Who is Laura Grier Travel?
Laura Grier is a multi-hyphenate, travel photographer who has made a name for herself as an adventure travel photographer, a photojournalist, a fine art photographer, and a destination wedding photographer. She is a thrill-seeker and obsessed with travel and documenting new experiences and the people that she meets. Her creativity and talent extend beyond photography, as she is also the co-founder of Andeana Hats, a business specializing in handmade hats by female Quechua artisans with proceeds that directly give back to the community.
What has Laura’s journey been so far?
She became a photographer because she was obsessed with watching Jacques Cousteau and the National Geographic channel at a young age. She actually thought she had wanted to be a Zoologist or an Archaeologist her whole childhood, because to her that meant being Indiana Jones! Now with that, Laura had a very unusual upbringing that began to influence her work and combine her love for Indiana Jones: growing up, both of her parents worked for the CIA and were stationed all over the world. At a young age, she was living in Indonesia, Thailand and Jakarta, and Laura was always around cultures completely different from her own. That had given her the tools to really understand more of the world around her and it created a wanderlust within her that has been coloring all of her work since, helping to create her very own photography company, Beautiful Day Photography.
Creating Andeana Hats was inspired by travels to Peru, where co-founders Pats Krysiak and Laura discovered the unique, handmade hats created by the Quechua women in remote parts of the Sacred Valley, Peru. Laura and Pats created Andeana Hats as a way to support these women artisans by bringing their hats to a global market that the artisans would otherwise not have had access to, making these female artisans the breadwinners in their households, and also brings awareness to their cultural practices, helping to preserve their crafts and their language that is only expressed orally and in woven patterns. These descendants of the Inca people are practicing what National Geographic refers to a “vanishing art”; an ancient weaving or embroidering tradition that has been passed down through the centuries by the women in their culture. So without a global marketplace to share and sell these goods, these traditions will die out.
With these businesses growing, Laura hasn’t lost her passion for writing as well as photographing various parts of the world. One of her favorite photo stories that she’s written and photographed was for the Global Women’s Education Project in Senegal, where the organization helps to build and maintain schools for young girls in communities that would not otherwise have the opportunity. Laura has now been published by National Geographic, People Magazine, Forbes, HuffPost, Tastemade, Thrillist, Lonely Planet, Matador Network, and countless other publications and podcasts. Recently, Laura was featured on NBC’s California Live broadcast for International Women’s Day, highlighting her work as a woman in business.
What are the challenges and opportunities this business faces?
As a multi-prenuer, Laura faces challenges in balancing her various businesses. One of the biggest challenges she faces is how to represent everything she does without overwhelming anyone! She doesn’t just travel and sell fine art prints, nor does she just do wedding photography or just sell beautiful handmade hats. Coming up with a quick blurb about her is never easy. However, Laura also recognizes the opportunities that come with having a diverse skill set. Her photography skills enable her to earn money and diversify her income through various avenues such as creating social media content, selling hats, creating fine art photography, consulting businesses, and capturing the globe for various organizations.
One of the amazing things Laura is now known for are her “Global Goddess Shoots”. These shoots feature women from all over the world, dressed in elaborate clothing and jewelry, captured in breathtaking settings all over the world. Since Laura has now traveled to 88 countries (so far!), setting out to photograph and empower women to embrace their inner goddess. It has become one of her favorite aspects of photography and has become a hallmark of Laura’s work and a testament to her skill as a photographer.
What is Laura’s advice to other businesses?
Laura’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to treat their ideas with love and dedication, rather than viewing them as a hobby or a side business. She encourages entrepreneurs to give their ideas the attention they deserve and to avoid treating them as a mere afterthought. She also emphasizes the importance of setting boundaries in entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to turn off and create office hours, so it’s important to hold oneself accountable and set boundaries to avoid burnout.
Laura Grier is a remarkable multi-hyphenate adventurer who has made her mark in the photography and travel industries. Her passion for travel and photography has led her to create stunning images that capture the beauty of the world. Her determination and entrepreneurial spirit have allowed her to build successful businesses and inspire others to pursue their dreams. Laura’s journey is a testament to the power of following one’s passions and the rewards that come with hard work and dedication.