Walsh, 30, gave up her beauty business to spend more time with her little boy Ollie, six, and embraced her lifelong passion for travel through homeworking.
She teamed up with The Global Travel Group to launch Luxury Escapes by Katie Walsh and has now opened her first store in Whalley, where she grew up.
Walsh has already taken on one part-time member of staff and is currently recruiting for a full-time travel consultant.
“Opening my own store was something I thought about doing as soon as I started as a homeworker,” she told TTG. “I knew where I wanted to do it and as soon as the location became available, I just went for it.
"Whalley is where I grew up. It’s a lovely village that encourages new businesses, and the people are so welcoming. It’s a wealthy area too.”
Luxury Escapes specialises in long-haul travel to Dubai and the Indian Ocean. Key partners include Gold Medal Pure Luxury, Travel 2 Simply Luxury, If Only, Beachcomber and ITC, although the agency will “always look to meet any clients’ needs”.
Walsh said homeworking had given her a better work/life balance and allowed her to spend more time with Ollie since she set up in November 2015. “I didn’t want to work seven days a week,” she said. “I wanted more time with my son, but I also wanted to do something for myself. I wanted my own business again and I knew travel was something I could make a success of.
“The growth over the past three years had been incredible, especially as I didn’t have a travel background. I’ve done a bit of social media, but it’s been thanks to friends, family and referrals that it’s taken off.”
Walsh is ambitious to grow her agency, but says she’s having to stay grounded for now. “I’d love to have five shops,” she said. “But I’m going to have to see how this goes first. My vision is to keep growing – the first week was amazing.”