Huda (right) and Sana (left) are the Co-Founders of The Girls Trip, the first FEMALE OWNED tour company activating curated travel for women around the globe.
WHAT IS YOUR MORNING ROUTINE?
Huda – When the kids are off from school my morning routine is a bit scattered, however, work continues on so I make sure to schedule accordingly. Typically, my morning starts off with me rushing out the door for meetings. Before that, though, I ALWAYS say a little prayer and grab a coffee. I have meetings 3 to 4 times a week with partners, collaborators, and women I’ve wanted to connect with. About 70% of those meetings are for The Girls Trip; the rest are for client projects. As a freelancer, I consult with brands to navigate their social strategies and influencer campaigns. As a co-founder of The Girls Trip, a lot of my time this summer went towards building The Girls Trip brand and with that comes a lot of work. This year we are partaking in 3 major events plus getting prepared for our very first trip!
Sana – I’m blessed to have an amazing job that allows me a lot of flexibility; I’m able to devote time to The Girls Trip and work on my social media and brand collaborations on the side. My mornings vary as I have the opportunity to work from home a few days each week. When I work from home, the first thing I do when I wake up is to check my emails. After that I make breakfast and work from my living room. Multi-tasking is the name of game: I’ll spend my mornings attending meetings for work, and squeeze in some time to engage with my audience on Instagram as well.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH
I started my career at the age of 18 when I started my very first business: a door to door sales agency. After that, I took a role in HR for a recruitment agency. In the middle of a divorce – with two young kids – the job lasted me a year. I realized that I needed flexibility. During the transition of becoming a single parent, I moved in with my own parents – I realized that with the support, I was able to take on more risk. Now at the age of 25, I decided to take a crack at entrepreneurship and started my own recruitment agency, Istaff Management. The experience was amazing and I learned a lot from building a company from the ground up, however, like many women today there was an itch that was not being fulfilled. I had a calling to do something more with my life and give back to women anyway I could. I decided to wrap up my agency and dabble in social media. I had built up a little bit of a following on Instagram and found it fascinating how business was changing and what I could do in this space so I decided to educate women on the experience I had accumulated in social media and entrepreneurship. I held workshops and events to bring women together while allowing them to learn the way that actually made them excited about education. My workshops also grew and now I’m in preparation to launch a summit in May 2019 called HER Summit (stay tuned).
Growing up, I didn’t actually have many jobs. My first job was at a call centre and I enjoyed it for a while until it became repetitive. After a year I did a few admin jobs. I found myself working in a physiotherapy clinic as well as a law office. Once I graduated from University with a degree in Psychology, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do – I juggled with so many career choices but then finally thanks to a little advice from my dad who has been an IT genius his whole life, I was able to settle into a career in Technology. For the past 7 years I have been in the tech industry. However the entrepreneur and creative soul in me needed more and so I started a few side hustles. My first venture was The Venue Stylist – a decor rental company specializing in weddings and events. This kept me really busy in the summers and on weekends. Another small venture I started with my sister in law was a food blog that led me to start freelancing as a social media manager for a few restaurants. Today my primary focus is my 9-5 job, my Instagram (@twosaparty_), and The Girls Trip.
THE GIRLS TRIP
In April Sana and I launched The Girls Trip. The idea had been in the making for a few years. When I say in the making, I don’t mean that we had decided on starting a travel company – for years we talked about working and travelling together, but never knew how it would come about. Once I shut down Istaff Management, I found myself in a rut, trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. For someone who had been traveling almost every 3 months to new and exotic destinations, unfortunately, my travel had to come to a hault while I figured out my career path. Travel became a luxury. During that time, Sana had the opportunity to travel and build up her social media presence as a travel blogger working with properties and brands all over the world. One day we got together and I remember saying “It’s not fair that travel can be so expensive and unaffordable for some people,” and she said to me “I know. I always travel with Faisal (hubby), but really wish I could travel with some girls. All my friends are at different stages in life – it’s so hard to plan something.” I think that’s when we both knew we were onto something. We realized that solo travel for women is becoming more popular and that women want to connect with other women while going on these adventures. We also realized that finance can get in the way of us having these incredible experiences, which is when we added the most valuable model to our company. The payment plan was born which is really the back bone of The Girls Trip, and what separates us from other travel companies. All of our trips are curated, unique, and extra special. The Girls Trip’s mission is to resolve all the common barriers and bring experiential trips possible in bucket list destinations allowing more women to travel the world.
WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU OR WOMEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY FACE?
Definitely funding and scaling. We feel there is not enough information as to how you can take a business and really scale it. Mentorship and more entrepreneurial women sharing their journey is needed.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG GIRLS WHO WANT TO BE THE NEXT YOU?
Working with a partner or having a co founder is extremely helpful and we would highly recommend having one. Another piece of advice we wish we got earlier was asking the question, “Can you see yourself doing this for the rest of your life?” I never realized how important this question is. If you can answer YES then you are half way there!
HOW DO YOU SEPARATE WORK LIFE FROM YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?
To be honest there is no separation. What we are building now is what we love. Today more and more of us are seamlessly blending our professions with our everyday life because we are choosing to do more of what we love than ever before.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I think the answer to that for both of us is: travel
WHEN YOU’RE OFF THE CLOCK, WHAT ARE YOUR INDULGENCES?
Food. We are both foodies. In fact Sana ran a food blog before she did travel and still today most of our discussions revolve around where to eat and what we are cooking for family get togethers.