Interview with Barbara Booth

Barbara Booth, Co-Creator of Go-Be tray table sleeves and NBC content producer, shares how she came up with the idea for this amazing product with co-founder (and best friend) Cornelia Quinn, along with her favorite places on Cape Cod and favorite spot to catch a sunset! She also shares words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs!

Lauren — Travel and Write Today: When/how did you, and your close friend, come up with the idea for Go-Be? I’d love for you to share the story! I’ve always been concerned about germs on an airplane—so I was excited when you reached out to tell me about Go-Be (and I love that they are reusable)!

BB: I started the business with my best friend Cornelia, who had voiced her concern over the germs she believed existed on airplane tray tables. Her concern was due to the fact that her son Jake, who had survived a long battle with leukemia and is immunocompromised, continuously came down with a bacterial infection within two days after a flight. I have years of experience as a CNBC reporter, so I decided to investigate – and I quickly discovered that the airplane tray tables were rarely sanitized and are actually one of the dirtiest parts of the airplane.

We embarked on a mission not only to introduce a product that would give individuals the confidence to travel again but one that would encourage sustainability and unity, as well as self-expression and adventure.

We want to encourage people to get back out there and feel good about traveling again. And to travel more sustainably. That’s where unity comes in. If we are all more mindful of each other and the planet, our world will be a stronger place.

TWT: Can you tell us a little more about Go-Be?

BB: Go-Be is more than just an antimicrobial cover that fits over the trays on planes, trains, and buses. Our company, QBSleeves—the Q is for Quinn; the B for Booth—is on a mission to educate people on the importance of sustainable travel—to reuse and recycle. Because our tray covers, or sleeves, are made of Repreve, a fabric created from reclaimed plastic bottles, they are eco-friendly and they can be used again and again. Our goal is to try to change peoples’ behavior, and help eliminate the use of all those millions of single-use disinfectant wipes that are filling our landfills every day.

Did you know that if everyone used one wipe on the three major airlines—United, American and Delta—every day, that would be 5 million wipes a day going to our landfills? These wipes never break down, because they are made of synthetic fibers. Many also have toxic chemicals in them. And the reality is that most people use more than one wipe—they use two or three to wipe down their trays. Our signature shape—the hexagon—is in our logo, on many of our sleeves and is the shape of our patented case. Why? Because the hexagonal pattern of the honeycomb is one of the strongest and most efficient natural structures. And we believe that if all of us work together toward a more sustainable future, the world will be a stronger—and much better–place. But we also want people to enjoy the journey toward a more sustainable future, hence the name of our product Go-Be! Go be a wanderluster, an explorer, a fun-lover.

Go solo, go together, just Go-Be!

TWT: Thank you for sharing this with us! You are both truly making travel safer for all of us, and you are protecting the environment. This is amazing.

TWT: I also know that you were a former CNBC reporter, and you’re currently working as a producer. When/how did you decide to become a reporter? What is one of your most memorable moments while working in this industry?

BB: I had no idea what I wanted to do in college. I started out as a Computer Science major, simply because I thought that would be a lucrative field, but half of my life was spent in the tutoring labs because I just wasn’t a natural at code. The other half of my time was spent tutoring others in creative writing or writing their papers for them! It was my computer science professor who finally told me I should dump my major, and go into journalism because it was a natural fit.

I love meeting new people; I love to travel and I love to write. It was a no-brainer! My first job out of college was as a reporter for International Business magazine in New York. I traveled around the world writing about shipping and transportation, visiting some of the largest ports.

I have two most memorable moments: One was a cover story I did for International Business magazine on the Port of Rotterdam. I spent a week there learning everything about their operations, and meeting the families who operated the tugboats. On the last day there, I climbed up the ladder to the top of the barge, and felt this sense of euphoria as I reached the top. Not only because it was so exciting to be at such a high point looking out over the port, but because I was seven months pregnant with my second child and still out there traveling, learning and loving my job!

Another memorable moment was ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on the 25th anniversary of CNBC. And a third was meeting with Secretary of State, John Kerry, at the White House to discuss the latest report on Human Trafficking, a subject I covered in-depth while at CNBC.

TWT: Wow, we have so much in common! I also think you need to watch the show Gilmore Girls if you haven’t already! I don’t want to give anything, but you will know why I suggested it right away!

Also, these are two incredible memories. I’d love to read this magazine article!

TWT: I know you grew up in New Jersey (I grew up in New York!) – do you ever get back there? What are some of your go-to spots in Jersey?

BB: I go back all the time, because I’m from Northern New Jersey, which borders New York, and because our company is based in New York and our co-founder Cornelia lives there, I’m always visiting my old stomping ground and seeing friends. But I never leave without hitting Uncle Giuseppe’s, a huge Italian marketplace in Ramsey, NJ, and my favorite spot for dinner: Fino Ristorante in Allendale. And before I leave, I always pick up a couple rolls of Taylor Ham for my friends in Cape Cod. It’s a processed pork roll that is a NJ staple and totally horrible for you but absolutely delicious. I’ve gotten everyone hooked on it here.

TWT: I am adding these spots to my list! People from Jersey love their Pork Rolls!

TWT: It must be so nice to live down on Cape Cod now. What are some of your favorite restaurants down the Cape? I spend a lot of time in Chatham, Falmouth, and Sandwich, and I am always looking for new spots! 

BB: This is a tough one. There are a lot of great restaurants here. My absolute favorite is the Beacon Room in Orleans, because the staff is so friendly and welcoming, and the fish is so fresh. When I’m in the mood for sushi, I always go to Bluefins Sushi & Sake Bar in Chatham. Another one of my favorites, especially for a girls’ birthday outing, is Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse in Harwich. They have an excellent wine list – the Etna Rosso is my favorite – and the grilled romaine salad there is to die for.

TWT: Bluefins is amazing! I am adding the others to my running list. I love restaurants with a notable wine list, so I will definitely be going to Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse!

TWT: What cities/towns are on your list of places to visit in New England? 

BB: There are so many wonderful towns in New England, each with their own character. I love the fast-pace, exciting nightlife and historical charm of Boston but also love the quaint rural seaside charm of Wellfleet on the Outer Cape. In the fall I really enjoy strolling down Commercial Street in Provincetown and walking the 11/2-mile jetty that sprawls across the harbor to the tip of the Cape.

TWT: What is your favorite book?

BB: Right now, I am reading Verity by Colleen Hoover. Absolutely can’t put it down! I love mystery and suspense. Books that have twisted, bone-chilling plots that keep me guessing til the end. Also just finished The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.

TWT: The Silent Patient was one of my absolute favorite books! I keep hearing about Colleen Hoover, but I haven’t picked up a book yet. I think it’s time!

TWT: What is your go-to coffee/tea order, and from where?

BB: My go-to coffee is a Grande Blonde Roast with nonfat milk from Starbucks. Simple!

TWT: My go-to is the Pike Place (or any medium/dark roast) with nonfat milk!

TWT: What is your favorite place to watch the sunrise/sunset?

BB: Ahhh that’s easy. I live on Cape Cod, and the sunsets here are absolutely stunning. I often go down to Skaket Beach in Orleans, which is on the bayside. Any time of year, even in the dead of winter, there are loads of people there watching the sunset. It never gets old. Great way to end my workday. At least once a summer, my family wakes up early and heads over to the oceanside to see the sunrise. One time a whale breached, breaking the sun’s reflection off the water, just as it was rising. It was amazing.

TWT: What are some of the reasons that you love being an entrepreneur? It must be amazing to have so much more flexibility! 

BB: I can’t sit still—my friends refer to me as the “activities director,” because I’m always planning something, which isn’t always the best thing, because I don’t enjoy too much downtime and that sometimes drives my husband crazy. So being an entrepreneur is the perfect life for me, because building a business is 24/7. Yes, there’s definitely flexibility, but your brain never stops. But all that aside, I love being an entrepreneur because the possibilities are endless, and you are only restricted by how big your dreams are. Because Go-Be is educating people on the importance of sustainability, I find the work extremely gratifying. Is it scary at times? Hell, yes! But I enjoy knowing we are making an impact.

TWT: You are absolutely making an impact!

TWT: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? 

BB: Don’t let anyone else tell you your idea can’t be done. If you envision success, you will get there, but not every DAY will be successful. You will hit a lot of hurdles. Don’t dwell on them. Instead, figure out how to get around them. And if you feel overwhelmed or worried at times, you should be! Otherwise, you aren’t really doing your job! I listen to the Guy Raz podcast “How I Built This.” The stories of these famous entrepreneurs are so inspiring because they didn’t hit success instantly. They made mistakes; they pivoted; they fell, and they got up. Now when we make mistakes, my business partner Cornelia and I just say that will be another chapter in our “Lessons Learned” book. We have about 14 chapters written now!

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