Exploring Your "Aha" Moment with Lillian Rafson

Hi, listeners and happy holidays! In the mood for a holiday vacation? Today’s episode will be all about exploring your dreams, adventure and discovering your “aha” moment. Let’s talk travel. Picture this. The start-up Pack Up & Go wants to plan your 3-day weekend. The catch? Your destination is a surprise. This innovative idea and business was conceived by Lillian Rafson. Lillian, CEO and Founder of Pack Up & Go, wants you to embrace the unknown and as an entrepreneur, she’s quite spontaneous herself! Listen below to learn more about Lillian’s start-up story, her go-to advice and her own “aha” moment.

SHOW NOTES:

Lillian quit her job to discover what she wanted to do. She traveled and back packed and ran into to two women who were on a surprise vacation. She realized that the “surprise vacation” market wasn’t as prominent in the U.S. (1:10).

She launched Pack Up + Go within the 6-8 weeks left in her trip in 2015, researching and interviewing the locals and tourists along the way. On January 1st, she launched her Squarespace account and let her friends and family know. At that point she planned only a handful of practice trips. A friend featured her launch within Business Insider and the rest…is history (3:00).

How you find capital or fund for your big idea? Lillian’s biggest costs at the beginning were the domain name and Squarespace account. The best part of Pack Up + Go is that it’s a cash flow positive organization, full owned by their team without venture capital assistance (5:50).

Lillian was always inspired to study what made her happy in school. She went to NYU for gender studies, marketing and French. She values her hands-on experience that internships provided her while in school (7:00).

She believes that traveling forces you out of your comfort zone and gives you the ability to explore new things. She loves that her travelers are willing to let that control go and explore new things and push their own boundaries (9:19).

One of Lillian’s favorite customer stories highlights a woman that was celebrating her 70th birthday that was traveling alone. She came home from her trip and sent 50-75 pictures from her trip and that she had the best time on her trip (11:10).

Curious as to which cities are the most popular to travel to this year? Nashville and Charleston are both booming. Lillian’s favorite cities to travel to? Savannah, New Orleans and Chicago (13:16).

Let’s talk travel must-haves. Lillian’s top 3 are: a rolling suitcase, a pair of comfortable and cute sneakers, and an external battery pack for your phone (14:30).

Lillian’s go-to message and source for inspiration, an Israeli term…”YALLA” (16:30).

Yalla! Let’s go! If not now, then when? Let’s just do this.
— Lillian Rafson, CEO and Founder of Pack Up & Go

Next steps for Pack Up + Go is to expand domestic city trips and to continue to support small business in the U.S. while creating multi-city trips for customers (18:35).


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What from our conversation inspired you today? What do you hope to hear next? Tweet or message us on Instagram @BravaPodcast to tell us what you want to hear, even if it’s your own story! 

Starting, Owning & Operating with Brianne Conley

Have you every wanted to run a retail shop? A fashionista at heart, I’ve always been intrigued about the possibility…buying seasonal trends, decking out the store…but I have no idea where to begin! Brick & mortar in the digital world? Sounds like a fashion don’t.

Enter No. 14 Boutique, a one of a kind shop. It’s creatively curated and delicately designed. Plus, it’s spearheading a masterclass on how to best utilize social media for the retail space. Join me as I interview the savvy Brianne Conley, one of the co-owners behind the brand. We’ll be diving into the “how” behind starting, owning and operating a business and you won’t want to miss it.

Tune in below to learn more!

The Brava Podcast featuring Brianne Conley No14 Boutique

SHOW NOTES:


Brianne saw a need for an affordable, trendy, small boutique, family-owned spot in Pittsburgh. She opened her business with her mom and she doesn’t think she could go into business with anyone else (1:30).

Buying product really is a bit like shopping and it’s Brianne’s favorite part of her job. She goes four to five times a year picking out new vendors to fit different seasons (4:51).

When it comes to education, Brianne when to High Point University in North Carolina and majored in Strategic Communications which helped her exponentially learning about public speaking and social media. Even so, Brianne admits a lot of what she learned is from her experience in starting her own business (6:23).  

She believes there is quite the difference between branding her personal and company Instagram. On her personal, she may highlight her day-to-day as an entrepreneur, but on her business account it’s much more focused on new product and selling (8:30).  

We discussed “Instagrammable Moments”, to Brianne that encompasses creating unique vignettes in parts of her store. For instance, her fitting rooms have quotes on the floor title (10:38).

Brianne works closely with her team and bounces ideas off of them. She works to create a community where each can talk openly (11:54).  

I love Brianne’s hiring process advice. Once when she was hiring for a new intern, she gave specific directions via email. If someone didn’t hire the very simple direction in the email then it may show that the person may not be the best fit for the brand (13:19).

Brianne is constantly working ahead, buying for seasons to come. Right now what’s in style? Leopard. It’s making a huge comeback for Holiday into the new year (17:46).

Brianne’s tip to following and chasing your dreams? “Just do it and be as resourceful as possible” (21:26).

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