Julien Mazurek graduated with an MSc in Management in 2006 and he has recently launched his own luxury travel company, Kensington and Pearl, which is geared towards the honeymooners market. We spoke about studying at Cass, market research and the difficulty of getting funding.
Tell me about your time at Cass!
I did a one-year MSc in Management. I particularly liked the business plan competition at the end of the year – we did a project on opening up soup shops in the City, and our group won! That motivated me to open my own business.
Do you have a favourite memory from your time at Cass?
The competition was fun – we had to go around the streets and interview people, so there was lots of interaction and social media. The rest of my best memories from Cass are all around networking through events, tutors, and alumni coming in with success stories, like Stelios. We studied his project and it was really helpful to get the insight and how he managed to get it so big.
What did you do next?
After graduating I got employed as a stockbroker straight away, which was a hard job and a great way to gain experience in the world of work. I stayed there for 6 years and then I decided it was time to start my own company.
I’ve always been passionate about travel, and have visited nearly all the countries in the world, and so I thought I should build my business around travel.
So how exactly did Kensington and Pearl come about?
I knew I wanted to do something in travel so I did some market research and I learned that the segment that is expanding the most is luxury. Budget holidays are largely now booked through big companies like Expedia, so I decided to focus on luxury, private tours. They need more organisation, but there’s more demand and it’s expanding.
I then did more market research through other channels, like searching google AdWords, and I learned that a lot of luxury travellers are couples and honeymooners with higher budgets. They were largely looking for more in-depth holidays with more details and more unusual experiences – and often wanting to visit multiple countries, on trips with more specialisations, like private tours and with romantic extras.
So Kensington and Pearl is focussed on romantic holidays and private tours, such as honeymoons.
What’s next for the business?
Next for me is that I’m going to be showing at a few wedding fairs, like the National Wedding Show in London, and I’m investing my marketing budget towards advertising through wedding channels, as I want to be the number one honeymoon provider in the industry.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
Raising funds has definitely been the biggest challenge! You need to prove to everyone that your product sells, and people really only look at your figures. It’s hard to get people to trust you – it’s easy to get lots of enquiries but convincing them enough to commit is harder.
I’m very confident in what we are doing, people who have booked through us recommend us, and some are even willing to invest in the company as we plan to search for more funding in the near future in order to grow the business. That is nice because we are getting mouth-to-mouth recommendations as well as generating new leads, which is very challenging.
Do you have any advice to people looking to follow in your footsteps?
The main piece of advice I’d like to give is that you never know who will be able to help you! That means you need to keep close contact with lots of people you met at University and when you are at work. You never know who will be able to help, who will have the money, and who will end up in what job.
Finally, it’s the quick-fire question round!
Favourite place in London: Kensington and Chelsea – the inspiration for my site’s name and where I grew up
Favourite holiday destination: Thailand – it’s got everything you could want to do!
Must-check every day website: I always check my website first thing to see if there are new orders or enquiries, and also I always look at the news via flipboard app.
Dream travel destination: The only place I’ve not been is Australia!
Cheese or chocolate: Cheese!
Find Kensington and Pearl online: on the web, and @kensingtonpearl on Twitter and on Instagram.