We had the good fortune of connecting with Alice Ford and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alice, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I created TravGanic to fill a void in the travel market. I wanted to stay in ecolodges and support indigenous communities on my travels but none of the big travel sites had ways to filter for these types of experiences. I found myself searching for hours online to find listings and wanted to make sure other people didn’t have to do that. TravGanic is an ecotourism marketplace that brings sustainably certified tours, boutique hotels and vacation rentals to customers looking to travel with a minimal impact. We feature a lot of outdoor adventure tours on our site, like trekking in the Himalayas, walking with the Maasai in the Serengeti and hiking through the Andes on a visit to meet indigenous cocoa farmers in Peru.
Our marketplace also allows small tour companies and lodgings to list their properties in a place where they are more likely to find the right customers. We do the homework on all the companies we choose so that the customer can make sure the business they support, gives back to the planet, protects wildlife, supports the local community and has a limited impact on the ecosystem.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
One of the things that sets us apart is our mission and how strongly we stick to our ideals and purpose. We only partner with companies that are really truly sustainable, we have to say no to a lot of companies that want to list on our site because their practices of sustainability don’t meet our requirements. TravGanic partners with several reputable green certification companies as well as operating our own certification. All of the companies we work with, tours and lodging have to prove themselves in several different aspects of operation and design.
Some of the pillars we measure are water usage, waste handling, energy usage and where it comes from, community involvement, housekeeping and purchasing, conservation and charitable effort, building materials for properties and transportation for tour companies.
We make sure every company operates ethically, provides fair wages, gives back to the community, hires locals, buys local and sustainable foods, offers recycling, composting, and audits their waste, energy, water usage. Our certification and those of our partners is a very in depth process that forces our partners to really make impactful choices when structuring their businesses.
Our goal is to do the homework for our customers, so that each person can have not only have a one of a kind vacation but the knowledge that the place they stay, or experience they go on is actually truly a sustainable company giving back to the planet. With the amount of greenwashing in the industry and fake reviews you don’t always get what is advertised. We are a boutique company that offers boutique experiences, that you are not going to find on any of the big sites. We are the place to go for people looking for unique experiences that connect you with deep culture, incredible wildlife, lesser known mountain trekking and adventures that not only inspire you to make once in a lifetime connections but educate you on protecting the planet. We also create completely personalized experiences so if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for on our site just give us a call, and we will do tha planning.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When friends come to visit there are a handful of things I take them to see and do. The things that top the list are:
Beach day at Point Dume, walking the overlook followed by a few hours on the less visited beach with a picnic.
A stop at the Farmers Market on the way back or a visit to Taverna Tony’s for lunch.
Hiking is a must and depending on the season and the friend I have several favorite spots- Mishe Mokwe Trail to Sandstone Peak, Kenny Hahn State Park, Angeles National Forest or Mt Lowe are some nice options.
A day trip to Huntington Gardens for tea and flowers is always great.
I always take guests to LACMA, The Getty Museum, the Broad and some of our other great museums as well.
Stops at the Grove, Santa Monica’s 3rd street promenade, and a stroll around Manhattan Beach.
Biking or walking the bike path through Venice.
A shopping trip along Melrose Avenue.
Dinners in West Hollywood or Santa Monica, some favorites Forma restaurant, Sotto, Mr. C’s or Delilah. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My boyfriend Andrew DeCesare, an upcoming producer and screenwriter. Any time I have had doubt in what I am doing he has reminded me of my goals and kept me on the path that moves me forward not sideways. He recently had his first movie that he produced and wrote go #1 on Netflix and has been an instrumental force in keeping me focused on my career as well.
Copyright Alice Ford