Honored to host our guests this week, Vanessa and Kish: co-founders and new parents. After traveling around the world and visiting/ living in 40+ countries, they are now settled in Miami running their travel brand, Nomad Lane. Please, a warm and happy welcome to our fellow travel aficionados and creative entrepreneurs....!
Who: Vanessa Jeswani & Kish Vasnani
Current Neighborhood: Coral Gables, Florida
Enjoy being: Creative Entrepreneurs + Travel Enthusiasts
Find them: nomadlane.com / @NomadLane
Facebook: Nomad Lane Travel
Twitter: Nomad Lane
CURRENTLY ENJOYING THE JOURNEY AS...
Natalie: A soft opening for you here… tell us a little highlight to the journey you find yourself in right now?
Vanessa & Kish: We’re co-founders and new parents who moved to Miami recently. We met over 10 years ago and our mutual love of travel and adventure sparked our relationship. We even dated l, Kish in Mumbai and Vanessa in NYC. Together, we have lived on several continents and have visited 40+ countries. On our trips, we felt there was an opportunity to create a brand that would allow travelers to remain organized on the road while maintaining a sense of sophistication. We launched our business, Nomad Lane, in New York City. Once we got things up and running, we decided to become digital nomads based out of Bali. After an amazing year in Asia, we returned back to the US and settled in Miami.
HOW THEY DO IT...
Natalie: How do you balance being a couple, new parents, AND running a business?
Vanessa & Kish: Balance is a tricky word. I don’t think there’s a way to excel at all aspects of your life equivalently, every day. Some days, we focus more on family life especially when we are taking a trip with our son, or on sick days when we all cuddle together on the couch and watch Sesame Street. Other days, we’re full steam on work priorities. Once in a while, we’ll go out for a fancy lunch, just the two of us. In terms of tactical approaches or everyday tips, we focus on organization and efficiency: meal prepping, pre-pack travel gear, and making sure we clear up for 15 minutes every night so the mess doesn’t build up. We also heavily rely on our calendars. Every meeting, doctor's appointment, play date, and social engagement is noted there.
NAVIGATING THE MEANDERING PATH
Natalie: You know we are travel enthusiasts over here - can only imagine you hit some obstacles with running a traveling company and dealing with COVID - love to hear what magic tricks you used to keep confident and come out of the last year strong.
Vanessa & Kish: In the early months of 2020, we were growing exponentially. So when COVID hit, we were in shock initially. As a travel-based brand, it was impossible to even talk about travel. So we had to go back to the drawing board. We reached out to our most loyal customers and asked them what they would like to see from us. During our focus group chats, many customers mentioned they needed a tote bag where things wouldn't disappear into the "black hole.” Something that they could use every day and also for travel, once it came back. So we went to work on designing a multi-functional tote bag which we launched through crowdfunding in 2021. It was a really tough time to be an entrepreneur in the travel space. We just had to buckle down and keep looking forward.
CELEBRATING THE MILESTONES
Natalie: It must have been so exciting to have your brand take off so exponentially! Tell us more about that experience.
Vanessa & Kish: It was totally life changing! When we launched our first travel bag, the Bento Bag, through crowdfunding, we hit our goal within one hour of launching. Over the course of the campaign, we raised over $2M. Once that happened, we knew that we had built something really compelling and wanted to focus on Nomad Lane full time.
TAKING THE LEAD AND RUNNING WITH IT
Natalie: How would you describe the experience so far in creating your own brand? Any challenges? Any surprising turnouts?
Vanessa & Kish: Starting a brand from scratch is challenging. You really have to build up trust with your customers. When we launched the version of the Bento Bag, we had some issues with zippers due to our manufacturing partners. We quickly resolved that and now use only the best quality zippers in all our products.
WHERE IN THE WORLD SHALL WE GO NEXT...
Natalie: Since you run a travel brand, you must be very experienced and passionate travelers - what would you say is your favorite place you’ve been so far?
Vanessa & Kish: Yes! Together we’ve been to over 40+ countries. Our favorite trip was Argentina & Chile. We spent two weeks going from the magnificent Iguazu falls to glacier trekking in Patagonia and wine tasting in Mendoza.
It was totally life changing!
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, SHED SOME ADVICE!
Natalie: Any tips for other new parents? Potential business owners? Anything imperative that you’ve learned along the way?
Vanessa & Kish: Both parenthood and starting a new business can be tough in similar ways. If you’ve never done either, they can feel daunting, especially at the beginning. There’s also a lack of sleep, exhaustion, and insecurities to contend with. The thing we’ve found most helpful, for both, is to surround ourselves with like-minded people. Luckily, we now have a community of new parents and successful entrepreneurs that we can lean on for support and questions and it makes a huge difference!