Geneva / Switzerland

Geneva SMILE – influencer workshop

*Workshop organised in partnership with Geneva Tourism

geneva smile workshop
geneva streetsgeneva

The best part about my job are the days when I get to educate and inspire, whether it’s about blogging, Instagram, travel or just any kind of motivation on living your own kind of life in this crazy world. When I got a call from Switzerland to come and host an influencer workshop in Geneva, I didn’t need to hesitate for a second – these kind of projects are exactly what I’m hoping to do more in the future.

I traveled to Geneva also last year and the city took me by surprise – read my travel guide to Geneva here.

After a few Skype meetings we decided to invite 4 Finnish micro influencers to take part into Geneva SMILE (SMILE = Switzerland Master Influencer Learning Experience). We received over 200 applications and many messages, so we will hopefully get to organise more of these in the future. This time the workshops were in Finnish, but perhaps next time we’ll make it a nordic one, who knows?

I hosted the workshop together with my dear friend and blogger colleague Sara Tickle, see her incredible Instagram account here.

It was hard to select just 4 influencers out of more than 200, but we took the time to carefully go through each and every applicant. Here is our team of four:

We arrived with Sara & Johanna who joined us from Switzerland Tourism to Geneva already early the first morning to prepare for the workshop ahead and to have lunch with the representatives of Geneva Tourism to go through the upcoming days.

During the three workshop days, we explored the beautiful city of Geneva and sat down for 3 different workshops around blogging.

I’ve traveled a lot in the last few years because of this blog, but it was great to do something a little out of the ordinary and to be able to inspire others – and to be inspired.

Workshops on photography, branding & business

After a delicious breakfast at the N’vy hotel, it was time to get down to business. Our three workshop days included workshops on photography, running a business, making money through blogging and clarifying your own brand. We started our first workshop day at the gorgeous office of Geneva Tourism by sharing our own career stories and the lessons we’ve learned along the way in more than 10 years of being in the business. I mean, in the 11 years of blogging, my poor little blog has been on 4 different websites and had 3 different names – not ideal, but sometimes that’s just how the journey is.

During the morning we also went through each others brands and got to know each other better. After a delicious wine lunch, we focused more on photography and I was also inspired to hear more stories behind Sara’s amazing photography.

The second day we started by exploring Geneva and then hopped into workshop mode in the afternoon. The second day was all about how to create successful paid partnerships with brands and also to go through some of the differences in working with a destination vs. an everyday items such as fashion.

The last morning we did a little wrap up and gave each other some thoughts on each others Instagram brands before departure. The participants also went home with little brand booklets, which hopefully helps clarify their own brands – and which also reminded me to sometimes sit down and really take a deeper look at what is this little place on the internet really all about.

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Photography practise at a Genevan vineyard

Can you think of a better place for a photo practise than a vineyard at sunset? Well, I didn’t think so. We got to enjoy a bit of bright day light, a sexy sunset and the beautiful golden hour that followed.

We were all running around with our cameras and changing outfits as the light kept changing as the sun set down – I though noticed I’m a little too much of a travel blogger to carry different outfits for one location, though I did end up borrowing some from Sara, so perhaps I’ll be a proper fashion guru one day (stay tuned on that haha).

If you would like to see more photos of the vineyard dinner, check out my photo diary (in Finnish)

Vineyard dinner in Geneva – photo diary

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Private boat ride around Lake Geneva

We were so lucky with the weather on our trip and got to enjoy perfect warm sunny days in the early autumn days, which was perfect for vineyard dinners and boat rides. Geneva Boats hosted us for a fun day out in the lake with some good old Abba hits. Read more about the possibility to rent a boat in Geneva.

Some of us even jumped into the lake for a swim, because it was honestly still so much warmer than you’d expect this time of year – and oh man was the water clear, wow.

I’m always happiest on water and I could have easily spent the entire day just sailing – or the rest of my life even – just that something about it. Not just the lake though, there’s some of that Parisian magic in Geneva.

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Exploring Carouge – the trendy artsy side of Geneva

Carouge is a trendy and artsy neighbourhood with its great cafes in Geneva. If you ask the locals, they’ll probably tell you Carouge is like a bit of Italy in Switzerland. Its architecture has been inspired by Sicily, which you can tell by strolling down the streets on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. Carouge is like a little village inside a city.

We got to try ebikes and explore the neighbourhood on our last day. If there was more time, I would absolutely see myself sitting here over a cappuccino writing the first pages of my book (shh, stay tuned for that…)

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Geneva is delicious

I’m a dedicated lover of whiskey and every now and then get wild and order this fine beverage in a cocktail form; at the hotel I was craving for an Old Fashioned and asked the bar tender if he really knows how to nail it – he looked at me and pulled up his sleeve and there it was, a tattoo of a whiskey glass with the words Old Fashioned. Safe to say I had my best Old Fashioned at the bar of the N’vy hotel, hands down.

Geneve is full of delicious restaurants for lunches, brunches and dinners. Read more on my Geneva guide.

From this trip I can happily recommend a Mexican dinner at ALMA, a lunch at Cottage Cafe (photos below) and a brunch at Marcel.

geneve ravintolat

If you would like to read about the experiences of our participants, here are their blog posts from our first Geneva SMILE influencer workshop: 

Reetta: Geneva Travel Diary (Finnish)

Hanna: A lovely weekend in Geneva (in English)

Taru: Influencer workshop inspiroivassa Genevessä (Finnish)

Vaihda Vapaalle Geneva guide (Finnish)

The best thing about it all was to see how we all support each other in this industry instead of competing. I’m always more than happy to share the learnings from years of running this business to help others succeed. We had a perfect little group and everyone was there to help each other out – I definitely want to see more of this in the world of ‘influencing’. And fingers crossed we will get to organise another round of Geneva SMILE next year!

A massive thank you to Geneva Tourism for making this happen!

About Author

Veera Bianca is a passionate storyteller and hospitality expert with an urge to roam the globe. She spends her time on the road searching for meaningful experiences, reviewing accommodation and airlines – trying to inspire you to leave your comfort zone and getting to know new cultures.

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