Five Minutes with the Founder | Serena Guen, Founder, SUITCASE Group

Today’s Founder is Serena Guen, who started SUITCASE Magazine whilst at university, as since grown the business into SUITCASE Group: a travel and lifestyle platform built to inspire people to travel more thoughtfully, through beautiful and aspirational content. SUITCASE Group consists of both a media platform called SUITCASE Magazine and a creative agency, SUITCASE Creative Studio.

Tell us the story of how you built your brand
I started SUITCASE Magazine while studying at NYU. I identified a big gap in the market for a platform that caters to experiential travellers. I wanted to create something rooted in culture that showcased the best of local life as opposed to just a superficial view of destinations. I believed it needed to be both practical, which is where our website comes in and beautiful and collectable, something that people keep and return to for generations, hence the print magazine!

Why did you choose to set up your business in the luxury sector?
The meaning of luxury now is different to what it was ten even five years ago. In travel it no longer means gold taps or six-hundred-thread-count sheets, it means having the most incredible experiences. I’ve always wanted to make it easier for people to travel more deeply and thoughtfully so this definitely seemed like the right space!

What is your favourite thing about your job?
Apart from the obvious of travelling to amazing places which can vary from the North Pole to the beaches of Brazil, I also love meeting people who are doing incredible things. I’ve been inspired by so many individuals along the way whether it’s founders of the next big company in tech or a hotelier who is incredibly passionate about what (s)he does.

What is your source of inspiration and motivation?
I’m motivated to continue to build something for the next generation of travellers. A one-stop-shop for experiential travel does not exist, which seems crazy to me given that we live in an age of convenience and experiences!

If you could have any other job in the world what would it be?
In a parallel universe I did not get a B in Chemistry AS Level and became a doctor!

If you could do something differently in your career what would it be?
Speak to my customer more early on! It’s so easy to lose sight of who you’re actually creating the product for. Only now we’re starting to really speak to our audience constantly through events, email, social media, focus groups etc.

Where do you see yourself and your company in 10 years’ time?
I’d love for us to be the leader in experiential travel as a content platform, but also be creating instrumental in creating these experiences too.

What does success look like to you?
Being the first port of call for any millennial going on a trip.

What advice do you have for any young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
Check you have product-market fit before raising investment (or at least a lot of it!)

What is your greatest luxury under £10?
Deliciously Ella snacks!

As people across the globe self-isolate, SUITCASE Magazine brings the world to your doorstep (or screen), click here to subscribe for print editions, or to explore SUITCASE online.