Did you know there are more than 300 Dutch travel blogs in existence? They cover everything from travelling with children to travelling with the Bible. But not all travel bloggers have registered their trademark. Maartje Hensen and Roxanne Weijers have though. We caught up with them in-between trips to talk about their trademark ‘Once Upon a Journey’.
How did you come to start your business?
“We started travelling in March 2017. To start with, we saved as much money as possible and sold off almost all the belongings we had. The idea was to travel for as long as possible and to work. Once we got going, we started a blog and an Instagram account so that our friends and family could follow us. We began to get more and more questions from other people on Instagram and on our blog about, for instance, what it’s like to travel as a lesbian couple. That’s how our business started.”
“We began to share more and more trips, for female travellers. Now we write about travelling as same-sex couples and LGBT travelling, so for people who are not heterosexual. We don’t see ourselves as influencers, more as travel bloggers or content creators. It is after all about the content we’re creating.”
Photos: Once Upon a Journey
Where did you get the idea from to register your brand name as a trademark?
“To start with, we wanted to register our business with the Chamber of Commerce. We thought, now we’re doing this seriously, we really must register. But it was difficult because we were travelling. When we were back in the Netherlands for a short while, we registered the business and went to an information meeting organised by the Chamber of Commerce. There we spoke to Jan Hart, who was from BOIP. We thought that registering our trademark would be really complicated. But Jan explained to us that it really wouldn’t be that difficult and that registering our trademark would be a sensible thing for us to do. It’s reassuring to know that we now hold trademark rights in the Benelux. Suppose that in the future someone uses our name for the same services. It makes sense to take action against that now.”
Did you do the registration yourselves?
“Yes. Jan told us that our trademark could not be descriptive. Our business started from a hobby and ‘Once Upon a Journey’ was a good fit. And we grew under that name, so changing it was not an option for us. If we’d given the name more consideration earlier, then maybe we would have chosen something else. But we’re happy with this name. It fits with us.”
Was it easy to register your trademark?
“To be honest, we did get a little confused by all the different categories. We actually do quite a few different things, you see. Photography, for instance. So we had to think carefully about whether we were delivering a service or a product. We were actually a little surprised that there was something among all those categories that fitted us. In that sense, trademark registration is not as ‘traditional’ as the classification used by the Chamber of Commerce. There, for instance, you only see ‘media’. When we were registering our trademark, we were pleasantly surprised to be able to choose ‘affiliate marketing’.”
Have you also registered ‘Once Upon a Journey’ outside the Benelux?
“No, we’re waiting a bit with that. We do a lot in America and it did seem important to us to register our trademark there too. But in America you need a lawyer to register your trademark. And there’s a lot involved. Who knows, maybe we will still get to register our trademark there. But for now, it’s fine.”
Is registering your trademark the next logical step as a blogger?
“For us it was. In the end, we earn money with blogging, through the advertisements on our website among other things. We get asked by people around us sometimes what we do the whole day and what our revenue model is. They only see the nice photos on our website. The blogging world is actually quite new to the Netherlands. People have been blogging for a long time, but now, for more and more people, it’s their regular job. We really enjoy doing it, but an awful lot of time and effort goes into a travel blog.”
How do you see your business or your brand developing?
“Each year, we decide on the goals we want to reach that year. Those goals are important for us and our business to develop. For example, we decide how many visitors we want to attract to our website. Alongside that, we’re busy with creating our own products, such as photo filters and our own merchandise, that we offer through our website.”
Would you like to know more?
More information about registering your trademark, like Maartje and Roxanne did, is available on our website.
If you have any questions about protecting your idea, product, concept, brand name or business, you can also request a free consultation.