MM Cowgirl - Sophia Ahl

Our September MM Cowgirl -- Sophia Ahl

Founder of Ahl Collective , a travel consultancy specializing in highly tailored authentic experiences. 

Travel and experiences are always on people's minds, especially millennials. They want to explore and connect with people around the world in a genuine way. Sophia Ahl, founder of Ahl Collective sat down with us to share her story on why she believes in her travel consultancy company she recently launched. 

  1. Tell us about Ahl Collective.

Ahl Collective is a network of trusted travel advisors, translating our clients’ visions into memorable, authentic experiences around the world. 

  1. Tell us about your choice to pave your own path as an entrepreneur.

My childhood experiences fueled my love for travel - from visiting family in Colombia, weekending in the Pennsylvania countryside, to exploring and living in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.  Among friends and family, I’ve always been the go-to person for vacation destinations, off-the-beaten-path experiences, local restaurant recommendations, and really anything travel-related.

In recent years, occasional personal trip planning grew into frequent, full experience-planning for family, friends and colleagues.  As the number of trips grew, the ideas started flowing, my city guides and itineraries became more sophisticated and user-friendly, and my business was born. I’ve always had the entrepreneurial bug, so starting a business was something I was excited about and ready to take on.
  1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I see my self serving a loyal group of clients, and leading educational trips around the world.  So many countries are heavily mischaracterized by things like poverty, conflict, drug trade, you name it (a great example is Colombia, where my family is from). I hope to give people the full picture through these educational experiences, incorporating service, cultural immersion, and leisure.

  1. What's the best advice you've ever received?

“Don’t postpone pleasure” - Hank Smith
My best friend’s dad always says this - I laugh when I think about it, but it’s a good rule to (responsibly) follow!  We invest so much in our work, our homes, on our accountants, financial advisors, doctors, gym memberships, the list goes on.  It’s so easy to get caught up in our daily responsibilities that we forget to invest in what really matters: what brings us joy, a date night, a big family dinner, a weekend away, or a great adventure abroad.  That’s at the core of Ahl Collective’s mission: helping you plan your quality time, so you can focus on the people you're with and the place you’re in.

  1. What advice can you give to other woman entrepreneurs?

Don’t be afraid to give it your all! It really takes guts to put yourself out there and build a business, so you should be proud of it. Sarah Blakely, founder of Spanx, says it best: “Failure is not the outcome. Failure is not trying."

  1. Tell us why you love fashion/arts and give us a taste of your style!

Arts & design bring a lot of color to my life - I love collecting unique things (books, artwork, photography, jewelry) and incorporating them in some way in my apartment to add to the space. 

My style is pretty simple - I tend to stick to a few staples (leather sneakers, booties, cozy tees, a cool jacket & a good pair of jeans) and dress it up with light jewelry depending on where I’m going. 

  1. What is your favorite Madison McKinley jewelry? 

The Cassidy necklace!

  1. What would be your favorite way to style your Madison McKinley Jewelry?

I have a delicate emerald & gold necklace that I never take off - my fiancé gave it to me when we were first dating, so it’s something I cherish.  I love layering Madison’s necklaces on top - it’s hard to find a combination that doesn’t look good!

  1. What is your favorite vacation spot? Tell us your favorite spots in the area!

My absolute favorite place in the world is Zermatt, Switzerland. During ski season, my favorite lunch spot is a ski-in restaurant called Chez Vrony, which has breathtaking views of the Matterhorn, icy cold beers and an amazing rösti.  In the summer, nothing beats homemade cinnamon ice cream at Zum See, just a short hike from town.  

  1. What is your favorite go to everyday outfit?

Jeans, booties, a t shirt and a cool jacket.

  1. Are you a wrangler girl or a levi girl?

A Levi girl (love my RE/DONE levis)!

  1. What is in your travel jewelry bag?

A pair of fun Jennifer Miller earrings (for dressy occasions), a simple pair of studs and my MM Creighton Bracelet & Cassidy Necklace!

  1. What is your go to lip balm?

Labello lip balm!

  1. If you had a horse, what would you name it?

Lucky Charm- that was the name of the horse I grew up riding!

  1. Tell us a fun fact about yourself! 

I have a rescue kitten named Torchy. I got him from Best Friends Animal Society - if you’re ever interested in volunteering, fostering, or adopting, BFAS is an amazing organization to work with.


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