Founder Alexandra Hepworth on Starting Luxury Travel by Alexandra to Curate Unique Travel Experiences
Hi Alexandra! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:
My name is Alexandra Hepworth and I work in the luxury travel space, curating bespoke, high end and unique travel experiences for my clients. To learn more, check out my site here!
So Alexandra, what excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
Everything! The connections, networking, learning from each other, finding opportunities and mostly being part of something with like-minded, focused women. It’s totally inspiring!
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
To be honest, it was never my intention! And like a few things in life, I happened to be in the right place at the right time and took an opportunity that was presented to me to try something new. I have done this a few times in the past and whilst sometimes scary, taking a calculated risk tends to work out for the best. I’m never scared to try!
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I have worked in the luxury travel and tourism space for 18 years. Prior to running my business curating travel, I was most recently working in South East Asia for 10 years, mostly in luxury hotels and resorts, in Director of Sales & Marketing positions. Over that time I took properties through major renovations, re-branding and also opened a brand new property for Hyatt.
You mentioned earlier, it wasn’t your intention to start your own business. Did you ever have a feeling you would become an entrepreneur?
Honestly no! And I’m still not sure that I totally am one… I am sort of dipping my toes in the water, having the safety net of working under a small company where I am Director of Operations, building strategy and growing that business, along with forging my own path in as an Independent Contractor booking travel for my clients and sourcing opportunities to find new streams of business and new clients for myself.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I commissioned a market study via a 3rd party to find out what my target audience was looking for when booking high-end travel along with other things like what brand they like/resonated with, how many times a year they travel, where they are based etc. I then built a brief marketing plan from there focusing on my purpose, what I hope to achieve, the name of my brand, imagery style and color palette I would use. I built a website and started my social media channel too – mostly focused on Instagram.
So Alexandra, what is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?
Building a targeted audience and generating solid leads through my online activities. To date, this has not been super successful and I am looking at ways to improve this moving forward.
You have lots to be proud of! What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Receiving great client testimonials and repeat clients. I have had numerous referrals from clients and get some great feedback about my process. This is a wonderful motivator knowing that all the experience I have to date has come back around to help me provide the level of service I am happy with for my clients. I was also contacted the other day and asked to mentor someone looking to get into the luxury travel space – this was such a nice surprise and a real motivator!
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Absolutely! Actually, I have questioned myself numerous times about stepping out from my career path to pursue something that doesn’t always feel stable or that doesn’t follow the path I was on. But I always come back to the same thing… being able to pick up and work from wherever I am is something NOT to be taken for granted and the flexibility I have is something that right now, no Corporate job can lure me back from. As my family are still in the UK, being able to go home, pretty much when I want or need to is the BEST part of working in the way I do. Being separated from family can be difficult, but knowing that I am not restricted by vacation days or fixed ‘on location’ work commitments is something that I absolutely cherish
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
Take the leap! Don’t question yourself too much, trust your instincts and don’t get fixated on following ‘The Path’. There are many roads to lead you to where you are meant to be.
Last, but not least, what’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
I am hoping that I am able to slowly grow my portfolio of loyal clients and in turn gain recognition for what I am doing in this space. I would love to take a more targeted approach to how I build my following and also want to start to build a small team under me to expand on the services I am able to offer – both travel and lifestyle related.