Tell us about yourself and your business!
My name is Alexis Toren and I’m 20 years old and I live in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada! I was born and raised in a town just outside of Vancouver called Maple Ridge. I started my first blog in high school and then rebranded and started The Babe Abroad travel blog in my grade twelve year and have been doing it for 3 years now! My business The Babe Abroad is a community of fellow travelers and others who share the interest of travel. I also recently started my own clothing label called Infatuation the Label which surrounds women empowerment and self-love.
What inspired you to start your own business?
My mom started her own blog 2 years before she inspired me to start my mine. I started writing about my passions of travel and fashion and it became my favourite thing to do in my free time. I loved meeting new people and aspiring travelers and sharing stories and helpful tips and tricks around traveling and fashion. I started my clothing label to empower women to be infatuated with themselves especially in today’s day and age with social media and low self-esteem.
Is this your full time job?
No, it’s not my full time job. I’m a full time university student majoring in psychology and I have a part time job at a restaurant as well! I have an extremely busy schedule, but I love what I do and I’m always keeping myself super busy!
How do you structure your days?
I do a lot of planning and organizing my day to ensure I get the most work done possible. It can be extremely difficult getting everything done on time for school and balance it with my businesses, but I make sure I plan my days, weeks and months in advance so I never feel too overwhelmed.
Where and how do you work best?
I work best in local coffee shops, patios, or in my bed in my pajamas; I just love having my own space, wherever it is, to get some work done!
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I host giveaways all the time for the people who subscribe to my website! If you hit the link below and put your name and email in, you will be automatically put into multiple giveaways for Starbucks giftcards, makeup, trips, and much more!
Where is your business based?
My business is based wherever I’m based! Right now, The Babe Abroad is based out of Kelowna, BC and for the summer it will be based out of Calgary, Alberta and from February to June, it will be based out of Australia! I love living the laptop lifestyle! My clothing label is based online, so you can purchase from anywhere in the world!
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The first steps were figuring out a niche I was passionate about and wanted to write about, which was travel and fashion. Then, it was all about putting out authentic content and engaging with people online consistently.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and attracting an audience?
Interacting with others! It is so important to engage with the people who have the same interests as you. Also, hashtags have been a huge way to get my content seen by people who have the same interests and don’t follow me yet; it’s a great way to grow your audience and raise awareness for the type of content you create.
What has been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge has been BALANCE. Balance has always been a difficult thing in my life since there has always been so much to balance. Being a full time university student and owning my own businesses, plus being in a long distance relationship, and maintaining my friendships at school and my relationships with my family, it can be extremely difficult to give everything and everyone the attention it deserves. I’m always learning new ways to balance the priorities in my life and it’s been my biggest challenge thus far. Another huge challenge for me has been maintaining consistency. It is so important to be putting in consistent work into your business, especially when you’re first starting. So, balancing everything in my life while trying to maintain consistency was extremely difficult to overcome.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I overcame the challenges of balance and consistency by being super productive with the time that I did have and to put extra time into planning my weeks ahead of time. It is also super important to prioritize the things that I did need to get done. I’m still not perfect at this, but I keep getting better and better and getting the most work done in the time I do have.
How do you keep motivated through tough times?
This is so important because it is so easy to just give up when things get tough, but you have to remember: if having a successful business was easy, everybody would be doing it! It is extremely difficult to keep consistent but I always remember why I started in the first place and goals I want to accomplish. Sometimes if I’m really stuck in a rut, I will write down my goals and do some planning to get myself excited and creative again so I can keep moving forward.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
One thing that makes me different from the rest of the many social media personalities is that I encourage the natural look and feeling. I barely wear any makeup (mostly because I don’t even know how to put it on properly lol), I’ve never died my hair and I don’t mind wearing sweatpants and a hoodie out in public. I encourage comfort and being the natural you! I’m a huge advocate of natural beauty because I think most young girls start using makeup early and it makes them feel they can’t leave the house without it, I want to change that mindset and encourage being natural.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
The best advice I’ve received recently was from my dad. Sometimes it can be extremely hard not to compare myself to others. Whenever I get into that toxic mindset, my dad always reminds me that every single person is different and is on a different path, so you just have to focus on your path and be the best you can be and never look back. I think that’s changed my life.
What do you wish you had known when you started your blog?
I wish I was more prepared for how many haters came along with putting myself out there online. When I first started posting on Instagram regularly and launched my blog, I was in high school, and people were extremely mean and cruel to me about it. It wasn’t until I was a bit older until I realized that those people were just jealous, but I wasn’t prepared to get that type of response from the people around me, especially because blogging wasn’t as “mainstream” and common as it is today.
Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
My biggest influences are definitely my mom and dad since they are both entrepreneurs and my biggest supporters. My mom actually inspired me to start my blog since she had started her own blog about two years before she convinced me to try it out. I admire so many amazing bloggers and social media personalities online that have inspired me to do what I do and just the huge amounts of support I get daily from my community of people on Instagram inspires me to keep going.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
My biggest piece of advice to other entrepreneurs would be to be patient! Things take time, and sometimes quite a long time to get popular, if it all. Success will not happen overnight, like Justin Bieber’s career. It’s taken me over 3 years to hit 27k followers on Instagram by posting and engaging constantly! If you’re patient, consistent, and have a good business idea, you will start to see results and gain traction.
What tools/resources could you not work without?
I could not work without my Canon EOS M50 camera and my mom (who is also a blogger) to take pictures for me! Obviously, I rely on technology like my laptop and cell phone as well as social media networks for my businesses. Also, it’s amazing to have other young entrepreneurs to talk to and collaborate with as a resource for learning new ideas and strategies! I would not be where I am today with my business without all of the support I get through social media and my blog, it’s been amazing!
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
I’ve learned to not take everything so personally. A lot of people may not like me, but I’ve learned that actually has nothing to do with me, it has to do with them. It was a hard pill to swallow for me if somebody didn’t like me for absolutely no reason at all. Everybody is going through something different and I’ve learned if somebody doesn’t like me or what I’m doing, that’s their own problem which usually stems from jealously and I’ve learned to accept that there are going to be a lot of those people, especially with what I do.
Where would you like your business to be 5 years from now?
I would love to see my blog and Instagram grow even bigger and see it get to a community of 100k people. I would also love to start and grow my own creative agency that specializes in creating content for businesses that catches the eye of our generation (Gen Z). Creating content is my passion and I hope to grow that passion into a business within the next 5 years. I also would like to see my clothing label gain more traction and be able to put even more money towards non-profit organizations to give back to the community.