brands?
At present the group trips have been day trips- the focus is on creating an experience that does not break the bank nor require too much time out of the office. Imagine taking the first flight out, exploring a new city/country, connecting with like-minded people while creating amazing travel memories and content only to be back home before by dinner time. The trips are a bite size way to get a feel of a city without the pricey commitment of accommodation or time out of the office.
Taking advantage of cheap frill flights, I managed to host 13 group trips in 2019 and travelled with over 75 travellers mainly black women who never thought of the idea of incorporating day trips in their travel plans. It turns out, these trips have served as a way for black travellers (mainly females) to step out of their travel fears and travel without breaking the bank. “They are a great option if you are not quite ready to travel solo but want to go with like-minded people” as Lerease Travels who joined one of the trips puts it.
4) Have you planned on expanding your brands travel experiences outside of Europe?
I had this idea in mind at the end of 2019 and even scouted for locations to test this out. I visited Essaouira (twice), a coastal city in Morocco with the hopes of making that the trial experience. Obviously, the model of day trips would still stand however I would include one or two longer trips during the year. With the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry I am going to wait and see how the recovery process goes before testing this out.
5) What was the thought process behind adding the clothing line in your company?
The clothing came first, from its birth the brand focused on apparel. It is only a year ago that I introduced two other pillars (group trips and events). I understood early on that for my brand to grow and stand out I needed to offer something more than just clothing.
6) What is the sole purpose that motivates you to keep traveling?
I would not say there is just one purpose that motivates me to travel- I like the freedom and independence that comes with travelling. I took my first solo trip in 2018 and prior to embarking on that trip I had doubts about whether people would judge me when they see me alone, who would I talk to, dine with etc. But as soon as I stepped on the plane all those worries disappeared and I promised myself that I would make the most of the trip which I did. I even found the confidence of approaching strangers to ask for directions or to take my picture and made friends along the way. An explorer at heart I just like the feeling of being in new surroundings and trying out new foods, seeing new sites and sometimes just people watching and taking it all in.
7) What are the hardships that you face while organizing the day trips?
In a nutshell putting together the itinerary (including those Insta-worthy locations), contacting brands, tourist boards, restaurants to collaborate with and creating the Whatsapp group for everyone to communicate. I have been fortunate to collaborate with tourist boards, restaurants and food/travel brands to showcase their products during these trips.
For the day trips, I target flight deals that are £30 or under. These deals are usually found during the weekday (mainly Tuesdays or Wednesdays) as there are less frequent travellers during the week as opposed to the weekends. Finding these deals to popular destinations like Paris or Amsterdam can also be tricky. Occasionally I have managed to find by off chance a deal on the weekend and I quickly jump on the chance to advertise and recruit people to travel with me.
From a group trip to Prague which consisted of 16 people, I learnt that I have to limit the number of attendees per group trip- not only for the sake of being able to manage and lead the group but also it’s easier for the group to get to know one another.
Handling a 9-5 job while juggling a travel brand can be challenging, in terms of my availability and meeting the demand of travellers. Due to the nature of day trips and availability of flights sometimes planning (2 or 3 months in advance) may not work to your advantage so it is best to plan last minute (2 -4-week window period)
8) How was life in quarantine?
Simply put- HARD! Early into the lockdown period (in March), I had to cancel one group trip, a solo trip and an event. As a travel brand, I rely on sharing travel content on social media which lead me to improvise and connecting with other travel bloggers for them to provide virtual tours on my social media platforms. In addition to that, I created an IGTV talk series with content creators and travel brands entitled “COVID-19 More than just missed flights- it’s a new norm”. These talks were created as a way to see how different people in different countries are coping during the lockdown and how they foresee the impact of the pandemic on the travel industry and its recovery. As a way of amplifying black voices in the travel industry, I also created the Black Travel Directory a resource showcasing over 200 black travel brands, content creators and service providers. The idea is to share this resource with brands and PR agents in order to include black content creators on their databases and be more inclusive and diverse.
On the other hand, I was lucky to travel three times between Jan and February therefore the lack of travel did not impact me as much.
As lockdown is starting to ease up, I am still building my confidence to get on a flight however I have been focused on exploring and showcasing more of my backyard (things to do in London and South East London).
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