What do you do when your travel startup is set to launch during a pandemic? If you’re Lightly founder Dominique Olowolafe, you pull up your big girl pants and forge ahead. Here’s why she decided to keep moving foward.
A premium travel service for parents with infants and young kids. We deliver curated packages, directly to destination doorsteps. It’s one less bag to carry and the break you deserve.
“What Does Parenthood Mean to You?”
- …wearing your pants inside out when you leave the house, because you were only able to remember getting your kids dressed properly.
- …waking up to find poop on your yoga mat and being unsure whether it was the dog or your 1 year old.
- …cleaning your house top to bottom, only for it to be destroyed within 15 minutes of your kids waking up from nap time.
- …wearing a hat, scarf or headwrap for 16 days straight because you don’t have the energy to deal with your mane or anything else.
- …trying to meet a work deadline while your background music sounds like pissed off monkeys banging the cages and screeching at a zoo. And then you shake your head because you know the bulky noise cancelling headphones make more sense than the superhip airpods you just bought.
- …snapping at your kids and then crying in the bathroom 30 seconds later because you feel so guilty for not having enough patience and CALM (cue 30 sec Calm commercial)
- …realizing that the phrase “it takes a village” is code for outsource as much as you can, because you won’t be able to take care of it all.
“Timing is Everything. Why Now?”
It’s the #1 question I get asked in all of my investor meetings…
“Launching a travel startup in the heat of the pandemic seems like a horrible idea.”
“Americans can’t even travel.”
“The gap in the market is there but the timing doesn’t make sense.”
“You should wait for travel to bounce back again.”
Well, take all of those Parenthood moments above and add on a few more of your own personal anecdotes.
Then multiply it by 10,000%.
That’s what life feels like right now, as a parent of littles during the pandemic. These heavy and never-ending restrictions are a threat to the health and well being of parents and families. One could argue that the mental health aspect could pose an even greater threat than contracting the virus itself.
Sometimes Momma Just Needs a Road Trip
So when you hear a parent with young children say that they are desperate for a change of scenery, take a minute to put yourself in their shoes. Show some compassion, instead of judgement. Travel doesn’t always mean exotic bucket list destinations and long haul flights. It can be as simple as a ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard or a road trip to Lake Tahoe. It’s vacation homes with hosts who care about offering warm and sanitized accommodations. And it’s glamping sites that allow you to experience nature while still being able to sleep on a fluffy pillow.
The parent leash is short, and we don’t have much room to breathe. Those of us trapped in densely populated cities, with random curfews, no access to lush backyards or playgrounds, have the right to find a temporary isolated sanctuary away from the chaos. We have the right to provide ourselves and our little ones with sunshine, nature, and fresh air. And we deserve the opportunity to use a service dedicated to making the “getting there” a whole lot easier.
Especially now! In this forever hyper-hygienic world, our mental bandwidth as parents is maxed out. The mask, the gloves, the sanitizer, the snacks….the list goes on and it’s too much.
Lightly is arriving on the market in what seems like the worst of times – because the fact is, what we care about the most, is making sure that our parents and families can survive and thrive. Times are hard, and it really does take a village. For all the parents out there, don’t hold in those emotions, let it all out. You’re doing great, and we’ve got your back! #ultimatetravelhack
Dominique Olowolafe is a black mompreneur and the founder of Lightly, a premium travel service for parents with infants and toddlers. She currently resides in LA with her fiance and two daughters. She earned her B.A. in communications from Cal Poly (SLO) and spent time as both a professional volleyball player and freelance wardrobe stylist before transitioning to building her business full time. Yoga, champagne and pizza are her guilty momma pleasures.