When Rowena from the Australian office of Mr & Mrs Smith asked me if I would like to meet James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy, the founders of the boutique hotel guide and booking service, I jumped at the chance. They have my dream job after all, and are responsible for making a legitimate business out of travelling the world in search of the ultimate accommodation and holiday experience. I could not wait to press the flesh – are you kidding?
Although I was already a fan of their business, what I was not prepared for was how much I would become a fan of them as a couple. What a duo. Having developed the idea together ten years ago to seek out and search for the best possible accommodation that they could honestly, hand on the heart, swear by, they are still deeply passionate and respectful for both the business, and more importantly each other.
Although their travel needs have somewhat changed with the addition of two children to the travelling party, their exacting eye for hospitality, and more importantly for some, good design has not in the least bit waned. It makes sense too then that the business has grown more recently to accommodate the needs of the fashionable traveller with kids. And so Smith & Family was born. Design conscious, child friendly, and uber hospitable accommodation for the discerning traveller, Smith & Family are looking to expand their offerings outside of Europe in the near future. I for one can not wait, especially as a mother of three pre-teen boys, who finds searching accommodation to suits my NEED for a beautiful aesthetic to relax in and the boys NEED for copious amounts of entertainment and space to wrestle eachother in, is, well, like searching for a needle in a haystack. Not to mention time consuming – of which I just don’t have much truck for.
Talking to James and Tamara it’s evident they not only love what they do, but they are keen to learn from others and hear other perspectives. Giving up their time and expertise to help mentor younger up and coming businesses, some even similar to their own, they are generous in both their time and the sharing of their ideas. Having stayed in almost 100o hotels worldwide, its fair to say they know a little bit about the travel industry and have a bit of experience to draw from.
But its not without hardwork that all this knowledge has been acquired. It seems James father was a believer in the same mantra as mine who always told me ‘Missy, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it’. When I discovered that James and I both live by the advice that he too was given by his own father, I knew that I had found a kindred spirit. While a lot of jobs can appear glamourous from the outset, turning them into a profitable business takes persistence, absolute faith and belief in the idea and nothing else but sheer hard work. So while I am still envious of Tamara and James and their ‘day jobs’, I know they have worked damn hard to turn it into the household name for well heeled travellers that it is today.
With new product lines to add to the mix and collaborations to unfold, the future looks bright for this dynamic duo, and they are excited to be sharing it with their loyal followers. Of which I am now one.