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Meet Lindsey Epperly of Epperly Travel in Buckhead

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lindsey Epperly.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Lindsey. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started in the travel industry 8 years ago, when I walked into a local agency in my hometown for a brochure and walked out with a job. I was still in college, so I attended bridal shows on the weekend to build my book of business and plan honeymoons – all it took was one trip and I was hooked. I built up my business on the side as I completed my bachelor’s degree at UGA – by the time I graduated, I had a full time business with its own brand, but I was a one-woman show. Three years ago, I decided to do an overhaul on everything to take steps toward scaling the business. I rebranded the company Epperly Travel, re-affiliated with a stronger host that allows us for a higher amount of buying power and built a team of both independent agents and internal support staff. Presently, when not planning trips for my clients, my focus in the business is on our new training program, which equips individuals who are either new to the travel industry or looking for a fresh change to be successful in the travel industry as a long term career.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I envy anyone who is a business owner and states that it’s been a smooth road – we were born out of a struggle!

One of the core values I built Epperly Travel on is that of transparency, which I very much was not seeing in a lot of the travel world – more importantly, I did not see it in a past business partnership that we originally aligned with.

When I made the decision to terminate our agreement, that company made every attempt to hold us back, including withholding quite a bit of money that I had anticipated as startup capital to put toward launching Epperly Travel. We had a strong case that we could have pursued legally but I determined not to let it hold us back – instead of focusing on the past, I decided to cut our losses and focus on our success: and it has been the best decision. Fast forward three years, I’m now able to sit on the other side of the challenge now and point to that interaction not only strengthening me, but our entire company. That laser-focus on our growth has led to more profitability, publicity and professional respect than I ever could have dreamed of – choosing not to look in the rearview mirror was not a natural response but it was the right response and I am consistently humbled by the outcome.

The school of hard knocks will teach you how not to treat others, how not to allow greed to manipulate your outcome, and how not to conduct your business – and those are irreplaceable lessons. You’ll find evidence of our resolution to focus on what we believe is right simply in our four core values, that we promise to our clients, to our team and to our suppliers: we are grateful, we create fun and celebrate constantly, we genuinely invest in our people and we believe in the value we add.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Epperly Travel – what should we know?
Epperly Travel is a luxury travel agency of expert consultants who curate 4 and 5 star vacation experiences. We don’t believe a vacation should ever be one-size-fits-all and we genuinely value the relationships that we have the opportunity to form with clients. We have developed a process that allows us to get to know our travelers’ needs and serve them in a collaborative way – we try to take the stress out of travel planning by turning it into a fun experience! I believe that fun spiritedness and desire for connection is what sets us apart – sure, anyone can use the internet to plan a vacation, and anyone can find an old-school transactional travel agency, but our travelers value our service and expertise that allows us to turn an ordinary getaway into an extraordinary journey. For example, we try to find out what’s most important to our guests and somehow incorporate that along the way: perhaps they’re leaving behind their beloved family dog and the kiddos are going to miss him desperately, we’ll make sure they check into a room with a photo of their furry family member somewhere waiting for them!

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
As an entrepreneur, there’s a certain piece of me that’s never satisfied – there’s a drive to constantly grow, improve, and reach for the goals that scare me. I have a fear of complacency, a downright avoidance of contentment – which has, in my younger years, really not served me well in my personal life! It’s a double edged sword.

I once allowed this drive to take over my life to the point where my restlessness made me even more restless: I never turned off, worked 24/7 and was burning myself out in my mid-20’s. It wasn’t sustainable.

I implemented a number of changes in my professional life, like shifting my thinking (it’s amazing what our preconceived notions about success will cause us to do to achieve it!), drawing proper boundaries (no more 2 AM emails) and increasing our capacity (through how we allotted our dollars and our hours). I cut back my hours to a standard 40-hour work week (and was adamant about my employees doing the same), fully expected those changes to cause a decrease in our business – to my surprise, they actually led to a 40% increase, which has been sustained year over year since 2016.

One of my passions now is speaking to small business owners, creatives and self-employed individuals about the changes we made to improve the quality of our work and our happiness and how, as counter-intuitive as it seems, it can actually lead to a healthier company!

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Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Arnold Goodman

    March 7, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Lindsey is an honest hardworking young women. I knew her when she started. Full of drive and integrity. She will go out of her way to make your trip a once in a lifetime experience. I wish her all the best. This company and this young lady are all that is good about this industry. I would not hesitate a second to recommend her to anyone who asks about that special trip.

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