Learn about what’s happening inside LA76 headquarters, see sneak peeks of our new work, get latest social media tips, and follow our adventures in Baja, Mexico, and around the world! Read our Design & Travel Blog here.
We like to keep our passports handy. Traveling – even if it’s just exploring small streets and remote places nearby our hometown – is just one of the things that keep us inspired, curious, and grateful for everything that surrounds us. We were flattered when Passion Passport‘s team reached out to our owner Romana Lilic and asked if they could do a feature about our adventures and favorite places in Mexico. Below is an excerpt, read the entire feature here.
They say love makes the world go around, but in my case, love made me go around the world. Ten years ago, I followed my heart and moved from Slovenia 10,000 km across the Atlantic Ocean to beautiful Mexico. Living in a place where others come for vacation is everything but a vacation for me! Contrary to what some may believe, I do not lay on the beach every day and drink piña coladas (although it doesn’t sound like a bad idea!). In Mexico, everything is different than back home, so I had to learn things from the beginning, with open eyes, attention, and child-like curiosity. Adapting wasn’t easy, but it made me see life, people, culture, traditions, and daily occurrences with new eyes. Ten years later, Mexico still continues to amaze and inspire me every day. I believe living and working in a foreign country taught me to pay more attention, be humble, observe and listen, to see the small things, and ultimately become a better person.
The New York Times recently featured an article “The New Crop of Exceptional Farm Stays” and among the selected four farms they also featured Acre Baja, farm to table restaurant located in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. We are happy that one of our photographs was chosen to present Acre in this article.
Acre restaurant is one of the newest additions to Los Cabos’s vibrant culinary scene. They offer global cuisine with local ingredients by Chefs Kevin Luzande and Oscar Torres, accompanied with cocktails and signature drinks from their excellent cocktail bar, managed by Danielle Tatarin. We can’t wait to see the completed treehouses, and other new additions at the property.
Acre restaurant’s architects FabriKG and interior design studio MarStudio have hired LA76 Photography to capture in photographs their work, design and decor details, as well as the entire ambiance of the place.
We’re happy our work has been selected to be featured in New York Times magazine.
Header photo as featured in NYTimes. On the collage clockwise from top left: one of the new treehouse guest rooms at Acre in Mexico (Daniela Fernandez); a Beso de Katrina mezcal cocktail with lime, pineapple, hibiscus syrup and oregano (Daniela Fernandez); the restaurant’s entrance (LA76 Photography).
About Acre Baja
Acre is a 25 acre piece of farmland adjacent to San Jose del Cabo. The restaurant, cocktail bar, event space and surrounding farms is the first phase. 12 tree-houses will be added to our palm forest shortly. Eventually the full 25 acres will be developed as a space for people to relax, learn, rejuvenate and celebrate. All efforts have been made to keep Acre true to its place. The very walls are made from compressing the surrounding earth. The shade structures are made with sticks from local palo de arco trees. All of the furniture, dishware, lighting and accessories come from the Baja or the Mexican mainland. It’s Acre’s belief that people appreciate authenticity in their surroundings. Acre is owned by Stuart McPherson & Cameron Watt.
Coming soon: Twitter announces changes which will allow us to express even more in 140 characters
Over the past decade, the Tweet has evolved from a simple 140-character text message to a rich canvas for creative expression featuring photos, videos, hashtags, Vines, and more. In the past few months they’ve added the ability to poll your community, react quickly and cleverly with GIFs, and share and enjoy Periscope broadcasts in Tweets.
In the coming months Twitter announced changes to simplify Tweets including what counts toward your 140 characters. For instance, @names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer “use up” valuable characters. Here’s what will change:
Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group.
Media attachments: When you add attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your Tweet. More room for words!
Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: The Retweet button will be enabled on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.
Goodbye, .@: These changes will help simplify the rules around Tweets that start with a username. New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers. (That means you’ll no longer have to use the ”.@” convention, which people currently use to broadcast Tweets broadly.) If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to Retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly. If you’re worried that you’ll see all the replies between members of your feed, don’t; only new tweets that start with the @username will be seen by all followers; any replies after that will still be only seen by those that follow both you and the @username account. “If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to Retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly,” Twitter noted.
Three new ways to make most of your 140 characters on Twitter:
Room to chat: Characters are for conversations, not usernames
Show more: Photos, polls, and more won’t cut into your character count
Say it again: Retweet or quote tweet your tweets and replies
These updates will be available over the coming months. Twitter announced that in addition to the changes outlined above, they’re exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter “the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations.”
Some say these and previous Twitter changes are an attempt from keeping Twitter from ‘dying’. We think Twitter is far from dying. Although it might not be as widely used and popular as Facebook, and growing in popularity like Instagram and Snapchat, Twitter is a tool that connects you directly, and gives you access to people you otherwise might not have the access to. We look forward to seeing how these changes will be implemented and accepted, and how Twitter will continue evolving together with its users.
I’ve been listening to the Social Media Marketing podcast for several years now. In the latest podcast with Jay Baer as a guest, Michael Stelzner and Jay have been talking about “Dealing with Unhappy Customers”. Jay Baer’s new book is called “Hug Your Haters: How To Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers.“, so the conversation has been fun, filled with case studies and other good stuff.
At the social media workshop I had with MTSU students a couple of weeks ago, we talked among others about Trip Advisor, and how to reply to negative comments. One of their questions was “Is the customer always right?”, and I loved Jay Baer’s quote:
The customer is not always right, but the customer is always heard. – Jay Baer (tweet this)
Baer says – and at LA76 we practice this religiously – that you need to answer every complaint, in every channel, every time. And when you reply, have empathy, be kind, be human. It’s harder to be angry at a person, than at a company. By receiving a human response to people’s complaint, problem or query, you can most often convert the unhappy client into a happy one, or at least provide what you need to solve the problem and give yourself / your company an opportunity for a second chance. Your reply to any comment, especially negative one, will be viewed not only by the person you’re replying to, but the entire community, so by showing that you care you communicate much more than just this one response to an unhappy client.
The other day I saw on Mashable a brilliant Trip Advisor reply from a coffee shop owner to a very unhappy client. It happened at Bennet’s Cafe & Bistro in York. With 432 “excellent” ratings on TripAdvisor, it’s ranked 11th out of 696 restaurants in the city. It’s been called “lovely,” “excellent,” and a place that offers “gorgeous” meals in recent posts.
One customer, however, bucked the trend. Hannah C. from North Yorkshire was so angry she was charged £2 for a hot water and lemon she took to TripAdvisor to vent her fury in a missive entitled “Over-priced and very rude staff.”
“This place is absolutely awful,” she began. Hannah, who was “on a tight budget,” took umbrage at the cost of her drink and got into an argument with a waiter about the price of lemons versus the price of a pot of tea, which she claims the waiter said is the same. “To show just how ridiculous this is, my friend ordered a slice of chocolate cake which was £1.90,” she added. Hannah left the “dreadful place” vowing never to go back.
In response, the manager decided to break down the economics of running a cafe for the money conscious customer, to explain why she actually wasn’t “ripped off.”
“You entered the cafe and the waiter showed you to your seat, gave you a menu, waited for a time and then took your order. He entered it into the till, collected a cup, saucer and spoon and took them into the kitchen. There, he selected a knife, chopping board, got a lemon from the fridge, cut off a slice and put it in the cup,” the response began.
The manager continues to break down the waiter’s tasks, estimating that serving the customer took two to three minutes’ work, before continuing:
I wanted to copy you the direct link to the review, but it looks like that after this got viral, the unhappy reviewer removed her review.
What do you think, do you agree that the customer is not always right? Are you listening to your customers, and replying to all comments, positive and negative ones?
LA76 Strategic Design owner Romana Lilic had the pleasure of collaborating with Middle Tennessee State University, MTSU, in the past month. A group of students, mostly coming from the field of marketing, public relations, advertising, but also leisure, tourism, sports and history, came to Cabo San Lucas by the guidance of Professor John Bodle, School of Journalism, MTSU, to get some first hand experience in their field of interest from professionals and businesses, to exchange knowledge, and not the least, enjoy sunny Cabo San Lucas.
During the four meetings with students, we focused mostly on the communications and social media marketing aspect of business here in Cabo San Lucas. We talked about the overall communications process and dealing with clients. During our social media workshop we learned how to create a social media plan and editorial calendar. We created editorial calendars for real clients from different fields of industries, and drew examples how they can apply what we’ve learned to their environment, knowledge, and companies they work with.
Besides learning about marketing, social media, public relations, advertising and business in general, the students had a rich program of getting to know the local culture, food, history and nature. They went snorkeling, deep sea fishing, snuba diving, parasailing. They visited the famous Art Walk in San Jose del Cabo, and learned how to cook real Mexican food with the locals. Not to forget, they shortened their cold Tennessee winter for three sunny weeks in Cabo.
Personally, I loved how engaged, interested and willing to learn the students were. I loved their fresh perspective on Cabo, business, and living, their enthusiasm and humor. It was our pleasure being part of MTSU’s Study Abroad program, and we look forward to it becoming a tradition!
Thank you for everything John, Vanessa, Sawyer, Sydney, Chelsea, Kimberly, Diana, Montana, Shira and Rachel!
Small deeds and little things matter a big deal. Which local community are you involved with this year?
New Year should bring not just new big goals for your business, your health or travel plans. They should also include goals and specific ideas how you can give back to the community. We believe in the saying “Do good. And good will come to you.”
At LA76 Strategic Design we love being part of the community, and we get involved however we can. In the past years, we have helped with the local El Camino school, got involved with Casa Hogar, and indirectly contributed to the construction of sustainable homes for people damaged the most by Hurricane Odile. One of the local charity institutions we have been involved with the most so far is Los Cabos Humane Society. We have created their website for Dressed to the K9’s event for three consecutive years. And for the year 2016 we have decided to engage with the dogs themselves. This year we’ll be contributing to the shelter with food and time donations. Those wagging tails and big grateful eyes make our hearts full each time we spend time with them. We hope your 2016 is full of similar stories of giving, sharing, engagement, and gratitude.
Here are just a couple of ideas how you can get involved and give back. Small deeds matter a lot.
Easy Ways to Give Back This Year: 1. Get one extra. When you buy a food for your dog or cat, buy one additional bag, and take it to your local association. This can work also if you buy an extra toy, blanket, or other living essentials; just drop them off at the appropriate organization. You can apply the same for buying toys or clothes for your child, and donate the extra piece to the appropriate organization.
2. Bring your old towels, sheets and blankets to an animal shelter. More room in your linen closet and more warmth for furry friends who need it.
3. Take a walk. If you can’t donate with cash or products, then give your time. At Los Cabos Humane Society, for example, they walk dogs twice per day, and with the amount of pups they have, the employees at the shelter can’t handle to walk all the dogs by themselves. When we visited, we took several dogs for a walk, and a couple of families and students were helping as well. The dogs need these walks and appreciate your assistance greatly. You can see it in their eyes and big smiles.
4. Play together. If you like a game of cards or a nice conversation, or if you miss your grandparents, visit elderly home, and have a game of cards or chess with its residents. They will appreciate your visit greatly. You can also play with kids at the orphanage, or with dogs at the shelter.
5. Make someone’s day brighter. Gather presents or school supplies for local orphanage homes with your friends and make their day a happy one.
6. (Virtually) adopt a dog, cat, whale, dolphin, … or become a sponsor to a child. If you can’t adopt a dog or a cat from a shelter, you can still commit with a monthly donation. You can also virtually adopt a whale, a dolphin, a sea lion or a turtle, as well as become a padrino to a child in need.
7. Make the workout extra worth it. Download an app like Charity Miles. For each mile you walk, ride or run, they’ll donate to the charity you choose from their list. Kudos to the developer, we’d love to see a similar project come through for charities in Mexico.
8. Make an emergency kit for someone who could use it (in Cabo San Lucas, hurricane emergency kit is crucial). Stock a plastic bin with essentials like batteries and a flashlight, or food essentials, and give it to people you think might appreciate it, or the organization that can distribute them to the communities or neighborhoods in need.
9. Every good deed counts. Help the elderly carry their grocery bags, pay a coffee forward to the person behind you, give your seat to somebody else.
We hope that whichever community or purpose you decide to contribute to this year, you give with intention, not for attention.
*All the photos in this post are from our visit and walk with lovely dogs at the Los Cabos Humane Society.
2015 was a fantastic year, and our plan is to make 2016 even better. Here are just some of our favorite things in 2015, in no particular order of preference:
Blog strategy we created for Pisces Real Estate proved very successful; it generated 3 real estate sales, resulting in more than $1 mio USD. There’s no better proof that a good blogging strategy works!
Another blog strategy that took off in the last two years is for Luxury Villa Collections. Their local guide to Los Cabos and travel tips are driving the visitors through the roof!
We’re proud of our clients Pisces Sportfishing – in the last year alone they won several fishing tournaments; among them Los Cabos Billfish Tournament 2015 with the largest tuna, two wins at the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot 2015 and the Los Cabos Big Game Charter Boat Classic. Pretty great fishing year, and well deserved! Read the news here.
Our social media client and friend, writer Madison Lake published 2 books in 2015 (that’s six books in total for her). Unexpectedly, one of the books was dedicated to our owner, Romana Lilic – we’re so honored. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, you can start now. Find them here.
Capella Ixtapa received another series of accolades in 2015: Ranked #5 “Best Hotels in Mexico 2015” by U.S. News & World Report; Ranked #6 “TOP 25 Hotels in Mexico” by TripAdvisor; 2015 Ranked #8 “TOP 25 Hotels for Romance” in México, by TripAdvisor; Ranked #6 “TOP 25 Luxury Hotels in Mexico” by TripAdvisor; Ranked #3 “TOP 25 Best Services Hotels” in México by TripAdvisor. Top!
International media strategy for Acapulco Chairs brought them to the biggest Canadian daily, La Presse Canada. See the feature here.
176% increase in Facebook followings for Captain Tony’s thanks to a well-planned and executed social media strategy and great collaboration toward the same goal with the client.
Branding projects for Alma Vallejo Cabo Makeup and Hair Professionals, and Indigo Pilates Studio.
Collaboration with Middle Tennessee State University, MTSU, and creating a social media workshop for students during their 3-week study abroad project in Cabo San Lucas.
If you love Meerkat and Periscope, but wish both of these apps would offer more functionalities than ‘just’ live streaming, try Katch! Katch enables you to easily record, permanently archive and automatically publish your broadcasts from either of the apps with one tweet.
How Katch works:
– Sign into Katch.me and connect it to your Meerkat or Periscope accounts (or both)
– Open your favorite live streaming app
– Add #katch hashtag to your title
– Tap the Twitter icon so Katch can see your stream
– Katch starts recording your stream, including your comments and hearts
– After you end your broadcast, @KatchHQ will send you a link on Twitter
– Tap on the link to view your replay
– You can play, fast forward and rewind your video
– You can also view and scroll through all your comments
– All your broadcasts are stored permanently in the cloud.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
– Benjamin Franklin
We love good reading, even more so if it comes in a well-crafted printed form. One of the magazines we’re into lately is Outsider Magazine, issued in Slovenian and German. The third issue just went to print, and until we receive it in Mexico, we still have a couple of articles to read from the Outsider issue #2 – Don’t Panic. Outsider is a magazine about architecture, culture and personalities. Great writing from some great individuals. LA76 Strategic Design’s owner Romana Lilic is humbled to be among the contributors.
Get more information about Outsider magazine and your copy on their website or Facebook.
At LA76 Strategic Design we are proud to be part of Mala and Mantra’s efforts to help build awareness and raise funds for the most damaged by Hurricane Odile. Mala and Mantra‘s “I Am Cabo” Collection is the first in the “Crafted for a Cause” Series, with the aim to benefit relief efforts in Los Cabos on the one year anniversary of hurricane Odile. LA76 is part of the project with lifestyle and product photographs of the collection.
Mala and Mantra, a consciously created accessories company, has launched its “Crafted for a Cause” line designed to raise funds for pressing social causes. The first in the series is the “I Am Cabo Collection,” a Cabo-inspired bracelet line that will donate five dollars of every sale to the Cabo Hurricane Fund, a nonprofit organization committed to providing emergency relief and rebuilding the Los Cabos neighborhoods of Mexico that were devastated by Hurricane Odile last September.
Inspired by the colors and textures of the famous Cabo arch and picturesque sun, sea, and sand, this beautiful collection for both men and women features two mala bracelet variations strung with whitewood, rosewood, yellow jade, picture jasper, and howlite turquoise.
Hurricane Odile, one of the most destructive hurricanes on record in the region, destroyed an estimated 8,000 homes primarily in the poorer urban communities, displacing thousands of families. While the economic and tourist regions have largely been rebuilt over the past year, many local residents still lack permanent housing.
The Cabo Hurricane Fund was formed to support these most vulnerable communities in Los Cabos, and this past August, the first family was able to move into their new home (read more about it here). The sustainable social housing solution was strategically planned and designed by Capa LAB‘s founders Mariano Arias Diez (a10 studio) and Gonzalo Elizarraras (fabriKG). With current funding, the Cabo Hurricane Fund will be able to build about 30 more houses, but hopes to continue their work through further partnerships and support from companies like Mala and Mantra.
“The I Am Cabo collection will be an incredible support for the Cabo Hurricane Fund project,” says Craig Nason, associate director of the Grassroots Global Development Foundation, which has managed the fund. “Beyond bringing funding to our housing projects, the pieces themselves capture the beauty and resilience of the Cabo community. They are a reminder of our initial vision and a celebration of the global community that is participating in post-Odile recovery.”
In the future, Judith Compton, the founder and creator of the California-based accessories line, plans to continue “Crafted for a Cause” with collections that will raise money for causes including breast cancer research and support for children and education in impoverished communities, as well as establish jewelry-making programs that will support women in need. To have the greatest impact possible, Mala and Mantra conducts extensive research to ensure that each non-profit supported allocates the majority of funds directly towards its cause.
“I created Mala and Mantra to spread the message of mindfulness, empower underprivileged women through sustainable work, and provide support to those who need it most,” Compton says. “While all of our current items are crafted by a fair trade women’s cooperative in the Philippines, I also wanted to design a new collection several times a year that would assist and provide wellness to the global community.”
The “I am Cabo” bracelets are beautiful, fun to layer and mix, and everyone at LA76 team uses them daily! To get your #IAmCabo bracelet or learn more about #CraftedForACause, please visit their website here.
The I am Cabo bracelets are available for purchase also in Cabo San Lucas at: The Spa at Pedregal, AlmArte at Resort at Pedregal, V Fraiche restaurant, Villa Valentina, and One & Only Palmilla.
About Mala and Mantra: Mala and Mantra was created in Spring 2013 by retail industry expert Judith P. Compton. Its debut collection of fashionable, handmade, and hand-knotted mala bead bracelets and necklaces was unveiled in February 2014 and features a lineup of 36 products designed with intention in San Diego and consciously created in the Philippines. With a focus on wellness, mindfulness, and self-discovery, Mala and Mantra products support their wearers in living a life of intention.