Julie Harris says there really is no “secret” to her success, other than a little hard work. “I just give my best every day. I am always thinking of new ways to market to groups or generate leads,” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor.
Harris, owner of Solis Escapes, an affiliate of Largay Travel, started traveling from an early age, moving place to place with her family. “My father was in the military for the first six years of my life, so I was born in Honduras, CA, then moved to New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Virginia Beach, and settled in Charlotte, NC. I have lived in the Charlotte / Lake Norman area for a total of 40 years.”
Fresh out of college, Harris began her working life in the import/ export business. Then, she worked in international letters of credit at a large bank in North Caroline. After taking several years’ break to raise her two children (now 19 and 16), she entered the travel industry.
At Solis Escapes, LLC, Harris primarily sells culinary- and cultural-centered independent and group travel. Ninety percent of her clientele are from her area, Davidson, NC, a small college town north of Charlotte. She finds this local vibe to be rewarding. “I really love the people in my town and serving them with their travel plans really fulfills me.”
Yet her clientele is not the only thing that is close to home. Harris says her co-workers feel like family.
“I feel like I can count on them to be there for me. This business has its challenges and they have the knowledge to assist in any situation,” she says.
Her manager, Amanda Klimak, president of Largay Travel, picked Harris to be a Trendsetter because of her ability to form relationships. Harris says, “I think that Amanda has seen my agency’s sales grow over the years and knows that I am always trying to improve my business by networking and sponsoring events that tie into my culinary niche.”
Indeed, in nominating Harris for Trendsetter status, Klimak told us: “Julie has done some really creative groups with chefs and vintners and has a very different approach to the business. In addition, she is an amazing woman with a great personality.”
Harris’ positive attributes, including fluency in Spanish, French and English, are going to be helpful in the future, as she has big plans to continue to generate new business in the culinary niche.
She is also an active traveler and loves soft-adventure vacations. “I get excited about people looking to get out and experience and physically embrace the world,” she reveals on her website. Harris also knows her priorities. She says, “Everywhere I travel, whether it is New York City or Napa Valley, I always make time to call on businesses that I think are a good fit for me.”