Have you ever taken a trip abroad and started a business before you landed back home? Cecile Balekji her two girlfriends did just that and the result is pretty darn cool. Check it out below..
What are you currently working on?
I currently work at an Italy-specialized tour operator in New York. We provide full itineraries from hotels, to unique experiences and classes and really love showcasing the beauty of Italy to our travelers in an authentic way. My side project is a venture that I, along with 2 other business partners, have had the idea for since December 2014 (our trip to Tokyo), called Motoki. We are a travel-inspired fashion company. Our idea is to resell vintage pieces to girls around the country who love travel and fashion, while also building a small community and posting blogs about our experiences. The pieces are all unique and have some sort of relevance to the country they're from. Our eventual goal is to be able to create our own clothing line from international concepts. We have put in a lot of work and time, however, there is still much to do. We have to edit and upload photos of the newest pieces we have, officially launch the website, and find a way to raise awareness and drive traffic to our website.
How was the idea for your business born?
My 2 girl friends and myself were shopping in the Harajuku district in Tokyo on very little sleep. We found ourselves immersed in amazing, unique and special clothing that we could never find back home. We were wishing that our friends and family had the ability to understand and see this special clothing and style. Then, the idea popped in our head. What if we bought a few pieces and brought it back home to re-sell? After that, each time we travelled, we would pick up unique pieces in other cities such as Hong Kong, Marrakesh, Bali, Phillipines, etc. We now have a great collection and are ready to showcase the beauty of these countries through fashion to our customers.
Tell us about an app, software, tip or product that you find really useful when you travel.
I really like Triposo. Before you depart, you can download “city guides” for the various cities you'll visit. Once they are downloaded on your phone, you can access without cell data. It will then provide you with all of the sightseeing tips you need, and can also map out the best route to see all of the sites you choose. It also works without wifi or cell data! TripCast is also a fun app while you are traveling – your friends can download the app and follow all of your photos in an album that you post to.
"In the middle of everything, we all started laughing, and smiling, and couldn’t stop. We felt such happiness.."
What is the next place on your travel list?
My next goal is to hike Machu Picchu in Peru – and also hopefully find some new vintage pieces for Motoki!
We all know travel can bring us to unexpectedly * magical * moments . Tell us about one you’ve experienced.
This is a very simply moment, but it was really so amazing. I was in Barcelona with my 2 girl friends and sister. It was one of our last days in the city and we were having a blast. We were enjoying fresh sangria and lunch at a restaurant right on the beach. In the middle of everything, we all started laughing, and smiling, and couldn’t stop. We felt such happiness of the current situation, and everything felt so perfect at that moment. Life back home was forgotten, and we were living in the moment. I can honestly say I have never seen my friends as happy as I did at that moment.
How do you balance the demands of a full time (or part time) job and daily life with nurturing this dream?
I honestly find myself wondering how it is possible to maintain a full time job to support myself, but also follow my dreams of travel and exploration of the world. I don’t really have the right answer, but I hope to one day understand this and find a nice balance.
Want to check out Motoki's newest pieces and see where they're sourcing one-of-a-kind fashion? Check it out here!