Stiletto Escape - Shivani Ballesteros & Jana Wallis

Written by chicceo Published in

Planning a trip with your girlfriends? Check out the ladies who run Stiletto Escape: 

Name: Shivani Ballesteros & Jana Wallis
Company: Stiletto Escape  

Background: Early on in their friendship, Shivani and Jana recognized mutual passions for travel, food, and friends, in addition to a desire to have more autonomy in their work lives. Both women quickly realized they had a common problem: they wanted to travel with their girlfriends, but the planning was a consistent obstacle. Everyone could find the time to take a vacation, but no one was able to invest the hours after work or on the weekends to actually piece together the fantastic vacations they all wanted. 

With their extensive travel experience and diverse backgrounds, Jana and Shivani identified a missed opportunity in the travel market; somewhere between traditional travel agents and endless social media recommendations was the need for personalized service with a “local” type of destination expertise. Extensive conversations, hours of research, and a couple “ok, can we really do this?” exclamations, and Stiletto Escape was born!

What is something you wish you would have known when you started your business?
Creating and implementing a targeted marketing strategy has been a bit of a hurdle for us. We know our demographic, how she allocates her time and spends her money, but reaching her without a tangible “product” to sell has been a challenge. We received great advice from Felena Hanson of the Hera Hub regarding avoiding “the land grab” and marketing to any and everyone. Finding our target audience, speaking to her in a language she relates to, and explaining why Stiletto Escape is something she needs, is a constant learning process for us.

What are the benefits of owning your own company?
You have complete ownership, which is both scary and exhilarating. You get to be creative; you get to mold your brand into whatever you’re passionate about. A typical corporate job does not allow this type of flexibility or independence. There is something intangibly rewarding about creating something beautiful that you are passionate about and knowing that you (and your business partner) are alone responsible for it.

How do you maintain and keep a balanced home and work life while owning your company?
It’s an ongoing process. We each maintain full-time jobs in addition to running Stiletto Escape, which results in long days and evenings. Working two jobs makes it hard to have a social life, but we’ve found we’re excited to work on Stiletto Escape since it’s our passion, and squeezing in time for a Friday movie or a date night reenergizes us. The key is to prioritize. We keep a running list of short-term and long-term deliverables to keep us on schedule week-to-week, and to keep the bigger picture in mind so we don’t feel overwhelmed with things to do. Technology like Google docs and texts messages allows us to address “light bulb” ideas quickly and keep our documents up to date and organized.

What is a quote that your business/company/or you live by?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain


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