How Travel Influences Entrepreneurship: Interview with Katie Jeanes
Many successful entrepreneurs have found their inspiration to build their companies on the road. It’s while traveling that we can gain perspective on what we do and come back refreshed and energized to keep going. This time we have interviewed Katie Jeanes, an entrepreneur from Vancouver and avid traveler who has found a way to combine her entrepreneurial spirit with the passion for traveling.
Since leaving her academic research career in 2010, she has launched two successful companies, travelled extensively throughout South Africa, Mozambique and Indonesia, and developed a penchant for gluten free baking. Katie’s background is a mix of digital media, fashion tech, and social entrepreneurship. When she’s not traveling, she consults with startups on their online marketing and crowd funding campaigns. Her most recent venture, Tradecraft, is a crowdsourced inspirational print company for entrepreneurs.
Katie has shared with Hayo Magazine how travel influences entrepreneurship, life and business, based on her own personal perspective.
Thank you for taking this interview Katie, can you expand on the influence of travel in your life?
Every time I travel, I come home a better person. As a kid, road tripping around Canada and the US with my family taught me patience. Heading off to New Zealand and Fiji at age 20 gave me confidence. And traveling around South Africa, Mozambique, and Indonesia taught me about compassion and resilience.
That’s interesting, so what’s your favorite part of traveling?
The people. I love meeting new people, be that people that live in the places I’m visiting or other travelers who have landed in the same spot. Learning their stories, perspectives on life, and values always sends me home with a new way of thinking.
When you created Tradecraft with your partner Aaron Vidas, what elements of your experience abroad did you bring with you?
For Aaron and I, our biggest learning from living and traveling abroad is that we all have so much in common. From London, to Taipei, to the townships outside Cape Town to the French Alps, we all want the same things: something to do, someone to love, and some way to be remembered.Tradecraft highlights that connection. The quotes are submitted by real people whose stories inspire us to keep going. Our prints are a physical reminder that we’re all working through the same challenges.
I love your prints! They also make a great gift. What is the main message you want to share behind the brand?
You are not alone.
When you’re the founder of a business, the number of people that you can be completely honest with is very small. Most people will never know about the funding you didn’t get, the clients that didn’t hire you, or the number of times that you almost gave up. With Tradecraft we try to connect with entrepreneurs, share stories that inspire them to keep going, and create prints they can keep as a tangible link to the community.
You are looking to inspire entrepreneurs, but where do YOU find your inspiration to keep working for your dreams?
Nature. If it’s mountains, I’m hiking or snowboarding. If it’s the ocean, I’m surfing or sailing. Either way, creating that separation from work and technology gives me the space to step back, get some perspective, and refocus on my goals.
Do you have a place that you always go back to?
Salt Spring Island is my favourite place in the entire world. I’ve gone every summer for the last 27 years. It’s a place with a true sense of community, stunning natural beauty, and excellent cheese, coffee, and chocolate. I’m also obsessed with the ocean, so anywhere with a coastline is always a safe bet.
I love the ocean as well! So where do you want to go next?
Iceland. Most of the country’s best surfing is within an hour’s drive of Reykjavik, so you can surf all day and stay in a beautiful, cosmopolitan city with warm water, good food, and clean towels. Most of the time, great waves involve crowds, camping, and long road trips, so I’m really looking forward to Iceland. If you time your trip just right, you can combine your surf trip with a snowboard trip as well.
Sound amazing. To finish the interview, can you share with us a travel experience that changed the course of your life or at least thought you an important life lesson.
In 2011, my little brother Sam and I travelled to South Africa. We spent three months driving the coast from Cape Town to Durban, spending at least a week at each spot. From there we spent almost a month in Mozambique, before heading back to Cape Town. This trip alone was life changing, but the decision to round out my travel with a few friends in Bali really changed my course. In Bali I met a few tailors, as well as a friend who had a company creating custom suits for people in the UK. I had a few pieces of clothing made for myself, and after I came back to Vancouver, those friends helped me launch HelenJean, an online retailer that created custom dresses for women. None of that would have been possible without my saying yes (on a total whim) to tagging along on a surf trip.