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Check Out Dawn Asher’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawn Asher.

Hi Dawn, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I got my start in entertainment advertising as a film trailer writer producer. When I pivoted into original filmmaking, I developed my work as a producer in branded documentary and event spaces for non-profits while dabbling in commercial work through production design. I was a hyphenate before it became a buzz term! But I was marrying these skillsets in storytelling, marketing and design…in 2012, I launched Tribe of Asher, a boutique experiential marketing agency serving brands and orgs with connective experiences that increase brand loyalty. This would look like multi-sensory environments, inspired by theme and most importantly, intended for human connection and thoughtful dialogue.

Hospitality was always the heartbeat of my work. Identifying an audience’s core need was our starting place for designing multi-sensory experiences that would spark intimate connections for life. As the years went on and the pandemic put a halt to my event work, I was home remote schooling my kids (dying inside) and hoping I could get back out there. As I saw a rapid rise in mental illness and isolation, I saw a rise in the Airbnb (i.e., short-term rentals) market. I knew people were getting away to escape, but truly, what we were craving was reconnection. That’s when I started thinking about travel spaces where the most intimate connections occur–in vacation homes–between friends, families, partners and solo retreats. I thought about my own travels and the moments that impacted me the most. The following story took place over 15 years ago, and it’s never left me:

Fresh out of college, I packed my bags and decided to work my way across Europe partly in search of unforgettable experiences in faraway locations but mostly in search of gelato. As the end of my trip neared, my inner adventurer realized I had forgotten to listen to my inner accountant, and I found myself stranded in the middle of Sicily, with no money and no way to get home. Desperate, I resorted to begging my way onto trains. I remember one conductor, aged and gentle, allowed me aboard his train while kindly consoling me in Italian I couldn’t translate. He stepped off the train, and as I wondered whether I’d be permitted to stay, he reboarded and approached me with a sandwich in hand — distinctly homemade — unwrapped it, broke it in two, and handed me half (I will never forget my first bite of that salami provolone perfection!) I was in shock over his generosity. His one job was to take tickets and operate that train — he wasn’t paid to share his lunch with me. He simply extended himself in an act of generosity. In that moment, through tears of relief, I had found belonging where I least expected.

As travelers, we move about the world seeking new and exciting experiences; but what I really think we’re seeking is a getaway to reconnect. In January 2022 I launched The Olive Jar, a creative concierge specializing in design, hospitality and marketing for visionary Airbnb hosts.

We compassionately and generously create spaces and experiences for traveling guests to reconnect with themselves and one another. Connection is baked right into our brand’s mission and vision. To us, hospitality lives anywhere that there is sharing: on a moving train, in a studio loft, under a starry sky. It is an act of generosity that fosters a sense of belonging.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Absolutely not. The Olive Jar is really an “aha” moment in a vision I’ve been honing for over a decade. It was always a struggle communicating the nuanced value of high touch, engaging experiences to corporate America who needed instant ROIs, instant conversions to sales. It was challenging to communicate how the smallest details of an intimate meal gathering, for example, nurtured the relationship building with their audience. The nuanced hospitality it takes to build a loyal following requires thought-provoking interaction in a multi-sensory way, the way our strongest memories are formed.

But the short-term rental host 100% gets it. I launched The Olive Jar because I finally found my niche market. Inside the home, I can style every room in a way that nudges guests toward deeper connection; I can design hospitality touches that provide playful interactions, adventure and inspiration; for a host’s community, I can produce marketing campaigns that authentically connect the host’s offerings to their most ideal guest. Hosts understand the value that The Olive Jar is bringing to the market, elevating this industry in ways it hasn’t yet seen in a comprehensive way.

I think my greatest challenge with The Olive Jar so far is delivering a price point that makes sense for hosts. Hiring staging designers is common by now, but I’m offering a nuanced touch that elevates that trade. These hosts aren’t corporate brands with marketing budgets, so communicating the value add in a tangible way is key, and already that process brings up a familiar feeling from my Tribe of Asher days!

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The Olive Jar serves short-term rental hosts, new and established, seeking to imaginatively grow their audiences and reinvent their rentals into 5-star getaways that foster belonging.

Our goal is to reverse the trend of isolation that our global community faces. We empower hosts across all STR platforms to elevate their guest experiences using design, hospitality and marketing as mechanisms to promote deep connection and greater intimacy within all types of relationships.

OFFERINGS:

DESIGN/ High touch, curated spaces that are inspired by togetherness, pique curiosity and prompt connective quality time.

HOSPITALITY/ Original gifts, customized amenities, and courtesy services designed for an engaging experience inside the home.

MARKETING/ Strategic partnerships and connective audience engagement (virtual + live) that spark dialogue and build a loyal following.

I think that a look at one of our hospitality offerings will give you a tangible look at what we create…The Olive Jar “Signature Superhost Kit” is currently in a market test phase. Here’s a little bit about that:

We’ve designed this turnkey offering for hosts who need creative courtesies that will WOW their guests with unforgettable, experiential details that make memories last—and make these hosts top-tier on any platform.

For hosts seeking to provide high-touch hospitality, the Signature Superhost Kit offers their guests playful, restorative in-home experiences—think interactive amenities with heart! Inspired by connectivity, the kit is designed with interactive elements that will foster a sense of belonging for every guest in your home. Every kit can be customized to host’s brand in various ways.

– Courtesy Trip Preparations: self-care recommendations & recipes with easy-to-travel ingredients

– Vacation Vision Board: seasonal inspiration for travel

– Custom Designed Daily Journal: guided morning ritual & nightcap gratitude practice

– Original Triptych Wall Art

– Guest-to-Guest Message Board

– Thoughtful Farewells: prompting creative reflection, like how to arrange a photo time capsule

The kit is designed as a quarterly subscription, so the content is refreshed by the season and relevant to the host’s location. To be straightforward, it’s meaningful experiential marketing that maximizes a host’s income potential.

I’m really proud of putting fun and meaningful content into the world that could transform a traveler’s personal experience in a connective one that makes memories for life.

The Olive Jar serves short-term rental hosts with creative solutions that most do not have nor have the bandwidth for executing on a regular basis. What we’re offering allows hosts to increase their 5-star ratings, bookings and nightly rates (just to name a few results) while making a positive impact on mental and relational wellness in the world!

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
I was the youngest sister to three older brothers. It made me resilient and very interested in being a part of the boys club while loving my uniqueness as a girl! I was a ballerina, tap and jazz dancer, performer…while I romped around in the creek, upset mom coming home with muddy school clothes.

My parents never told me I couldn’t achieve what I set my mind to. They were worried sick when I was lost in London, calling them on a payphone, haha. But they never said, “don’t try that again.”

I give my brothers so much credit for inspiring me to pursue my creativity in unique and interesting ways, whether it’s for the masses or not. My entire family has supported me along the way, through every twist and turn, and I’ll be forever grateful.
This question got me thinking…Every time I travel and land upon something rare and unique, I instantly wish my favorite people were there experiencing it with me…and so I share it with them however I can—a photo, text message, long stories over drinks later. My hope is that my work with hosts would spark the same response in their travelers. Imagine connective environments so charming that travelers long to share it with those they love most!

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Anchor Pictures

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