Diary of A Brand – Getting The Basics Of Social Media Marketing

In one of our latest diary entries, I spoke about Being of Service, in other words, Being Terrible in Sales. Since the launch of our website in March, I have dived into the world of Social Media. Learning about different platforms and how to work with and on these platforms to best share the word about our ILNI brand.  I am learning how to use social media calendars to manage our online content and apps to help us build our visual communications. 

At a certain point, I would get Facebook and LinkedIn messages from friends and acquaintances who were wondering where in heaven’s name I could find the time and energy to post the ungodly amount of Instagram posts on a daily base. And not on one, but on three different types of social media platforms. At first, I thought that they were being sarcastic. But the questions just kept coming and I decided to have a look at some of their accounts. 

To make a long story short; they were in the dark about how to use their accounts. Not that I’m that unusually savvy when it comes to anything in the digital landscape. But, for someone my age, I think I do know the common basics. And with that, I was under the impression that surely everyone knows them as well.

To set the scene: 

While having my massage, I would be giving tips and tricks for Instagram to the owner of the health-center (for she didn’t know what all these silly things called hashtags were about). 

At networking events, there will always be this one person that would ask me if I use social media for my business and if I know how to work with it. I would always say that I do know some things about it, just enough to make it work and would then notice further down the conversation that they have trouble doing – again, for me – the very basics?! They would ask if I could help them out, perhaps.

Just the other day, one of my friends who owns an interior decoration agency in Warsaw: she asked me if I could schedule an emergency Skype call – not my words – with her Marketing & Sales Manager to help her with this extremely intimidating Social Media calendar which they had bought a few weeks before, on my recommendation. She had purchased this app after a short phone call asking me which app to use. From looking at their posts and stories nowadays, her Sales- and Marketing manager has mastered it so much better than I have. And I love it!!

Diary of A Brand – We Have Extended

We have extended our contract with Berry Rutjes Jr.! Meaning that you can still find me and our bags in the Royal District of The Hague, at Berry’s Hat Boutique on Noordeinde 182. 

And, we are planning another Vernissage as we did a few weeks ago, so keep an eye out for the invitation. Like before, this will be a chance to come together to meet and greet Berry and the ‘Guest at the Salon’ of the moment, which will be ILNI.

During those three hours, we’ll have a drink (I prefer the Prosecco), and some snacks. There will be the opportunity to try on some of Berry’s handmade hats and ask questions about our Italian handmade and cruelty-free handbags., You’ll even get to do some networking, for Berry has quite some interesting guests on her list.

That doesn’t mean that your only opportunity to visit us is during the Vernissage. Not at all, you are more than welcome to visit the shop any other day. I might make you a cup of tea, which is my expertise (hint: I’m a terrible coffeemaker). 

Every Tuesday from 11:00 till 17:00 you’ll find me in the store. Typing away behind my computer: answering and sending out emails, scheduling social media posts or trying to come up with branding ideas. Which begs the question: if one of you out there happens to be a branding expert and could help me out?  I’ll buy you a bottle of Prosecco from across the street (at one of the best Italian trattorias in The Hague) Would you please be my guest?

Diary of a Brand – “I Have Served, I Will Be of Service”

The last three months have been quite busy. As we mentioned in our previous post, we have had a guest spot in Berry Rutjes Jr.’s Hat Boutique since April. Which only highlighted, to my dismay, that my sales skills are beyond disastrous. Something to work on perhaps!?

Before I became a mum, I worked as a flight attendant for Lufthansa. My dream had been to do something with my PR-Study, but for some bizarre reason at that time, I decided to give working as a stewardess a go. 

To my astonishment, I discovered that I love serving people. Not only their meals and drinks – mind you – but actually listening to them and helping them in any way possible. Just the mere fact that I could be of assistance to someone was such a joy for me. The smiles, the subtle thank you nod, eyes that would light up when the help would come unexpectedly: I just couldn’t get enough of it. The sheer challenge to overdeliver was my thrill, my dopamine!

Now, imagine this person trying to do a sale. It was, and still is, something totally out of my comfort zone. How does one switch from being service orientated to being focused on sales? To this day I have no idea! I just end up chatting to people and listening to their (life)stories, meeting other former flight attendants and looking back at those good old days. Scrolling through images of adorable grandchildren and adopted dogs, discussing Brexit. Even welcoming tourists on their way to the Peace Palace, who were attracted by the beautiful window shop and decided to enter. Most of the times these guests end up trying all the different hats, carefully(!) and leave with such a high spirit, that I am left with a glorious feeling, even though I did not sell one bag. Not even a hat. Nothing! 

It would seem that my natural state is to be of service. Like that line in the latest John Wick movie, I’m paraphrasing: “I have served. I will always be of service.” That is my core belief! 

Climate Apartheid – Do We Care Enough To Stop This?

In the coming year, more than 100 million people face the real risk of running out of water, completely. As in no drinkable water in their city at all. Why is this not headline news already? Could it be because these 100 million people live in one of the poorest nations in the world? Welcome to the reality of climate apartheid where the worst effects of climate change are hitting the poorest nations. Where an unfair division exists that segregates along the lines of rich and poor, important and not important, headline news and not headline news, protected and not protected. 

New Delhi is one of 21 major cities in the poorest nations of the world that is poised to run out of groundwater in the next year, according to the UN. This is an ecological apocalypse for these cities. People cannot live without water. Where are the international emergency teams to find a solution to this problem? Do we not care enough? The tough answer is no. We don’t care enough about the impoverished in this world and the ecological apocalypse they are staring into. If this looming disaster was in New York, London or Brussels, how different would the international response be? Do you think the world would look calmly on as the water supply in New York dried up? Would pictures of the people of London queuing for hours to get water from a water tanker cause us concern? Why does this reality happening in New Delhi not move us into action the same way?

How unfair this world is when it comes to dealing with climate change. We are currently sitting through another heatwave in Europe and the US but, it just means that we turn up the air conditioner and continue with our daily lives. A little heat does not worry us; after all, we are not facing another year of hunger as our only crops wither in the heat. We are not at risk of being thirsty. 

The harsh truth about climate change is that the impact is not going to be experienced evenly in this world. While we will experience some inconveniences in the coming years, it will be the poor and vulnerable who will feel the worst effects of this change. It is exactly because it is mostly the poor at risk that the international community finds it so easy to turn a blind eye to this problem. 

When it is only the poor and marginalised in developing countries who will feel the real effect, there is no sense of urgency among the industrialised nations to do anything. This is why politicians can continue to kick the problem down the road for the next generation to fix. After all, why should they risk their elected seat by making unpopular decisions about emissions or resource use?  The most dire consequences of our current abuse of the environment won’t be felt by us for a few more years, so there is still time for others to make the hard calls. The first people to lose water will be the poor, the 100 million in India, who don’t have a vote in the nations that have done the damage. 

It is time we became more aware that this rich bubble we live in is making us complacent. It is causing a gaping chasm between the haves and the have-nots of this world. We will survive the next few years as the climate gets warmer by turning up our air conditioners. We will survive the extreme weather patterns by enacting emergency plans and evacuating to safe-havens. We will survive, but how will the 100 million facing water shortages survive? 

The UN Human Rights Council has published a hard-hitting report entitled ‘Climate Apartheid’ which lays the blame for this looming disaster squarely at our feet. The richest 10% in this world are responsible for more than half of the world’s greenhouse gases, while the poorest 3.5 billion (half of the world population) are responsible for only 10% of the emissions. Yet, it is the poorest who will feel the worst effects of the climate crisis. 

Worse, the report goes on to note that industrialised nations have not once managed to reduce their emissions since the 1970s. The leaders of the richest nations, our leaders, have attended and pledged to make a difference in the Rio Convention (1992). They have signed the Kyoto Protocol (1997) and the Paris Accord (2015), and yet, nothing has changed. All these nice words and promises from our elected leaders, all while we continue to pump CO2 into our atmosphere at a growing rate every year. Our leaders are leaving this problem up to the next generation to fix, passing on a damaged and polluted planet for our children to clean up. 

In the coming years, our inaction on this problem will mean 100 to 400 million of the poorest are at risk of hunger and a total of 1 -2 billion will be without adequate access to water (UN), leaving large parts of the world completely unprotected from the effects of climate change. The biggest challenge facing the world is our inaction. Our leaders have chosen to follow a path of economic growth, selfishly making choices based on greed mixed with apathy towards the plight of the poorest nations. 

Our leaders have promised to quit poisoning the air, quit polluting the seas, to stop exploiting natural resources, – yet they continue to allow companies to keep poisoning, polluting and exploiting our world. 

If we really believe in a fair world, we must demand action is taken to protect those nations and populations who are facing the first dire effects of climate change. It is time to hold our leaders accountable and let them know the current path of inaction will not be tolerated any longer. 

We strongly believe in a fair world, where we share the burden of this changing world. We believe in a world where those of us with more, should help those of us with less. We do not want to live in a world where survival depends on which nation you were born into. The ‘Climate Apartheid’ report should be the wake-up call we all need to stop this current path. For what we really need from our elected leaders is action, now! Not more words or signatures on nice-sounding protocols. After all, words without real action have no real meaning. 

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rare and Endangered Species Are Not A Luxury Food Item – Our Protest Against Commercial Whaling

This month the Japanese officially resumed commercial whaling after a halt of more than 30 years. The commercial hunting of whales was banned in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to ensure the conservation of whales. Despite this ban, Japan had continued to hunt whales on a smaller scale for “scientific” purposes. This so-called science experiment resulted in the killing of 333 minke whales last year, including many pregnant female whales. This month Japan has withdrawn from the IWC and decided to ignore the ban altogether, meaning that they will openly hunt whales for commercial use from now on.  

Turning Whale Meat Into A Luxury Item

While the ban of commercial whaling was an excellent initiative for the preservation of whales internationally, it had one unintended consequence, it increased the value of whale meat to a “luxury item”.  The ban of commercial whaling meant that whale meat became a rare and expensive delicacy in Japan where it is eaten as whale cutlets, sliced raw whale, deep-fried whale nuggets, whale bacon and whale jerky.  Whale meat is now a luxury food in the Japanese market, and demand for it is high.  The resumption of commercial hunting spells disaster for the conservation of whales. 

The First Commercial Whaling Resumes Hunt

In the first week after Japan decided to ignore the ban, five whaling ships set sail from Kushiro for the country’s first commercial hunt since 1986. These five ships were allowed to catch more than 227 whales in Japan’s commercial fishing waters. In the first official commercial hunt, the first whale killed was a 5.6-ton Minke whale measuring more than 8 metres in length. Once hauled ashore it was sent to the local fish market where the hunters were hoping for a sale of more than US$18 per kg. This is only the beginning of the whale hunting season.

It is hard to believe this brutal practice of killing whales for a luxury food market still exists in modern day Japan. Whale meat is food from the past. For many older Japanese, it is food from their childhood in the post-WWII era. During this time the American occupation authority encouraged the use of whale meat as a cheap source of protein, and it was often served in school lunches up until 1987.

Now whale meat is not a cheap source of protein for a hungry population, but is served only in the most exclusive restaurants and supermarkets. The creation of a luxury market for this meat is likely to act as an incentive for other countries to also ignore the ban and resume whaling. With many whale species on the brink of extinction, we find this path to be absurd.

The Threat To Whales

But, Japan is not the only nation on the hunt for whales, Norway also continues to hunt whales. They pursued and killed 432 Minke whales last year to supply the growing demand for whale meat in luxury tourist destinations. These harmless creatures have been put at risk by the continued hunting. The resumption of commercial hunting by Japan only increases the risk to their survival. 

Whales are already suffering from the damage we have caused to their environment. We have damaged and encroached on their habitats and breeding grounds, we have depleted their prey through over-fishing and we have polluted their waters with toxins and heavy metals that accumulate in their bodies.  Now added to the human-made threats on this species is the abhorrent act of hunting them for the luxury food market. Hunters wanting to supply this luxury market use grenade harpoons with spring-loaded claws to attack a pod of whales. These harpoons embed deeply into the whale’s flesh killing the whale slowly and painfully while being used to haul them onto the deck of the whaling vessel. If this does not kill the whale, hunters will shoot it onboard with rifles. This is the reality behind the whale meat dish served in a high-end restaurant in Tokyo or Oslo. 


With the long term recovery and survival of whale populations are already at risk we urge the nations of Japan, Norway and Iceland to reconsider their decision to commercially hunt these gentle giants of the seas. These creatures are not a luxury food item, they are an essential part of our oceans and world. And, it is up to us to protect them. 

What can you do?

Send an email to the Japanese Government via the Australian Conservation Society asking them to stop commercial hunting. 

Reduce the demand for whale meat by avoiding restaurants that serve whale meat while visiting any whaling region and encourage others to do the same. Join a whale watching trip to see these magnificent creatures in the wild. 

Adopt a Whale and support the work of the WDC in campaigning to help save the whales.

Contribute towards the fight by supporting one of the many organisations who are working tirelessly to stop the resumption of commercial whale hunting.

Sea Shepard. Sea Shepherd is an international, non-profit marine conservation organization that engages in direct action campaigns to defend wildlife, and conserve and protect the world’s oceans from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction.

Greenpeace Working to defend the natural world and promote peace by investigating, exposing and confronting. 

WWF World Wildlife Fund works to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature.

Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean. 

Ryunosuke Sataro