‘I launched a travel company for young people’

When a selfie on top of a the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil went viral, it was the boost that launched Radha Vyas’ start-up. The image was soon all over the worldwide press and got over 100 million views. Radha had the opportunity she needed to reach her audience.

Radha, 34, launched The Flash Pack, a travel company that organises group trips for young people. Here she tells List for Life how she marketed her company in the beginning, the challenges she faced along the way and what the experience has taught her.

1. Talk me through your career journey so far

Before setting up The Flash Pack I had a consultancy raising funding from high-net worth individuals on behalf of charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support. Fundraising is the business side of charity and ticked all my boxes but I always wanted to pursue my real passion, travel.

2. Why did you decide to start The Flash Pack?

I was a 30 something single traveller and decided to try a group tour. I felt like the whole experience wasn’t catered for young people. The group tour industry seemed to be focusing on the needs of budget backpackers OR senior luxury travellers – nothing in between. I spotted a gap in the market for a group travel brand for someone who wanted adventure but in a bit more style. My research showed that the travel needs of the urban, single professional were not being met.

Image Credit: Radha Vyas

Image Credit: Radha Vyas

3. What has been the biggest “pinch me” moment of your career so far?

Six months into our business we were struggling on a tiny marketing budget. We had serious talks about giving up but wanted to give it one last shot.  PR and photography were our strengths and we spotted a golden opportunity to get our name out there through a viral campaign. Lee my business partner convinced the head of the Brazilian Church to allow him to climb to the top of Christ the Redeemer statue last summer. Lee snapped a stomach-churning selfie and we held on to it for a month until World Cup hysteria was at it’s climax. We released the photo 2 weeks before the World cup started and the picture went insane. We capitalised on the two major trends of 2014, selfies and the World cup. We appeared all over the international press – Time magazine, Huffington Post, De Spiegel, Washington Post, BBC, Daily Mail, Metro, CNN, ABC, even the Daily Show with Jon Stewart! It went so viral I thought it would become a parody! We got well over 100 million views and reached our early adopters. We were off! We won 5 awards for that campaign and it only cost us £700!

4. What would your advice be to ambitious young women today?

I have so much advice! Just do it and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Self-belief is your most important asset and if you don’t have it, find a way to get it. Also, test everything. Don’t make assumptions. Keep testing stuff with a small budget, if it doesn’t work move on to something else.

Image Credit: Radha Vyas

Image Credit: Radha Vyas

5. What do you think of social media in terms of helping launch a business? Is it vital to make use of it?

Yes it’s vital for a start up. You need to understand how your customers use it and which platforms are important to your customers.  If you haven’t got the resources to do everything, concentrate on a couple of platforms and pump out interesting messages.

6. How do you deal with stress?

Mindfulness training and exercise have been my best friends!

Now what?