MOVE: Introducing Serena Guen

Introducing Serena Guen: “Being a good boss is about being human”

In this week's episode we interview Serena Guen who launched SUITCASEmagazine when she was only 22 alongside her university studies in New York. During her time at SUITCASE she’s won multiple accolades including being one of the 25 under 25 most influential Londoners in 2017 and last year she even one the Great British Entrepreneur of the year award.  On top of these amazing achievements, Serena co-founded #CookForSYRIA in aid for UNICEF which uses food to connect people to the Syrian Crisis and raise funds for children in the area. She’s launched two best selling cookbooks and raised over £750,000 for UNICEF to date. 

Serena launched her magazine SUITCASE in 2012 (the same year as Candy KIttens!), and shortly followed with a pop up in Shoreditch House to raise people's awareness of her new venture. Business minded Serena was keen to for her magazine to be read by thousands, and hoping to gain more exposure, utilised this pop up to show people what her magazine was all about. Following this, Serena’s travel magazine gained amazing traction and multiple people reached out to Serena, hoping to get involved which is when her business began to take off. 

After being rejected by Oxford Serena decided to take a year out to travel before starting her degree in Liberal Studies at NYU. Serena’s passion for travel was sparked not only by her adventures during this time but also due to the fact she had to study abroad which lead to her exploring new cities. Serena found herself relying on travel websites which she found were poorly designed and difficult to use, so she quickly switched to using bloggers for information and inspiration. Her experience from using these platforms is what fed into her creation of SUITCASE, a magazine designed to inform and promote travel in an accessible way to a younger generation.

Serena describes SUITCASE as “a travel media company for an experience driven generation of travellers”. Serena’s aim is to not limit her audience to one platform, they have their own website and print magazine, but her hopes and dreams for the future is to continue to rapidly expand and reach even more consumers (perhaps through podcasts or audio based platforms). 

To find out more about Serena’s experience as a young entrepreneur head over to the podcast linked here.

Serena’s top five facts about her business are:

  1. SUITCASE was launched while she was still at university ( NYU)
  2. She wanted to launch SUITCASE Creative Studio to fill a gap for how people are travelling today – looking for experiences and a deeper way to connection to places. 
  3. SUITCASE Magazine launched a media agency called SUITCASE Creative Studio in 2017 – counts Hunter, Belmond, citizenM as clients
  4. Serena has won various accolades during her time at SUITCASE including 25 under 25 most influential Londoners (Evening Standard), 30 under 30 by Forbes, Women of the Future Award, Stevie Awards and last year Great British Entrepreneur of the Year award.
  5. A couple of years ago Serena also co-founded #CookForSyria – an initiative in aid of Unicef that used food to connect people to the Syrian crisis and raise funds for children in the area. She has launched two best-selling cook-books and raised over £750k for Unicef to date

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