Page 1Page 1Page 1Page 1Page 1Page 1Page 1Page 1Page 1Page 1

Get in Touch

Looking for more info?
Click Here

Fields marked with an * are required
Plan a Trip
Search Subscribe

Client Spotlight: International Women's Day Edition

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re spotlighting three of our powerhouse clients who are blazing the trail in their respective industries, all while prioritizing travel and its transformative impact.

As we continue to focus on fostering community amongst our SmartFlyer family–where 9 out of every 10 travel advisors are mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces, and ultimately, business owners–in our thirtieth year in business, there lies an even great responsibility to empower one another to reach higher. We’re fortunate to work alongside clients who live out a similar ethos, both in the brands they’ve fearlessly built and in the way they travel with their loved ones.

Erica Hanks, founder of SHOWROOM

Synonymous with ‘chic,’ Erica Hanks built her name in the fashion space doing things just a bit differently from the Hollywood set. Based in Charlotte, she saw a gap in the market as a former magazine stylist and dove headfirst into dressing athletes. But these days, you can more likely find her busy building her new e-commerce endeavor, SHOWROOM, beside her female business partner. The company was born out of a love for styling the modern, creative woman who’s constantly struggling to source fashion-forward work-wear they actually want to wear. We caught up with Erica on how that mission is taking shape with influences from her love for the discovery of new places.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you in relation to being a female founder?

We need to do what we can to help women globally create more inclusive spaces for them to thrive.

Erica Hanks: “For me, IWD means global empowerment and celebrating achievements by women. We need to do what we can to help women globally create more inclusive spaces for them to thrive. We still have a long way to go in some corners of the world in regards to gender bias and inequality, but celebrating women helps raise that awareness and tools to empower. I love supporting female-owned businesses and learning and sharing about new ones. At SHOWROOM we carry a diverse group of female designers from all over the world.”

How does travel impact your creative process? Where do you seek inspiration?

EH: “Being a wardrobe stylist and consultant for 10 years, traveling has always been key to connect with brands and designers for clients. Now that I am a co-founder of a digital platform, it’s vital to be able to touch and feel the product that we place orders 6 months in advance for. With so many global designers, it’s also important for me to travel and see where they are getting their perspective from, as well as what women in other cultures are wearing for their every day, which can be so inspiring.

This past year, while I haven’t traveled nearly as much as I would in a typical year, I’ve fueled my inspiration through watching hotels adapt–through creative programming, creating safe havens, offering elevated wellness experiences like we’ve never seen before, opportunities for guests to stay for a month and longer or even for kids to go to school there in some cases. I think we can all confidently say that we will never, ever take travel for granted again.”

Tell us about your favorite SmartFlyer-planned trip to date.

EH: “My favorite trip hands down has been Ireland, my children’s first time traveling out of the States. Seeing how excited they were to explore another culture was awesome as a parent. Erina planned our trip perfectly and had loads of activities that were age-appropriate and fun everywhere we went to give the kids experiences. We didn’t have to worry about a thing. From the sheepdog experience to archery and falconry, it was a trip to remember. Getting a private dinner in the wine cellar of Adare Manor was the adult highlight!”

Where are we going together next? What excites you about this destination?

EH: “I’ll go anywhere next! The last trip I took was in February of 2020, so I’m not too picky these days! My work will take me to NYC, London, and Paris (did someone say La Réserve?) twice a year, and of course, SmartFlyer is coming with me.”

. . .

Sarah Evans, Partner at J Public Relations

As one of the most influential names in the public relations world, Sarah Evans is known for having built JPR into a bicoastal force with global reach with offices in New York City, San Diego, Los Angeles, London, Toronto and Nashville. The agency specializes in full-service publicity and story-telling including PR, social media, brand partnerships, and influencer relations. Coming off of a special Valentine’s Day stay with her husband and their girls at The Mark, we checked in with Sarah to chat about our mutual favorite topic: the next trip on her list (and so much more!).

What does International Women’s Day mean to you in relation to being a female founder?

My hope for my daughters is that they will continue to push boundaries, support other women, and never question their potential or opportunity based on their gender.

Sarah Evans: “I was fortunate to grow up in a home where I believed that anything was possible. I was never conditioned to think of myself with different opportunities as a man, so I’ve always approached the world by going for what I want and standing up for what I believe in. Fast forward many years (I just turned 42!) and I have three daughters and a company with over sixty-five employees, mostly female, and a female business partner who’s my best friend from college. I’m surrounded by women and in awe of what we can do when we stick together and support one other. And, as a leader and a mother, it’s imperative that we create environments where women can work and also where they can be present mothers because we deserve to ‘have it all’ whatever that means to us, just like our male counterparts (do men even have to say that?). My hope for my daughters is that they will continue to push boundaries, support other women, and never question their potential or opportunity based on their gender.”

How does travel impact your creative process? Where do you seek inspiration?

SE: “My first trip on an airplane was to Cancun for Spring Break when I was 18 years old. I’ve now been to 45 counties. Travel expanded my worldview and perspective more than I could have ever imagined. Seeing a new place, a change of scenery, getting out of my comfort zone, experiencing a new culture–all of these things light me up and fuel my passion and creativity. And, I love hotels. I love talking about hotels. Each has its own story through its design, the people, the food and programming. When you visit a hotel with a soul you can feel it; those memories, feelings and experiences stick with you. I feel so grateful that I landed in a career where I’ve been able to fuel my passion and now pass this love for travel and new experiences onto my girls as well.”

Tell us about your favorite SmartFlyer-planned trip to date.

SE: “This is tough…I’ve had many! But the one that stands out most is Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany. I was six months pregnant with my third daughter, Sophia, and it was private, peaceful, and in one of the most spectacular settings we’ve ever experienced. My two older girls, Stella and Sloane–who were three and six years old at the time–made pasta with the chef, baked cakes, had their faces painted under the stars, created art projects we still have today, and swam in their spectacular swimming pool; these moments created lifelong memories bonding our family. Sophia actually has two middle names, one of them being Siena. It was so important to us that we commemorated that time in our lives when I was pregnant with her in that magical place.”

Where are we going together next? What excites you about this destination?

SE: “Next up on our SmartFlyer agenda: Paris! We’re booked to take our kids to France this summer for a wedding and we’re staying at Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris for a few days prior. I can’t wait to show my girls the magic that is The City of Lights.”

. . .

Caroline Danehy, Co-Founder + Chief Creative Officer of Fair Harbor

From pitching on Shark Tank to running a successful crowdfunding campaign during final exams, Caroline’s story of co-founding a sustainable brand alongside her brother while still in their teenage years surely makes her one to watch. Most recently, she was named to Forbes 30Under30 to recognize Fair Harbor‘s innovative process of converting plastic bottles into recycled polyester and in turn, board shorts and swimwear. The business model helps to shed light on how fashion can be a vehicle not only to create beautiful goods but at the same time, offer an effective solution to environmental problems. We checked in with Caroline on how she’s faring coming out of a long New York winter, including where she’s dreaming of escaping next.

Nihiwatu,
September,
2017
©Jason Childs
Photo Jason Childs

What does International Women’s Day mean to you in relation to being a female founder?

Caroline Danehy: “To me, International Women’s Day is about celebrating strong women around you who inspire strength and confidence. Being such a young female founder, and starting Fair Harbor when I was a senior in high school, I’ve tried to surround myself with women who are comfortable in their skin and embrace their femininity, and who are total badasses while doing so.”

How does travel impact your creative process? Where do you seek inspiration?

Traveling continues to inspire me –both from a creative process and sustainability perspective. When I’m in a new place, I try to carve out time to disconnect and just be in the environment.

CD: “Growing up, our family spent our summers going to Fair Harbor, Fire Island–an Atlantic Ocean barrier island off the southern shore of Long Island; it’s where I first learned to fish, swim, and surf. Those experiences are what first connected me with the ocean and our natural surroundings, and inspired us to preserve and protect beach towns like Fair Harbor from plastic waste. Traveling continues to inspire me –both from a creative process and sustainability perspective. When I’m in a new place, I try to carve out time to disconnect and just be in the environment. While traveling, I find myself drawing on textures, colors, and even the emotions of a place, too.”

Tell us about your favorite SmartFlyer-planned trip to date.

CD: “I’ve gone on a few incredibly SmartFlyer planned trips, but my favorite was definitely our last trip to Indonesia. My sister was studying abroad in Australia during the time, and we went to go visit her on that side of the planet. We started in Bali, then went to Sumba Island and finished with a quick trip in Singapore. In Sumba, we stayed at NIHI and it was truly incredible…I’m getting excited thinking about it! When you arrive, they greet you with coconuts in an open-top van, and you drive through the island. Every part of NIHI is so thoughtfully curated–from the beautiful interior decorating, to the spa safari, to each and every meal of fresh foods. The people at NIHI are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and make the experience so genuine. Happy hour rolls around every night and the sunsets light up the whole sky. They call it the ‘edge of wildnerness’ for a reason. You’re able to disconnect from your commitments and stress, and relax. There, you connect with others and just be.”

Where are we going together next? What excites you about this destination?

CD: “Right now just about anywhere sounds amazing! Patagonia and Greece are the two on the top of my list. Patagonia for its sense of adventure and because I haven’t been to South America yet. Greece because I would love a beach trip right now–to learn about a new culture, eat fresh food, and of course, get a good tan.”

Inspired to get planning your next trip? Us too. Contact your SmartFlyer travel advisor to get the conversation started.

Book Now

Connect with an agent to plan your next trip.

You May Also Like

Travel Culture

In a Long-Term Relationship (with my Travel Advisor)

On a daily basis, our team is asked, “why should I book with a travel agent?” It’s easily one of...

Travel Culture

Romantic Staycations with a Floral Upgrade

While there’s no silver bullet for stress relief, as it turns out, fresh florals are a quick way to quickly...

Travel Culture

2021 Travel Forecast: 6 Epic Experiences at Sea

As we look ahead to the future of travel, one thing is for certain, our vacation time will be even...