WOW. I can’t believe that this day has arrived. It has been a journey. A LONG ONE. You can basically say that 2020 was my year of awakening. A BIG awakening. Not just for me, but to all of mankind. While a pandemic was threatening the existence of mankind in a major way, here I am of starting my own Travel Agency. The audacity of me …
I had been thinking about starting my own business for quite some time. To be honest, the thoughts that I couldn’t do it, were clouding my mind, my frontal lobe, the region that is responsible for judgment and reasoning—I had to insert some medical knowledge in here somewhere since that’s all I’ve ever known. I don’t know anything about business. I don’t have an entrepreneurial mindset, and honestly being an entrepreneur was uncharted territory that I knew nothing about. I was scared, scared of the unknowns of business. And honestly, I let my thoughts cloud my judgment for way too long. Becoming an entrepreneur for so long felt out of the realm of possibility for me. And to be honest, as I looked around to my contemporaries, I didn’t see many faces that resembled mine—women of color who were travel business owners.
Representation matters! I will get to that in a minute.
I knew the odds would be stacked up against me … I knew that I was going to have to “work twice as hard” to get the things that I wanted, and I knew it wasn’t going to come easy. But when I think about it, nothing has ever come easy to me in life. I’ve always had to work really hard for everything that I’ve had, even when it seemed as if other people, who were for all intents and purposes as equal as me, would get it so much easier and faster.
I made up my mind that if I was going to work hard, I was going to work hard for MY DREAM and not someone’s else’s dream. I completely erased the inaccurate conclusions about what I was capable of doing. I started to tap into all the resources I could … asking my business friends what’s the right steps, enlisting my lawyer friends on free advice, taking business classes online to help me gain knowledge and understanding. I didn’t tell many people, only those in my inner circle about my plans (my husband, my immediate family, my best friends, a few of my loyal clients), and I’m extremely blessed to say that they all supported me, without hesitation.
You might say that starting a travel agency business in the midst of a pandemic is counterintuitive, and I can totally understand why you would say that. However, it’s a bigger picture than that, and it’s even bigger for me. Why did I choose now to launch my own business? Because of my love for travel and after praying about it, I felt in my heart that I had to step out on faith and know that God would provide for me and my business. Every red light has to turn green and it was as if God himself changed the red light for me, to green and gave me the go-ahead.
I get to give my clients, my friends, my family, my coworkers, the eager bride wanting to plan her destination wedding, a first-time international traveler, or a multigenerational family—an EXPERIENCE, an experience that you just can’t get from an online booking site. I get to be a part of something special. I GET TO CREATE those special moments. I get the opportunity to create unbelievable, life changing vacation experiences. The one experience that sealed the deal for me is when I took 20 of my family members out of the country, some for the first time in their life to JAMAICA. Even my mom was like, “You are absolutely crazy taking our family internationally.” She even said, “They are even crazier for going with you.” It was at that moment that I knew it was for me. I knew I was made for this.
But, when I looked around, I didn’t see women of color like me, who were in the travel business that could help me with the startup of my own company. I didn’t feel I could go to those that came before me and ask them how they managed to do it, simply because of the competition factor and in our society, it has become the norm to not help one another when there is the potential for growth. We don’t want to help anyone who may be trying to have their own business because they may become more successful that we are, or they may find a way to do it better. Why as a society can we grow businesses and companies together and need to be in competition with one another? Why do we hate when one of our fellow businesses expands and do great things?
When I thought about what I wanted for my business and what I stood for, several mission were obvious to me. I wanted to have a business where I create experiences for people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, beliefs, creeds, nationalities, and to emphasize that I will create your own experience specifically for you, and it doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, how you worship, or who you love—Kendra and Company Travel Agency is here to serve your vacation experience needs.
I want to be able to give back to communities and to be vocal about what I believe in, all while being a small black business owner. I want to represent my craft and to let others know that looks like me: there’s an entire world waiting for you to see. There’s so much more than just going to Myrtle Beach. Nothing wrong with Myrtle Beach—just saying. There are so many destinations that you can witness God’s creation in a much bigger way and I can be a part of that. I want to let anyone who was willing to put the work into owning a business know that they can do it. It takes time and energy, but if you’re truly passionate about it, it won’t seem like work. It will be building a brand that will speak for itself. You won’t have to speak on it, because your work will speak for itself.
Kendra and Company Travel Agency is my baby, my labor of love and I’m devoting my time, my energy, my passion to creating amazing vacation experiences. I’m the happiest when I get to create these special experiences and I’m excited about the future.
Kendra Carver, Owner, Kendra and Company Travel Agency
Est. August 31st, 2020