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A #LOVE letter from VIAJIYU on our 3rd anniversary

Nicole Still
Sep 2, 2016 · 4 min read

8 August 2016


On the 8|8|2013, I embarked on the greatest adventure of my life. I deliberately opened the Florence boutique on this date. Two eights together symbolizes “infinite prosperity” in China. I can’t say Sam and I have experienced infinite prosperity financially since we began the journey of VIAJIYU in Italy. I can say, thanks to you, VIAJIYU is the richest experience of our lives.

It seems fitting that leather is the traditional gift of third anniversaries. Leather is a sturdy material, one that is resilient and long-lasting yet flexible when necessary, key qualities to sustain a family business with your life partner.

On the third anniversary of the VIAJIYU Florence boutique, I am reminded of my great love for writing letters. And, a chapter in my life almost 20 years ago, when I wrote a love letter to someone almost every day, especially postcards from across the pond. “The world needs more love letters,” #TRAILBLAZER Hannah Brencher, TED speaker and founder of, believes. I do, too.


I backpacked solo across Europe in 1998 BG.* It was my #first trip overseas. And, I was the first person in my family to get a passport. Since that trip at age 22, I live by three guiding principles first recorded in my travel journal…


2. Be #KIND.

3. #LIVE every day as if it’s your last.

I was so grateful, inspired and privileged to backpack in a foreign land. I never wanted to forget how lucky I was throughout the rest of my life.

(*Before Google.)


We almost closed the Florence boutique in 2015. We sold three pairs of flats in February 2015. When we made it to our second anniversary, we declared it the year of #GRATITUDE. We were reminded: “If you give thanks for a little, you will find a lot.” And, we did.

In February 2016, we sold 156 pairs, thanks to our #TRAILBLAZERS who hosted trunk shows, even though we closed the Florence boutique for the first time in winter.


I also lived through one of the worst terrorist attacks in history: 9/11. At TIME Magazine, I worked on the front lines of the crisis, seeing images never published. When Paris happened in November 2015, I shared my belief in the goodness of people with our young #TRAILBLAZERS.

After September 11, we thought there would be many attacks on NYC. I’m surprised how few terrorist attacks have occurred in American and European cities in the past 15 years. Despite Paris, Brussels, San Bernadino, Orlando and Nice, fight the fear. Don’t stay home. #LIVE.


On the 8 August 2016, VIAJIYU celebrated its third anniversary of the Florence boutique and kicked off the year of #KINDNESS.

At VIAJIYU, we believe the simplest way to be the change you want to see in the world is to be #KIND. So, the gratitude quotes you loved in the orange room are now an ode to #KINDNESS.

Here’s one of my favorites: “Girls compete with each other. Women empower one another.”

As a movement of #TRAILBLAZING women, I believe women need to make #kindness toward other women a passionate pursuit. #NO MEAN GIRLS

“Kindness in words creates confidence.” — Lao Tzu

Confidence creates change makers. Use our #KINDNESS postcard to spread #kindness and #confidence to another woman. This movement starts with you, #TRAILBLAZER.

Or, why not spread #KINDNESS the Italian way: Try the Neapolitan tradition of a caffè sospeso, or suspended coffee? Instead of paying for one coffee, pay for two, leaving the receipt with the barista for a stranger to enjoy.


Here are three women, who I have known for years or just discovered, who are truly #TRAILBLAZER. Google them and get inspired.

- Nancy Gibbs (@nancygibbs), my former colleague, who was recently named the first female managing editor in TIME Magazine’s 93-year history. #FIRSTFEMALES

- Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah (@shift8designs), co-founders of CUYANA, whose mission is “fewer better things.” I just came across their brand and fell in love with their minimalist mission. #FEMALEFOUNDERS

- Kathryn Vizas, an attorney and advocate, who is a a founding member of the Maverick Collective (@Mav_Collective) in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. #FIERCEPHILANTHROPY

Share your Truly #TRAILBLAZER moments with me on Facebook, Instagram, email or WhatsApp.

O.K. That’s all for now. Sam and I are on tour again in USA, and we have #TRAILBLAZERS to meet and feet to greet.

#KICK OFF YOUR HEELS and enjoy the final days of summer.

Grazie mille,


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