Only three years into her career in the travel industry, Trendsetter Taylor DeBord has already been tasked with opening a new Tafari Travel storefront in one of the great creative hubs of the United States: The trendy DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY.
A Colorado native with an affinity for the outdoors and adventure, DeBord fell in love with travel during a study-abroad stint in Barcelona. She started her career in the industry working for a luxury membership-based villa company, but her eyes were opened to the world of travel advisors at her first Virtuoso show.
“I had countless fascinating conversations with people from all over the world, who all had one common goal: To connect people through the community and travel,” DeBord says. “To say the least, I was hooked.”
DeBord joined Tafari this past spring, although she had worked with part-owner Jay Johnson and president Leah Smith (a previous Trendsetter) in other capacities for over a year. Today, she brings in over $1 million in annual revenue on a total agency revenue of $6 million, selling mainly to high-net-worth Gen X professionals in Brooklyn and Manhattan. That includes many Wall Street clients and couples and families in the DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights neighborhoods. She focuses on selling experiential luxury and cosmopolitan cities, such as Paris and London, although destinations like Africa, New Zealand and Japan are also trending right now.
After signing on with Tafari, DeBord moved to Brooklyn to manage the new DUMBO storefront, acting both as a front-line advisor and as a leader, establishing strategic partnerships within the local community to help the new office grow.
“It was very purposeful to make this move into Brooklyn, and the DUMBO neighborhood, specifically,” DeBord says. “Having a brick-and-mortar storefront allows our ICs to have a place to work, meet suppliers and interact with clients. I love the positive energy that comes from different independent contractors all sharing the office.” In fact, she describes the environment as almost a coworking space for the agency’s independent contractors.
The new retail space has given Tafari great visibility and new ways to interact with the community and other local businesses, DeBord says.
“People are very intrigued by the idea — we often hear how refreshing it is to be able to come in and meet with someone face-to-face,” she says. “While there are many Virtuoso agencies in Manhattan, there are not many in Brooklyn. Choosing the next hot-spot destination is crucial when opening a retail space!”
Looking ahead, DeBord has more outreach planned for the DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights communities. “Each Tafari store is placed in a tight-knit community,” she says. “We have already been able to participate in local charity events and fundraisers. I look forward to continual partnership and collaboration with all the local businesses near us, as well as our many neighboring residents.”