trip

Heidi, when strength meet kindness

Hello dear scandals,

We all feel how winter in Canada can be tough sometimes, the lack of heat and sun after few months starts to have a negative impact on our mood. So it can be a great idea to take few days out of the country: one of us went five days to Costa Rica and it was incredible. The goal of that short trip was to get away from Toronto and take some me-time… You guys know how hard workers we are and how it is difficult for us to disconnect from work. Well we have to confess, it was hard to not take the opportunity to do a boudoir shoot in paradise and work with a new lady… So we had to do it :)

We posted a message on a facebook group about a boudoir shoot idea and Heidi was one of the first to reply. Even though we did not know her, she was the one who stood out and we new from the start we wanted to shoot with her. What a meaningful encounter: her story was inspiring, we always love to hear about other business owner's experience and life. Plus she has an incredible personality, beauty… PERFECT COMBO!

 
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Meet Heidi

Everybody has a story, I think that’s one of the things I enjoy the most about meeting people in Costa Rica. Here we are in this little beautiful country, together, talking and forming friendships, discovering how much we have in common and yet we all have a different back story about what led us here.

Costa Rica, 5 years ago

I went there for the first time to celebrate my partner’s and my 50th birthdays.  We planned a double vacation – some skiing and boarding in Whistler for the first week, and then straight to Costa Rica to learn to surf. Tamarindo….such a neat place! My partner could already surf and had tried it in many other exotic locations, but this was a first for me and I don’t even skateboard or snowboard… Yikes! Well, I survived surf camp and could actually say I could surf afterwards!

That first trip led to another and another and another, at least twice a year, enjoying the beach, training every day, surfing and always pondering eventual retirement and speculating about what little business could be started here to fill a niche.

At first we thought about a coffee shop, or more specifically, a mobile coffee cart – because at that time there were only a couple in town. Needless to say in 5 years there are probably 14 now…. so that was a good pass!

How Gilliepops was born

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One thing that seemed to be lacking was treats of any sort that weren’t laden with sugar or milk and specifically cold frozen treats. Popsicles… Yes, that became the focus and ultimately Gilliepops was born, named after my late daughter, who passed away a few months after our first trip here.

Lots of brainstorming, creative thinking and marketing ideas, and in November 2017 I arrived in town with a bicycle, a cooler, my Vitamix and a couple of giant duffel bags filled with popsicles sticks, moulds, labels and packaging supplies. It was new and exciting, and at times very disappointing and stressful. I ate a lot of tuna and eggs that’s for sure but what an amazing experience! I even added gluten free baked goods to my repertoire and it seems the tourists and even locals can’t get enough of them. It’s awesome!!

Thanks to social media

Business here in Costa Rica is done differently that in North America.  It’s less formal and much of the communication is done either on Facebook or Whatsapp.

Because of the dependency on Facebook for business, I’m forced to check it daily and post often to encourage awareness of the availability of gluten free products here. This is when I saw Fanny's post about her visit to Tamarindo. I sent her a few suggestions, I think because I knew she was from Toronto. When she mentioned being a photographer and looking for someone to photograph while she was here, I jumped at the opportunity – there are almost no pictures of me here because I’m on my own. And what a beautiful place to be photographed.

Its been a couple of years since I’ve done a photo shoot and never when I wasn’t ready to compete (I’m a physique competitor), but I thought it would be nice to be captured as my regular self, my natural self, a little smoother and softer… tan lines and all…! The shoot was amazing – the view from the location we chose was so beautiful and the pictures she took are so flattering and beautiful.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have met one of the Scandaleuse's team, the time we got to spend together talking an sharing our stories.

 
 

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How to plan a successful business trip

Having the freedom to work in other countries is our main goal. We work hard to be able to fly Scandaleuse Photography all over the place and meet international Scandals. This business trip in Paris was our first one and we do not plan to stop here! 

So why don’t we do it more often? Well it takes a lot of time, organization and it is kind of tiring. Those business trip are wonderful but far from being a vacation…

 
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Do you like the idea of a business trip? Here is what we learned from our first one:

Organization is key

Tip #1: If there is one thing for sure, a business trip has to be planned a good year in advance.

What are you looking to get out of this trip? When are you leaving? When are you coming back? Where will you stay? Do you speak the language from the country you’re going to? There are too many factors to take in consideration, so it cannot be done last minute. Plus, the earlier you start planning, the cheapest your travel tickets will be!

The first step is to make a second business plan (#entrepreneursnightmare). You need to know exactly what is your goal: have a clear idea of what you are looking for in this business trip. What is your strategy?

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Find the perfect city

Tip #2: Picking a city you are familiar with already helps.

Once you know your goal, you need to figure out which city is the most appropriate for your business trip. Look for the country first: do you want to stay where you live so you do not have to travel much or do you prefer a little adventure across the ocean? In both cases, if you go back to a city you have already been to, it will feel less overwhelming. You will know the areas where to stay, maybe even a few people you can crash at. Don’t forget about the language spoken there, we are both bilingual in French, so it made our lives a lot easier.

Find clients

Tip #3: be smart on social media and the world is your oyster.

Remember, you start on a new territory where people probably never heard about you. Do not expect to have clients throwing themselves at your business and begging to give you their money, you will have to reach to those people. As mentioned previously, social media is a great way to get in touch with potential customers, it will be your best asset in this new adventure. If you are not sure where to start, you can create a survey on social media and see where you have the most chance to get clients, who knows, your followers may be located in one specific area.

Don't kid yourself, making profits is a priority

Tip #4 : You have to do some serious budgeting, don't take this slightly. While you are away, you will be unable to book anything in your home town for a certain amount of time. You wouldn't want to come back home penny less, right?

Even though traveling for business is fantastic, it will involve some important costs. Accommodation, food, transportation, and you will want to enjoy yourself a bit too there. It won't be a vacation, you will not have the time to really rest and enjoy it fully from a tourist perspective. Just like working from your own country, you need to make money out of any projects you work on. I am not talking only about enough money to reimburse your trip but actual profits! Hours will be long, the planning above will take a lot of time, and you have to eat. (I don't know about you, but I like food, eating is nice and my rent ain't gonna pay itself).

Bonus: Jet lag can kick you hard.

Tip #5: Avoid travelling when there is a time change.

We never thought it would be so difficult to adapt ourself after 2 time changes. When we arrived to our home country, there was already a difference of +6 hours with Toronto, then a couple of days later France changed time. The same pattern happened again when we came back to Canada… Second time change! It knocked us out and took us 2 weeks to get back to normal.

You now have the good recipe to start planning a solid business trip. Good luck! As far as we are concerned, we will focus on Canada for a bit, before aiming for another european country.

 
 

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