Introduce yourself and tell us what do you do?
My name is Phoebe Taylor and I am co-owner/founder of The Kip. A small boutique hideaway celebrating slow living on the South Coast of Sri Lanka.
Where are you from?
I am from Melbourne, Australia and Seddy is from Saluzzo in Italy.
What were you doing before the Kip?
I was working in Advertising and Seddy was in Insurance.
How did the idea come about?
"The idea to start The Kip came about a couple of months into our travels around Sri Lanka. We started to slow down and realised how much we enjoyed the simple things. So the idea to create a space where other like-minded, socially conscious and creative people could come together and enjoy the slow life in Sri Lanka was born.
We also noticed during our travels, that there were very few mid-range accommodation options that had good vibes, nice aesthetic and a little luxury while also not breaking the bank account, so we also loved the idea of creating a place that filled this gap".
Where did the name come from?
Well, the “Kip” is British slang for sleep, snooze, nap or siesta. As I love nothing more than an afternoon ‘kip’ (preferably under the palms in a hammock) along with the fact that we offer accommodation, it seemed like the perfect name!
How did you market yourself when starting out?
Our main marketing was and still is Instagram and Facebook. Instagram particularly has been the absolute bees’ knees for our business. We still don’t even have a website, and although one is coming soon, we have been amazed that we are getting majority of our bookings direct through Instagram. It’s crazy!
Where did you meet Seddy? Would you say you complement each other with your strengths and weaknesses?
Seddy and I meet in Melbourne, Australia through a mutual friend nearly 6 years ago. We most certainly complement each other both as a couple and as business partners.
In terms of running The Kip however It did take us a little while to figure out exactly who’s strengths laid where, which meant we were stepping on each other’s toes when we first opened. But, as soon as we figured it out, we split our roles accordingly and everything started to flow far more smoothly.
The interior of your home stay is stunning! How did you find your style?
Thank you so much. The interior and style are still very much evolving but essentially The Kip is just a combination of everything we love from plants to art to handmade furniture. We love one off pieces and find perfection in imperfection.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
We absolutely love art, travel and the island living so mainly get our inspiration from these three things.
Do you plan to expand and scale up in the future?
This is an interesting question, while we definitely want to grow The Kip it is also very important to Seddy and I that we stay true to the reason we moved over here, which was for a slow lifestyle. The means that any growth or expansion will be organic. We are not going to rush things. We genuinely believe in quality over quantity.
Seddy and I also have a few little side projects that we would like to get up and running at some point. They would be totally separate to The Kip, so depending on how they go, that would also dictate how/if and when we expand. That is the beauty of Sri Lanka, you have time to get creative, think and try things out. The opportunities here are endless.
What would you change if you could go back in time?
Absolutely nothing. Everything that has happened (the good, the bad and the ugly) has lead us to where we are today. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason.
What advice would you give 20-year-old you?
Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what you want to do career wise. Try out different roles, in different industries, in different companies. It is only by learning what we don’t like that we can really understand what we do like. The more jobs the better I say.
Did you start this out of passion or was it monetised?
Why the hospitality industry?
Seddy and I both have hospitality backgrounds from our younger years. I worked in hotels while Seddy worked in bars and restaurants. We also love meeting new people, enjoying good food and experiencing great service so hospitality is something we are very passionate about.
What’s your greatest mistake and what have you learnt from this?
"Personally, my greatest mistake was getting into very big debt in my early -mid 20’s. It started small but then snowballed. In retrospect however, I am very glad it happened as I learnt so much from it. I learnt that you can’t bury your head in the sand and hope problems just disappear and work out by themselves (sounds silly but that's what I did).
You have to tackle problems in the early stages, get an action plan together and commit to it. This involves sacrifice & hard work. Through debt I finally started to take ownership of my problems and life in general really".
On a side note, I also learnt that money can’t buy happiness. The more you buy the more you want. It’s never ending. I used to think ‘when I have x then I will be happy”, this little phase was my biggest downfall. I now truly understand that the less I have (materialistic things) the happier I am.
Had you started a business before?
Nope, this is our first one so we are constantly learning and making mistakes.
What does the definition of success mean to you?
To Seddy and I success is all about quality of life and quality of your relationships rather than the amount of dollars in our bank account.
What’s the big dream for the Kip? The 5-year plan?
We have a few big dreams for The Kip but one of them would be to open another one elsewhere in the world. The ultimate dream would be to open The Kip, Mallorca.
Is social media the way forward? And how do you keep your customers engaged?
"From a business perspective I think social media is definitely the way forward. As mentioned before Instagram has been invaluable to us. In terms of engaging customers, we have learnt that personal posts that have a bit of a story behind them provide us with a far higher engagement rate and quality of follower".
What’s your one piece of advice for someone about to start their own business?
Always stay true to your morals and ethics and remember why you started the business. Come back to that especially when you have to make big or hard decisions.
What’s your target demographic?
Our target demographic is really anyone that is socially and environmentally conscious and passionate about slowing down, getting creative and meeting other like-minded individuals.
What has been your biggest challenge and biggest success?
Biggest challenge we faced was renovating a property in a 3rd world country, with zero construction/building experience and very basic knowledge of the local language. Looking back, it was actually a very comedic situation that often resembled a game of charades.
Biggest success has been that The Kip opened. That we took a risk, followed our dream and actually made it happen.
What does your morning routine look like?
As soon as we wake up, Seddy lets our dogs into the house for morning cuddles and then brings me a coffee. I seriously can’t get out of bed without my morning coffee. We then head down to the beach for a quick swim or walk before heading to The Kip.
What gets you up in the mornings?
Our passion for people. Seddy and I both truly love meeting new and inspiring people. We feel so very lucky with the type of guests that The Kip has attracted as it makes jumping out of bed and heading into work so much easier. We also love that every day is so different here. No two days are the same. Monotony and Sri Lanka are two words that just do not go together.
If you had to gift one book to someone what would it be?
“Daring & Disruptive” by Lisa Messenger, the founder of the Collective Hub. It is a book about unleashing your inner entrepreneur. A fabulous book given to me by my sister.
What does happiness mean for you?
Happiness for me and Seddy is living a life in line with our values and morals.
What’s your motto/philosophy on life?
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.