Amsterdam based travel PR and marketing agency Cherry LAB revolves around travel stories. Founder Tessa aan de Stegge is travel trend watcher, she enjoys to achieve balance between travel brands, tourism boards, journalists and travel bloggers. Cherry on her personal cake is when travel becomes an experience and therefore meaningful. For 2018 Tessa underlines the upcoming role for purpose travel. It is no longer about visiting a place, but about really being there and give back to locals.
Apart from their own experiences, Cherry lab also takes inspiration from other globetrotters. The Travel Hero series highlights professional travellers from all over the world. Long story short, when Tessa asked me if she could interview me for Travel Hero series, I felt honoured. And said yes, duh. I like to share it with you, see my – travel – story below.
Cherry Lab’s Travel Heroes, Karin Barnhoorn
In this edition we choose to shine some travel light on Karin Barnhoorn, in our opinion a true hero because she demonstrates that the travel marketing industry goes very well together with approaching a 50+ audience. For this business lady, ChapterFifty.com is not her first entrepreneurial adventure. And not her last either, so read on!
1. What makes you a true hero?
First let’s change true hero (those who rescue people) into true online entrepreneur! Maybe the fact that I embraced the online world right from the start and took risks. In the beginning people were hesitant and adopted a wait-and-see approach to online. I immediately saw the endless possibilities to connect on a global level. To meet like-minded people and share knowledge. This was my strong motivation to start an online business back in 2005 (online prehistoric times!). I developed an international online luxury marketplace where buyer and seller could meet, Designer-Vintage.com. Driven by the acceleration of consumption mania, I wanted to create awareness and contribute to a more sustainable luxury environment. Eco-chic recycling, why buy new if there is a perfect vintage alternative?
After working 24/7 on Designer Vintage – in the perks of always online lies also the trap – I was ready to let ‘her’ go. So, when a major international publishing house came forward for a complete taker-over, I was ready to sell DV.
And I also think that my professional attitude and experience helps to maintain long-lasting professional relationships.
2. What is the motivation behind your platform and what is your goal?
When the selling process was finalised, I turned 50. Which kind of came as a surprise, the big 5 0. I still felt 37 inside. When I took a closer look around and observed other fifty somethings, especially during my travels, I soon noticed some remarkable similarities. Well educated, responsible women with good jobs or entrepreneurs. They all have wanderlust, a loyal approach to people and globe, are conscious ànd fan of luxury and comfort at the same time. In short, a great audience.
During my ‘DV times’ I experienced more than once that (online) marketeers were not interested in people over 40. That annoyed me and I think that triggered me to identify this group, to become an ambassador. I am my target group: a 50+ luxury nomad.
My blog is also my personal new chapter, Chapter Fifty. At first I needed time to fine tune where the focus should be, but soon it became very clear: (luxury) travel and to literally give the new fifty something a face. As I do in the Portraits series, I really love creating these interviews.
My goal is to do the things I like. Apart from writing about travel lifestyle for my blog, I enjoy writing freelance as contributing travel & lifestyle editor for Dutch Talkies Lifestyle Magazine. And… I love, love, love taking travel photos with my Iphone. I also give talks on the new fifty+ target group and/or luxury travel and organise exclusive events for luxury brands who want to reach this great audience.
3. What is the highlight of your career so far?
Difficult to pick when one works since the age of 18, that is over 35 years! But the pinnacle certainly was the selling of my online company. This really feels like a reward for the huge risk, idea and too much hard work.
A current highlight is my recent travel collaboration with Hong Kong airline, Cathay Pacific. For the first time in my life, together with mr. B., we travelled for no less than 60 days! From Hong Kong to Japan, New Zealand and Fiji Islands. Driven by the fact that we do live now, realise opportunities now and put experience over possession. Our #60daysasiapacificjourney was incredible, especially traveling in a time void. No idea of dates or days! This trip, or rather a luxury sabbatical, gave me so much energy. For us, this trip definitely makes up for not taking a backpack sabbatical when we were young. Big time!
4. What can we expect from you anytime soon?
More of the same, I hope! I feel at ease when travelling. Even when it becomes hectic or asks for improvisation. It is clear that our 60 days journey has given us a taste for more. Some new destinations pop up in my mind, like Bhutan or Australia. Who knows!
I’ve come full circle, when I started working back in the eighties, it was in the travel and hospitality business. I worked for KLM airlines for twelve years as passenger handling manager at Schiphol airport and now again travel reflects my life. In many varieties.
I also do consultancy on travel formats, test new destinations and hotels, I am proud ambassador for Talisman Travel Design and the Conservatorium hotel, I work as online and offline editor and love to give talks on (sustainable luxury) travel.
For me no vlogs on Youtube, I don’t like to be in front of the camera but I share with love on Instagram and IG Stories.
It’s a small online world and I still think it’s very special to meet followers live on the other side of the world.
I recently started a new IG account where I share portraits – faces of the world – of people I meet on my journeys. People are as important as destinations. I would like to explore photographing, take workshops on Iphone photography. That is the only camera I used during our long journey. But therefore I need to be in once place for a longer time… Since we alter between our apartment in Amsterdam city center and renovated farmhouse in Portugal – and travel, of course – that will not be any time soon, I’m afraid.
There are some ideas for a book. I recently launched my golf collection, a collaboration with Deblon Sports. And last, but not least, high on my luxury travel wish list features the curation/design of the new KLM business class pouch. Room for (sustainable) improvement there!
5. To top off: what is your ultimate travel advice?
I think it is important to connect with the eople you meet during travels, to understand the culture. Hire a local guide and explore together. This really gives insight in each others life and customs. It also gives you the opportunity to tip well and help when a poorer country is involved.
Also, something very practical, register for airline newsletters. Most of them have special promotions where business class seats go for half price. Not important for shorter flights but there’s nothing quite like travelling (sleeping!) for 12 hours on a flat-bed. Of course I realise that this is not an option for everyone. For me it is the epitome of luxury travel.
A practical tip? Packing cubes!