We had the good fortune of connecting with Leah Thrapp and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Leah, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own carefully curated tour company was to fill a gap in the current available options. I wanted to offer clients travel experiences that were in between the mainstream big bus tours with large crowds of people that just hit all the typical tourist spots, completely custom and cost prohibitive private driver tours, and just doing everything on your own. So, I started Flipflops and Adventures to take my favorite parts of each kind and put my own unique spin on experiencing my favorite destinations. I took the ease of the big bus tours, where if a client wants to just show up each day and just be along for the ride, they will have a stress free and memorable vacation. I took the exclusive and private experiences from a completely private guided tour and include things like private cooking classes or private city walking tours, private falconry experiences and a variety of unique activities for each tour. Then, I took the freedom of being completely on your own vacation, and I make sure to plan for time to be spent at leisure. If one client wants to souvenir shop, and others would like to have a romantic dinner with their partner, they can take the time for themselves with no pressure!

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?
Flipflops and Adventures offers Carefully Curated Small Group escorted tours with an emphasis on authentic experiences and delicious local food and drink. What sets Flipflops and Adventures apart from the other types of tour companies out there is the way we hand select each trip component. So much thought and research goes into each thing that we experience as we travel. From finding the most delicious restaurant with an amazing atmosphere and the most authentic local cuisine, to selecting just the right location to stretch our legs on the journey to a destination, we are constantly seeking the ones that will be cultivate the most memorable experience.

A tour with Flipflops and Adventures will always be curated to get a real taste for the destination. When we visit Italy, and want to experience Tuscany, we select unique accommodations like a local Agroturismo (a working Italian farm), where every item served at the nightly Farm to Table dinners was grown right on the property. We have wine crafted from their organic grapevines, olive oil from their century old olive grove and the vegetables and wheat for the pasta are all from their own backyard, served on a terrace with stunning views overlooking countryside and the nearby medieval village. During our stay, we take day trips to wander the cobbled streets and taste award winning gelato, visit the winery and vineyard, followed by private wine tasting and cooking classes. On my last tour of Ireland, we stayed in a beautiful castle restored into one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, had an extravagant high tea, explored the fairy gardens, took horse and carriage rides on the castle grounds and ended the stay with a private falconry experience in the walled castle gardens. One of my favorite things to find in my travels and then share with clients on my tours are quaint and idyllic villages that are outside of the typical tourist hustle and bustle that can give us a peek into the years gone by and maybe remind us of a time long ago.

I had over a decade of background in the travel industry before I launched my tour company, but it was not easy to take the leap. Its a completely different business model than what I had done before and intimidating to begin! I was able to utilize the relationships I have built around the world, during my travels and that really gave me the boost I needed to take the risk and try. My biggest business challenge can be getting people to understand my vision for a new tour as I am creating it. When working with a new provider in the destination, I spend a significant amount of time going back and forth with their proposals, sending them back with lots of red marker. I want to make sure that everyone working with us understands all of my ideals for a tour and can help me accomplish the right balance of authentic experiences, just the right destination highlights and the slower pace to take it in and savor each day.

One thing that I absolutely love, is that when on a tour with Flipflops and Adventures, I get to have a small part as my clients experience things they have had on their travel wish list for years, and sometimes new adventures they never knew they always wanted. Its so rewarding to facilitate people being able to take their vacation days, travel funds or retirement dreams and turn them into happy memories. I delight in placing little surprises into our itineraries, often those unexpected moments become the favorites when we look back on a trip.

I am most proud of the number of returning clients that we have for each tour. Frequently, a new tour can be made up of 50% returning clients and a good portion of the new clients are referrals or guests of previous clients. Nothing is a greater compliment to the experiences that I curate than to have clients continue to sign up for then next adventures, while inviting their friends and family members to join us!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When I have friends in the area visiting, it can be hard to narrow down my recommendations! I love all of the options that we have to choose from within a short driving distance. I would say they need to make sure to check out the Frisco Rail District for some delicious local food options, and not to miss a chance to have dinner on the patio at Didis Downtown with live music and to check out the menu specials. If they had kids, I am a huge fan of KidZania at Stonebriar mall for a unique and educational day. We always love to watch a Frisco RoughRiders game, especially on a Friday evening for Friday Fireworks! My go-to restaurant for a taste of my favorite destination is the incredible Italian food at Taverna in Legacy West. For a unique, urban adventure with a view, we would grab tickets to attend a ColorHype painting class at Reunion Tower in Dallas.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I owe a huge shout out to the amazing community of female and mom entrepreneurs in the Frisco, Texas area. There are so many wonderful friends and colleagues who make amazing cheerleaders and always take the extra effort to support each other’s small business through their own purchases, collaborations, as well as referrals and their own Shoutouts! Seeing community over competition is such a great thing and I have watched my business, as well as many others grow in large part to these awesome ladies!

Website: www.flipflopsandadventures.com

Instagram: instagram.com/flipflopsandadventures

Facebook: facebook.com/flipflopsandadventures

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