Diary of a Brand – We are Live!

We are live! On the 7th of March, 2019, our ILNI website was complete and the publish button pushed. This exciting moment came after weeks of back and forth exchanges with our Web designers working to get just the look we were after.

Then, only a few weeks later, an email appeared in my inbox that set in motion an exciting collaboration for ILNI. A Dutch Milliner from Gouda had heard about ILNI and was interested in showcasing our bags in her hat salon. “Your style / your bags fit really well next to my hats!” were the magic words in her email.

Her gorgeous hat salon is located only a few steps away from the Royal Palace, in the most elegant shopping street of The Hague, Noordeinde. No one in their right mind would refuse an offer like that, so we immediately emailed her back and made an appointment to meet.

Her store was everything we could have hoped as an excellent example of a handcrafted business. The space was complete with a long table filled with needles, a big variety of textures,  and unfinished hats that were, nearly perfect. Simple, black mannequins lined the walls showcasing a wide range of different hats. White, round boxes with the elegant ‘Berry Rutjes Jr.’ signature were stacked on the floor, displaying even more beautiful hats. 

Betty Rutjes explained in our first meeting that she had heard of our brand via Linda Zoon, the fashion illustrator in Rotterdam, with whom we worked with before. We were grateful for the connection made by Linda. 

She loved the ILNI brand and bags and agreed to showcase the ILNI bags in her shop over the next three months, from the 1st of April to the end of June. The bonus was I also got to be in the shop two days a week giving to the chance to share the story behind our bags with customers walking into the shop. You can find me there on Tuesdays and Sundays until the end of June.  

In a World Where We Can Be Anything, Be Kind

At ILNI we firmly believe the saying ‘In a world where you can be anything, be kind’. We all have the potential to be and do anything we set our minds to, so why not set our intentions towards kindness. For being kind is a choice that we can make each day. We consider that kindness falls into four main categories; Kindness to ourselves, Kindness to others, Kindness to the planet and Kindness to all creatures living on this planet.

As kindness is so important to us at ILNI, we wanted to share a post with our ideas of what kindness means to us.

Kindness to ourselves

  1. Being kind to ourselves means knowing when to take things a little slower. We are all in a rush to get to the next place, tick off the to-do list and do it all perfectly. We need also to know when it is time to take a break, slow things down and catch our breath. Show some kindness to yourself and make that cup of tea, put your feet up for a few minutes and relax into a good book for a while.
  2. Forgive yourself. Yes, we all screw up sometimes, we are all prone to making mistakes. But kindness knows that we should also let ourselves off the hook about things. If you made a mistake, apologise and let it go. Don’t dwell on past mistakes and continue to beat yourself up about an action you took hours, days, years ago. Forgiveness to others starts with being able to forgive ourselves.
  3. Fill up on good stuff. We can be kind to ourselves by choosing to eat nutritious food, drink delicious drinks, read about interesting topics or learn something new. Fill your body and mind with great things that are going to make you feel fabulous, informed and/or excited.

Kindness to Others

  1. The greatest way to show kindness is to take time to really listen to the people in your life. This means putting away your phone and focusing fully on what someone is telling you. Your time listening to someone can make a massive difference to that person.
  2. Actively speak with kindness and be quick to compliment someone on their qualities. Let them know you appreciate them and their honesty, their sense of humour or all the other great qualities they possess. Find a way to build someone up and feel great about who they are, not just what they look like.
  3. Reserve judgement. Being slow to form a negative opinion of someone else is another form of kindness in action. In this fast-paced world, we can be so quick to react negatively. This is especially important when interacting online. Hold judgement, and wait to find out more about who this person is and what they think. Perhaps you will be the one person to show them kindness and empathy among the sea of people who want to judge them. Be that one person.

Kindness to the Planet

  1. Ditch the one-use plastic. This means finding alternatives to that plastic cup, refusing the plastic straw and using reusable bags for your shopping. These small actions can dramatically reduce the amount of plastic that we use every day.
  2. Unplug. Get in the habit of unplugging devices that you are not using. We do not need to be continually supplying electricity to every device in our home and office. Just because we can use an unlimited supply of electricity doesn’t mean we should. By reconsidering our consumption levels we can play a part in ensuring there is enough for everyone and nothing is wasted. 
  3. Reduce, reuse and recycle. The world’s biodiversity is being quickly eroded by our levels of consumption and waste. Everything we use has to come from somewhere and must go somewhere once we’re finished with it. Kindness extends to how we use the resources we have access to. In a world of plenty, kindness is choosing to take less than we can to ensure there is enough for everyone. 

Kindness to all creatures who live on the planet

  1. Choose cruelty-free products. This means getting in the know about the impact of our choices on animals. Avoid products made from animals as all animal products are linked to suffering. We can show kindness by contributing as little as possible to the suffering of animals. Staying away from animal products is the only way to do this.
  2. Switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet. We all know that the human race needs to reduce our consumption of meat and dairy. The production of meat and dairy contributes to greenhouses gases as well as using up a disproportionate amount of resources for the production of each kilo of meat or liter of milk. We don’t all need to give up meat/dairy altogether, even adding a few vegetarian/vegan meals to our week is a kind step in the right direction for our planet. 
  3. Vote for kindness with your wallet, by choosing to buy from companies who also care about showing kindness to all creatures. By supporting cruelty-free companies you can send the message that companies won’t be getting your business unless they stop testing on animals or using animal products. If enough of us make this conscious vote for change via our wallets, we can truly make a change and encourage more companies to go cruelty-free.

No act of kindness is too small. The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple that over time can turn into a tidal wave affecting the lives of many. 

K. Heath

Words of Gratitude For Mother’s Day

As Mother’s day approaches we at ILNI wanted to take some time to show our gratitude to our Mothers, Grandmothers, aunts, sisters and mother-figures who have raised us. These special people are the ones who have helped shape us into who we are. They are the ones who have shared their wisdom with us. And, they are the ones who have loved us unconditionally since the beginning. 

From ILNI to these special women. We are so grateful that: 

You taught me that we should respect each and every individual we come across. 

You taught me there is no solution through conflict. If we want to find the solution, we shouldn’t push towards conflict but look for the way forward through communication.

You showed me what it means to be untiringly available. You were always available to give me time and attention when I needed it most.

You showed me what unconditional love means. You loved me through my best and my worst and taught me to do the same for others.

You taught me good actions always mean more than words. And showed me how to give with kindness and compassion to those in need.

You taught me how important it is to appreciate the finer things in this life. Life is full of beauty if we know how to see it.

You showed me the importance of family time around the table at every evening meal; taking time to talk and listen to each other every day. 

We hope our gratitude thoughts encourage you to share your own with that special person who has loved you from your beginning. This Mother’s day take a moment to show that gratitude in action by doing something thoughtful for your mother or special person in your life. As my mother taught me, we should always find time to show others how much they mean to us. 

‘Call your mother.

Tell her you love her.  

Remember, you’re the only person who knows what her heart sounds like from the inside’

Rachel Wolchin