Andrea Fermanis, owner of Elegant Elephant Travel, caught the travel bug from her mother and father. “I started traveling with them when I was a kid,” said Andrea. There were several trips that included special forays at Christmas to the Caribbean or Mexico.
“I guess you could say that my parents started my travel bug,” said Andrea.
After time in the classroom as a fifth grade math and science teacher and time at home as a full-time mom to twin boys, Andrea and her husband thought about a venture that fed Andrea’s interests and personality but still gave her the time she needed with the twins.
Enter Elegant Elephant Travel.
Andrea affiliated with KHM Travel in Ohio and got her travel agent certification in May 2016 to create an agency that seeks to take the stress out of planning a luxurious vacation to an exotic locale.
“My niche is all-inclusive, luxury travel,” said Andrea, noting that KHM is a host agency that gives her and her clients access to great travel locations and discounts. “It was a great fit for me to work in New Hampshire and get my information from a global company,” said Andrea.
Her website has regular updates with the latest deals to places such as Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic or Tortola in the British Virgin Islands or Ocho Rios in Jamaica. Also featured on the website is Andrea’s blog about places she’s visited in her extensive travels.
“My goal is to provide the most personal expert advice I can for my clients,” said Andrea.
An early challenge for Andrea as she built her client base was getting enough time for herself – away from the demands of the twin boys — to concentrate on the business. That need was met when she visited the Cooperative Venture Workspace for the first time.
“As soon as I looked at it and what they had to offer, I said I need to contact Emma and Scott,” she said. It wasn’t just the co-working space that attracted Andrea, it was also the opportunity to connect with other business people like herself and engage in peer-to-peer sessions that the Workspace offers — the regular Lunch & Learn and Coffee & Connections events.
“I just love that kind of thing. It’s something that the Workspace offers that others don’t,” she said.
The idea for the Elegant Elephant name comes from two points Andrea emphasizes in how she wants to conduct herself as a business owner. The first – Elegant – denotes the luxurious travel market she taps into, where the Workspace’s downtown Portsmouth location is very helpful. The notion of the Elephant is one that is founded in eliminating the stress from travel planning. “Elephants are a very calming presence, said Andrea, noting that since they also never forget it fits into her agency’s tagline promise for “An unforgettable vacation experience.”
One effect the Workspace had on her business was how quickly it fostered her productivity. “I got more done in the first day than in the previous three weeks at home,” she said.