I feel so fortunate to live in a community of entrepreneurial women. Rhode Island is full of women creating and doing amazing things in business. And thank goodness we have so many varied talents to share! Whether we're photographers, restaurateurs, studio owners, bakers, or travel agents, we're Women Who Own It
In this special interview series, I share more about the women who inspire me, and who are at the top of their game. I'm thrilled to introduce each and every one of them to you!
Tracy Sweeney (TS): Clearly, travel is about location! Where can Elan Studio readers find Anchors Away Travel? Kelly Furtado (KF): I am a home-based business located in Bristol, Rhode Island. Wherever in the country you are, please feel free to give me a call! 401-338-9278 If you're in Rhode Island or Southeastern Massachusetts, I'd love to meet you sometime.
TS: Tell us a bit about how you came to run an independent travel agency. KF: I have always been a planner, and fascinated with travel. I have also always loved to do research on various places around the world, learning about the must-do activities, local culture, where to dine ... Friends have always asked for my assistance in planning their trips, and I was happy to help with that! A few years back, I was looking for a fresh start in a new career. I was looking for something that offered flexibility, growth in the field, something that was “mine”. One factor that I kept in mind as I searched for this elusive career was that I wanted the opportunity to travel, and work, from anywhere. I was in the middle of planning a personal trip when I realized how much I enjoyed studying travel, and that I could make a career out of helping others plan their journeys!
TS: Tell us more about your business. What are you known for? What are you most proud of? What sets you apart? KF: While I touch on all aspects of travel in order to meet the needs of my clients, the bulk of my business is family and multigenerational travel, as well as romance travel (honeymoons and destination weddings). I run my business out of my home as an independent agency, but I am hosted by one of the largest travel consortia in North America, so if I haven’t been to a specific destination, I have several colleagues who have. I also have access to in-destination specialists and business development managers who are very well-versed in their product. I have been blessed to have been able to visit and inspect multiple resorts and cruise ships in the past few years and meet several key players onsite. The contacts and relationships I have developed over the years are a tremendous asset.
The thing I am most proud of? Taking the leap. It was a scary decision, but completely worth it!
TS: Has the road to success been smooth? How have you adapted your business to the COVID-19 pandemic? KF: It has been a fantastic road - I’ve learned so much over the past couple of years and visited some amazing places, as well as met some of the most influential people in the travel industry.
And then, COVID shut everything down! I am taking advantage of the down time in travel to hone my skills and knowledge of particular destinations, cruise lines, resorts and specialty areas. I am currently enrolled in several specialty courses to increase my knowledge portfolio and have updated my annual accreditation with certain theme parks, cruise lines and resorts. I am organizing my office, enhancing my business skills, training my first sub-agent, and working with my incredible marketing guy (who happens to be my magnificent husband). I will not be derailed!
TS: What is one piece of advice you have to offer a female business owner early in her journey? KF: Do it. Don’t be afraid to fail and learn from your mistakes. Every day you will get closer to fulfilling a dream. Even if you have to start part time, eventually it WILL grow beyond your expectations!
Thank you, Kelly! You can find Anchors Away Travel online, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also reach Kelly via email at email@example.com
Kelly has graciously offered to give Elan Studio readers a discount on select 2021 travel packages. Mention this blog post when you contact her, for more information!