Spotlight: Aria's Erin Reynel Talks Start-ups, Wanderlust and Morning Routines
You know that feeling when you find an awesome product that answers all your prayers? That’s how I felt when I received my Aria travel kit through the post a few months ago. A beautifully designed carry case full of quality miniature products to take the pain out of long haul flights. The Aria kit really does have everything, from a silk eye mask and fluffy socks to organic deodorant and a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush. What more could you want?
It’s clear that a huge amount of love and care has gone into creating this unique travel kit so we wanted to find out more about the woman behind the brand.
Erin Reynel, from Vancouver BC, started the company in 2016 and has spent months putting the perfect kit together to help travellers enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Being a travel addict herself, she knows how gruelling long haul flights can be and how groggy you can feel when you arrive at your destination.
The idea for the Aria Kit was born at 35,000 feet, after a particularly exhausting flight back home from a 10 day stay in the rolling Tuscan hills:
“I LOVE TRAVEL more than anything, but I never loved airplanes until I had my own kit. Now, I sleep like a baby on planes, almost instantly. And I feel amazing when I land.
I want travellers to love the whole EXPERIENCE, start to finish. That’s why I made Aria (Italian for air) with the best stuff I could find, to keep you comfy, fresh and totally excited to explore your next destination.”
Intrigued to know more, we got the lowdown from Erin on startups, travelling and future plans…
1. What words do you live by?
Integrity, Independence and Spontaneity! I fly by the seat of my pants, do whatever I want, when I want. But it always has to feel right.
2. We’re completely in love with your travel kit! What inspired you to create it?
Aww thanks doll! The short story is that I am 100% clinically addicted to travel. But flying always wears me out and leaves me feeling like shit. So when I land in some awesome place, I always felt like I needed a nap and a shower before I could go explore. I was Googling for airplane travel kits that contained everything I needed to get rested and stay fresh while flying, and there was NOTHING. So I worked my ass off to create one for travellers like me.
3. Can you tell us a bit more about the kit and what’s included?
My #1 favourite item in the kit is the toothpaste by Nelson Naturals. It’s the most refreshing thing you’ll ever put in your mouth. Plus it’s made in the tiny town where my parents grew up. #2 is the silk-filled-with-silk eye mask. I use it every night, even at home. It’s so plush and soft and blocks out ALL the light. #3 would be the socks. They’re the ONLY socks I wear now! So fluffy! The moisturizer and lip balm are made by hand in La Conner, Wa. – about 2 hours drive from my apartment and they are heavenly! The deodorant works insanely well for a natural deodorant, and the lady who makes it is the NICEST person on earth. The ear buds are AWESOME - I use them at the gym now too. Plus there’s the alcohol-free wet wipes that remove makeup, ear plugs, a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush and a pen – I always forget to bring one on the plane!
The case itself is my own design. I wanted it to be perfectly organized and super high quality construction so you can wash it and use it hundreds of times without it falling apart.
4. How much have you been involved in the design and production?
I tested, sampled and designed everything. I sourced 10 different suppliers for the items in the kit and customized everything. I needed it to be perfect, end-to-end, because I hate buying things that look awesome, but they end up being cheap when they arrive on your doorstep. Aria is the opposite – you don’t realize how awesome it is until you feel it and try out the Goods inside it.
5. Starting your first company can be incredibly challenging. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Is it ever! My one takeaway so far is: Don’t rush it. From conception to launch, I created Aria in 5 months. The one big mistake I made was rushing to launch before Christmas and not getting a second sample of the canvas bag, although I knew I should. It would have delayed the launch, so I skipped it. In the end, the supplier made the pockets too small, which was a $10,000+ mistake.
6. What are your top tips for other women starting a company?
Collaborate! I believe the community of women entrepreneurs anywhere in the world is a very supportive, collaborative one. Reach out to other women near you who are in the same boat – either starting a company, or running one. Ask them zillions of questions, do trades, find ways you can work together to grow each other’s businesses. You’ll not only profit more and gain more exposure, you’ll also meet lifelong friends in the process.
7. Some of the most successful women in the world admit that they wouldn’t be where they are today without a fixed morning routine. Do you have one and what’s involved?
I’m a morning hustler, and regrettably, my morning routine is not on point at the moment. I’m awake by 7:30, working by 8:00. But the one thing that I can’t skip in the morning is my little hygiene routine – even if I’m not planning to leave the house, I always shower, brush my teeth and wash my face. And I only use lovely, natural products for that – handmade soap from a friend, Nelson Naturals toothpaste and handmade plant-based cleanser by Lush Handmade Cosmetics. I feel grimey and it leaves me in low-gear all day if I don’t do it.
8. We can see that you love to travel yourself. What’s the best place in the world you’ve visited and, more importantly, what’s your favourite beach?!
That’s the hardest question to answer! Can I give you my top 3 instead? Bologna, Italy - Santorini, Greece and Cuzco, Peru. Best beach for me is Playa Avellanas in Costa Rica, right near Tamarindo where I used to live.
9. What are your top travel tips for women?
- Trust your instincts. You’ll never regret it.
- Pack lighter than you want to. Let’s face it – we always buy something cute.
- Travel alone sometimes. You’ll discover who you are, and life’s undying truths by travelling solo.
- Stay healthy. It’s easy to let our health slide when we travel, but having some sort of workout/healthy eating rules for yourself while you’re away will help you feel better so you enjoy the trip more.
10. What do you love to do when you’re not working?
I work out a lot. I try to be in the gym 4 days/week, and I run twice/week. It helps me clear my mind.
11. What’s next for ARIA? Have you got plans to launch more products into the market?
Sure do! The Aria Mini-Kit launched on March 24. It’s a pared-down version of the Aria kit, but with only the absolute essentials inside, for a really awesome price point. Also, working on a Leather Edition for men in the next year! Can’t wait to start that!
If you want to purchase your own Aria Travel Kit, check out the store here: https://ariakit.com/shop/.
We’re totally in love with the the kit at Coconuts + Salty Kisses and HIGHLY recommend getting one!