Photo montage above includes: A Kynder Welcome (a sampling of their member businesses) – from left to right, TOP: Ratna Ling Retreat (Sonoma County, CA), Tara’s Organic Ice Cream (Berkeley, CA) MIDDLE: Sixth Course, (San Francisco, CA), Ratna Ling Retreat BOTTOM: Two Sisters Bar & Books (San Francisco, CA), 1951 Coffee Company (Berkeley, CA), Ratna Ling Retreat, All Good Pizza (San Francisco, CA).
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We interviewed the wonderful Lourée Maya, Founder of Kynder, the new eco conscious travel platform for kind travellers. We got a sneak preview for you as the platform hasn’t been officially announced as yet. It will be launching on 20th April!
Can you tell our readers a bit about you and the eco conscious travel platform, Kynder? Where did the initial idea come from, where are you based and are there plans to expand geographically?
My professional background is in hospitality and through the years it has become evident to me that the deeper meaning of hospitality has gotten lost in the trillion dollar travel industry. My education in sociology, psychology (emotional intelligence in particular) and tourism, paired with a strong belief in conscious business compelled me to develop the Kynder travel platform. Kynder features and celebrates hospitality establishments with a true heart for hospitality… establishments who care authentically for their guests, their staff, and the environment.
I’m based in Tuscany, Kynder is launching in the San Francisco Bay Area where I’m from, and we’ll be expanding along the West Coast of the US heading East. In fact, Europe may be introduced sooner than I had anticipated.
What types of hospitality establishments do you work with?
Our current hospitality categories include all types of accommodation (hotels, inns, B&Bs, retreats, hostels and vacation rentals), eateries (restaurants, cafes and street food), treateries (ice creameries, frozen yogurt shops and confectioneries), coffee and tea houses, and cocktail bars.
How can businesses get recommended by you?
We have a Membership Eligibility Guideline that rates each property across green, people, and community/charitable practices along with aesthetic, comfort, quality, and a certain je ne sais quoi. We make an annual visit, and members understand that if they fail to meet Kynder standards at any point they’ll no longer be eligible. This built in set of checks and balances allows us to be a more trustworthy recommendation platform, and in return for their ethics and transparency, we are dedicated to serving and supporting our members.
I also get a very good feel from speaking with owners, it’s important that we share the same philosophy about hospitality. It’s quite remarkable actually, there’s a bit of serendipity to it, so far the establishments that are meant for Kynder have joined us pre-launch because they so believe in the mission.
What benefits do you provide for eco conscious brands and travellers?
Our members are at the heart of our mission, we’re dedicated to supporting them and telling their deeper story. We provide extensive marketing support and empower our members by helping them strengthen their own online presence as well.
Travellers can enjoy peace of mind knowing they are patronizing more ethical, authentic businesses, and therefore making a positive difference not only in the hospitality industry but in our world as a whole. Plus Kynder is going to be fun and engaging, with lots of opportunities for interacting with our Kynder Collective members with contests, giveaways and special offers.
What has the response been like from travellers who have signed up to your service?
We are launching on April 20th so we will see! So far we’ve had a lot of positive feedback about the Kynder concept and mission… we believe travellers will find Kynder to be a highly valuable resource when researching and selecting their travel destinations. Plus, they’ll enjoy a warm welcome, caring service and more positive energy wherever they go!
Have you had to turn down working with many establishments as they’re not kind enough to their employees or just not up to scratch?
To date we haven’t had to decline any hospitality establishments, but this will inevitably be part and parcel of the Kynder acceptance process. However we believe businesses can improve so you never know, they may be able to join us in the future!
Photo montage above includes: The Kynder Collective (a few of their business owners) – TOP: Mikha Diaz (Two Sisters Bar & Books), Gianina Serrano and Bridget Labus (Sixth Course), Doug Hewitt and Rachel Taber (1951 Coffee Company), MIDDLE: Tara Esperanza (Tara’s Organic Ice Cream), Meg Hilgartner, Ty, and Siri Skelton (Twirl and Dip), BOTTOM: Rosalyn White (Ratna Ling Retreat), Liz Fiedler (Loving Cup), Matt and Kristin Trahan (All Good Pizza).
Which are your favourite brands that are making a positive impact on people and planet?
Patagonia, Kind snacks, Frog’s Leap Winery and Straus Family Creamery are the brands that first come to mind.
Can you tell me a bit about the upcoming Kynder initiatives and who you’re partnering with to bring these to life?
For our first initiative ‘Kyndercare’, we are partnering with Amborella Organics, Cattail Apothecary and others to honor hospitality staff. More on that to come soon!
There is a trend for businesses globally to act more responsibly, how important do you think this is in the hospitality industry and for brands in general?
I think every business decision needs to be viewed through a conscious, ethical lens first and foremost and then implemented with transparency and honesty. Sometimes there will be a need for compromise and balance, but it’s essential to remember that if you compromise your people they will compromise you back. So if you think you are ‘cutting costs,’ you’ll most likely end up paying more in the end, and not just financially. Your company culture and your reputation will be negatively impacted and that is very difficult to recover from.
What advice would you give to hospitality businesses that want to up their game? What would you recommend they focus on?
The hospitality industry has developed a poor reputation for the aforementioned reasons, among others, and this is why I’m so passionate about promoting healing in the industry with the Kynder platform.
I think owners and management should remember they are in the service business which means they need to serve their staff as kindly and respectfully as they serve their guests. Owners should avoid ‘falling asleep at the wheel’ and be sure to keep a clear view of daily operations with regards to management styles, staff engagement and happiness. If they don’t, a toxic environment and dysfunctional culture is created and staff turnover spins out of control.
The beauty of it is that healthy hospitality cultures are possible! I have worked at several fine establishments, and many businesses are thriving because of the extra care they take. Kynder is here to illuminate and support these special hospitality establishments and share them with an audience of guests who value ethical, eco-conscious and authentic hospitality. We believe in hospitality as a powerful force for good—and we hope to elevate hospitality experiences for staff and guests around the world.
Massive thanks to Lourée Maya for taking the time to share her knowledge with us, I’m excited about the launch of Kynder, what a fantastic business idea, I hope that it becomes a huge global success!
Thanks for reading
Bough to Beauty Bespoke
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Until next time!
Vix & Lou
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