The Block

Interviews — 3 months ago

Visibility with Trippin’s Kesang Ball

A UCL degree in computer science and business and a passion for sustainable travel may not seem like the most obvious pairings for a business venture, but it’s this background that led Kesang Ball to co-found Trippin’ along with friends Sam Blenkinsopp and Yasmin Shahmir. 

 

Starting out as a Facebook group that evolved into, first an app, then a media platform, in every guise Trippin has served as a community for young creatives bonded by their love of travel. The idea that travel can change lives, forge connections, and keep minds open is at the heart of what Trippin does. But as well as this, they seek to promote a vision of travel that’s mindful of the existing local community, and the impact that visitors might have. 

 

Ahead of our 50/50 project, we hit up Kesang to talk about the journey to launching Trippin’, inclusivity, and visibility. 

 

Shop Trippin’s 50/50 tee design now. Trippin have elected to donate 100% of profit from each T-shirt purchase to Justice4Grenfell.

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The Trippin T-shirt photographed by Angela Stephensen

What was your journey like to starting Trippin, and how did you get off the ground so quickly?

We started Trippin two years ago when we felt there wasn’t a platform which represented us within the travel space. Travel is such a transformative experience, you know? It has that magical ability to alter the way you view life. Nothing in the market spoke to us, so we decided to make a private Facebook group where all of our friends could share and trade trusted travel tips. It quickly grew into a community of friends, friends of friends and taste-makers. It’s what we like to call our petri dish or testing ground to research what was missing from the market. It was the reason we built the Trippin app, which allowed you to log and share your favourite spots across the world with friends.

Photograph courtesy of trippin.world
Photograph courtesy of trippin.world

Make sure you know why you’re doing it

After 12 months, however, it wasn’t in the place we wanted it to be, and with our community at the heart of our business, we decided to review the way we engage with them. We pivoted at the beginning of this year and Trippin is now a travel media platform focused on connecting cultures worldwide, powered by our community. They’re the reason we got off the ground so quickly. Our community powers everything we do.

Trippin New Delhi Deep Dive
Trippin New Delhi Deep Dive

What does it mean to you to be working to the same brief alongside 50 other artists for a cause like 50/50?

I think it’s beautiful. When people say “people copy my idea,” or anything along those lines I never get it. It’s all about execution, so I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone else has taken the brief and what they’ve created with it.

What does the idea of ‘Visibility’ mean to you? Why do you think it’s important?

Visibility is having an inclusive lens on the world. Making sure all bodies from all walks of life, realities and experiences are seen the same. Our voices are constantly being drowned out, sometimes it feels like we’re just being muted. Visibility is turning up the volume and being heard. Loud and clear.

Unity Women’s Village photographed by Darryl Richardson for Trippin
Unity Women’s Village photographed by Darryl Richardson for Trippin

How did you explore this in your T-shirt design?

We wanted to shine a light on the Grenfell tragedy and humanise the stats which the mainstream media were not paying attention to. People know that if the victims were white middle-class residents, then this would have been handled differently. The victims and their families, who experienced and are still experiencing the damage of Grenfell, were migrants and overwhelmingly of Black and Asian heritage. Highlighting their countries of origin was our way of creating more visibility around the bigger issue.

Trippin 50/50 2019 T-shirt design
Trippin 50/50 2019 T-shirt design

Visibility is turning up the volume and being heard.

Grenfell is part of a much wider problem within our society, where not all bodies are valued equally. Infrastructure is overlooked, loopholes created and safety checks are poorly done – especially when you are an impoverished person of colour. Our pill design was a way of visually prescribing the truths that some find hard to swallow.

Justice 4 Grenfell march
Justice 4 Grenfell march

What do you see as being the biggest challenge facing young creators in 2019 and beyond?

Funding.

You launched Trippin with your friends Sam Blenkinsopp and Yasmin Shahmir. What advice would you give to any other young creative looking to start a project with friends?

Make sure you know why you’re doing it. The ‘why’ is your purpose. It’s what’s going to get you up in the morning and drives you to chase success. The startup journey is an emotional roller coaster I swear down… but when you have a purpose to push through and persevere, you can do anything.

Shop Trippin’s 50/50 tee design now. Trippin has elected to donate 100% of the profit from each T-shirt purchase to Justice4Grenfell.