Today’s 7 IN 2007 features one of our fave friends in cyberspace GRACE BONNEY of design*sponge! 2006 was a big year for this daily must-read as it grew to also include guest bloggers, an enlightening audio podcast, an online shop featuring limited-edition designer exclusives, networking events and so much more. Add Grace’s regular column on houseandgarden.com and her brilliant bizbox posts and you’ve got more awesome content in one day than your design-hungry mind might even be ready for!!
Grace has some incredible plans for the coming year, some of which she shares exclusively with our readers first! We’re confident that in 2007 the design world will continue to marvel at this multi-tasker. Go-go Grace! For more on design*sponge defs check it out! For more details on Grace’s owl earrings, please click here.
How do you think 2006 will be remembered design-wise?
I think 2006 (and portions of 2005) was the year of the animal. Birds of course reigned supreme but we saw so many deer, owls, squirrels, horses… You name it, it was on everything. I think it was an outgrowth of the trend towards all things “nature”. A nice idea, but I could use a little break from sparrows and chickadees.
design*sponge really grown this past year! What’s been your favorite
brand extension thus far?
It’s a toss up between the Biz Lady Meetups and the D*S Shop. Both were ideas that grew naturally and seemed to have served some niche within the community. Now that they’re out there I can’t imagine not running them. If there’s one thing I want to keep doing it’s providing outlets or resources for independent designers. I’m such a fan of these small companies doing things on their own and if I can help in any way than I’m all for it.
We LOVE the biz lady meet-ups! Genius idea. What have you learned as a result of supporting other entrepreneurs in this way?
Thanks! I’ve really enjoyed them so far. The meetings were inspired by a group that Rena Tom hosted at her house and I felt would really be a great idea to create on a larger scale in New York. I’ve learned that the design world is full of small companies run by independent artists who are doing things on a small scale – smaller than most “small business”. This community tends to get written off as “hobby companies” when in fact some of the best design out there is created by these artists. They have needs and concerns that aren’t being addressed and my goal is to help provide resources in some way. The next meet up in February will have small-business lawyers, shop owners, PR professionals and other resources available for people who need some advice on a case-by-case basis.
Do you get stopped by design nerds in the street?
Not so much – I try to keep my face out of things whenever possible – but I did get recognized by a woman in a paint store in Park Slope once. Though I think she was shocked to see me in jeans and sneakers. I think she expected me to be super chic and style-y.
What’s next in the ’07 for design*sponge?
Well I’m thrilled to announce (to you guys first!) that in January of 2007 I’ll be creating a scholarship for student designers! I’ve been so inspired by the student designers I’ve met since running the site and I wanted to find a way to give back, so I decided to create a scholarship program that will culminate with three winners in late spring. I’ll be selling goods from the shop to support the scholarship as well as funneling a percentage of my ad revenue into the program. I’ll also be opening it up to donations if anyone is interested in chipping in a dollar or two. I get so many emails from people who can’t afford their tuition or who get offers to participate in career-changing internships but can’t afford the costs of travel and housing so I thought this would be a great way to reach out and give a hand to the next generation of great designers.
Wow, sounds amazing, Grace! Ok, time for a lil’ SPEED ROUND!
FAVE DISCOVERY OF 06: Commissioned artwork and Perez Hilton. Both are my new guilty pleasure.
MUSICAL DISCOVERY: Lily Allen. She’s the sort of girl who would have ignored me in high school but I love her. She’s my idea of super cool.
MEMORABLE MEAL: The Balthazar salad. Truffle oil + Asparagus = Mmmmm
2006′s VIBE WAS SO VERY… Box Store. Big Box shops kept (and still keep on) ripping off smaller local designers. I’m ashamed to have bought into a few…
2007 IS ALL ABOUT: Keeping it small and local: I’m trying to refocus and concentrate on indie designers and small edition goods.