By Puja Gupta
New Delhi– Her videos often pop up on our Facebook feeds and give major travel goals. Mother of one, Kamiya Jani quit her full-time job as an anchor to follow her passion for travelling and exploring the world.
What started as a personal blog ‘Curly Tales’, is one of the most popular online platform that shares recommendations for food and travel.
In a conversation with IANSlife, Jani talks about her journey, her venture, apart from her views on the present scenario of the travel industry. Excerpts:
Q: When did you begin your journey as a content curator, and how has your journey been till now?
A: Even though I started this journey by writing blogs and articles, I realised that not too many platforms were making videos around this. That is when I forayed into videos, which were very well received by everyone who watched them. The journey has been full of excitement, starting with just me and my passion for food and travel. I now have an amazing team of 25-30 people.
What started as a food and travel platform where I would make 1-minute videos on topics of interest — from street food, unique servings in restaurants, we have surely come a long way. We are now well placed to host celebrity interviews, wherein I invite renowned personalities for a brunch. They then discuss their journey, their passion for travel, and their food experience, through a very candid and free-flowing conversation. This concept became pretty unique, and was well received by the audiences.
Q: What was your inspiration to start your journey in this field?
A: I was working as a business news anchor at a renowned business news channel, and I had been a journalist for the past 10 years, before Curly Tales. Although I enjoyed that stint entirely, I used to feel pretty confined in the space. While on the job, I strongly felt that I wanted to enjoy myself exploring the world.
When I switched, I was already a mom of a three-year-old daughter. I wanted to pursue my dreams with a simple thought — if not now, then when. I wanted to follow my passion for travelling on a personal level. Initially, I just started documenting my experiences and publishing on Facebook, where I found a community of like-minded people that could relate to my content. Additionally, a lot of women started looking up to me, by telling me that despite being married and a mother I still pursued my passion. This only gave me more motivation and drive to continue my journey, document it and publish it, and engage the community with my recommendations and their suggestions.
The whole journey from content has taken a shift to commerce. We are not just recommending but also selling some of these experiences now. Recently, we experienced a staycation package for a five-star hotel, and over 500 people bought that experience through Curly Tales on Facebook after watching our video on it. In all, our journey started from a passion, moved to content creation, to curation and it is now in the stage of commerce, where the transactions are happening based on recommendations through Facebook.
Q: Given that you are also a part of Facebook’s ongoing ‘More Together’ campaign which focuses on the power of connections, how do you relate to it?
A: The power of connections is all about working together. The connection has been with my team who has helped me build the foundation of Curly Tales and the connection with the followers, who have been following us since we started with 300-400 followers. Moreover, some of those followers have now turned into our clients. I feel all this personifies the power of connections — something that has happened through Facebook. This has brought me even closer to the essence of Facebook’s More Together campaign.
Q: The pandemic-induced disruption in the travel space forced people and travellers to become homebound. How did you cope up with the situation?
A: The pandemic allowed me to relook at my business. Even though Curly Tales is in the travel space, travel can never be replaced with an online experience. We did some virtual tours but the joy of travelling outdoors can never be replaced by anything else. We were positive that we will be back. The pandemic also allowed us to relook at our content strategy and position ourselves the way we wanted to. During the pandemic, we got an opportunity to focus on written content, and use instant articles on Facebook as travelling guides for people who needed to be reunited with their families. Through this process, we became a catalyst and a mediator of informing people as to how they can travel during tough times.
Q: Share some insights into what went in the travel community during the last few months. Are you excited as travel opens up slowly?
A: We definitely saw a lull period which started from March-end and went out till September-October, up until domestic flights started. Even when flight operations started, it was not much for leisure, and rather about emergency travel, where people were looking to reunite with their family members. Once travel started, the market bounced back due to the pent-up demand of people wanting to travel. The demand was clearly at its peak and there was a ‘revenge travel’, that we saw, where people were wanting to get out of their homes and explore, even if it meant to get away on road trips.
I do think that domestic tourism is growing and has caught up already. This is also why we have started our new show “I love my India”, where we discover hidden gems in India and where Indians can actually find international experiences right here in the home country.
Q: What were some of the challenges that you faced, when you shifted to this from your job? How did you overcome them?
A: I gave myself a time limit of one year, thinking that I will boomerang into my job. But as fate had it, there was no looking back. The biggest challenge for me in this journey has been to find people with whom I can share my passion. A shared vision fueled by mutual passion leads to the meaningful content of relevance and keeps the team motivated. I feel blessed to have an amazing team that meets these requisites, and have been instrumental in taking Curly Tales to where it is today. (IANS)