Traveling in style can have different interpretations. For London-based apparel business owner Caroline Sande, that means traveling in comfort while making a bold statement. She created a clothing line with just that in mind. “I started the business two years ago while working in a company where I traveled the world for events management and conferences,” says Sande. “It occurred that it would be nice while traveling to have something iconic to wear to make a bold statement. I like travel and food so I merged the two to create #traveleatslay.”
A travel apparel line geared for millennials, the offerings currently include black and white hoodies, t-shirts and vests in 100 percent cotton for casual, comfortable travel. The large TravelEatSlay logo up front boldly announces Sande’s motivation behind designing the apparel; extra emphasis being on slay. She also designed the logo with a friend. “The USP of the brand, the main aim, is to have merchandise that gives travelers something different to travel with in style, to make a bold statement while traveling,” she shares.
Since launching in 2016, Sande has since quit her full-time job and moved her focus to growing the brand and her market reach as she transitions the business from its current self-funded status to one with investor backing. The TravelEatSlay website, launched in May of this year, is where the apparel range is sold. Though manufactured in the United Kingdom, she ships globally and has acquired many fans in the United States. Interestingly, Sande began selling merchandise first through word of mouth and social media before giving her brand a more professional business look and feel with a website.
“The majority of my business so far has been on Instagram. I have been following travelers and influencers in travel, partnering on merchandise collaboration,” she says. “I am hoping to expand to more than just the current merchandise, to include swimwear, baggage tags and more products that are travel oriented.” Sande also took the time to binge travel for a bit after quitting her job for more of a personal sojourn. A quick glimpse at the Instagram stories on the TravelEatSlay account provides plenty of inspiration to pack your bags for your next getaway.
As with any self-funded venture, finances are a challenge, but Sande is also learning about brand positioning through this experience, coming from absolutely no merchandising background. “Instagram is helpful in learning who the competition is and what others are doing, in looking for inspiration and tips,” says Sande. “I have big ambitions for this business, but then I look at my pocket and think I will wait till I have more funds.” To get the funding going, Sande is working on a travel discount card to offer customers. She is speaking with a few businesses to come on board to offer discounts for products.
“Given of my limited finances, I think that is where the investment part of my reach will come in to help get me started on growing the business,” she explains. Another challenge Sande experienced was finding the right supplier to print the logo on the apparel just the way she wanted. Two failed attempts later, she found the one she currently works with but realized the range of products offered is limited, so growing the brand offerings to accommodate swimwear, for instance, will require finding another supplier all over again.
The young entrepreneur is undeterred though and forging ahead with her plans to slay the travel space with her apparel line. As part of her personal travels recently, vastly different from her luxury trips for work, Sande visited several countries and documented her experiences with recommendations on the website. “I started by going to Cuba, then Marrakesh, and traveled around Europe. I did lots of day trips and shared online to show travel doesn't always have to be luxury; you can also do it on a budget.” And of course, wearing your TravelEatSlay apparel while at it.