We exist in a world where people are searching for connection, clarity, purpose, and freedom, but don’t know exactly how or where to start. Viviamo wants to provide the life tools, the starting point. More than ever, people are looking for authentic connections with others, but an authentic relationship only happens when you are connected with yourself enough that you allow yourself to experience yourself through others. Viviamo wants to help you live a life of freedom, by letting you deeply connect to yourself through writing in our products, so that you can create meaningful relationships in your life, giving you clarity about yourself and defining your purpose.
What a powerful remark by Darlyn, the President of Viviamo! Inc whom I managed to catch up and bring her out of her daily tight schedule for this interview. She shared a number of great input when it comes to empowering women, journaling through a power planner and entrepreneurship.
You’re so enthusiastic when it comes to journaling and empowering women Darlyn. We want to know more about it and why both are making you so excited. First things first though, who is Darlyn as a person and professional?
Ever since I was a child, I was the type to really want to figure out what the meaning of life is. I remember in grade school and high school, I would have these deep conversations with my teachers. It’s like I’ve always felt that we or I was born to really make the world a better place. I even connected that with my name – Darlyn Sandra – which means “beloved defender of mankind.” Hahaha! I mean honestly, who knows, did my parents ingrain this when they named me, or was it just something that was just innate in me? In whatever I do, I have always wanted to bring out the best in people. I am the type who pushes various boundaries – because I believe they will be a source of growth – be it for myself, for my friends, teammates, community, and company.
In a way, me being in this business of planners – but more than that, we are really in the inspiration/empowerment business – this makes sense given my personality growing up, my desire to help people around me to just believe in themselves, to believe in various possibilities (especially innovative seemingly impossible ones) and just go for it. Viviamo designs planners, products, experiences, and communities exactly for that purpose.
Image by Caliber King
Entrepreneur, is this something you wish to become since schooling days or it wasn’t planned after all? Tell us more.
Super-duper not planned. Graduating with a Business Administration and Accountancy degree plus having won national marketing competitions in college, I thought my path was really to be Marketing Director or CMO of a multinational company. That was my dream – because I felt I would be able to influence and impact more people through well-financed brands whose product reach is millions. However, the universe had different plans for me. Despite my internship experiences in these multinational companies, my first job experience after college was an utter failure. I was not regularized after the probationary period of my employment. I was crushed. My achievements in college did not at all translate to the corporate world. I didn’t fit.
Humiliated and heartbroken, I dusted myself off and decided: I don’t believe in bad days. This can’t be the end of my career, just when I was about to start. I can, I chose to stand up again. I reviewed my past year – what worked and what didn’t work for me. For one, I was balancing a 14-hour day job while reviewing the accounting board exams. So on top of my work, I would study 14 hours straight on weekends. I was so exhausted that I literally felt like a zombie.
There are many things I learned at that moment as I was pausing and journaling. I realized I needed to “design” my life better. I learned that I needed to really know what my heart wants, and not just go after opportunities just because they came knocking on my door. I learned that I needed a “planner” that would keep me on track and in check.
After reading books on time-management and other productivity and creativity hacks, I realized I needed to design my own planner for myself. What I needed wasn’t available in the market. ????
Now, let’s get into the story of journaling and women empowerment. Can you share with me why you are so pumped up about these stuff?
To be honest, I love technology. My dad is an IT engineer – at a young age I got exposure to tech when my dad would tinker with these gadgets. I used refurbished PalmPilots/Visors in early high school! And yet I realized despite the “technology”, the experience of being able to write things down has a different way of connecting to yourself versus typing it on your laptop.
Things I cannot live without are 1) my planner, 2) my phone, and 3) my laptop. Tech has been and always been part of my life. People sometimes say: “Why do I need a paper planner? I have my phone, I have my laptop.” I won’t necessarily disagree.
I believe in creating personal systems of getting things done. It’s usually not a one-stop shop tool to catch it all. Like now, most of us are doing work from home. Don’t we create physical boundaries to establish a bit of sanity? ???? Same thing – with a paper planner/journal, phone, laptop – all these serve a particular purpose.
Planners and journals serve as an outlet of thoughts and ideas. It serves as something somewhat permanent because once you write it – your thought, idea, schedule – it transforms into something tangible and tactile. You can erase it, but it makes things a bit messy. This exact value is what works and doesn’t work for some people. It works because it becomes more of a commitment – that’s why writing things down helps you remember things 7x more than typing it. It doesn’t work because some people are scared of making mistakes, crossing things out, scared of the commitment of putting it on paper. What people forget is that – whatever you write in journals/planners are mainly for your eyes only.
Digital Gadgets (Laptops, Tablets) – For one, it’s easier to write articles or anything that you need to show to people – because you can do backspace, edit, do all sorts of things, and people will not see the errors, the process, your mistakes. That’s why we use it for work. There’s beauty and convenience in just being able to express and adjust and tweak and edit, without it being seen, and what you share to the world would be the finished perfect output.
Going back to the question – why am I crazy about journaling/planning and empowerment?
I meet so many people. My own experience of myself – when I felt lost, stuck, uncertain – one thing that can really transform you out of the negative mindset is moving toward self-awareness. Simply because you cannot transform something you do not know. This is what having a journaling practice can give you – that unique connection to yourself that is raw, unfiltered, and real. That gift of honesty – if you do not judge, edit and just allow to exist – will help you understand yourself better, your triggers, your motivations and your desires. Aren’t these the components of empowerment? To empower oneself – you need to understand the best tool you are working with – that tool is – yourself. Em-power, in my belief is “Embracing” “Power”. Power is something society judges and assumes that is more often than not used for evil. Maybe that’s why we feel we don’t want to be “empowered” – because people with power are bad. That is a mental model we need to break. Power on its own is not bad – it’s how you use it. We all have power. We all have our own magic that is uniquely ours that we are asked to bring into this world. When we embrace our power, we allow it to shine and we allow it to make the world a better place. I circle back – this is why I am excited, motivated in the work that we do. One planner at a time, one person at a time, we help make the world a better place.
Image by Caliber King
What is Viviamo! Inc and what does it do?
Viviamo is Italian for “We Live” – our mission is to empower people to create lives they love. To be able to shout at the mountaintops – “I Live!!”
We design products/tools of our own brands that we sell online to reach as many people as possible. We also help brands/companies expand their relationship marketing efforts through merchandise – that includes journals/planner and other products – essentially to connect their story and values with their users. We create events and communities that inspire change and action, so that more people will dream or go after their dream amidst their responsibilities.
People would say, I can’t live my life to the fullest; I can’t dream for myself because I’m a breadwinner and I support my family; I still need to do this and that. We in Viviamo believe you can dream without abandoning your responsibilities. There is a way to be able to balance these two and just align yourself. We believe one’s highest good is also for the highest good of all.
Can you share with us some pictures of your best selling Belle de Jour power planners?
We make different planners. But the first and most popular one is the Belle de Jour Power Planner. Note that “power” is really part of the name ever since. Each of our planners is aimed at different types of people because we wanted to make sure that the user will resonate with the message and the layout of each planner. Because the best planner for you is the planner that you will use.
Each of our planners have pages on your goals and dreams – because you cannot design a life you love if you do not know what you want. Reminder that this can also change over time, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and to cross out goals that no longer resonate.
Each of our planners have inspirational content/special pages and special features that boost you up throughout the year. For Belle de Jour Power Planner, we introduced the concept of Ikigai – a Japanese philosophy on what is your reason for waking up daily. The layout also encourages time-blocking – a time management principle to help you manage your different roles. To also remind you that you aren’t alone are the special affirmations of Bellas (users of the planner) at the bottom of the weekly pages.
Since I shared that I love technology, the Belle de Jour Power Planner actually has special QR codes in the monthly pages to guide you on how to use the special pages, as well as provide some digital downloads to support your journey year-round.
Since everyone is soooo into digital, how do you convince people to go back journaling the traditional way – by writing it?
Right now, crafts and anything made by hand are making a comeback – even before the pandemic, because people are feeling the increased “disconnection” technology brings. The speed of how things change with technology, and given the flood of information we receive, it’s actually very easy to remind people of the need for a deliberate pause. It’s a great way to step back from all the digital noise, and take a moment to just be with yourself.
Just learning/re-learning to be with yourself has so many benefits on focus and confidence, and of course, achieving your goals.
How do you describe your journey as an entrepreneur so far?
It’s been up and down, especially during this pandemic. We are celebrating our 15th year this 2021, and yet the year before it felt like everything was going to come to an end. Each year as an entrepreneur starting 2006 has brought me so much growth as a person, and has expanded me in ways I didn’t even know were possible.
It’s been inspiring, crushing, fulfilling, frustrating, heart-warming, and heartbreaking. It’s definitely not a path for the faint-hearted. ???? But I wouldn’t change things in my past. I am proud with all my bruises and wounds to be standing today. As for the future, I wouldn’t be in the planner / inspiration business if I wouldn’t work toward making things better as we grow. ????
Do you believe traditional journaling works today and in the future?
Traditional journaling definitely is needed today. So many people are feeling lost and feeling disconnected with their loved ones, and worse, feeling alone. The root cause of this is actually disconnection with self – that’s why everything else seems not connected, because inside, the person is disconnected. Usually, to move toward finding clarity and connection – it’s really just to allow yourself to show – you show yourself to yourself through just mindlessly writing, releasing all thoughts, anxieties, fears, dreams – everything. That’s honestly not easy. It’s not as simple as putting a notebook and pen in front you. As with anything, you need to stick to it. You start with a line a day, then progress to a page, then to multiple pages. After a while, you get to a natural connection of your subconscious to your hands. We actually use more brain cells when we write versus typing – which allows for more self-activation.
In the future, I believe the essence of journaling will be still needed and required. Will it be on paper? Maybe, maybe not. We have new technology now, where the “feeling” of writing on paper is simulated with high-tech pens and tablets. Maybe there will be successful traction with that eventually – I’m honestly also excited for that possibility. Nonetheless – the value of writing, the value of connecting to yourself – will always be relevant. The key thing now is: what is the best method for you to do so?
In your opinion, what does it take actually to make journaling impactful?
Journaling is impactful if it’s raw, unfiltered and honest. You can reach this safe space when you allow yourself to be broken and wounded, when you allow yourself to be imperfect. Journaling is really most impactful when it’s truly connecting to yourself.
Image by Caliber King
How are you thriving in this new normal at the moment?
Our company has re-clarified our purpose, our reason for being – why we want to stand strong for the year to come. Having a renewed sense of why we exist has helped us thrive in this pandemic and has motivated us despite challenges.
To thrive is to be adaptable and open to various possibilities, while at the same time be clear and grounded with your sense of self. This is a continuing journey we are experiencing that we also share with our community of users and partners.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in 2020 especially during the pandemic?
Half of our sales traditionally come from on-ground channels: the bookstores. Although we have been selling online for a long time, there were so many opportunities to optimize and to grow.
The biggest challenge was overcoming self-limiting mindsets, from myself, to my team, to our various partners. It was really a self-growth journey internally and externally and making sure we were able to communicate these learnings and practice with trust and integrity. Committing ourselves to growth and alignment and trusting each others’ strengths have helped us continue on.
I know that you’ve been very active on social media especially on Facebook and LinkedIn. We also know that you’re so into running interviews as well. Is this one of your strategies to build your personal branding?
My personality, to be honest – I prefer working in the background. It has taken me a long time – to be really comfortable in “coming out”. Maybe it’s my own self-doubt or insecurities that have been stopping me, or simply my lack of desire to just be so accessible, but I realized in our message of embracing power – or empowerment – I need to share more to inspire. I need to be “noisier” in a way, especially at this time, because my story of how I started came from failure, and how it seemed like the world turned on me – and with what happened in the pandemic – many people are in the place where I was. I hope by speaking up more, people will see the light, will see some bit of hope. This is where it all starts – with a seed of hope and possibility, and then sprinkle some belief – step by step you can change your situation regardless of how helpless you feel.
More than a strategy, it’s a belief that if you are more visible, you can influence and help more people. That in itself pushes forward our mission of empowering people to create lives they love.
Social media is one story. Besides that, what else do you think an entrepreneur should do to build their personal branding and be the authority in their subject matter?
Aside from social media – in building your personal branding – I believe in walking the talk. In the things you do – how you interact with people, your team, your partners – should be aligned with who you are. I also very much believe in transparency. I believe that no matter how imperfect we are, we need to be honest with what we are going through. Honesty and integrity build credibility. This vulnerability allows people to connect with us more. Authority follows when respect is earned.
How to contact you Darlyn?
We’re growing and we’re excited to continue designing products and experiences with various companies to push forward their own goals and mission. For any company interested in talking about “DreamPowerment” – our take of empowering people to pursue their dreams – please do email us, and let’s help inspire more people to dream. Let’s help make the world a better place, together. For inquiries, do email us at Brands@viviamoinc.com