*This article is not a paid or sponsored article. The product was provided at no cost to try it out.
I am the type of parent who needs to capture many moments with my daughter and as interactive as she is, it’s difficult not to. So you can imagine how many photos and videos I end up accumulating, let’s just say it is A LOT! My process has always been to keep it on my phone until I need to transfer it all onto my laptop where I file them in their age corresponding folder (I have an organizing problem). This process does become very time consuming and one that I rarely get a chance to do, so I got excited to see a new product available called, Vilajing
that is a platform where you can keep all your pictures and videos safely.
I had the opportunity to interview Vilajing’s inspiring owner Laura on her company.
1. What does your company do?
“We solve the modern-day question, “What Do I Do with All the Pictures and Videos on My Phone?” by giving families their own personal online space where they can very quickly and easily archive and display the stories of their lives. We help families bring their ‘vilaj’s’ together with a very simple, beautiful, fun way to save, archive, share and re-live life’s best memories. We help families feel more connected and involved in each others’ day-to-day lives, no matter the distance.”
2. When did you start your business?
“The idea was born almost 3 years ago, and Vilajs started going live in fall, 2016 (everything takes quite a bit longer when you are also raising (and homeschooling!) 4 kids!). Our sister-company has been hosting sites/photos/videos for tens of thousands of businesses over the last 9 years, so Vilajing was a natural extension, geared very specifically for families.”
3. How did you come up with the idea?
“My phone died. And it was FULL of years worth of pictures, videos, and audio clips of my kids and my family…memories of my toddlers and babies, pictures of my mom when she was healthy, video of the dance parties the littles used to have, pictures of what my house looked like when Thomas the Train dominated, video of my youngest’s hard-won efforts to walk, pictures of the old home and neighborhood, pictures and video of our late 4-legged family member when he was healthy and vivacious, years’ worth of Christmas morning chaos and Easter Egg Hunts and Halloween Costumes and birthday celebrations…so many precious moments I did not want to lose!
THANKFULLY everything got backed-up (and double and triple backed up) on cd’s and laptops and ‘cloud’ storage sites. But I thought ‘What is the point of THAT??!! I take time OUT of those precious moments in order to capture them on camera, all so they end up in some heap of digital folders or ‘cloud’ somewhere, never to be seen again?”. I wanted an easy solution for all of the memories that I could EASILY access and share with the kids or other family members anytime, and from anywhere…a solution that was totally in my control, that was not just dumping pics on some ginormous social network, and that did not require me creating stacks and stacks of photo albums and books.”
4. How did you come up with the business name?
“The name Vilajing was born out of the idea that ‘it takes a village’…both to raise children, and also to provide the support and community for us adults, as we write the stories that are our lives. The spelling of the word Vilaj is the Haitian-Creole spelling…my youngest two are adopted from Haiti and this business will make an impact for orphans there, as well as in other areas (more on that below!).”
5. What do you hope your business accomplishes?
“I LOVE this question…in part because to me, it demonstrates how much Momma Braga cares about her audience, and in part because my hopes for what this business will accomplish are the foundation of everything we do.
In the most practical terms, I hope this business solves the modern-day problem so many of us have of figuring out what to do with all the pictures and videos on our phones. A Vilaj is a personal online space where you can very quickly and easily upload memories, organize/categorize/hashtag them however you want, display them simply and beautifully, access them easily and from anywhere, share only on YOUR TERMS, with privacy and commenting privileges all in your control, and essentially have everything you need to keep, organize and display your family’s memories all on-the-go.
On a higher level, I hope this business empowers families to create a more tight-knit community Vilaj for their children, and themselves. I hope that it helps grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and cousins and brothers and sisters and sons and daughters feel more connected to one another’s day-to-day lives, no matter the distance. The built-in sharing capabilities allow you to very easily, and directly, share whatever memory/photo/video or combination you want. An email will go directly to any individual Vilajer or group of Vilajers that you choose, saying ’The Smith Family (for example) would like to share a memory with you!’. They will be taken directly to the memory you want to share, and if you choose, will be able to leave their comments. Families use Vilajs to share the fleeting moments of new babies with family across the world; to share special videos with people living thousands of miles away; to share the seemingly mundane day-to-day stuff with lonely grandmas and grandpas who have written us saying this service makes them feel “so much closer and more in touch” with grandbabies they don’t get to see often enough…this is what makes my heart happy! And the comments from your Vilajers will live with those memories on the Vilaj forever…so fast forward several years when grandma or grandpa are perhaps gone…their comments on your little one’s dance recital video, or special photo will be part of your family’s story forever.
Now for the REALLY fun part…the true ‘Soul’ of the business. It is our perspective that unless our business is truly making an impact in the world, truly making this world a better place, it is not an endeavor worth pursuing. I know it may sound like a ‘pipe dream’, but it is already happening. Our mission is to “Host One, Help One”. So for every Vilaj we host, we are giving away a portion of the proceeds every single month to help an orphan, starting one Vilaj at a time, in Haiti and Guatemala (the 2 countries where our children are from). This means that when you solve the problem of how to display, save, organize and share all the photos and videos on your phone, you are at the same time helping to feed, educate, and provide healthcare to some of the world’s most needy ‘babies’…little ones more in need of a ‘Vilaj’ to surround and support them than any of us can imagine. THIS is truly why we exist.”
6. How does your product help the every day busy parent?
“Again…LOVE this question from Momma Braga…her heart for her audience shines so bright…it is not difficult to see why she was named ‘Blogger of the Year’ by The Baby Spot! We help the every-day-busy-parent in 2 main ways:
1. We give families a way to very quickly and easily organize, display, and save the precious memories we are all making every day. Right from a cell phone, photos and videos that you want to save can be easily uploaded to your Vilaj where they will be displayed and archived. We all take time out of life to make sure we capture the precious moments, making sure we get a good picture….but then for most of us, those pictures sit on our phones or get shared for an instant on social media, or get dumped into ginormous Facebook ‘albums’ or ‘cloud’ storage! Vilajing gives parents a beautiful, easy solution to this that can be done on-the-go. No need to spend hours on photobooks/scrapbooks/lifebooks, or weeding thru and designing albums.
2. Today our lives are sooo overwhelmingly busy, and families and friends are so spread out geographically, that there really is very little ‘village’ or community feel for our kids and families. Sadly, it is hard to even find the time to pick up the phone and call Grandparents or life-long friends. Vilajing gives parents a way to VERY quickly and easily involve the special people in our lives in the day-to-day happenings. We have heard from our customers how important this has become to families spread out across the country or even the world.”
7. If someone is interested in getting your product what do they have to do?
For friends of Momma Braga we are offering a $1 Trial so families can try it out for a whole month, for essentially nothing. We have made it very easy for people to either continue with their Vilaj, or cancel it. So if you don’t love it, or your family doesn’t seriously get a ton of value out of it, you will never spend another penny on it, and you shouldn’t. Our sister company has hosted tens of thousands of business sites over the last 9 years, and has an exceptional track record in terms of Customer Service…what we offer provides value that FAR exceeds the price and our customers know that. We take care of our customers and will take care of Momma Braga’s ‘friends’ as well!”
8. What are the associated costs with your product?
“A Vilaj is just $8.97/USD month…for essentially the same amount we spend on Netflix or 2 cups of coffee a month, you have a personal online space to display, organize, and archive your family’s story. A place where grandparents and family members can go anytime to check in on all that is happening. A place where your kids can go anytime to re-live Christmas’ past, family trips and adventures, and all the memories you work SO hard to create for them. A place where everything from baby pictures to graduation day photos, and everything in-between, can be quickly and easily organized and displayed, with privacy and sharing all in your control.”
9. Anything else you would like to add?
“We hear first-hand how valuable this service is to families, and we LOVE those stories. As you get your own Vilaj and begin to enjoy it, please let us know what your family and extended family loves best. One very touching story we got last week was from a customer here in the US whose entire family on dad’s side is in Switzerland. The 94 year old patriarch of the family just passed away, and our ‘dad’ put up a memory on his Vilaj to honor “Opi’s” life…he told us he saw the ‘big picture’ of Vilajing as he dug thru and organized hundreds of pictures (some over 80 years old!), scanned them in and created a memory on his Vilaj. He then shared that with Opi’s kids, grandkids, and great grandkids, some of whom are just babies. The power of this service is that not only does he use it to regularly share things going on in his daughter’s life with the family in Switzerland so she feels a sense of family-community even though they are thousands of miles away, but now EVERYONE in the family can easily see and remember the life of their ‘Opi’, and his memory will be available to all the generations, from wherever they are. In his words “Everyone loves having one place where we can all share our best pictures and memories of “Opi”, and for his wife of 65+ years, and his kids…this is absolutely priceless”.
We see it personally within our own little family…our kids absolutely LOVE getting on our family’s Vilaj and looking at old pictures and videos. We laugh and giggle and share and tease. And what makes this momma’s heart super happy is knowing that our Vilaj is helping those 4 little hearts feel connected, feel a shared sense of belonging, and remember their “story”…a story that I am working so hard to write, and to write well.”
This product, Vilajing, sounded so exciting to me and I had to share it with all of you. Of course the companies who are all around family and also making a difference in the world is always a Momma Braga favorite. I have even started my own Vilajing page and I look forward to adding some more Momma Braga memories.
Special thank you to Laura for her time and wishing her much success in this great venture of hers!
Until next time…Happy Parenting!
– Momma Braga