Belle de Jour Creator, Darlyn Ty, on Finding Your Passion

Darlyn Ty, who built Belle de Jour out of a simple idea, says of finding your passion: “You need to ask yourself, what about (the job) brings me joy?” Image from Viviamo, Inc.

I met Darlyn Ty, president and managing director of Viviamo, Inc., on the day the company launched the 2019 Belle de Jour (BDJ) Power Planner. Despite many sleepless nights preparing for the event and just wrapping up a group coaching session at the event, she seemed unfazed — in high spirits, even. I was curious to know what kept this powerhouse woman going.

The multi-awarded entrepreneur, wife, and mother had a lot to contend with. Despite the obstacles, Darlyn pushed on, a decision that contributed to her achievements and the BDJ planner’s success to this day.

The Power of Self-Belief

Darlyn: “In my pursuit of creating the perfect planner for the job, making the planner was becoming the perfect job.” Darlyn with BDJ planner users, or the “Bellas” Image from Viviamo, Inc.

The highly-successful BDJ planner was born, ironically, out of failure. While studying for the board exams for accountancy many years ago, Darlyn worked as a management trainee in a multinational company. “I worked for 12 hours on weekdays, excluding travel time, and reviewed for the exams on weekends.” Despite the hard work she put in, she didn’t make the board.

Dejected and discouraged from her setback, Darlyn decided to start from scratch by listing her goals on an Excel sheet. Darlyn knew the obstacle was temporary.

“I reminded myself that there are people who believed in me, so I had to believe in myself.” Even when she felt like a failure, she knew she had to get out of that funk and see herself with different eyes.

Did her goals pan out according to what she envisioned? Not exactly.

“I wanted to go back to (a corporate job) and do specific things. It’s not where I am now,” she laughs. “I wouldn’t have planned my life the way it happened, but I’m happy it ended up this way.”

Darlyn learned to leverage on her success, to look back at different points in time when she felt proud of herself, remember how it happened, and identify what contributed to her success. “When I look back, (I realize that) I’m not a failure. In the times I felt successful, I was using a planner.” That urged her to come up with a planner to help her, and countless others, succeed.

Darlyn began the BDJ planner in 2006. After conducting backyard market research, she discovered that more women were more particular about planners than men, effectively cutting the market by half.  That wasn’t enough to faze her, though; the initial prototype was printed using a dot matrix printer, and all 1,500 copies sold out in three weeks.

Despite the success of the two initial runs of the planner, Darlyn was working for a different company, and luckily her employer allowed her to run her business on the side. Then a light bulb in her head went off.

“In my pursuit of creating the perfect planner for the job, making the planner was becoming the perfect job.” She had, inadvertently, worked her way out of her occupation.

Moving Forward

Darlyn: “Even if I felt like I wasn’t ready, I had to seize the moment and maximize the opportunity.”Darlyn, third row third from left, with her Viviamo, Inc. staff Image from Viviamo, Inc.

Leaving the corporate job was a significant risk, but she knew she had to take it and devote her time 100 percent on the business.

“Even if I felt like I wasn’t ready, I had to seize the moment and maximize the opportunity,” she recounts.

“I was still seeking validation, even if it didn’t mean much to me.” Darlyn had to let go of her expectations of being a certain kind of person. In the past, she defined success as working in a high-paying corporate job.

“Today, success to me means being able to find something that you love to do, and earning from it.”

Darlyn had put herself down for failing and not getting on her envisioned track. “When I started to accept that the track wasn’t for me, I saw the opportunity. I was able to create the business I have today.” Amid the challenges, Darlyn discovered her passion and found no reason to turn back.

Finding Joy and Helping Others in the Process

BDJ organizes events to meet the community of “Bellas,” a group of planner users that has grown to 90,000 worldwide. Image from Viviamo, Inc.

“How does one figure out their passion?”

You need to ask yourself, “what about (the job) brings me joy?” Finding joy, Darlyn says, is seeing the purpose and value of what you’re doing. She acknowledges that the pursuit won’t be smooth and happy all the time. She encourages women to embrace ambiguity — to enjoy the feelings of confusion and uncertainty.

“Accept that it’s OK to have these thoughts. It’s OK to be unsure sometimes.”

Darlyn credits the “Bellas,” the loyal following of the BDJ planners, as the people who kept her going. She started an email mailing list with other women who wanted their planner the following year. Since then, Darlyn and her team decided to hold events, to interact with the community and encourage relationships. From a small group, the Bellas currently number 90,000 around the world, and the number is continuing to grow.

Going Analog in the Digital Age

Darlyn: “There’s value in keeping notebooks, planners, and journals. The act of writing helps us process and listen better.” Image from Viviamo, Inc.

Darlyn believes that our inherent creativity is best expressed when we create with our hands, describing the rawness of the process as “magical.” “Many studies say, what comes from your hand is better processed in your brain, compared to typing.” She also believes that the act of writing helps (to) slow us down. “Given that our lives are so fast-paced, we need something to slow us down — to be more focused and see the meaning of what they’re doing.”

Today, despite the emergence of smartphones and digital note-taking, the BDJ and its other related products haven’t shown signs of slowing down.

“There’s value in keeping notebooks, planners and journals. The act of writing helps us process and listen better.” This is why Darlyn has endeavored to create different types of planners. “We want every Filipino to find the perfect planner in the products that we make. We hope that the products that we make will help empower them to live the life that they dream of.”

Preparing for a Magical Year

Viviamo’s most recent event, the BDJ 2019 Launch Weekend, launched Viviamo’s 2019 line of products. Their product line includes five dated planners, a range of journals and notebooks, and other stationery items.

The Power Planner uses the theme: “Make Today Magical.” Image from Viviamo, Inc.

Viviamo’s flagship product, the BDJ Power Planner, takes users to a whimsical journey with 2019’s theme, “Make Today Magical.” Reinforcing the need for a paradigm shift, the 2019 BDJ Power Planner will encourage its users to change the way they think and how they perceive things, resulting in a change in how they live.

The BDJ’s Classic and Limited Edition covers and monthly dividers come with Zappar codes. Planner users must download the Zappar app and scan the planner’s covers and dividers to witness magic happen!

Darlyn’s story proves that finding your passion begins when we actively take steps to do something about it. The journey will not be easy, and you will face uncertainty and setbacks along the way. But with courage and drive, you can face the risks and challenge yourself to fight for your dream. In turn, your perseverance will impact others and make a difference in their lives.

Check out the rest of BDJ’s 2019 catalogue by visiting https://shop.ilovebdj.com.

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