From Travel to Retail

My journey started a long, long time ago .... just kidding! How boring would that story be? Especially since most of you reading already know it. For those who are new, here's the cliff notes:

Ever since I was a kid, there were so many things I wanted to be when I grew up. Lawyer & hotel owner were at the top of the list. Most of all, I knew I wanted to run my own business.

In 2012, I opened a travel agency. While I loved the work I needed money to pay the rent. In early 2013, I took a job at Getty Images in event production and, before I knew it, 6 years had passed.

Working at Getty gave me so many opportunities to travel, produce some kick-ass parties, build out some great experiences and meet new friends. As anyone who works in the corporate world knows, turnover is inevitable and your time comes to an end.

I August 2020, I decided to focus on the travel agency full time. Things were going great! I was picking up clients, planning trips and I couldn't be more happy.

Then... BAM!

Covid hits. Travel came to a complete halt & any momentum I started to build was washed away like the germs on my hands. Most people plan and save for their trips. Even if my agency were to gain traction again, I wouldn't see real returns for another 6-9 months.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Everyone was talking about how the restaurant businesses were suffering, but I wish independent travel agencies would get the same attention.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Most travel agencies are small and independently owned. We are at the mercy of other people: government restrictions, airline restrictions, cruise line restrictions, destination restrictions, fear of traveling in close quarters, fear of cleanliness, testing before traveling, testing after traveling, quarantine while on your trip, quarantine after your trip, loss of pay due to quarantine, loss of income due to layoffs, fear of eviction, fear of where you will get your next meal and on and on. While my heart and prayers go out to everyone affected by Covid, I too need to worry about the same things.

In my "down time" I started learning more about e-commerce while working with upcycled materials, vintage & antique items & homemade projects. My goals are quite simple: keep my head above water and build a sustaining business that cannot be taken away again due to a global pandemic (or any other thing we have yet to imagine.)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So, as of May 1st, I decided to go "brick and mortar" and open a small shop in a small village. The last year has forced me to refocus my business and pivot to an industry that will never be put on hold again.
While I am still keeping my travel agency alive, this new venture is going to focus on my creative side that will feature upcycled, handmade and vintage/antique items.
Like my dreams, I am scared, but I also know I am a survivor and I WILL survive this.

Please be sure to follow me on Instagram @OdellProject for quick updates on my latest projects.

Thank you all who've supported this dream and I can't wait to see what happens next.

❤️ Jennifer

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