Julia Browne – Could She Get More Niche Than This?
Open Jaw Exclusive – Finding Their Niche by Martha Chapman
According to Julia, this picture says it all... She
couldn’t feel more at home than in Paris. The picture was taken upon her arrival
last week after the attacks.
More and more Canadian agents are finding their own niche
when it comes to selling travel. But how small can your niche be – and still
earn you a decent living? This week, Open
Jaw will be chatting with 5 agents who are following their passion…
Julia Browne is based in Kitchener and specializes in
jazz-themed tours. For black Americans. To Paris.
Could you get more niche?
Like many specialist agents, Vision Travel’s Julia Brown has
found a niche that she loves to talk about. “I’ve always been a traveller in my
spirit, starting as an Air Canada flight attendant in the 70s. I moved to
France to do a year abroad program through U of T, and that’s where I met my
husband and we settled in Paris in 1990.”
She recalls learning about African American history from a
prof at the Sorbonne and became intrigued by the Parisian neighbourhoods which
had welcomed black musicians and artists from the U.S. in the 20s and later.
Her new hobby became a passion and she started creating and leading 1/2 day
Now back in Canada, Brown still sells those Parisian day
tours, often working in partnership with other agents wishing to provide a
special theme in a French itinerary. She has been offering some 1/2 dozen
walking tours, 2 bus tours and excursions outside Paris to, for example,
Josephine Baker’s chateau in the south of France. She’s also started a tour
themed around black soldiers during World War I.
Even the recent tragic events in Paris have not dimmed her
enthusiasm. “I’m very optimistic!” she wrote OpenJaw from Paris, having arrived
just last week following the attacks. “It’s true that these are trying times to
be specializing in Paris and France, but I had already been planning to expand
to several areas including river cruising, London, Amsterdam, Berlin and
While the majority of her clients are American, she also
works with British and Swiss university groups as part of their African
American studies program. And, she says that she’s really pushing to increase
her Canadian clientele.
“It’s thrilling that I’ve actually put this into people’s
live. In a way I’ve added to their lives. I know that might sound
grandiose, but it really makes a difference. I love it!”