It’s launch day. A whole new chapter at EHD, one that I didn’t predict happening and yet have secretly always dreamt of. I could NOT be more excited. It’s not a rug line or a candle collection (sorry, Sara – she LOVES a scented candle). It’s better and bigger, and yet smaller and more impactful. WHAT IS IT???
This video will give you a little taste but then read the post to get the WHOLE scoop:
Working in digital media you don’t have a 5-year plan, despite the cultural need to say that you do. My lack of future planning is partly because I love what I’m currently doing so much that why would I try to do other stuff? “Growing” for the sake of having a big company (an “EM-pire” GET IT? I HATE MYSELF) – has never been my goal (and a huge lesson I learned last year). But mostly I don’t plan too far in advance because I run a blog on the internet and play the part of an “influencer” in social media, which means my proverbial address is “I have zero long-term guarantees” on a very loud and crowded internet Main Street, in the middle of the frankly kinda unstable Wild West – DIGITAL MEDIA.
Digital media is a very exciting world to be in – extremely fast-paced, producing daily content amid constant changes, with no real guidance, handbook, or leadership to tell us how to do it. Meanwhile the landscape, climate, and audience changes every day, sometimes hourly. New platforms are introduced monthly. New algorithms tank different parts of business often. We have to check numbers on all platforms a few times a day and when they are up we are UP, when down we are trying to figure out why, rarely finding an answer. It’s like the wall street trading floor in the ’80s – people trying to wave papers higher and yell louder in an attempt to be heard. To “cut the noise” or the other buzz word of the year – to “disrupt.”
Unlike Wall Street, our business has a different “product.” We don’t really sell anything (nor do I want to), and there is no tangible transaction. Our business model relies on readers coming to our platforms and engaging in the content, in pursuit of ad revenue and partnerships based on two things: traffic and engagement. Don’t bother buying a book on how to do it – its already dated (but I’ll tell you far more on the new platform:)). Working in this field forces you to stay creative and innovative, you feel young and full of energy as you get these endorphin hits based on immediate feedback and traffic surges. It has so much potential for success, fame even. But the business model also makes it heavily reliant on advertising and the volatility of the market (when the economy is down, the same ads are worth far less even if traffic is much higher. FUN!). That’s right – you could be more “popular” than ever with more people “buying” your product and yet revenue could be plummeting.
So we are making a shift and taking more control of our revenue, with you – a tighter, safer, enthusiastic, loyal yet totally inclusive community. Why not forego the unpredictability, stop chasing empty likes, fighting so hard for new eyeballs, and instead spend more time honing in on YOU, the readers we have here, and who really engage and contribute?
SO WHAT IS THIS NEW SECRET TRANSFORMATIVE BUSINESS MODEL??
I’M SO EXCITED!!!!! And you know I conserve my use of exclamation points to only EXTREME excitement!!!!
Welcome to “The EHD Insider Community”, a NEW program, that we are launching TODAY in addition to the current site and our years of archives for members who want to pay $9.99/month to go deeper. Don’t worry, everything is staying the same HERE, for free. But if you become an EHD community insider you get every new post (ad-free) and so much more.
Nothing is actually changing here
Instead, we have created a space for those of you who want MORE. It’s a design enthusiast insiders forum. We want to create a more meaningful inclusive community while giving you a backstage pass to our conversations and process. It’s a safe place I can really let loose (think me, circa 2014). If you want, you can skip all the rest of this post and just go check it out here (first two weeks are free with an easy opt-out). The goal is high quality, daily connection with those who want to go deeper (or just watch us go deeper), so you can be a part of the process, and to facilitate conversations between our readers. We want to cultivate an ecosystem of creative people obsessed with all things design, style, and blog/media in a fun, unpretentious, less filtered, and exciting way.
On this platform, there are 6 major things you’ll get (for now, we’ll be adding more as we navigate what you guys want).
READER DESIGN AGONY GROUP CHAT
This is a forum where YOU (and us) can post your design questions with a photo and all the other members can help weigh-in, recommend pieces, or just give a thumbs up. Our comment section is always full of incredible advice from you all to each other and we wanted a proper place for this to live with an easier way to communicate. It can be, “Help! Is this vintage lamp awesome or ugly?” or “Does anyone know of a bookshelf that would fit in this corner?” Literally any agony that you or WE have, gets posted here and we help each other out.
THE GARAGE SALE
OH GOODY. This is a forum for us AND YOU to sell gently used furniture and decor, locally. This is not an e-commerce site, we don’t take a cut, nor will it be searchable or curated by us. It’s a design-centric Craigslist, with less spam and hopefully less risk. Insiders will be able to sell their furniture/decor to other members. I’m of course launching it with 12 pieces (adding more actually) that I need to sell – some vintage, some gently used from shoots, all awesome. And I’ll be adding to it every week. This is not 1st Dibs pricing, I have a bench going for $60 and a sofa for $450. I just don’t want to deal with Craigslist and want to keep it within The EHD Community, to give these pieces to good homes with all of you (any of the money I make on sales will be going towards our current feel-good flash makeovers). But anyone in the community can sell pieces. It’s super easy – you post a photo and some details, then other members contact you directly through the platform and you coordinate the sale directly. We have nothing to do with it, we are just creating the forum, not facilitating the sale or taking a cut.
I’m really hoping that all my favorite flea market dealers will post their goods there because I’m desperate for some local vintage. I’d love for estate sale companies to post their sales links here, or pickers to upload what they scored in Palm Springs over the weekend. But it can also be a 3-month-old Ikea dresser in good condition that was too big for your wall (but like, not your 5-year-old toaster, if you know what I mean). WE ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS. I’m also nervous that it’s going to crash the site, but again IT’S THE WILD WEST. Yeehaw.
DAILY BLOG POSTS – NO ADS
Get ready to read like it’s 2010 with 2020 quality content. We heard you (and we agree, believe me). No more ads for you insiders. We aren’t the first to try to buck this system, many sites have paywalls (a certain amount of articles for free a month, then a subscription) but we might be the first design blog to do this which is kinda terrifying and yet totally empowering.
We know that only a small percentage of our readers will move to this platform based on ad-free blog posts alone (and that’s ok).
BEHIND THE SCENES –
Get ready to watch the messy process in real-time. Sometimes I’m not ready to show 900k people the fact that I might be considering a vintage blue toilet in our basement bathroom, or maybe I’m not quite ready to reveal our new sofa to the masses, but there will be safety in this community because we know that trolls rarely want to pay to hate-read (nor will that be accepted, in any form – BYE!). We will likely post some of our insta-stories here as well, but they’ll stay permanent not disappearing in 24 hours like over on Instagram. It might be the EHD team on set, me trying out patterned curtains in the dining room (true story), or Julie and I trying to make that canopy work in the kid’s bedroom, or Sara playing with art in her hallway. Real-time design process, unfiltered that might not be ready for the blog or make sense on social media. I know I would LOVE to see my favorite designer’s messy process, so it’s a place to show you ours.
All the stuff we are talking about internally. Consider this design news – upcoming trends, noteworthy design collaboration or launches, amazing home tours – all things current in our design zeitgeist. This could be where we crowdsource what the next kitchen trends are before we write about them. And it’s not just us, it’s coming from you, too. We want it to be juicy, newsworthy, and to feel more insider-y than just what is published around the interwebs. Let’s talk about what we can’t stop talking about, which will likely help inform our content, too, in a good way.
JOIN THE BRAINSTORM
This is where you can tell us what YOU want on the blog and read our real-time internal pitches to each other. We might pitch you our editorial ideas and based on your feedback we can pursue it, shift the angle, or scrap it altogether. And you can give suggestions – less “where can I get a bookshelf?” (that would be more in the design agony section), and more like my recent pitch which was “Why are some rooms so hard to design and others so easy???” We usually get this in the comment section on the blog, but this will give these requests a proper place and platform for editorial discussion. Pitch away, or if you are an editor at another site, come get a peek at our editorial calendar.
I’m so excited about this. This is all things “FEEL GOOD” within our now extended and inclusive community with the simple goal of helping those in need near us. It’s like one of those pinboards at a community center. This could be as simple as, “Does anyone in LA have an extra crib for a family on our street who was hit hard financially by the pandemic?” or “I have a ton of extra gently used girls toddler clothes I’d love to give away – does anyone know where I can donate, either family or shelter?” One of Jess’ friends, who is a social worker and works with the homeless in Boston, has a totally undecorated office. She reached out to Jess asking about rug advice (because she needs one), and that’s the exact type of stuff we want to know about (and of course we want to step in and help as much as we can, virtually – our next Feel-Good makeover!). Maybe it’s just to fulfill a shopping wishlist for a family that is struggling, or volunteer to come to help paint a public school. So many of my friends have expressed wanting to help others but not knowing how or where besides donating money, so I’m hoping this would be that destination. Real readers helping each other, near each other. This is also a great place to pitch Feel-Good makeovers and perhaps even some of our readers who are designers themselves would want to take it on if we don’t have the band-width. It’s a real dream and puts us in direct contact with those who need help, in a meaningful actionable way.
So those are the ‘Topics” we are launching with, and if you go over to Discovery you’ll see examples of all of these.
Question: What is this exactly? A new social media platform? A new website?
Answer: It’s a platform that looks like a feed, with topics that you can opt-in and out of, and easily upload, comment and interact with each other. It is on your phone as well as your desktop and all links will be active, photos will transfer over, etc. It’s like a blog meets the best part of every social media platform.
Question: Will I get the whole blog archives there?
Answer: No. It’s not a resource site like this site is designed to be. The daily blog posts will be published over there, but you really can’t search for say “medicine cabinets” like you can on this site.
Question – Any other perks I should know about?
Answer: Connecting with each other, making friends, meeting your customers, getting more potential readers – in short, dare I say “networking”? With many of us feeling more isolated, connecting in new ways feels even more important. You can make friends near you (if you want to share your location), share business problems, ideas, and collaborate. You, our dedicated readers, are creative, progressive, generally so lovely and nice – we know this from every in-person event. Our reader event up at the mountain house was the best testament of this with every person being someone I would be friends with in real life. And while this isn’t going to be a place for self-promotion, necessarily, of course there are ways to share your product/service if it answers a question or pertains to what we are talking about (carefully). Whether you are bloggers, designers, editors, marketing directors, social media experts or anybody pursuing a creative field – our platform will allow you to know who is interested in the same things as you, who is near you even, and then you can connect and build that relationship.
Question: Who do we want to join ‘The EHD Community”?
Answer: EVERYONE . . . We obviously want this to be a WILDY inclusive community, full of design enthusiasts, editors, bloggers, designers, marketing, anybody pursuing a creative career in design or media, and those of you who want more access to our process. We want this to be a safe, inspiring space full of real design talk. At $9.99/month I know it might feel like a risk, but the first two weeks are free so if you’re interested please go check it out. If it turns out that you aren’t into it, opt-out and come back to this site. On the other hand, if you are excited by this new site and truly want to join, but $9.99/month isn’t in your budget, just email us in 2 weeks (when your free trial is over) and someone from my team will send you a link to join for free. While this is a business (and I’m putting my trust in everyone), we do NOT want finances to stand in the way of you being a part of this community. And hey creative industry folk – you can certainly write it off as creative research or ask your boss to pay for it like a magazine subscription. If you are in the blog/media/influencer/design industry I think you’ll want to check it out – niche communities are what’s next, folks (or so we hope, HA).
Does this mean less sponsored posts?
Yes. Listen, I love the products and companies we work with – they are all good products or I would NOT endorse them, full stop. This new platform, with its paid subscription, will allow us to do less of these and make space in this world for other awesome design bloggers to have more of these opportunities. Sponsored posts have been a huge part of growing our business. I know how important partnerships can be to a career, and I’ll be actively recommending and advocating for other bloggers/influencers to the brands that reach out to us. We’ll always do the partnerships that align with projects we are already doing or that align easily with the brand.
Wanna sponsor a feel-good flash makeover? Email us 🙂
The Time Feels Right
It’s meaningful growth, strengthening what we have and love already, instead of scrambling to “grow” by expanding our audience to be larger but less engaged. It’s impossible to connect on every platform with every reader, so this is where our small team will prioritize more of our time with our smaller, tighter, community. It’s a place where we can be a little less filtered because we are friends and a little messier because you know it’s not the final reveal. You’ll learn more about the business, and see how things get run from a closer point of view. We can crowdsource solutions to problems and use each other as a not-random focus group. We can Style, Play, Every Day with our real design family.
So consider this place – the EHD Insider community – the welcoming town hall of the Wild West. Everyone is invited, but trolls will be asked to leave. There will be NO meanness allowed, while of course welcoming constructive feedback. Head over and check it out. Again, the first two weeks are FREE and then you can opt-out if you aren’t into it and just want to keep reading the blog here like you do now.
So folks, got a design agony you need help with? Want to see what I’m selling out of my garage? Dying to see my newly upholstered floral vintage chaise? Want to know what kitchen trends we are predicting before we post here? Or simply curious if this new business model is going to be a success or a totally fail??? Because I AM 🙂 CLICK HERE. Become an Insider. We’ll see you over there, and THANK YOU.