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Meet Kate Shaw

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Shaw.

Kate, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I had built an incredible career in digital marketing and landed on a great job in 2018… And I HATED it. It was perhaps the worst experience any professional could imagine. I was stressed constantly and blowing off friends/ family/ dating just to keep my head above water.

In March 2018, tragedy hit me pretty hard when my best friend died at 27 of breast cancer. I watched her fight her battle for 18 months before that moment, and it is a journey that has permanently changed my priorities in life.

I had always been a traveler and had even operated a tourism company in Buenos Aires for a few years. I had randomly acquired one Airbnb in Long Beach about a year prior to quitting my marketing job. So, in August of 2018 I put 2 and 2 together and came up with the idea! I knew I wanted to create some positive moments in the world and knew hosting could allow me to do that. What better way than to welcome travelers to our local area with open arms and an awesome home. I launched my second Airbnb in Long Beach in December of 2018 and quickly followed with two in Joshua Tree in February of 2019. From there, it’s been off to the races!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Building my business absolutely has not been a smooth road. I actually subletted my apartment for a full year in order to have available capital to build my business. Trust me, after working my way up to a director level in my marketing career, it was a huge blow to the ego to surf from spare bedroom to spare bedroom just to have cash to launch my business. However, I knew that the sacrifice was worth it in order to quickly build a thriving business. Very few people actually know that I had spent that year homeless, but now it’s a hardship I am proud of. In addition, setting up an Airbnb is not just picking cute pillows. It takes about 30 days of HARD physical labor. Building furniture, essentially moving an entire house by yourself, even shopping to purchase an entire homes worth of necessities can be physically draining. It is not for the meek of heart or body.

Many people look at Airbnb hosts and think it runs itself. Guests have no idea the constant effort (good) hosts put into making your stay unforgettable. There are 11pm calls from guests who accidentally lock themselves out, refrigerators that die on the Fourth of July, and snowstorms that trap guests (in the desert even!). I recommend hosting only for people who are doing it full time and willing to put in 110%.

Alright – so let’s talk business.  What else should we know about you and your career so far?
My business is hosting on Airbnb. I have five different spaces, with two more in the works. My Airbnbs are located in Joshua Tree and Long Beach, California. Check out @JoshuaTreeAirbnb on Instagram to get a peek at my houses out there!

I specialize in offering not just a home, but an experience. I strive for my guests to feel like they’re stepping into an interior design magazine. I want them to live in their dream home, even if just for a weekend. I’m known for the extra touches. Whether it be really nice coffee beans, a chilled bottle of wine, to-die-for comfy beds or beach toys, my homes offer something above and beyond.

As a company, I am proud of the amazing and thriving product I have built-in just a year. I was lucky enough to have spent my whole life (unknowingly) preparing for this role, and it fits JUST right. My dad is a construction worker, I got thrust into a love for interior design ten years ago, and I spent 11 years in digital marketing/ branding. My whole life was leading towards this!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is running through the woods just outside of Yosemite with my older brother. My mom would take us camping there every summer for a week, and there was never a soul around. We always had two mutts in tow, and our daily explorations were the greatest adventures. We’ve returned to this spot as adults and I’m happy to report that it’s just as pristine and beautiful as my little kid brain remembers.

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