Today we’d like to introduce you to Courtney Jensen.
Hi Courtney, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Hi! Thank you so much for reaching out and welcoming me onto the platform.
The short story is, after a 20-year career as an actor and director in theatre and film I switched focus to my other passion; travel. I officially launched Fisher & Stout Travel in September 2019.
Fisher & Stout is an Arkansas-based luxury travel advisory, specializing in your enjoyment. We work with solo travelers, couples, families, and friends. We design custom itineraries, celebrate special occasions, and provide inspiration for your upcoming vacation all while protecting your most precious resource—your time.
Little did I know that a pandemic would change the course of travel and the world. I’m so thankful I was able to have just started so I could see what the industry looked like before it changed.
It was a different market, a different experience. What I appreciate though, is being able to build my business through referrals. I started with a small number of clients and over the years have grown with many new clients and repeat clients.
What’s been special is gaining a really neat client base who appreciate travel and will do so in any circumstance (safely) of course. I have clients from all over the country. When we couldn’t travel internationally, we pivoted to domestic travel and road trips. It helped me gain clients whose priority in life is their precious time and to really make fantastic experiences matter.
Bonus, my clients are incredibly kind. I have no “divas”. Just the nicest and most appreciative people. It makes my job so much fun!
To sum up, I switched careers and now have an incredible small business that not only helps people and saves them time, but really changes their life in a positive way. I’m really proud of the hard work it took to get where I am today.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Since opening Fisher & Stout in 2019, the road has been very challenging. Because of the pandemic, travel was taken away and advisors had to pivot to keep their business going or cancel a lot of travel. I was fortunate to have new clients who wanted to travel so I never had to cancel anyone.
It was difficult to have a small number of clients. The growth was slow and steady but that meant my paychecks were barely getting me by. I decided to take on a part-time administrative assistant job for about six months until I was busy enough with clients and I could go back full time to travel. There’s no shame in getting another job until your small business can stand on its own. (Heck, it was the pandemic, and travel was hit the hardest.)
While I was working through 2020-21, I traveled to many places in the US: Arizona, California, Alaska, Utah, etc., and arranged site visits with hotels and meetings with their sales directors. I also met with tour operators and tourism boards to increase my knowledge about each destination.
Traveling and experiencing those places in greater depth really helped me to know how to design trips better for my clients. Not only having personal experience in each place but having personal relationships with the sales reps and tour operators gives my clients the best possible travel experience.
This is a people-related business and the pandemic gave me the opportunity to slow down, meet people, travel, gain more education, and solidify how I want to run my business. It was a great challenge, but in the long run, my business thrived and I learned a lot.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Fisher & Stout?
First thing to know would be that I am the founder and travel designer of Fisher & Stout travel.
We are your advocate, time saver, advisor, and consultant. We design and create your perfect trip and plan for your future travel goals. We help individuals, families, and friends, from a wellness week in Hawaii to tracing your roots in Scandinavia to crossing off going to the Kentucky Derby from your bucket list.
We are a high-touch travel agency that can design a trip down with everything from VIP transfers to restaurant reservations. We also do complimentary hotel-only bookings and we also can book all-inclusive cruises. We are a proud independent affiliate of Departure Lounge, which is a Virtuoso member. This means we have access to the best luxury connections all around the globe.
What sets us apart is that we do everything custom. We really get to know our clients on a personal level so we can match them to the perfect destination, or hotel, create a special experience, and leave them feeling inspired.
I get asked about Fisher & Stout and where the name comes from. When it came time to choose a name for the company, I wanted to make it unique and personal like I would make the trips for my clients.
I grew up on the corner of Fisher Street in the Potato Capital of the World. I only moved once during my 18 years before college and it was literally next door in a house my dad built. Many days and nights were spent on that street playing with friends and dreaming of exotic places.
My family owned apartments on the street behind us. Stout Street. I spent countless hours mowing lawns, keeping the grounds tidy, painting walls, and helping my parents.
It seemed fitting to connect my dreams and work, play and responsibility, and Fisher and Stout together as a symbol of where my travel dreams began and hard-working values were learned.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
The most important lesson I’ve learned along my journey has been this: it’s ok to not know what you don’t know. Ask for help!
You’ll end up learning what you need to know. and hiring out what you don’t.
- Design Fee: Starts at $250
- Hotel Only Bookings: Complimentary
- Annual Design Retainer: Starts at $2500
- Annual Design Retainer: Starts at $2500
- Website: https://www.fisherandstout.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fisherandstout/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fisherandstout/
- Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/fisherandstout/