Amy Lynn Hayes is no stranger to travel.
She’s lived in a number of different places around the world, including England, France, and Australia. She loves travel and design, and has built her life around the two concepts in various ways. Her latest entrepreneurial project, The Global Creator, is her way of combining her two passions and turning her love of international design into a lifestyle brand!
Amy Lynne has been working hard to bring a community of like-minded people together and has some great tips on working with social media, following your passion, and the importance of business coaches. I loved hearing her tell her story in her own words. Check out our interview below!
Tell us about your business in as much detail as you can. What is it that you do and who are your customers?
My business, The Global Creator, is a community-based travel lifestyle brand and online boutique. I call it a shop where designer goods and experiential luxury travel combine – what I do is source designer or artisan-made items in different countries around the world and curate them into destination collections so that travel and design lovers can shop locally, globally. Eventually, I’ll be pairing the goods with travel experiences to those destinations. Our first “Ready for Departure” collection has things that you would take with you on a journey – a leather backpack, scarves, hat, skincare products – and the destination collections will start rolling out early next year.
What made you choose this path? Is it a family legacy or are you a pioneer? Did you go to school for it or are you learning as you go?
It’s been a winding path to get this point! I ended up here more out of necessity than any sort of grand plan, really. I studied art in college in Winter Park, Florida, and went on to complete two degrees in interior design in London and Paris. That’s when the blending of my two passions – travel and design – really emerged. I then went on to work with a boutique design firm in Melbourne, Australia before ending up back in Florida. I was working as the creative director for a luxury travel agency based in Miami when the idea for The Global Creator really took shape. My grandfather had an entrepreneurial spirit, so I must have inherited that need to forge my own path from him. I left the travel agency in July of 2016, and, three months later, launched my own brand. I never went to school for anything business-related, so am completely learning as I go. Hiring a great business coach made all the difference in building the courage to just go for it!
They say that to be successful you have to be passionate, so share what drives you every day. Why do you love what you do?
I do agree that you have to be passionate in order to be successful, not because you won’t have good ideas, but because if you don’t have that drive you’ll burn out very quickly. For me, my company is very personal because The Global Creator is me. The business is all about maintaining that connection to the world and a global citizen status, even if and especially when you’re not out on the road all the time. I didn’t want to lose that international flair I’d gained after nearly 8 years living overseas and I know that there are many others out there who feel the same. This is why I consider The Global Creator to be community-based, because what I am building is really a community of travelers, designers, artists, and makers and uniting them, and it’s those connections that fuel my own fire.
Has it been smooth sailing or have you overcome adversity to get where you are?
Though it’s early days, I’d have to say it’s been mostly smooth sailing. There is of course an element of adversity to overcome, but I feel like that part of my journey happened before the launch of my company. Visa expirations, having to uproot and move my life multiple times, wondering what to do with my life once I was back in the States, and forging through that uncertainty … The Global Creator feels like it’s all come around full circle.
We all know that crazy happens. What’s the wildest thing that’s happened on the job?
There’s an element of crazy in everything we do! Thankfully we haven’t had any major catastrophes or anything of that nature, just the usual funny circumstances that occur for any creative project. Nonchalantly filming in an airport, trying not to attract the attention of security guards while filming the promo video. Photoshoots in public that draw a crowd because everyone wants to know what you’re doing. Not really wild, per se, but still have a super fun energy around them.
What do you do with your time off? Are you familiar with that concept?
I do make sure that I pencil some “me time” into my weeks, otherwise I hit a wall and my productivity suffers. Time off usually takes the form of reading historical novels on my balcony, or having brunch with friends. I don’t have set times, like the weekends, but rather move intuitively through my weeks and take a break when I most need it. It’s not uncommon to find me working all day Saturday and then taking a Wednesday away from the computer, for example.
This is the age of the social network. How important is social media to your business and how do you make it work?
Social media is everything for my business. It’s where I connect with both makers and customers, foster my Global Creator community, and bring the brand to life. I have a hashtag on Instagram, #GlobalCreator, that was established during my travel blogging days and I have a really engaged audience there. I feature users’ photos in my feed, highlight community members and products, and generally work hard to be available and in touch with my audience.
How are you involved in your community?
We are lucky to have a vibrant and varied community here in South Florida. I am a member of multiple groups and social networks that support start-ups and entrepreneurs, as well as encourage an environment of shared knowledge and taking advantage of local cultural opportunities. But you don’t need an organized event to be involved – visiting your neighborhood farmers market and supporting the local vendors is another of my favorite ways to be involved.
What does supporting local mean to you?
My whole brand is driven by the concept of shopping locally, globally. To me, supporting local doesn’t mean that it has to be restricted to just your own geographic location. Supporting local means finding the companies and individuals who are creating something that is uniquely theirs and helping them succeed. It doesn’t even matter the size of an operation – Rifle Paper Co., for example, now has 300 employees, but the artwork is still Anna Rifle’s own designs. It’s about supporting a business that has a human element at its core that consumers can identify with.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
Travel, travel, travel! But, seriously, my goal is to incorporate more of the travel element into the business. I will begin launching the destination collections in early 2017, so I will be out on the road sourcing and meeting the individual makers. I want to launch a travel experiences portion either next year or in early 2018, so I will be looking for a partner for that. And I want to launch pop-up shops, pop-up dinners, and other live events to create opportunities for the Global Creator community to connect in person and bring the brand to life.
Do you have any advice for aspiring business owners just starting out?
Start with your passion. If you don’t know what that is yet, keep exploring. I went through many, many ideas on how I wanted to make my own career, but it wasn’t until I really identified what I loved most that I knew I had discovered my best path. And then be prepared for a lot of hard work!