Today’s story all started with a T-shirt. Caroline Sande loved the slogan, Travel – Eat – Slay, so she decided to have it printed on a t-shirt that she could wear when traveling. After sharing photos of her in it on social media, people began reaching out to ask where they too could buy the same shirt. And within a few month, this idea for a fun t-shirt had evolved into a full-fledged business.
Fast forward a few years and Travel Eat Slay is much more than a merchandising company — it’s a community. In addition to selling travel apparel, Caroline also began organising day trips around Europe for other UK-based travel influencers interested in visiting the most Instagrammable places. Together, they traveled to cities like Milan and Venice to take photos of each other and create content, all before flying back to London later that same day.
When Covid hit and Caroline was forced to pause her day trips, she launched another business — the Travel Boxx. This is a quarterly subscription box with must-have travel essentials for her growing community. In today’s episode, Caroline walks us through the evolution of her multi-faceted travel brand and shares how she got started with selling merchandise, some of the challenges of being a travel influencer, and lessons she’s learned since launching her subscription service. If you’ve ever considered incorporating merchandise into your business or if you’d like to learn more about working with influencers, this is an especially good episode.
Starting With Travel Merch
Caroline went down the unconventional route of first launching a travel apparel business, then growing her other businesses from that. In the early days of Travel Eat Slay, she struggled with finding the right printing company to create her t-shirt. “It was a lot of trial and error, until I got to the one that I really was happy with,” she admits.
Her first sales all came through her Instagram account. Eventually she figured out a system that worked best for her, but Caroline says that the early days were messy. “I didn’t know what I was doing then, but people would come to. My Instagram page, they’ll DM me. I would send them a PayPal link and then I’ll ask for their address.”
Though she continues to promote her merchandise on social media, she now has a digital shop and website where she sells everything.
Her Ideal Customer Avatar? An Influencer
Through her t-shirt business, Caroline became connected with other travel influencers. She then decided to organise day trips to Europe that catered specifically to this community — Caroline organised itineraries that took them to the most Instagrammable places in Europe so they could create great content. “You’re also helping each others take pictures,” she adds.
Creating a Subscription Travel Box
When Covid hit, Caroline decided to focus her attention on a new project — a quarterly subscription box for travel-lovers. To ensure that she designed the perfect product, she first polled her community to see what type of box they would be interested in. Then, Caroline began contacting suppliers whose products she liked. She says, “I got a few brands to sponsor me in return for promotion. Some of them, I had to purchase.”
Though her business isn’t exactly where she’d like it to be, she continues to work on growing the brands. Caroline laughs, “I just thought everyone was going to buy it. Wrong. Not everybody bought into it as quickly as I assumed or wanted.”
More from this episode
Want to know a bit more about how Caroline launched Travel Eat Slay? What are her tips for going viral on social media? What was one of the biggest challenges of starting a subscription service? Tune in to learn more from Caroline Sande!