Get to know: Lise Coughlan of LiseTravelBoutique.com
Tell us about your work.
I am a travel consultant. I take care of travel arrangements for people all over the world. Whatever they dream, I make happen.
I’ve been a travel consultant for over 30 years. I opened my own company over a year ago.
What do you love about Kingston?
Kingston has my heart. Kingstonians are loyal. If you give good service, people stay with you.
I come from Montréal, where it’s a lot harder to connect and build a business. In Kingston, if you do a good job you get repeat business and you get referrals. I didn’t know anybody when I moved here 30 years ago, but I was able to quickly build a very good business. I like connecting with people and Kingston welcomes that. There’s a lot of loyalty and support from Kingston people, for Kingston people.
I’ve lived and worked in big cities but I find in Kingston I have everything I need: enough theatre, restaurants, music…
During COVID, I have been touched by how many clients called me to see how I was doing, whether I was still working in travel, and how to connect with me. I know my clients and I’ve dealt with some of them for over 30 years. The support they give me to continue doing business with me…I know I’m not forgotten. I cherish my clients.
Why start your own business?
When you deal locally, you get to know who you’re working with. They’re accessible. At a bigger company, you may be working with different people in different cities. That’s not the ‘Kingston way’.
A year and a half ago when Covid hit, the agency I was working for was not going to re-open their doors. It became a call centre. I didn’t think that was good for Kingston because this community is very relationship-based. I also work with more mature clients and they like the confidence that comes from working with one person and getting to know them.
It was important to me to continue doing what I really like and to have my own brand so my clients can find me.
Could you tell us about a customer you served recently that really made you smile?
I got a phone call a few weeks ago. The client said, “Lise, we want to go away somewhere. We just can’t stay home. We’ve gotta go on a trip. We’ve been doing a lot of research and we’re not getting anywhere. Can you help us?”
So, I got a bit of information and carved out this beautiful driving trip across Canada. Especially now, why not visit our country? They left recently and they’re going to some really nice places. I wish I was going!
My love is expeditions. It’s an upcoming market where people are travelling in a small cruise. It’s like a National Geographic experience where you’re going with scientists, learning about the local wildlife and communities, the history, and the climate. When you’ve been to so many places and you want something new, this is an experience that awakens new adventures.
What are a few of your favourite businesses in Kingston?
It’s a very easy answer. When I’m shopping, it has to be a locally owned business with a Canadian product. I research and find out who owns the business and where their head office is. If it’s not Canadian, I’ll flip the page and keep looking.
I love our country and think it deserves our support. I’m very passionate about Canada. I think it’s the best country in the world. If everyone shopped like this, we’d be even better than we already are.
My favourite restaurant is Chez Piggy. I love the atmosphere and the food. Bread and Butter is my favourite bakery. For pizza…Mamma Mia wins for me!
Small and medium businesses create nine out of ten Canadian jobs.
– Statistics Canada –
Canadian businesses have taken on tens of billions of dollars in debt, and many are struggling to repay.
– Statistics Canada –
At least half of every dollar spent at local businesses stays local.
– multiple North American studies –
Kingston was one of the Canadian economies most impacted by COVID-19.
– Conference Board of Canada –
Small businesses need our help.
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Tell us about the small business where you took your first date, where you had your first job, or where they treated you right.