Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cindy Nichols, Founder of The Wordy Traveler, located in Canton, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Wordy Traveler is a literary travel subscription company. Our customers feel like they’re traveling the world without leaving their favorite reading spot. Our subscribers are a community of readers who have a love for travel and a heart for giving back. Each quarter our subscribers receive their choice of one to six books in fiction, non-fiction, or a combination of both that are curated to highlight a specific country or region of the world. Each box contains ethically-sourced premium tea and coffee evocative of the region, along with a limited-edition fine art print that captures the beauty of travel.
In addition, a selection of artisanal souvenirs, bookmarks, and collectible charms are included in various subscription options. Most importantly, each box shipped supports emerging artists and small businesses while providing life-changing nutrition for two children and/or pregnant women around the world thanks to our partnership with Vitamin Angels.
Our goal has always been not just to have customers but to create a community where people feel that their purchase has a positive impact. Many of our customers are not able to travel for various reasons, and they’re able to see the world through their Wordy Traveler subscription. Other customers use their subscription to give them insight into the places they’re visiting or someday hope to visit.
In addition, we’ve created a community website with message boards, media content, an online magazine, online book discussions, and a podcast where we conduct interviews with authors and travelers. We have also expanded into non-subscription and culinary offerings to be a more rounded storefront.
Tell us about yourself
My mom passed away when I was ten, and her greatest regret was not being able to travel due to her chronic illness. I started The Wordy Traveler to bring the world to the doorstep of individuals that are unable to travel through our subscription box journeys and the countries we feature. That desire has translated into the current mission of The Wordy Traveler, which is to make the world a better place, one book at a time.
While transporting our readers, we give back to the countries we feature by sourcing items from local artisans, small businesses, and emerging writers. Every box we ship provides life-changing nutrition to 2 children and/or pregnant women across the world. In fact, in the last 12 months, The Wordy Traveler provided life-changing nutrition for over 4500 children and pregnant women.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I feel my greatest accomplishment is having the courage to get started and succeed. There are many people that dream of something and then never take action. I’m not a courageous person by nature so exhibiting the courage to follow through on my idea and take the leap is something I’m very proud of and thankful for.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Growing a bootstrap, self-funded business has not been easy, and there have been many challenges along the way. Recently, the pandemic created major supply chain and shipment issues for our company. We scrambled to identify new suppliers, solve supply chain problems, and focused on increasing customer service/communication. I added staff to fulfill orders and sought experts in accounting and cash flow while sharpening our marketing efforts. As challenging as things were, I persevered simply because I couldn't quit - our mission to make a positive impact in the world was too important.
I also think one of the hardest things for every small business owner is the emotional ups and downs. One day you have a tremendous breakthrough, and the next day you’re dealing with an issue that could potentially cause a catastrophic failure. When you work for someone, many times you’re insulated from these problems but as a business owner, you need the emotional fortitude to handle the toll this can have.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know why you’re starting, running, and growing a business of your own. For every success story you hear or read about, there are countless others that didn’t make it. Knowing your “why” is one of the most important parts of persevering during tough times.
- Focus on adding value to your customers. I believe the more value you add, the more valuable you’ll become. Instead of trying to make yourself look good externally, create as much value for your customers as possible.
- Get help. I truly believe none of us is a singular success, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have family, friends, and mentors that have been integral to my success. Specifically, make sure that you have someone assist you in handling money and cash flow. There have been many individuals along the way that have offered me advice or suggestions that have proven to be invaluable.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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