Today we’d like to introduce you to Kalpana Ravulapati.
Hi Kalpana, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Lifestyle & Travel Influencer, Beauty & Fashion Enthusiast, and Entrepreneur, determined to speak positivity into the world and help women like myself live their best life.
I started my blog Koco Travels back in 2014. Koco Travels is dedicated to inspiring women to conquer their dreams, venture beyond the borders of their comfort zones, and look fabulous doing it through tips on all things fashion, lifestyle, travel, and wellness. It’s my mission to empower you to get out, have fun on new adventures, create extraordinary memories, and experience the unique journey to discovering yourself – even if you’re traveling solo.
I guess you could say I was destined for this calling. Born into a traditional South Asian household in the U.S., beauty, and fashion is something I’ve been fascinated with since I first discovered my mom’s makeup at the young age of 2 years old. Growing up, whether it was watching my mom apply makeup in the mirror as she got ready for work, shopping with my dad through major department stores as he taught lessons on how to “look like a lady but think like a boss”, or sitting patiently as a child while my mom prepped my sister and I faces for family events with powder, Kajal (Indian eyeliner), and the Indian staple of bright red lipstick, beauty and fashion has always been an integral part of my life. Even my name, Kalpana, means “creative”, “imagination”, and “fantasy” when translated in Sanskrit.
It was always love at first sight and a love that grew with age as I earned my MBA in Accounting to better equip myself for entrepreneurial life while learning from the best in the beauty industry by enrolling at London Eye’s International Academy of Makeup the year after grad school, where I was awarded three professional certifications.
And yet… while makeup and fashion are more than just a ritual, but an art form to be recreated every day, enhancing your unique natural beauty and building your personal aesthetic… as cliché as it sounds, I believe that true beauty is found within. To me, imperfection is beauty. A radiant personality is beauty. Being bold, daring, true to yourself, your style, and your culture is beauty.
But I know I’m not the only one who’s been held back by fear, societal standards, and comfort zones.
As a true Sagittarius, I’m an adventure seeker and began traveling with my passport when I was one year old. I grew up with my parents taking us on numerous road trips all across the country every holiday, summer breaks, and sometimes even pulling us out of school to go on vacation to explore new cities. My passion for travel grew as an adult to see new places, experience new cuisines and activities, learn the history and culture of other people and continue exploring the globe.
My brand is dedicated to encouraging women to pursue their utmost desires and passions and to never give up on their dreams despite any obstacles. Be true to yourself because the beauty and power are yours!
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has been a long journey professionally pivoting from industry to industry. I received my bachelors and MBA is in Accounting and my first job out of college was in the corporate world doing payroll auditing, I soon realized I didn’t want to be tied to a desk number crunching all day with no social interaction within the company, it wasn’t the right fit for me and I wanted more. I then transitioned into Trade Shows/Conference Event Planning, then jumped into Real Estate Property Management, Network Marketing, and finally found my true calling as a Blogger learning how to monetize my influencer business. It wasn’t an easy or straight path, like most people, it took me many detours and self-discovery to figure what I’m truly good at, what I’m genuinely passionate about, and who I wanted to become. To overcome the doubts, fears, and insecurities, I decided to invest in myself by working with mentors and coaches for personal development in all aspects of my life for the past seven years, and continue to do so which has been worth every cent to heal past traumas and become the best version of myself, but it’s still a working progress, it never ends.
I learned from a very young age following the example of my parents who sacrificed and provided so much support for the family whether they had loads of money or not. They groomed me as the eldest of three siblings to lead by example, to give to others genuinely from the heart, and serve the community. As a child, I felt this was overwhelming and a high expectation placed on me that I didn’t want but as I matured through personal life experiences, it all clicked in a blink of an eye everything my parents prepared me for one day it all made sense.
The most joy I feel is when I make a positive impact to inspire others, even if it’s one person, to me that’s a success. I want people, especially women to not be ashamed of their past mistakes or history and to stop apologizing for being true to who they are or what they want. Instead, I want women to embrace their individuality, their inner superheroes, their true potential, and own the power within. I want women to realize that they were already born equal and the sky is limitless with endless possibilities. I want women to forgive the patriarchy that came before us and fight for inclusivity of both genders, together we will prosper. I want women to look at me and see that I’m just like them, human with flaws, who have struggled and experienced traumas, but still persevered and conquered her fears with an unwavering belief in herself, which gives others inspiration to do the same.
I want people to remember me and say…”because of you, I followed my dreams and didn’t give up until I succeeded.” I want people to realize the power has been inside them all along, they just have to harness its full potential. But I know I’m not the only one who’s been held back by fear, societal standards, and comfort zones. So, go on! Be Bold. Be Daring. Be Different.
We’d love to learn more about your work. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I got my first paid brand deal at ONLY 955 followers in March of 2018 and since then I’ve partnered with huge brands like Airbnb, The Langham, Kimpton, Radisson Blu, Target, The Beachwaver, Fabletics, Sarah Flint, Stitch Fix, Goli, Color Wow, JOON, Merit, BIOSSANCE, Charlotte Tilsbury, Beautycounter, First Aid Beauty, Kora Organics, Becca Cosmetics, rms beauty, Olive & June, and many more!
I’m most proud of finally having the courage to be vulnerable and vocal on my platform by sharing my story that really touched a lot of women with similar challenges and traumas. I felt for the longest time that being vulnerable was a weakness but soon found out that it’s my greatest superpower and that is how I can make a positive impact in the world.
What sets Koco Travels apart from other content creators in similar niches is that I’m both an influencer and entrepreneur of South Asian descent primarily focused on sharing my personal journey and experiences of my struggles, traumas, and successes that are relatable to my target audience afraid to speak up to share their truth, it’s not about the destination. I resonate with the everyday woman by being authentically myself imperfectly since there is no such thing as a perfect human.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
Brand Partnerships – Kalpana is a lifestyle and travel influencer with a passion for wanderlust. She is inspiring her community to see the world through her storytelling and ability to connect with her followers. Across her blog, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, she has a reach of almost 7K people worldwide.
She has a love for travel, style, food, and wellness and loves to share her passions with her tribe. Her primarily female demographic is interested in scenic travel destinations, luxury hotels, sustainable beauty and fashion, mindfulness, and services/products that will help them live their best lives.
Beauty Consulting Services – As a Beauty Influencer, I’ve partnered with huge beauty brands like The Beachwaver, Color Wow, JOON, Merit, BIOSSANCE, Charlotte Tilsbury, Beautycounter, First Aid Beauty, Kora Organics, Becca Cosmetics, rms beauty, LIVE TINTED, AAVRANI, Sahajan, SOMA AYURVEDIC, Olive & June, Esquido, Erno Laszio, Joy, and The Seaweed Bath Co.
I earned my MBA in Accounting to better equip myself for entrepreneurial life while learning from the best in the beauty industry by enrolling at London Eye’s International Academy of Makeup the year after grad school, where I was awarded three professional certifications. I only recommend what I truly love and use daily but always encourage my clients to try products to see what works best for them.
While beauty and makeup are more than just a ritual, but an art form to be recreated every day, enhancing your unique natural beauty and building your personal aesthetic… as cliché as it sounds, I believe that true beauty is found within. To me, imperfection is beauty. A radiant personality is beauty. Being bold, daring, true to yourself, your style, and your culture is beauty.
For both brand partnerships or beauty consulting service inquiries, please don’t hesitate to reach me at email@example.com.
- Email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.heykalpana.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/koco_travels/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KocoTravels
- Other: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJno9LVL/
Vidyuta Rangnekar, Tessa Sumagui, Deepthi Gajjela, and Pooja