Interview: Alessandra Maderni, CEO of Shipsomnia
The co-founder and CEO of Shipsomnia, Alessandra Maderni, started with just $350,000 in seed money to make Shipsomnia the first-ever music festival cruise to run successfully in Asia and Europe, generating over $4.4 million in sales. By 2020, Shipsomnia is expected to reach $50 million in total sales including $41 million from eight cruises.
The company's cruises have included: The Search for Lost Rhythms on Costa Victoria, a five day cruise departing Singapore in 2016, and the Tale of the Kraken on Brilliance of the Seas, a five day cruise departing Barcelona in 2017.
Being born and raised in Rome, where she lived until moving to Thailand at age 15, helped Alessandra to shape Shipsomnia into a truly global experience. MarEx spoke to her about her vision for the business.
What inspired you to enter the cruise industry and start Shipsomnia?
Shipsomnia bridges my passion for music, arts and travel into one creative masterpiece. After years of experience in themed events, I decided that it was time to conceptualize something that was scalable on an international level and that's how Shipsomnia emerged.
I've always walked the entrepreneurial path from a young age and entered the entertainment industry at the age of 24 when I opened my own nightclub in Thailand. That's where I discovered that my true passion was in the event space and that my strengths as an entrepreneur were in branding and marketing. Since then, I co-founded an events company and organized several themed festivals and marketing campaigns for global brands such as Bacardi.
How has your multicultural childhood shaped your attitude toward your business venture?
I feel very fortunate to have a multicultural background that has given me the opportunity to live in several countries across three continents. I think my worldliness is a definite strength in business as I'm able to operate in different regions and know the differences in mentality.
Whom do you target for music festival cruises?
It's adults only, age 21 and up for the U.S. and age 18 and older in Europe. Our core demographic is people ages 25-35, who have a work hard, play hard type of mentality. Shipsomnia is the ultimate vacation experience where guests always want to come back for more as we offer new chapters of the storyline, destinations and forms of entertainment, making the experience always fresh and exciting.
What is unique about what Shipsomnia offers?
We are the first and only fully-themed music festival cruise with the world's biggest production at sea. We create the ultimate vacation experience that offers 60 DJs and live bands playing six fully-themed stages in an aquatic mythical theme that tell a story. Through performances and art installations, we immerse guests in a distinctive entertainment and travel experience with purpose, raising awareness for environmental issues affecting the sea. This is done in an unparalleled, entertaining way, while taking them between some of the world's most exotic destinations.
On board, we host DJs, bands and performers playing at six fully-themed stages from 11:00 a.m. until sunrise the next day in multiple areas of the ship. On top of that, we host a bunch of fun activities with the artists for our guests to partake in, such as dodge ball tournaments, yoga sessions and Q&A sessions to name a few.
In the future, we plan to expand the choice of entertainment and performing arts by hosting famous comedians, performers, speakers and more. We want to use Shipsomnia to showcase all sorts of talent and make it as versatile as possible by offering world-class entertainment in various forms as part of the epic week-long journey.
When the ship docks at one of our ports of call, we also host a private music festival on a beach or special venue. Besides the entertainment side of things, we focus a lot on the vacation aspect and offer customized tours for people to make the most of their time at the stops in different ports of call.
Do you see yourself as a female in business overcoming gender barriers?
I think femininity has its own merits, so I personally never feel like there are pros and cons to being a female in business. Bottom line is that gender does not matter if you become the best at what you do. It's inevitable that money and success will follow if you are the best in your field.
“Live the Journey” is our brand message and one that is dear to my heart. It’s set to inspire and empower millennials to live the life they want to live and embrace every step along the way. We started Shipsomnia with $2,000 and generated millions in sales with guests from over 70 countries. It’s brought us to three different continents and five different cities so far, and I can’t wait to see where it will take us next. By showcasing how we live our journey through Shipsomnia, we hope to play a little part in inspiring others to start living their journey today.
What's next for Shipsomnia?
So far, we have executed successfully in Asia and in Europe. Now, we are about to launch something totally groundbreaking that will take the project to a whole new level with multiple sailings and chapters of the storyline running in different regions. Stay tuned!
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.