How Kamiya Jani rewrote the script to help people discover unknown food and travel experiences
She went from being a well-known news anchor to travelling the world and running her own online discovery platform. This is Kamiya Jani’s #PassionToPaycheck story.
Growing up, Kamiya Jani’s weekends or holidays were spent on family trips to discover new places and possibilities. This instilled in her a sense of wanderlust that she has retained to this day. In fact, this was what helped Kamiya start Curly Tales, an online content platform that helps people find the best local food and travel experiences.
The road so far
Though a nomad at heart, for as long as she can remember Kamiya wanted to become a news anchor. After completing a course in Journalism from Mumbai’s RD National College, she started working as a personal finance writer at Moneycontrol.com, and went on to work as a sub-editor, video producer, and writer at various other television channels, till she finally got her coveted news anchor position with ET Now. Kamiya recalls nostalgically, “I grew up wanting to be a news anchor as my mother had once casually praised a news anchor on DD. After five years of seeing me work in the television news space, my mother became teary-eyed when she watched me on the 7 am show saying: ‘Good morning! You are watching Morning Mantra on ET NOW. I am Kamiya Jani’.”
While she enjoyed the atmosphere of the news studio, all Kamiya really wanted to do was pack her bags and explore the world. “But I felt it would be too irresponsible to quit my job to travel. People around me kept telling me that I had a respectable job and I needed to master the art of stock trading. However, this was something I was not okay with deep down. I tried my hand at maintaining a travel blog, but with my full-time job, I realised that a person who tries to do everything, ultimately achieves nothing,” Kamiya says.
Taking the plunge
According to Kamiya, if people were meant to be in one place, we would have roots instead of feet. She stuck to this belief when she traded her full-time job and stable income to explore the world and tell tales. Kamiya explains, “I got bored with the same routine of waking up at 5 am for a TV show and decided to take the plunge. I realised there weren’t any platforms dedicated to local discovery, travel and recommendations. So I decided to quit my job and put all my energy into Curly Tales.” The platform, which came to life in January 2017, became an instant hit, and today has a community of over 1 million (and still growing) users.
For Kamiya, work is a holiday, and a holiday is work. But the journey hasn’t been as simple as it sounds. Everyone dreams of getting paid to travel, but no one realises the kind of work that goes into executing it, she says. Further, it also takes a while for the finances to stablise. Luckily, Kamiya has always believed that real passion pays in way that can’t be measured. She says, “You can’t go out there expecting the big bucks to just start flowing in. You need to follow your passion with dedication and hard work, and then you can be whatever you want to be. Making a strong Plan-B before taking the plunge is the smart thing to do.”
Kamiya started by documenting her travels and creating content in the format of one-minute videos and short articles. Today, Curly Tales, which has been funded by the Fork Media Group, is among the top 10 Facebook pages in India, according to a report by Vidooly.
The content platform has videos and articles on unique food and travel experiences from around the world. In fact, their one-minute videos seem to be a crowd favourite. The platform works closely with several large brands including Starbucks, Cox & Kings, JW Marriott, Discover Hong Kong, Japan Tourism, among others.
Kamiya presses on, “We have a community of over 1.1 million with 3 million monthly visitors on our website and 49 million monthly video views on our Facebook page. We do not generate any revenue from them but our main priority is to keep them glued to our content. Helping them with recommendations is our job.”
The travel market in India is expected to reach $40 billion by 2020, according to a report by IBEF Blogs Perspective On India. So, it’s no wonder that 42 percent of content shared on Facebook is travel-related. Kamiya says, “Millennials are giving less priority to buying cars and homes. They are assigning greater importance to personal experiences — and showing off pictures of these experiences.”
Kamiya wants to cater to that audience and expand Curly Tales even further, to cities like Dubai and Singapore. “We also see a lot of value in integrating products with our content and hence we are building multiple consumer engagement points with strong value propositions to build a deeper connect. You will see us not only diversify globally, but we are also pushing for a strong convergence between commerce and content,” she says.
If she had one piece of advice to share with people, what would it be? She believes that more women should take up solo travelling. “Just go for it. I did my first solo trip to Ireland and totally loved it,” After all, she adds, it’s about finding what makes you happy at the end of the day.