Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Katrina Garnett recently launched My Little Swans
, a luxury family travel
web site for adventurous families looking for one-of-a-kind adventures that involve things like lunch at a Bedoin camp in Jordan
and sailing Alaska's Inside Passage
on a private yacht. Unlike her previous, very-techie businesses, this one was born out of Garnett's hobby: She's originally from Australia and she and her husband regularly take their three children
on ambitious trips across the globe.
Garnett's not intimidated by traveling with kids
, instead she's passionate about the advantages of exposing children to world cultures. MyLittleSwans.com aims to cut out the travel agent by featuring itineraries from her many trips with restaurant, hotel, shopping
and other suggestions of places she and her concierge
partners have personally vetted. Plus, the site's selected list of tour operators in each of those destinations can arrange for custom adventures from a backstage tour of a Chinese opera to a hiking trip with the Maasai tribe
Garnett – and by extension her site – is like that in-the-know friend always up on the newest, hottest and best. But she also shares the little-known, like her personal watchmaker in Switzerland and jeweler in Paris. She spent two years and more than $2 million of her own money
developing the site and made sure it included a social media
aspect, which she believes is essential for web 2.0 success. We chatted with this firecracker over drinks at New York's Gramercy Tavern and asked her to Tell Us Everything.
Why did you decide to go into travel?
I've been planning world adventures for my family for 15 years, from the time my firstborn was less than a year old. Over the years, numerous friends and acquaintances have sought me out for travel advice
, so I've shared my itineraries and photos with them, and they've taken the same or similar trips and loved them.
But as the number of requests grew – and the Web became increasingly difficult to navigate from a discerning point of view – I saw there was need for a comprehensive trustworthy online resource that makes it easy for families to plan extraordinary journeys
and to go straight to the source for the best guides and insider experiences.
My Little Swans is not just a bunch of pretty pictures and opinions. There are, of course, countless travel websites and online sources, but I think few that are developed with an eye to the future and a deep understanding of the tech
underbelly; I'm a total tech nerd. And as most of my friends know, I'm also a bit of a perfectionist and can be a nut when it comes to research, so the MLS content reflects this 150 percent and always will – nothing is "pay for play" or ad-driven.