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Hi, I'mLee Onions

Background

After having experienced the incredible benefits of combining yoga and meditation, I felt that in today's world of stress, distraction and constant overstimulation, this emerging market wasn't just a passing fad but a growing trend that should be here to stay. To date, all signs point to this being true as the market continues to grow each year. Retreatment was certainly my most ambitious startup project to date as I decided to work single-handedly for much of the projects 2-year duration.  Being based in Thailand and recognizing that it was a major destination for this market, it seemed like an obvious choice to focus close to home from the outset.

TYPE OF PROJECT : 
Marketing / Web Development
VERTICAL:
Tourism
SITE: 

VALIDATION

Given the extensive time and resources needed for the project, I decided to carry out market research to validate the idea and to evolve the objectives of the project.

I set up and conducted face to face interviews with retreat owners and centre managers to identify real requirements, validating the concept in the process.   Based on feedback I produced an MVP of the platform and set about signing up centres to join.

Partners

We currently list 27 individual retreats which are offered by 10 different centres.

I identified some of the most respected and well-liked retreats in Thailand to bring them onboard this included:

  • Kamalaya
  • Samahita Wellness Resort
  • X2 Resort
  • Absolute Sanctuary
  • Atmanjai

After onboarding vendors, I successfully implemented an in-house affiliate program to create a cost-effective, low-risk advertising strategy.

We've recruited high profile advertising partners including:

  • Lifestyle Asia (one of SEA Asia’s most popular lifestyle magazines) – Read the Article
  • Going Places (Official Magazine for Malaysia Airlines) – Read the Article
  • Just One Way Ticket (top 20 travel blog in the world) – Read the Article
  • Barefoot Luxe (journalist, published author and luxury travel blogger) – Read the Article

ROLES

Bootstrapped projects such as this often require taking a 'can-do' approach and becoming hands-on.  When I didn’t have the time or budget to hire someone I decided that getting the job done was most important and took on the role myself.

Here's a quick rundown of the roles I've taken on at various stages:

  • Business development
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Customer Support
  • Accounting
  • Web development
  • Graphic design
  • Content Writing
  • Project Management
  • Recruitment and Training
  • Admin (lots of admin)

Technologies

This is an overview of the technologies used in building, operating and marketing the website.

On Page SEO Optimisation

Hiring

Sometimes when I recognized my own limitations (and budget permitted) I employed freelancers to help with the workload.

Here are some of the people I’ve employed and managed on casual contracts:

  • Brad West – Web Developer
  • Hilary Ledoan – UX/UI Designer
  • Yone Liau – Content Writer and Marketing Assistant
  • James Karsberg – Branding and Design
  • Various Developers from oDesk and Fiverr
  • Spiritnoise – Web Development Agency
  • Fuze Branding – Graphic Design

OUTCOME

Retreatments continues to provide a passive income stream by regularly generating enquiries and bookings.

The overall complexity of managing, developing and marketing the project has proven more challenging than I initially envisaged.  I now find myself in the position where I can no longer afford to keep investing in the project whilst balancing a healthy home life with my young family.