It’s time to enjoy your vacation with your family, and luckily Kid & Coe has some of the most beautiful properties in the world to help you do so. We connected with Co-Founder Zoie Kinsbury Coe a few months back (in the small world of NYC it turns out our little girls go to pre-school together) and were so inspired by the platform they’ve built, competing with names like Airbnb. Her right hand and co-founder Lo Martin told us a bit more about their experiences building this business. Read on til the end, she also shares her five favorite properties and they are ‘drop what you’re doing and book a family vacation’ gorgeous.
Tell us about you and your backgrounds?
I come from a visual arts background – studying photography and digital imaging at NYU before starting my design career back in the early 2000’s. As a result, photography has always been a central part of my creative process and an element of a brand’s visual strategy that I strongly advocate. Over the years, I’ve worked for larger firms and companies but I’ve always been drawn back to the underdog: the fledgeling business with the great idea. I also love having the opportunity to shape a brand’s voice and visual sensibility from the very first breath. Working in the startup world has allowed me this privilege.
How did you meet Zoie?
Zoie and I were introduced by a mutual acquaintance. Right off the bat our partnership was a perfect fit. Like Zoie, I’ve always been an avid traveller, which didn’t change when my son Henri came around. To have built a platform that empowers parents to travel, that removes roadblocks between families and their opportunity to see the world together: this is something that Zoie and I are both very proud to have achieved.
Talk to us about your experience building a technology platform. What was the most challenging part?
Ha! Where to begin. I would say our challenges came more from the fact that we were (and still are) a bootstrapped startup than that we are building a technology platform. We’ve always had a small team, spread across multiple continents, all of us working long hours for the cause. Keeping the sense of team present, the sense of accomplishment and celebration in our small and large victories along the way – this has been very important for our survival.
Technology-wise, we have a pretty specific demographic that we are catering to and have always been emphatic about asking guests and hosts for their input. As a result, we’ve made important product pivots based on this community feedback. Parents LOVE to share and for us has proved to be a crucial reference point for how we can make Kid & Coe better.
What do you wish you knew before you started Kid & Coe?
We wish we had thought more about targeted customer acquisition strategies from the start. Everybody believes so passionately in what they are building, but at the same time it is important to focus critically on exactly how you will drive customers to your product, how much that will cost, how much you will profit from that channel and therefore whether it is scaleable or not.
How did you go about funding the project?
We did a combination of angel investors and self-funding. Raising VC funding proved to be extremely difficult and in the end we went the route of growing the company organically.
What are you big plans for Kid & Coe?
In recent months, we’ve focused on refining our inventory as it grows. We want to make sure that every property and host on our site is a dedicated member of our community, responsive to potential guest families and interested in contributing to the idea of like-minded families sharing their homes and neighborhoods. Moving forward, we are very passionate about growing community-generated content, in the form of City Scouts (our localized travel guides), neighborhood writeups, blog posts, etc.
Where do you get your marketing inspiration and knowledge from? How do you stay up to date with all of the emerging trends, platforms and strategies?
Read, test, and be one with your analytics. The marketing landscape, especially since it is so intertwined with technology, is constantly in flux. The only way to ensure that you are making informed decisions for your brand’s strategy is to keep up with the news, test new ideas/avenues, and always check in with your data. That means, finding news outlets in the industry that you respect, keeping a close eye on what your competitors, friends, and the big guns are doing, testing new ideas against analytics, pivoting and testing again. Marketing is about intuition, creative storytelling, understanding your customer, and knowing how to read the tea leaves.
You have host all over the world with gorgeous homes. What are your 5 favorite properties and destinations around the world? (Can you send images of these properties and give us a few things to check out in each local)
— The Drakothea Residence (Mykonos, Greece)
With sandy beaches, 16th Century windmills and sensational sunsets, Mykonos has that typical Greek appeal. Enjoy lizards scaling the walls, sunset cocktails, black olives in Greek salads and days spent at child-friendly Lia Beach.
— The Rue de la Lune Residence (Paris, France)
In the tenth arrondissement, minutes from the Palais Garnier, Champs-Élysées, and the Louvre, Porte Saint-Denis is a vibrant, multicultural neighborhood with a laid-back, bourgeois-bohemian vibe. Nearby Canal Saint Martin is the perfect spot for a Sunday picnic with the kids and a leisurely stroll along tree-lined paths and footbridges.
— The Mazzini Residence (Umbria, Italy)
Stroll the ancient stone streets of Monteleone D’Orvieto in search of fresh local produce, artisan cheeses, and charcuterie. Conveniently located for family day trips to Rome, Florence, and Siena. After a day of shopping and sightseeing, parents can soothe tired muscles in their own private spa with an indoor pool, Jacuzzi tub, and heated flooring.
— The W. 95th Street Residence (UWS, New York City)
Famously family-friendly, the Upper West Side is a neighborhood of quiet residential streets, on-demand conveniences and green paths along the Hudson River. Build a life-size dinosaur skeleton at the American Museum of Natural History; play in Central Park, Riverside Park or along the Hudson River Greenway, and drop into the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.
— The Wouwermanstraat Residence (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
In the south of central Amsterdam, the Museum Quarter is the city’s cultural hothouse, including the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum among its treasures. It’s super well connected by tram to the city at large and is close to the Vondelpark for tots who prefer play to paintings.
Mamas, if you haven’t heard and have been under a rock, we’re running a pretty bad a** #dadsdaygiveway with Kid & Coe. You must enter, it’s really really good!