Christmas is barely over and the turkey still digesting, despite this the travel industry is out in full force desperately attempting to stake a claim on our hard –earned disposable income. This scenario is played out every year from the 25th December, Holidays To Feed Your Soul, a boutique travel company which specialises in the organisation of luxury, bespoke travel will also be vying for our attention.
Jackie G Michaels is the formidable entrepreneur behind Holidays To Feed Your Soul, ‘formidable’ is a realistic adjective for Jackie who along with the aforementioned business also runs a second business: Mindz in Motion, more on this later.
Holidays To Feed Your Soul stirs up feelings of wellbeing and spirituality. Jackie, explains the meaning behind her brands’ name, “I wanted something that would still allow people to know what it was about but also intriguing as well.”
Fortunately, Jackie has captured the well –being zeitgeist and effortlessly merged this with her business model; one such trip entitled, ‘Wellbeing and Relaxation,’ takes place in an idyllic retreat in the Caribbean island of St Kitts & Nevis. “The wellbeing field has developed and is no longer perceived as ‘the hippie market’. Celebrity endorsement has only enhanced the wellbeing movement. “Angelina Jolie and Victoria Beckham, very different people coming out saying: ‘You can be successful and have your mind, body and spirit in balance.’
Mainstream acceptance of spiritual introspection has had an impact on Holidays To Feed Your Soul’s demographic, which according to Jackie is getting younger. “Some of our clients feel tired and exhausted at 28, and are seeking holidays to restore their balance.” The Holidays To Feed Your Soul client is typically aged between 35 – 60, therefore Jackie has done well to also attract the sought after late 20 somethings.
The luxury travel market is certainly crowded; every week my inbox overflows with various press releases promising luxury escape with high-end holiday providers, how does Holidays To Feed Your Soul, make themselves heard?
“We are the only company that promotes escorted tours to the Caribbean, we did this initially to reassure people who were a bit apprehensive about the Caribbean’s safety.”
‘Authenticity’ is also listed as part of Holidays To Feed Your Soul’s USP. “The luxury/authentic Caribbean experience hasn’t been marketed that much, it’s generally aimed at the diaspora, we have extended the marketing due to finding that more and more people are looking for the authentic experience but still want to stay in a luxury five –star hotel.”
Jackie employs six permanent staff based in the London office and numerous, ‘trusted representatives’ based in the Caribbean. Jackie appears to be an ideal boss; she’s an advocate of ‘sleep pods’ in the office and ‘afternoon power naps,’ although this is currently a hypothetical idea, this could materialise sometime in the future after a move to larger premises.
As a former HR Manager, Jackie is armed with all the tools to effectively manage her team, unsurprisingly, ‘trust and flexibility’ form an important part of her arsenal. “I’m all about having teams that are part of your vision, how you work as long as you fulfil your objectives is up to you.”
Having a dedicated, loyal team in place that are fully onboard with Jackie’s vision has made it easier for her to simultaneously run an additional business. As Training Director at Mindz in Motion, a provider of training programmes and personal development to both the private and public sector, Jackie tells me about her strategy for the successful running of two businesses:
“Having clear vision, partnerships and delegation. On a personal level you have to really be disciplined and really organised, taking time out so that I can balance my mind, body and spirit – that is one of the major secrets to running multiple streams of income.”
Despite running two businesses, Jackie also finds time for a burgeoning media career; an appearance as a panellist on Ladies Talk – a web series broadcast by Osarge News and fronted by comedienne Angie Le Mar, has given Jackie the ‘TV bug,’ quite a revelation for someone who was a ‘painfully shy child:’
“I want to do more TV especially lifestyle productions; I love being in front of the camera.”
Jackie’s love of the camera is evident; I watched her on Ladies Talk and she came across as confident and personable – a natural, in fact I decided that I wanted to interview her soon after watching her debut.
Jackie G Michaels is certainly a woman with ‘clear vision’ her entrepreneurial passion and zest for life is pretty infectious, she is someone that you could easily trust to feed your soul.