AU REVOIR 2017, BONJOUR 2018

Sydney-Sisters

–  A RECAP OF THE YEAR GONE BY –

Happy New Years, loves!  I hope you had a good celebration. Last year flew by in the blink of an eye and I’ve been spending the first week reminiscing on all the happenings. It was a great year both on a personal level and career-wise. At the beginning of 2017, our new year resolution was to build Candid That and our individual influencer profiles. We believed in the power of working as a team and found the courage to take the leap and move to Australia. We knew we had the ability to steer our website towards a more professional level and had the confidence in building a portfolio we believed in. It went well and we got to collaborate with globally recognised brands such as Estee Lauder Companies, L’Oréal Luxe, Guerlain and DIOR among others.

I also focused on securing campaigns on behalf of Candid That as we became officially independent from being managed by an agency. I’ve always been very interested in the business side of the blogging industry, so getting myself familiar with the negotiation process, contracts, formalities and client meetings were all a great learning experience.

However, towards the end of 2017, we were noticeably absent from this platform. It got to a point where we were so focused on creating content that we prioritised work over experiencing Australia. We were both so exhausted from the pressure of performing that we shut down and took the time off to recharge and discuss the future of Candid That

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With everything that has happened in the last year, I’ve learned more about myself and my capabilities. Here is a recap of 2017 and my personal thoughts on the year that has gone by.

January:

After almost two years abroad, I traveled back to Norway and spent four months at home. We applied for Tsutsumi’s working holiday visa in Australia and traveled to Germany on #CANDIDCruise and Stockholm with L’Oréal Paris for the Nordic launch of COLORISTA.

L’Oréal Paris: Nordic Launch Party of COLORISTA tsu-tsu

We also attended Vixen and Costume Awards and were nominated for Best Blog, Best Fashion blog, Fashion Profile of The Year and Shooting Star. Although we didn’t win, getting nominated was an honour and victory in itself.

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February:

Oslo Runway with L’Oréal Paris and a day trip to Copenhagen with Biotherm to meet Elsa Hosk.

elsa-and-tusmi

March:

Traveled to Paris with Sarenza for Paris Fashion Week. L’Oréal Paris was the main partner of PFW, so we got invited to their official Paris apartment for a Colorista tutorial shoot and attended the fashion show. We made a short visit to Copenhagen right after for a weekend getaway with the family.

Chanel-Bags-Classic-Boy ALEX-CHANEL-CLASSIC-FLAP-PARISChanel-Girls-Sisters-Tsutsumi-Alexandra

Tsutsumi traveled to Paris with L’Oréal later that month to be one of the faces of a worldwide product.

A couple of days later she was flown back to Paris to shoot another campaign with House of Lashes and Sephora. Her iPhone got stolen and she cried a river; learning the hard way that 11 000 images were gone for good without back-up.

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Right before I headed back to studies in Australia, my boyfriend and I went on a weekend trip to Helsinki, Finland.

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April:

My sister moved continents! She came during spring break, so we spent all our days brunching around Sydney.

We finally moved into our dream apartment after I got scammed $4200 (27 000 NOK) in a renting scam. Thankfully, I notified my bank as soon as I realised, so they managed to contact the bank in Greece and stop the entire transaction. I wrote about the incident and received so many feedbacks from single mothers, small families and first-time renters who were also contacted by the scammer. It’s under these circumstances I’m glad I have this platform to help others through sharing my stupidity.

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We attended the Australian launch of L’Oréal’s Colorista. It was a thrill to see Tsutsumi on press releases both digital and print in addition to her face being in-stores nationwide in Australia. Truly amazing to see my sister from little Norway on packages distributed worldwide.

May:

We had exclusive backstage access and front row seats to shows at the Mercedes-Benz Sydney Fashion Week. One of the catwalks was situated on a party boat! Such a great experience together with Maybelline.

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Tropical North Queensland with Accor.

It was yet another work trip, but such a fun and memorable experience from start to end. It kickstarted our new life together in Australia. We got to experience a helicopter ride to a secluded sand cay in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, snuggle koalas, snorkel and enjoy fresh seafood. During my first semester in Australia, my girlfriends and I went on a roadtrip to Cairns on a budget-friendly lifestyle. This time we got to experience the destination from an entirely different perspective. Both experiences were beautiful and memorable in their own ways. I’ve always felt very blessed for the opportunities that we receive from brands, but even more so during this work trip. When there’s a mutual respect between brands who believes and value the work we create, we will always make sure to go above and beyond in return.

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June:

A whirlwind of work! With one campaign after another it seemed to be never-ending. We got connected to the industry pretty fast and were presented several opportunities.

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We’re June babies, so I turned 23 and Tsutsumi 22! (Did you know that we are six siblings and four of us are all born in June?) Tsutsumi and I like to keep it pretty intimate so dinners are usually our choice of celebration.

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July:

After the exam period, we traveled to Vietnam and met our family who were flying in from Norway. We checked off all the major cities along with a visit to my father’s hometown Tuy Hoa. We also got in touch with L’Oréal in Vietnam and collaborated on a couple campaigns with Lancôme and Kiehl’s. Moreover, Lancôme had a meet & greet event for their Juicy Shakers and invited us for an interview on stage. We got introduced to the blogging industry and also met up with founders for valuable start-up advice.

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August:

One of the best nights in Sydney happened together with MAC Cosmetics for David Jones Collection Launch. We had a private driver and our own car imprinted with MACXCANDIDTHAT for the day. We got our driver to pick up our family at the airport, leaving us both with a sense of accomplishment. Not because of the flashy sign, but the fact that we got to work with a major brand and show our family that we were doing just fine.

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September:

I got to admit, it was nothing but a tearful goodbye when our family headed back to Norway. Living on your own in a country that is so far from home can be very hard. However, a couple days later we got contacted by the Scandinavian brand NELLY with an invitation to Stockholm Fashion Week. Just roughly one week later, we were off to the airport heading for Norway and Sweden. We kept our visit as a secret and successfully caught everyone by surprise.

Stockholm Fashion Week

Tsutsumi and I weren’t the best of friends during this trip. It isn’t easy to work from home and live together 24/7 and we fought a lot in the week leading up to our departure to Norway. I think it’s really important to surround yourself with loved ones and do a variety of activities to keep your mind and body healthy. We both really needed this trip and time away from each other and it certainly helped!

Just before we boarded our flight from Norway back to Australia, we received a proposal for a collaboration with Guerlain. With limited wifi, I started the negotiating process in Norway, during our connection flight in Bangkok and right after landing in Sydney. I was up until the morning hours to seal the deal for Tsutsumi to travel the next 26 hours smoothly to France less than 12 hours after we came from a trip just as long. It was hectic, but I remember being so proud of her and our efforts to always be there for each other.

Guerlain-Team Guerlain-Tsutsumi

October:

A blur. We were invited to meet with the CEO and Global team of Estee Lauder Companies to discuss the future of influencer marketing. Tsutsumi and I were very honoured for the opportunity to represent the Australian Influencer industry and share our insights. We also had a massive spring clean-out and sold a whole lot at Glebe Markets. It was so much fun to meet our Australian friends and followers!

November:

In 2016, I preferred to travel and explore as much as possible of the culture of the destination. In 2017, I’ve made it a must to always make a trip a combination of work and leisure. Whether it be reaching out to a brand, coffee catch-ups with a blogger or visiting a client’s office. So whilst we were in Melbourne to hang out with our cousin we also met up with brand partners and clients. I always try to make every trip count not only for the experience but the opportunities that comes with the destination.

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December:

The month started with an interview with my university. I talked about being an influencer, the responsibility that comes with it and my experience as an international student. It was very fun and I would love to do more public speaking in 2018.

After-Interview

I traveled to Bali with Thien, despite for the volcano eruption and airport closures.

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Previously, I’ve kept Thien pretty lowkey, but this year I’ve gradually been more vocal about our long distance relationship. He lives in Norway and I’m in Australia, so we see each other once every 8 months. We’ve been together for four years, but it still feels like I just met him. We always cracks the silliest jokes, and never take ourselves too seriously. He is currently on visit in Australia and I couldn’t be happier to spend time together ♥

Happy-New-Years

 

AFTER THOUGHTS

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“ There is no shame in falling. But there is great triumph in rising and finishing the journey. ” – Ed Razek

Before university, I had a two year gap working different jobs and becoming a blogger. After a year or so I became fully aware of my inexperience. I was determined not to be seen as the weaker party during negotiations nor be underestimated for my work, so I decided to get an education. Not that I couldn’t get a perfectly fine education in Norway, but I wanted to really invest in my future and realise my full potential.

I used to think going full-time with Candid That after studies was going to be the goal. I’ve come to the realisation that I’m the most effective when working within a set timeframe and not when I have the entire day to blog on my own. I want to utilise my time wisely and have a core team who I can bounce ideas of. I’m also aware that not using my degree for all its worth would be a loss of investment and devalue the knowledge I acquired. Getting significant work experience that I can implement into building the brand is not only strategic, it also removes that mental stress of having to update everyday “just because it’s my full time gig”.

TSU-ALEXHave you ever thought about the amount of people that says they want to be rich when you ask them what they want to be when they grow up? There’s no profession, accomplishment or goal linked, it is simply “I want to be rich.”

Nowadays, I hear people say “ I want to be a blogger.”

My eleven year old sister is one of them. Similar to many people she sees all the fun parties, the gifted products and the tropical trips. I don’t want my sister to say that she wants to be a blogger when she grows up. I want my siblings to know that becoming a blogger or freelancer is a choice, not an easy getaway option. I’m doing it because I know I’m capable of handling the responsibility that comes with it and I’m not one to take opportunities for granted.

Because I’m the oldest, I want to be a good role model for my younger siblings. I want them to know that I was also unsure in deciding what I wanted to do after high school. I had gap years, failed contract negotiations, could’ve done better in school, and burned bridges. However, I also work during my studies to save for a home, I take risks, I’m doing something non-traditional and I’m committed to graduate with a university degree. I’m young, so I know that if something doesn’t work out I can relatively change course easily. Everyone knows that a fresh graduate is inexperienced, and that’s perfectly okay.

TSU-ALEX1I’m certain that I want to continue to share my thoughts, style, travel and beauty tips. I want my posts to be written in an articulated manner with thoughts that you can identify with. In 2018, I will always write with you in mind. Whether it be inspiring you to break out of your comfort zone, take risks or be more confident. I aspire to be seen as an inspiration, a role model, a content curator and an entrepreneur.

Thank you for your amazing support, we hope you continue to grow with us this year.

Here’s to an amazing 2017 and aspirations to an even better 2018!

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5 Comments

  • Loved that so much! You two are truly the most hardworking influencers and you amaze me everyday! I can’t wait to see what you bring in 2018! Hope you’re having a great new year! X

  • I left a comment on the ‘gram, but for this I thought the blog is more appropriate.

    Actually, I’m about to move to Bangkok – leaving husband, cats, home, family & friends again behind – hope to enjoy that ride, ‘cause it’s gonna be a bumpy one.

    Maybe because of that, I’ve been reflecting on how traveling often affects me now compared to 5 years ago. During the first half of 2017, I’ve been going every other week to Asia from Europe. Spent the summer months in Seoul. Definitely, only time will tell… My experience tells me that the more educated you are, the more doors you will potentially be able to open. Kudos again to you!

  • This was such an inspiring and insightful post! I’ve been following you and your sister for a while now and I always admire how hardworking, determined and creative you both are. I just wanted to say I’m so proud of what you two have achieved up until now and wish you all the best for the year 2018! Can’t wait to see what you guys get up to 🙂
    From your loyal follower,
    Aggie
    (agathezelook.com)

  • Gosh, love how honest and open you are on this post. It’s so great to hear what you’ve experienced, and how far you’ve come. You guys work so hard but we don’t see that often. Your content is elegant, understated and beautiful. Can’t wait to see how you guys will grow this year. A break is well deserved for such an intense year for 2017. Definitely put your health first always. Wishing you both all the best!

    Love,
    Eliza

  • Teared up a bit at the last paragraph – just cause this post is completely relevant to my life and I’m super emotional 😅

    I freelance in the fashion industry too, just turned 24, in a LDR, and am basically figuring things out along the way. Feels nice to know that I’m not alone <3!

    I truly love and respect the raw, honest content you guys create. Thank you always for sharing.