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Interview

Roxane Blanc and Yoann Kergal (SK 2016): from digital marketing to travel blogging

28 August 2020

Roxane and Yoann met at SKEMA. Both graduates of the Class of 2016, they work in digital marketing for companies in the banking sector. With a shared love of travel, in 2018 they decided to create a blog devoted to their passion: roxandyo.com.

 

Roxane, Yoann, could you introduce yourselves? Tell us a bit about your studies at SKEMA, your respective jobs, what you do in your spare time and what prompted you to start a travel blog?

We met at preparatory school in Toulon in 2010, just before attending SKEMA. We then got the opportunity to do our first year of M1 together overseas, first on the Suzhou campus and then on a university exchange in Bangkok. After a year of internships in Paris, our time at SKEMA ended with a year of learning divided between Paris, Sophia-Antipolis and Avignon. We were so lucky to be able to go through those 5 years of study together and share such great experiences! Since graduating, we have been working in digital marketing for companies in the banking industry.

We are passionate about travel, writing, sport and photography. After realising that our friends and family were often asking us for advice on different destinations, we decided to set up a blog on that topic in 2018. Since then, it has constantly evolved: it now focuses on our travels, our adventures and the environment. We’re also very active on all social media. 

 

What prompted your project? Did you want to take your passion for travel even further? Do you have any other plans?

This project combines several things we wanted to do:

  • Share tips and great places to eat and visit
  • Keep a written record of our memories and anecdotes from our adventures around the world
  • Share our travel photos

For a while now, we have also wanted to give our blog a more socially responsible dimension and educate our readers about different issues linked to travel. Topics like slow travel and micro-adventures, to reduce our footprint on the planet especially, have become essential to us. With this new awareness we must change the way we live, the way we travel and how we interact with our environment.

 

In what ways have your studies at SKEMA been useful for getting this project off the ground?

Our studies at SKEMA did contribute to the creation of the blog and made the whole process easier. We drew the best from certain case studies conducted at SKEMA and at Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok). Particularly during projects involving market positioning, website creation, and designing marketing campaigns or creating content for social media. We also seized the wonderful opportunities for travel during our degree course, starting with our Master 1 year at SKEMA Suzhou in China, then we spent an entire semester in Bangkok, Thailand. Those experiences not only opened our minds and cultivated our taste for travel and adventure, they were also fodder to start creating quality content. And let’s not forget the highly educational internships that we got to do in communications and web marketing. Or the skills gained through our respective student associations: Lead Guide and One ID.

 

What are you fondest memories of SKEMA? They might even be from abroad?

There are so many, especially from our year spent studying in Asia! The first that come to mind are: the nights on the beach at Juan-les-Pins; organising the Festi in first year; the English lessons we gave in China thanks to the Hand in Hand association; and discovering Chinese culture in Suzhou with Xia Laoshi.

 

Did you use the SKEMA Alumni network to get your project off the ground or to develop it?

Actually, right now we’re finalising an article for which we collected stories from several alumni on the topic of travel and the environment via the Facebook page Entraide SKEMA. In the future, we want to involve more contributors around our project and our values, including from the alumni network.

 

Can you share an anecdote with us from one of your trips? Something particularly memorable? (funny, moving, dangerous...)?

Last summer we did our first fully self-sufficient trek in Swedish Lapland. We set off for a week, to cover a little over 110 km, carrying on our backs all the essentials we needed to “survive” (tent, sleeping bag, food, water, etc.). The weather wasn’t great and we spent one of our worst ever nights of camping. In the middle of the night a huge thunderstorm hit; the rain was so violent that the water ended up getting into the tent, and I don’t mean just a little... We had to get out twice to limit the damage and seal up what we could. We were so tired that we did end up getting back to sleep, soaking wet, with a plan to buy a more weatherproof tent in the near future.

 

What is your next destination?

The global COVID-19 crisis has of course messed up our travel plans, but we are fortunate in that we and our loved ones have been spared by the virus. Since coming out of lockdown we have decided to turn these restrictions into an opportunity to rediscover our country and have some great sporting experiences. For example, in September we are heading down to the south-west to learn to surf!

 

What’s next as far as adventures go?

  • Continue to travel while promoting our values, whether close to home or on the other side of the planet. For example, we’re looking into the most responsible way to reach the parts of the world we most dream of visiting.
  • Maintain a close connection with our community by sharing quality, funny and socially conscious content.
  • We have a lot of plans underway for the blog, a lot of content to write and plenty of ideas... for example, we want to add content to our vlog on YouTube, create a newsletter, write an ebook about hiking, run some photo challenges…

 

Any advice for students or alumni wanting to launch a travel- or blog-related project?

This adventure keeps us learning and growing each day. Here are 2 pieces of advice that we feel are important and that we try to apply daily:

  • If you’re too much of a perfectionist, you won’t ever get anything done. For a long time we waited for the site to be perfect before sharing it with others, investing money in it, etc. but we realised that if we kept that up we would never get to publish anything. Sometimes you have to tell yourself that done is better than perfect and imperfection is not something to fear.
  • Don’t focus (too much) on what others think... our blog and our Instagram account might seem pointless or superfluous to some, and in the beginning that was something that held us back. But we pay less and less attention to that sort of thing. It’s good to get feedback, but what matters most is doing something we are passionate about and this adventure means so much to us! If others don’t understand it, then they’re not in our target audience ;)

 

Contacts: Roxane Blanc and Yoann Kergal (SK 2016), founders of the blog Roxanddyo 

 

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