Today we’d like to introduce you to Keymia Sharpe.
Keymia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I spent most of my career in sales and eventually tried my hand in the world of advertising. I never saw myself in the tourism industry, but I always like to say that life led me in this direction. At the end of 2018, I lost the love of my life (my husband) and, shortly after, my job. With an eight-year-old dependent upon me and no light at the end of the tunnel, I felt defeated and frustrated.
A few days after taking those substantial blows, I had a conversation with my mother who was seeking recommendations for a family that was visiting Miami in the next few months. I noticed that she, like all others that would visit, asked the same three questions:
1. Where should I stay?
2. What are your recommendations on places to eat?
3. What things are there to do in Miami?
My mom had ignited the spark in me to start a business and answer these questions for many others visiting Miami. Being that I was once a novice in the city, I immersed myself into learning more about the 305 and fell in love with it. From here, Key2MIA was born to share the beauty, diversity, and culture that lives in Miami through personalized experiences and tours.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has been up and down, but overall, I’m so grateful for the journey. I’ve had to take on several side hustles since the start of Key2MIA to ensure I keep a roof over my head. There have been several days that I’ve cried from frustration and several nights with little or no sleep. But it has all been worth it.
People are often surprised to know that my business is only four months old, but I pour my heart and soul into this business to ensure it’s a success. There were times I was going from business to business to present Key2MIA in the pouring rain, I’ve mapped out days to explore different neighborhoods, I network and attend events, sometimes with my daughter, I handle every aspect of the business, and this can be stressful and tiring. But I have an amazing support team and mentors that keep me focused and motivated. On those days that I’ve felt like giving up, they keep me going. Very grateful for my tribe.
Key2MIA – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
So, Key2MIA is a destination management company that provides personalized tours and experiences to locals and tourists alike. We allow our guests to go beyond the beach and really explore Miami. We also do corporate team building and travel packages for major Miami events.
When you book an experience with Key2MIA, you can select a pre-designed experience or we can create one for you. To create an unforgettable experience, we send you a customization survey to really get to know about you and your party. Once this is received, we curate an experience for you to enjoy: you can sit poolside at a luxury hotel, museum hop, visit a local yoga studio, private cooking class or scavenger hunt. The possibilities are endless. You also get a custom playlist and the Key to the City, a discount card that gives you exclusive offers to various local businesses throughout Miami.
Most proud of as a brand: living up to the name of the business. We truly are the key to Miami. Again, people are shocked to discover that the company is so new.
What sets us apart: We don’t provide your traditional tour. For those that want to go off the beaten path and explore Miami at their own pace, Key2MIA provides an enjoyable experience with a local ambassador that won’t have you confined to normal “tourist traps.” I remember my very first tour. He had an 8-hour layover before heading to South America and wanted an experience. He always traveled to South Beach and left it up to us to create a great way to enjoy his layover. He had brunch in Coconut Grove and got to explore Calle Ocho, two places he never knew existed. On top of that, he got to sample Cuban ice cream and taste the best mojito he ever had, right before using his Key to the City discount card to purchase cigars to enjoy later. He wouldn’t have gotten that experience with any other tour company.
Also, Key2MIA is one of the few minority female tourism companies in Miami (I believe there are two ran by females that run large group tours). We provide what I call, curated tourism. Your experience can be solo or with a group and no two tours or experiences are 100% alike. My goal is to blaze a trail not only as a female but as an African American making a lasting impression in this industry.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
With everything that occurred to me before starting this business, it seemed that I was supposed to throw my hands up and cry from defeat. Instead, I chose to do the exact opposite. I believe that my mindset going into this and my faith is what has played the biggest role, not luck.
Since the conception, everything that I’ve set out to do for this business has happened. My faith has only increased since the start of this journey and it’s my faith that has allowed me to continue on a positive and prosperous path. God has literally lined everything up for my success. I’m truly blessed.
- Eye Spy: Downtown Scavenger Hunt $25
- Karaoke Battle $30
- The Mixologist Experience $125
- Melanin Miami $85
- Key To My He(ART)/ Wynwood Experience $45
- Website: Www.key2mia.com
- Phone: 305-340-5058
- Email: Livelikealocal@key2mia.com
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/Key2mia
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Key2mia
Main image of me taken by Monica Aguinaga. All other images from Key2MIA.