League of Extraordinary Women: Belle de Jour's Dar Ty

Who is the girl behind the highly successful Filipina must-have planner, Belle de Jour?

I've said it over and over again in this blog how I'm a BDJ girl through and through --- way back in 2008, when I got my first Belle de Jour planner. In my mind, I never needed to pretend to like the de-facto planner for everyone {Starbucks}, or find fillers for a red organizer I had been using for many years. At the age of 22, having just shifted to a new career, moving to a new city, I felt that somewhere, somebody understood me and I found it in a black planner, Belle de Jour.

Back then, I was curious as to who, what and how the Belle de Jour planner came about. Up to this day, I keep a pretty stack of black journal-esque notebooks also known as my BDJ planners since. Today, I am lucky to be working with one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of our time, and to be featuring her this blog's section,

League of Extraordinary Women:

Full Name and Age: Darlyn Sandra Ty, 30

Year Belle de Jour was started: 2006

Educational Background: BS Business Administration and Accountancy, UP Diliman 

Dar calls herself a crazy multi-tasker, creative and very driven. After all, we've seen Belle de Jour expand to several planner renditions: the Navi planner, Everything is Possible and Forget Me Not notebooks. Dar and her team's work does not end when the planners gets sold out at the bookstores as Belle de Jour has then evolved into a community of women who are inspiring and empowering each other through get-togethers, passion series, fairs and lecture sessions where women pick up valuable life lessons, no nonsense fashion and beauty tips and even laundry techniques! Not something she has expected, Dar confesses that she didn't anticipate Viviamo {the mother company of BDJ, established by Dar as well} was to become the success that it was now. Owing a lot of her wisdom to years of working at a personal care brand and a magazine publisher, Dar's story ignites inspiration that if you haven't found the life that you want, create it.

Seven years since her first BDJ planner, Darlyn Ty and her team of empowered females have come a long, long way and has no intention to stop.

Describe yourself, how young you are and what you do for a living.

I'd like to think I'm creative. I'm very driven, once I set my mind on something I really want to do it :) I'm intense. I'm a crazy multi-tasker :D

I'm 30, and I publish journals/planners that help Filipinos live life to the fullest – starting with the Belle de Jour Power Planner.

What’s a typical day for you like?

Typical day is I wake at around 6am, then I open my emails, then snooze a bit. Then wake up at 7, answer more emails then take a bath at 7:30 am. Some days, I wish I'd go to yoga at 6am. Trying to do that at least 2-3x a week! Then my day starts – I usually have 2-3 meetings in the day usually outside the office. So I meet various clients and suppliers. On days that I don't I meet with my team to discuss their projects and progress and the many things that we still need to do.

What was your job fresh out of college? Job after college — management trainee in Johnson and Johnson.

You worked for several brands in the corporate and magazine world before finally putting up Viviamo Inc. What pushed you to do this? From whom did you ask help from?

I started BDJ in between my work in the corporate world and the magazine world actually :D I started it because I was searching for a planner that would fit my lifestyle — and after searching various bookstores, I couldn't find it, so I just decided to make one of my own.

When I started, I sought the help of my friends in various aspects of the business, one in market research, another in helping pitch to coupon partners, another in articles and illustrations and some help me in investment cost of the production and of course sales!

Two-three years later though I decided I needed to incorporate as the business was growing faster than expected, that's when Viviamo as a corporation was born. Initially I really thought BDJ was going to be a one time thing, but because of the great clamour for it during the first year — we sold out in less than three weeks, I thought why not? It seems we hit a spot with the Filipinas. Since it's growing faster that I could have ever imagined, I realised I have to devote more time on this and go full time.

How long has been BDJ running? What is a memorable tidbit from running what is probably the most successful planner story in the Philippines?

BDJ is seven years old. I honestly can't believe it! But I'm happy and grateful for the support that was given to us in the past seven years by all the BDJ Girls.

So many memorable stories on how BDJ became part of BDJ Girls lives :) These stories are what makes this work really worthwhile,  like stories of girls who wrote their goals in the BDJ Goals pages and then end up achieving all of them at the end of the year. It's also heartwarming just to hear/read that a BDJ Girl first "completed" planner is the BDJ planner :D Another kind of story is that how the BDJ planner was given to her by her sister whom she just fought with, and when she got the planner — she was so touched she cried and they both made up.

What’s your definition of a Filipina?

Empowered achievers, that can balance multiple things and does things in style and with faith in God

Do you plan to expand Viviamo? Do you feel like you could produce individual planners for every Filipino?

Yes we have so many ideas to expand our company. Sometimes that ideas are just too many to execute and of course we need to choose strategically. More than producing individual planners for every Filipino. We'd like to have a planner for every kind of Filipino. We produce 5-10 kinds of planners every year — hopefully, at least one of those would match the lifestyle of every Filipino. :) But of course more than publishing planners — our goal is simply to create and provide tools that help Filipinos discover their goals and dreams and the courage to achieve them — simply live day by day, living life to the fullest :D

What do you tell yourself when the going gets tough, if it ever does?

It gets tough A LOT! After I scream in my head, I take a deep breath, and pray. I tell myself it's just something that will pass. "All is Well," I think. If it wasn't difficult, then everybody would be doing it.  Keep Moving Forward.

If you’re not doing BDJ and Viviamo today, what do you think would’ve been your career path?

I would be in the magazine or publishing industry, helping produce various magazines and books.

What do you love most about Manila?  So many opportunities here, if you can be observant enough to see them.

What were you like when you were 25? Lost and unsure, but still driven and stressed all at the same time.

What advice would you give your 25 year old self? The universe has its own time, be patient and just move with flow. Maximize the opportunities as they come.

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