Jenn Earley is the 42-year-old founder and CEO of Cultured Vacations, a Black-owned travel agency that offers curated travel experiences. Living in Atlanta, Georgia, Earley has always had a great passion for traveling. After quitting her six-figure salary job, she decided to start her travel agency to share her travel experiences and help people of color to get out and see the world.
“I would say leaving my job in corporate America to double down and grow my business further was a huge achievement. I left corporate America making a six-figure salary in 2018 to focus on my business full-time. That took a lot of guts. At this time, I would say a most recent achievement is still having a travel business that is still standing. Many agencies closed their doors because of Covid and the pandemic and the impact on their businesses,” Earley told Travel Noire.
Primarily planned to be an international travel agency, Cultured Vacations has traveled to countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Mexico and the Caribbean and Central and South America. Serving over 1,500 travelers and many of them have traveled multiple times with the company, Earley reveals.
“We create customized itineraries for individuals and groups. We service destination weddings, honeymoons, line anniversaries, and influencer trips just to name a few. Additionally, we create group travel experiences for women who want to visit far off destinations like Bali, Dubai!, Johannesburg, and Ghana,” Earley told Travel Noire.
She added that the most popular destinations right now for her clients are Paris, Dubai, Italy, Greece, and St Lucia.
Being a Black woman entrepreneur in the travel segment is very challenging, Jenn Earley said. In the early days in the industry, there were a few occasions when she was overlooked. “I was the small fry at tables versus other agencies that had been around for years with a book of business that looked nothing like you and me.” But, she emphasized that things are changing for the better over the past few years.
“Black women are the fastest-growing travel segment. A few years later, industry associations started to give me a seat at the table and time on the stage to teach and train agencies and other vendors in the space. I love that I’m able to represent and be a voice for this segment in the industry. I also believe I’m able to design experiences for her because I am her! I really enjoy watching travelers experience new destinations.”
Now, her plans for the future are to hire more well-traveled consultants to help service Cultured Vacations clients. “With Covid, I’ve started working back in corporate America and as the business continues to increase I want to bring more consultants on board that have rich and deep international travel knowledge.”