I’m Keith Jenkins, Founder and Publisher of Velvet Escape, and This is How I Power My Business

Firmology’s How I Power My Business series profiles the technology business owners use to run and grow their business.


Firmology Founder’s Note: As you can tell by our How I Power My Business guests lately, I’m fascinated by entrepreneurs that are also adventurers. Captain John Konrad worked on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico before launching gCaptain, the top-visited maritime and offshore industry news website in the world. Colin Wright writes books and runs a publishing company from a different country every four months.

Keith Jenkins is another adventurer I admire. When I first joined Twitter back in 2008 (I think that’s when I joined!), Keith was one of the first people I followed on the social network. How could I not? Keith was traveling the world and passionately blogging and tweeting about his experiences. Little did I know that he had just started doing both after burning out of an investment banking career and his career reflection after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. After watching Keith’s TedX story, I couldn’t help but think about how similar our paths were. I too burned out of a career, as a commercial real estate broker, after the market imploded due to the same financial crisis. While we both ultimately reinvented our careers through social media, Keith’s involves traveling the world, one beach, waterfall and coral reef at a time.


Name: Keith Jenkins
Title: Founder/Publisher/CEO
Business: Velvet Escape and iambassador
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Smartphone: iPhone 4S
Tablet: iPad 2
Computer: Macbook Pro
Other Gadgets: Canon G11 Camera

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m a travel blogger at Velvet Escape, a luxury travel blog, and the founder of iambassador, a blogging/social media consultant to tourism boards and travel brands. Before I ventured into travel blogging, I spent ten years in corporate and investment banking. One of my highlights of 2012 was speaking at TedX about my banker-to-blogger transition.

What’s the story behind your business?

velvet-escape-logoI launched my Velvet Escape luxury travel blog in December 2008 and since then, the blog and my presence on social media have provided me with a slew of opportunities to pursue my two biggest passions: to travel the world and write about it.

While blogging myself and connecting with fellow travel bloggers, I began to realise the huge value we have to offer to tourism boards and brands via our blogs and social media. In late 2011, I got together a group of travel bloggers who’d been to Jordan and we organised the two-day #GoJordan social media campaign in partnership with the Jordan Tourism Board. It was perhaps the first campaign of its kind, whereby the tourism board ‘hired’ the bloggers to talk about the destination and drum up interest via social media. The campaign was a huge success and this inspired me to create iambassador. iambassador-logoSince its inception, iambassador has worked with tourism boards around the world including Canada, Germany, Emilia Romagna, Scotland, Cape Town, and South Africa, and brands such as Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, creating innovative concepts for blog trips and social media campaigns. The main objective of iambassador is to connect ideas/concepts coined by bloggers with destinations and brands, and to use these to create and execute marketing campaigns.

In addition to blogging and consultancy, I also speak often at travel blogging conferences (TBEX, TBU) and travel trade shows (WTM London, ITB Berlin, etc…)

What apps or services are essential to the operations of your business?

I use Google Hangouts for meetings with clients and other bloggers, and Google Drive and Dropbox to share documents. I also use Line and WhatsApp (free calls and messaging) to stay connected with family, friends, clients, and bloggers while I’m on the road.

What apps, services or gadgets do you recommend to other business owners?

rsz_1rsz_keith-gatsby-look-parysBiggest time-saver(s)? 

iPhone—I do everything with it, from checking/responding to emails to creating online content (photos, videos, short posts) and updating my social media channels.

Biggest money-saver(s)?

My iPhone again (sorry!)—my iPhone is my assistant, camera, video camera, entertainer, etc… all rolled into one! For me, that’s a huge money-saver!

Favorite mobile app(s)? 

Camera+, Snapseed, Line, WhatsApp, AccuWeather, Uber.

Favorite personal app(s)?

Plane Finder. I’m an aviation geek. This app allows me to see what’s up in the sky and where it’s going… in real time!

How can others reach you?

Website: http://velvetescape.com and http://www.iambassador.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VelvetEscape
Instagram: http://instagram.com/velvetescape
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/velvetescape/

Firmology Readers: Let’s hear your thoughts!

Do you have any questions or comments for Keith? Drop him a note in the comments below!

If you have a suggestion for someone we should feature, questions we should be asking, or would like to be featured on Firmology’s How I Power My Business series, email contact@firmology.com with the subject line: How I Power My Business


About The Author

Keith Jenkins is the Founder and Publisher of Velvet Escape, a luxury travel blog. Based in Amsterdam, Keith left his ten-year investment banking career to travel the world and carve out a new career as a travel blogger and social media advocate. He has visited more than 60 countries across six continents and writes about his travels on his blog. He exhibits his  travel photos on The Happy Explorer.

Keith often speaks at travel and social media conferences. He also offers social media consultancy and marketing services via his Velvet Connect and iambassador brands. He is the co-founder of the Global Bloggers Network, an online community of more than 1,000 individual and corporate travel bloggers. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.