Fanny Caloz is the co-founder of ESCAPE and the reason why she started the business in Switzerland has its own story. She was born in a small Alpine town in the French speaking part of Switzerland close to Grimentz where Swiss Escape – their first coliving space – is located. Grimentz is the village where her grandfather comes from, and as a kid she used to spend her winter holidays and weekends skiing there.
During the last year of her Master studies, she applied for a grant and got funding to develop her own project within the university. This is when her love for entrepreneurship was born. She knew she wanted to be her own boss one day, but didn’t know what the business would be.
Two accelerator programs and lots of studying later, her dream became true.
In her own words, “This is why today I am a business coach for small business owners who want to start or grow their business. I have spoken on many stages around Switzerland on entrepreneurship, digital nomadism, coliving and its potential for the tourism industry.
I’m a big believer of the power of transformation through a combination of mindset work and business strategies. There is nothing that lights me up more than transforming fears, worries and doubts into successes. From experience, I’ve learnt that the hardest part of starting and staying in business is to deal with our thoughts and emotions.”
She says that, “When I’m not in the mountains walking in the woods and thinking about my next big idea, I am traveling to nomad hotspots, meeting entrepreneurs and being inspired by new places.”
Tell us about your life before the venture/ leading up to your venture?
As soon as I finished my studies, I started dreaming about my perfect job, and moved to the Netherlands to my new apartment and corporate job. Only to be frustrated a couple of months later, when I felt that my life had become so boring.
“Let’s meet inspiring people every day“
That’s what I told ourselves when I started my entrepreneurial adventure in 2016. From then on, my boyfriend – and now business partner – and i quit our jobs, put our lives in a suitcase and left our apartment. We enrolled in a business accelerator program in Lisbon, where we got to bring our business idea to life after an intensive month of research. Our biggest realization was that being a digital nomad and hopping from one place to the next can be very lonely.
We wanted to build a business that integrated travel and the strength of a community; and found the concept of coliving!
“Challenge accepted”; with that in mind we went back to Switzerland (the location we knew best) and opened what we thought would be our prototype (as we planned to hop from one location to the next).
Little did we know that Switzerland would be our full time location. Our first clients loved their experience so much that they asked us to come back the next year. This is how our prototype turned into a year-round business.
Tell us something about your organization. What is it about and how is it helpful for people?
WHO WE ARE & WHAT WE DO
ESCAPE is a place where freelancers, entrepreneurs and teams come together to work, play and learn. We created a working environment to be productive, a living space with a community of people who understand your challenges and business programs to bring your ideas to life.
We offer three services:
- Coliving/ coworking for individuals
- Business coaching for individuals
- Retreats for teams
If I could sum up our journey so far in one word – it would be TRANSFORMATIONAL.
With coliving, we love exploring human connections and we are fascinated by what happens when you bring together people from all walks of life. The coliving story goes back to how human brains are wired. How we crave for a tribe – at work, at home and in life. Although this feeling is primal, we sometimes forget it and choose to live in the bubble of our apartments and offices. Coliving with others enables us to create connections and a sense of belonging.
With business coaching, we empower new & seasoned entrepreneurs to bring their own dreams & ideas to life; the ultimate power of creation, if you ask us. We do all this within the safe space of our awesome community where mistakes and failures are redefined into lessons and life experiences. We get to talk about our fears & worries, and most importantly, we learn the tools to transform them into success.
The ESCAPE family empowers us to reimagine the way we live, work and learn from each other – allowing us to discover not just the freedom of living & working, but also the freedom of mind.
What has been the response of the consumers towards your venture?
A few testimonials from our clients:
For coliving in Switzerland –
“Swiss Escape exceeds expectations in every way! I went during the winter and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to build a new routine from day one:
Wake up to the beautiful backdrop of the Swiss Alps covered in snow > ski the morning away > cozy up in the chalet and smash out some work > chat with like-minded folks over dinner > rinse and repeat!
The chalets are beautifully designed and well equipped with everything you’ll need to stay productive. Lifts to two different ski areas are just a 2 min walk away so you can easily pop over for a few runs everyday. The community is easy to integrate with and fun to share tips/stories with as most folks are remote workers!
I definitely recommend spending a month here!
For coliving in Greece –
“By far the best Coliving experience I’ve ever had! The space is absolutely beautiful, and designed in a way that is both inviting people to gather as well as providing enough room if you need your own space. There were lots of workspace options which was nice, so I could move around the house throughout the day. And the view. OMGGG the view! Waking up to a stunning sunrise and falling asleep to the moon reflecting on the water was such a treat.
Also, I can’t say enough about how lovely the other colivers there were! I was there for 6 weeks and it attracted a very mature, dynamic, professional and fun crowd of folks.
The skillshares and accountability groups were incredibly useful and supportive. I got so much work done there, and at the same time I had a great time going out for meals and excursions with the others there.
Chania, the nearby city, was very nice too. It’s beautiful and full of a ton of amazing restaurants, cafes, shops and nightlife.
Really an incredible experience!
For business coaching –
“I followed the 90 days business program with Fanny. These classes are my weekly shot of inspiration.
Before that, I believed I needed to find a job and be an employee forever. I was stuck applying for jobs I didn’t even like. Talking with Fanny changed my vision of what it means to be self-employed. Step by step, she opened my horizons to build my project and to organize my life.
She never forced me to follow a direction but always asked questions that helped me understand what matters to me. She told me once: do what you want, no more concessions!
The most important thing I learned is that personal life comes first. It is not only about building a business but rather having a solid and enjoyable life. It’s the reason why we become our own boss, isn’t it?
How has your life changed because of your venture?
My life has completely changed, thanks to my company.
I wanted to become my own boss because I wanted total freedom to live and travel as much as I wanted. I had studied tourism and for me, travelling was an important part of who I am.
When I discovered digital nomadism and remote work, I felt that a whole new lifestyle was possible. But I needed a job that allowed me to sustain myself financially while travelling the world. Becoming my own boss had been a dream since I was a student, and I felt that it was time to try it out. I had nothing to lose when I started my venture (only time).
Now, 7 years later, I have a business that generates enough money to sustain my lifestyle. I can decide to live anywhere I want to, at any time of the year. I have a wonderful team of people that I choose to work with. And most importantly, I feel that I have a positive impact on my clients, the local environment where my business is located, and the people I’m in contact with.
Give a motivational message for the audience/women who are reading this.
Never give up being curious. If you can dream it, you can make it 😉