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Focused on raising awareness about organic and healthy living for women, Abigail Terrien shares the story of how her blog is making a difference.
What I love about the time we’re in today is the opportunity to meet different women and learn about the work they do. Especially as a writer, connecting with other bloggers helps to understand the various perspectives and interests they have and what makes them the writers and women they are!
I met Abigail Terrien in Tokyo, Japan on a sunny Wednesday afternoon as a part of my initiative ‘Women in the Arts’. She is a woman who believes in living an organic lifestyle, as she mentions in her Tedx Talk, “It’s a passion or an obsession”!
Abi’s Journal is a platform where people can click through when they want to escape from their world, travel a bit, discover new products to try, meet people who might resonate with their deep values or just simply make them feel good. “I like to think of the ones who really make a difference in the world, as little as it may be, it can be you and me. I like that there are people out there who really care. My blog is a lifestyle that I’m grateful to lead that may inspire to new ways. It is not about being strict, it is about the balance. That is a stress free zone for our Mind, Body & Soul”, says Abi about her blog.
Abi grew up in Switzerland in a small town with lots of English speaking extravagant women friends from all over the world. She moved to France in her teens to broaden her horizons and ended up staying there for more years than planned. Life took her to Paris, where she attended art school, got scouted and modelled for a couple of years which was a great learning opportunity. It also made her financially independent, she mentions and brought her all around the world, also to Tokyo, where she met her first husband-to-be at the age of 20. She stayed longer in Paris where she was working as a PR professional for a fashion brand.
After her daughter was born she decided to join her husband in Tokyo for a couple of years and it ended up being 15 years. Since she didn’t speak Japanese she couldn’t do her PR work in Japan. She says she had time to take care of her kids, since she had a boy soon after.
“Life in Tokyo was very different to Paris. It was quieter in a way as there were far less social gatherings. Mothers in Japan don’t incorporate their kids into their life prior to the one they had before becoming a parent, they change their life around the baby. I missed some European part but soon found that there was a large expat community of mixed culture where mums can share their experiences, which was a great relief”, shared Abi on the culture changes she faced as a parent in a city different from the one she was raised in or was even familiar with.
Soon Abi ended up creating a kids online shop with trendy, sustainable fashion and goods for her friends and herself because there was really nothing nice available in Japan in 2009. The press were interested in how she raises her kids, being a foreigner in Japan which brought her to the blogging world. She shared her ways, which includes a very Montessori style approach with organic goods and a natural lifestyle.
This is something she still conveys on her new blog, launched last year. However her target audience are women, single or mums now, not kids. It may be because her kids grew, but also because women need something for their own selves. “We take on so much, that there just has to be space for self-care. No mother can run low on energy”, says Abi.
Her kids online shop lead to hosting offline events in order to convey the message of sustainability, introduce the products (which were only available on her shop) and to show that it can be stylish and modern simultaneously. “I was clearly ahead of time for Japan because organic still had to look organic here. These events are now called ‘Small is More’ which are pop up shops where I support women shop and brand owners to sell their things in a nice environment with things to enjoy for everyone in the family”, Abi mentions.
“My blog, Abi’s Journal, was a way to share ways, escape and inspire through thoughts but also a way to heal after a terrible divorce. I found methods to heal, and met people, mostly women, who inspired that helped me through the difficult times. I call them game changers because of their ability to create beautiful things that are also environmentally friendly. I think this is an essential point to any new creation now a days with the environmental issues the whole world is facing”, said Abi on how blogging took on the form of a career and soon an integral part of her life.
When asked what it was that inspired her to write a blog on several topics from lifestyle to fashion to travel, Abi laughed and said that she could not seem to choose one over the other as being more important. “I also feel that one thing leads to another. Like the world that is interconnected. If chemical free beauty is important to you, then you can’t clean the house with toxins. If you like good food, you automatically pay attention to the ingredients. So I’m interested in all the aspects and fascinated to meet the people behind the brands. In the end it’s about the people, and they have the power to create, to choose, to convey don’t you think?”
When asked why it is important for her as a blogger to talk about natural or local brands, Abi shared, “I grew up in a very clean, abundant environment close to nature. These are wonderful memories, which I’d like future generations to enjoy as well. Pesticide free, non GMO produce. As it should be. Nature is part of our world, its part of us, as is wildlife. I feel we carry a certain responsibility with our actions. How can we continue to support a system which is in total disharmony with our environment? I believe that supporting the local brands and makers, gives them support and power to expand their goodness. It gives us choices. It creates jobs, strengthens the community and as the quote has it “when you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance.”
We further discussed the importance of sharing work by other people and taking an interest in the work of others. Abi frequently shares work of different individuals via her blog. “It was a dream to have co-editors on my blog. I’d like to have more in fact. The vision of creating an online community, with the mission to inspire is exciting. It was also a necessity because I could not claim to be all knowledgeable on my own, no matter how interested I am in numerous fields. There are specialists out there who have plentiful knowledge to share, sometimes they don’t even think it’s anything special. It’s wonderful to grow the tribe together!”
“I don’t feel that I am special at all, but the people who I interview are incredibly special. Humble or naive, I just share things that I value which is quite enough. The purpose of my blog is not to elevate myself, but to inspire others that they can do what they want, what makes them feel good, in synergy with their heart”, Abi said regarding what she felt was her blog’s USP.
Abi has also been hosting events for a couple of years now for her own brand or for brands like Tomorrowland, Alain Mikli, BMW, ELLE Japon. What she says she likes is the experience everyone goes home with. Abi’s Journal events are as varied as her blog posts. She hosts rooftop gardening lessons with garden to table lunches, smudging lessons with meditation, vision boarding, rooftop yoga followed by homemade organic brunch, essential oil beauty &natural make up lessons, farm to table dinners by a Chef – These are all things that aim to do good for either or all your Mind, Body and Soul. A slice of stress free moments in the busy Tokyo life!
Abi shares her point of view with other bloggers stating, “I would suggest that every blogger keep things on their personal platform and keep a copy of their editorials written for someone else. In the digital age, contents can be deleted in one click and you can lose your credentials. It happened to me with all the editorials written for ELLE online which got erased because they stopped the project. It was awful. So much work gone”.
Also, be true to yourself, don’t imitate anyone else. It’ll make you a happier person.”
Images clicked by Wanderlust and shared by Abi
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