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Dar Ty-Nilo: Building a Nation of people who journal



Women revolutionizing industries isn’t new.


For instance, Annie Easley was a NASA rocket scientist who largely impacted gender and racial diversity in STEM. So much so that at the time of her employment, she was one of only four black employees at the lab.


Karen Davila, another prime example, also broke barriers when British global affairs magazine Monocle cited her as one of the eight global media personalities who continue to shape the current events space today.


If anything, there is no shortage of striking women who keep raising the bar and pushing the envelope. The list of heroines is long and evolving, and as we brave uncertainty with both grit and fear, women will only keep redefining the norm.


No stranger to entrepreneurship and life’s biggest hurdles, too, is Dar Ty-Nilo.


Another strong woman packed with a vision so beautifully derived from passion and the arts, Dar’s Belle de Jour remains to be one of the most prized staples for any diarist, both new and old.


As if born to be the poster woman of journaling and creative doodles, Dar’s offering to the world stays sought after and relevant even after all these years.


With the domination of smartphones, online journaling platforms, and Twitter, how did Belle de Jour/Viviamo! adapt to the changing times?


I think the advent of technology also helped drive the growth in journaling since more and more people feel like they need the purposeful disconnection to be able to manage the fast-paced life nowadays.


Ever since the beginning of our business, we’ve also been very active in engaging with our users and our community. We believe the support that everyone gives each other helps the journaling habit be more sustainable be it for stress release, productivity planning, or creativity planning.


With your latest project, Crazy About Paper, how did the idea of a “journaling-centered” e-commerce platform come to be?

CrazyAboutPaper.com happened because we have so many untapped Filipino creators who just want to make art and need support in production and distribution. We want to help Filipino creators in this category. There is so much joy in designing something from your imagination.


I remember how giddy I felt when I first designed the BDJ planner. Every year, we really take the time to conceptualize and develop messages and themes to inspire our users to live a life they love. We hope to be able to give a platform for other creators to do the same with Crazy About Paper.


Belle de Jour journals have always been prized possessions. How did your love for this start?

I initially designed my own planner to help me find the perfect job. Funnily enough, it seems that my first few career options after college didn’t work out. Instead, in designing the perfect planner for myself, I designed a job that would be my life’s work.



When you started creating these planners, what takeaways did you want your users to carry with them?

I wanted to inspire women to be intentional about their goals and to be curious about what makes them tick and what makes them happy. That way, they can shape their decisions around the things they love, and not settle with whatever opportunity comes their way.


While Dar is as headstrong as she is creative, she also very much knows how her business lane looks like and what her brand is about. Starbucks planners, for example, remain a huge hit every time December comes around.


Despite that reality, she welcomes their journal’s existence and shares that what she provides to her users holds a different value compared to ones you’d score from cafes.

We don’t actually believe that Starbucks Planners are our direct competitors because even if they have journals, they’re not being used the same way ours are. Our journals are being used to jumpstart a life they love. Users go through introspection and reflection as they experience our journals, and this process allows them to identify their dreams.


How relevant do you think journaling is today, and would you say this is mostly a woman’s hobby?

Journaling is important to everyone, not just women. It’s something that helps people get out of their heads. It helps release their anxiety, fears, and frustrations. Most of the time, things are scarier in our heads than when written on paper—that truth, in itself, has major value in being able to make things happen in your life.


Everyone needs a way to connect with their subconscious and innermost self. Journaling is one way of connecting with yourself. It might take a while like many other skills, but those who’ve journalled for a while can attest to greater clarity and more ideation possibilities.


True enough, Dar understands the challenges of creative roadblocks. As someone who crafts tools made to obtain clarity and direction, our woman of the hour knows, first hand, how our drive and energy can be a result of our circumstances.



How has your approach to balancing work and family changed during the pandemic?

Like so many organizations, we migrated from office work to the work-from-home setup. It’s been more mentally and emotionally challenging because of the decrease in boundaries. But many beautiful things came about this arrangement. Having more time with family and learning how to spend time with yourself are things I appreciate more now.


Oftentimes, people confuse time management with focus management. In reality, it’s not time that we need to manage better, but our focus. And I believe that the new normal has made me more aware of this now.


Ending our interview with Dar, we asked her what pieces of advice she has to share with other women who are also trailblazers in their industries and their own rights.


Ask for help. Always share where you are, so people will learn how to support you. Women are generally primed to be independent to be successful. This hyper-independence unsubtly discourages us from not counting on anyone else but ourselves; this kind of mindset will drive you crazy in these uncertain times.


It’s time to unlearn, and again figure out the balance and allow ourselves to make mistakes, no matter how big or small. It’s time we focus on things that can be done, and not the “should haves.”

Lastly, Dar’s closing words resonate even louder, given the context we all share today.


I also encourage the women to practice—because it isn’t easy—to always be self-compassionate. Releasing judgment and negativity does not empower us.


Finally, openness to possibilities and authenticity are the main tools to survive this pandemic.

Check out crazyaboutpaper.com for your paper and art needs! For journaling notebooks and other materials, shop at shop.ilovebdj.com!

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