Well Souled was born in a New York City coffee shop in September 2006 as a concept where travel, style and purpose would intertwine, and as a tribute to a mentor lost to AIDS. A few weeks later, creator/writer Mital Shah landed in Johannesburg with only this concept and a few names and numbers in hand. She traveled South Africa asking a simple question: “How do you define style?” Each person she met answered this question with a personal story, one story leading to another, until a vibrant and diverse place was revealed. This way of travel – the organic discovery that comes when you do not follow a plan – is at the heart of Well Souled. According to the Well Souled philosophy, this is how travel becomes soulful.
The vision of Well Souled is to explore the concept of style across countries through interwoven encounters, or threads, that develop spontaneously as the journey unfolds. The result is a portrayal of a place from the perspective of a guest invited inside to celebrate a culture and its unique forms of expression. Well Souled combines the art of photography to capture a country’s way of life with the art of storytelling to capture its authenticity and spirit – a purposeful experience that evokes something unique in each person who engages with it. As with any work of art, Well Souled seeks to move the heart and mind, and to inspire you to pick up a thread of your own.
In the spirit of well-traveled, well-heeled, well-read, well-dreamt, well-lived…
Well Souled was founded by creator/writer Mital Shah in late 2006. Soon after, she was introduced to photographer Mark Leibowitz through a mutual friend: the click was instant. Their creative collaboration spans more than a decade and includes Well Souled South Africa, Well Souled Brasil and (now) Well Souled Australia. Through Well Souled, Mital and Mark intertwine their professional experience in the worlds of fashion and luxury with their passion for culture and authenticity.
Positioned at the crossroads of travel and style with a social purpose of promoting cultures beyond stereotypes, Well Souled has attracted sponsorship from institutions such as J.P. Morgan, Nestle, EY, Google, South African Tourism, The Smithsonian, DeBeers, Virgin, Vodacom and BMW, as well as prestige press including The New York Times, BBC, Travel+Leisure and Vogue.