Today I am excited to welcome Renée Lodens to the TWH Sisterhood. Renée is an Australian entrepreneur in the fashion and retail space who has turned her love of travel and shopping into a successful global business. Who wouldn’t want to travel and shop for a living?!
Passionate about supporting local designers and retailers, Renée spends her days championing local shopping all over the world. Her online business, Travelshopa, helps people all over the world learn more about the best local shopping haunts when they’re on holiday – or at home.
You are an incredibly talented lady; tell us a bit more about yourself and your business Travelshopa…
I was born and raised in Sydney. I moved to Singapore in 2010 to join my then boyfriend (now husband) and I spent the first 18 months in ICT market intelligence before taking maternity leave. I had already come up with the idea (and name) for Travelshopa, so I took the opportunity to start testing the concept. Before I knew it, the business was set up and we were working on our first MVP – early stage product/website. It’s safe to say that I am yet to return to the corporate world.
Describe to us what Travelshopa is and why you are so passionate about it?
Travelshopa was born from my love of travel and shopping. I wanted to create a business that would help shoppers have better shopping experiences. I identified a gap in the market for a go-to guide for local shopping around the world. For me there was a clear opportunity to help shoppers find out where to shop and to help local designers and retailers to promote their business.
Four years in and Travelshopa is a curated guide for local shopping around the world. I love bringing together style conscious shoppers, emerging designers and independent retailers as well as industry professionals across Asia, the Americas and Australia.
What do you do when you are not scouring the world for hidden shopping gems?
When I am not working I am generally with our two children – Eva 5 years old and Michael 3 years old. They are terrific little doers and never afraid of a job to be done. We have recently moved to Sydney so there is a very long to do list. We generally spend most of our weekends working on our home, pottering in the garden, exploring Sydney and entertaining. During the week I work from home, and during work hours it’s all work!
Who or what is your greatest inspiration?
Many things inspire me; my kids, music, fashion, books, history, art, people. My greatest inspiration would come from travelling. It’s when I am away from my norm that I get my greatest ideas. Much like how the idea for Travelshopa came when I was travelling and exploring the shops.
What has been the most rewarding thing that has come from running your own business?
Besides the flexibility, which is almost a necessity when you have young children, the most rewarding thing is watching the platform grow and the community come together. I love that I have created something that can helps not only shoppers but also small businesses. His brings me much happiness.
Do you have any advice for women who are struggling to follow their dreams?
My father was an entrepreneur and raised me to believe in myself. He taught me to never give up. His belief was that if you start something, you must finish it. I guess I inherited that belief. Women tend to shy away from these beliefs. They find excuses why NOT to do something, rather than reasons TO DO something. I’d like to see more women embracing their passion and believe in themselves. Ultimately if you immerse yourself in something, find your passion and purpose and accept that you are going to need to work really hard, you will achieve great things.
Never ever give up.
What does the future hold for Renée Lodens?
The initial focus for Travelshopa is to grow Melbourne and Sydney, before continuing to expand into other capital cities and regional destinations around Australia. I hope to then take Travelshopa to new destinations to make it a truly global platform. Success to me is happiness. As long as I am enjoying what I am doing and I have a happy and healthy family, then the future is looking good.
To find out more about Renée and Travelshopa head on over to her website here: www.travelshopa.com