This Founder Left Corporate America to Curate Affordable Luxury Experiences for Black Travelers
Photo Credit: Instagram / @upintheairclaire
Rarely do we get to see travel depicted in a way that’s racially diverse, but this travel enthusiast is looking to change that. Claire Soares, entrepreneur and founder of Up In The Air Life, created a travel company that focuses on curating luxury experiences all around the world while making Black travelers a priority.
Soares left corporate America to pursue this business venture in hopes of providing other Black travelers with the same quality experiences she was accustomed to.
“I couldn’t find travel companies that were providing luxury to people who looked like me—most of the market offering that targeted people of color was predominantly budget travel—even still today. I wanted to share my love of luxury and epic experiences at an affordable price with excellent customer service,” Soares told Black Enterprise.
While Soares came into the business with her own expertise and personal experience, she still found it difficult to navigate a space where her counterparts didn’t look like her. The biggest challenge she faced was the fact that Black people weren’t interested or couldn’t afford these luxury experiences. Spending among Black travelers is high, around $42 billion to date, however, most travel companies don’t include African Americans in their marketing.
“As I began to travel more leisurely, and coupled with my thirst to live life to the fullest, I was inspired to create Up in the Air Life to give people who looked like me an effort to share and create those quality experiences,” Soares told Black Enterprise.
Soares also found it difficult for her peers to take her business model seriously as they couldn’t see the profitability in it–proving to be tough raising capital and getting mentorship within the industry.
“As a black-owned business in the luxury travel space, we are unicorns. The traditional luxury travel space is very [white],” explained Soares.
Soares’ involvement in the company’s lavish itineraries stems from her own quest to enjoy life to the fullest. The luxury travel company has attracted the attention of many fellow travelers and currently has over 3,000 clients who have explored destination trips in places like Brazil, Croatia, Thailand and more. The company reached a milestone in 2018 passing their million-dollar revenue mark for the first time ever.