State Of The Biz / Autumn 2015

State of the bizHey, friends. Welcome to our yearly post where we share what we're working on, how we're tweaking our business and what we're most excited about that's coming up! 

If you tuned in to our Livestream a few weeks ago (you can still watch it here), then you heard that we've been working on this post for a while. In some ways we are sort of always working on this post, because, like most small business owners, we are constantly thinking about how to improve and grow. It's something we talk about almost every day.

Our little business keeps growing and it's on track to have its best year yet! (YAY!) With that, we feel like we’re in the best place to reflect and decide where we want to be headed. The industry is constantly changing and so is how we run ABM. We like to think of blogging as an evolving career. I mean, ten years ago we had no clue that we'd be able to make our blog into a side business, much less the "mothership" of all our creative projects and a full-time career for us plus a small team. Blogging will probably go down as our life's most surprising opportunity. And we truly never know where it will take us next. 

The importance of change
Depending on how long you’ve been following us, you’ve probably seen a few phases of our business. When I was the only owner, I sold paintings and art prints on an Etsy shop. When Emma joined, we sold vintage clothes and cupcakes from a Springfield storefront, custom made a small fashion line with a couple local seamstresses, and eventually moved into full-time blogging. That’s let us expand into apps, online classes and product development. Business, no matter how calculated your risk may be, is always trial and error. We're always learning and moving forward. 

We started blogging for fun. We ended up full-time blogging because it worked and showed the most opportunity of all the creative ventures we were dabbling in. Find what works and grow it the best you can. But just because the first thing you tried wasn’t working doesn’t mean you should beat your head against the wall. Or maybe what was working just isn’t anymore. Change and adapt. Find another risk you can afford and take it. There’s a famous Thomas Edison quote: “I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” And yes, those who fear failure more than you will always be there to kick you while you’re down. But you only really fail when you stop trying. 

The Nashville move and the studio house
For the first time since becoming partners, Emma and I will be working remotely. I’ll be honest. It's sad and a little scary, but we have a game plan, and we are both 100% committed to making it work! We're gonna be on FaceTime a WHOLE lot more! We're already embracing the transition and starting to create a new normal. Anyway, you can read more about the move in my post here.

When I decided to move, Emma decided she really wanted to work from home too. (We LOVE working from home—I cannot explain how much we missed it these past two years.) That meant we didn’t have a need for a whole studio house anymore. We moved our more office-y staff to the space above Emma’s upcoming bar in downtown Springfield. Then, Emma, Laura and I (as well as most of our contributing writers) will all be mostly working from our homes.

This is going to be an exciting change of pace from what we’ve done these past two years! Of course we love all the ideas we dreamed up in the studio, but you might’ve noticed we weren’t sharing as much of our own homes. We really, really missed that. So we've decided to bring the focus of our content back to projects made and photographed in our homes. For me that will be mainly home decor updates; for Emma it will mean more food from her home kitchen. We're both SO excited. 

This shift really feels most natural to us! Working from home might seem like a small change to you (you can't really see where we're working from anyway, right?), but to us it's a HUGE change and a really exciting one. The small change I hope you will see is an overall cozy-ness in our vibe. That's the goal at least. 

Making room to simplify
I know it probably seems like we're running in a lot of different directions…and we are. But this year we're continuing our quest to simplify. We're evaluating our priorities, what's working and what we can see ourselves growing into in the future. We're feeling, more than ever, that we want to focus A Beautiful Mess on home projects (both renovations and decor) and food! We're exploring ways to hone in on those things while staying challenged! 

The change in social media
Instagram: This has been a super exciting year for Instagram. We started an official ABM account, and it’s grown so fast we’re not even sure what to do about it! I think the most interesting part about it is how much it's changed the way we communicate with you, and hear from you. When we first started ABM, we had no social media (none!). So it was simpler in some ways. We posted, then we read the comments. These days, we're getting comments on each post and through all the different social media channels. We're still figuring out how to prioritize our efforts. I mean, if you guys are all going to engage with us via Instagram, it makes sense to put more effort into that space. Kind of a fun challenge! 

Pinterest: So this has been one of our largest traffic sources (outside direct and Google) for a couple years now, but recent changes to Pinterest have caused a bit of a shift there. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but your feed is no longer sorted chronologically. It’s now shuffled per Pinterest’s recommendations, which results in pins showing up in your feed from sources you’re not even following. It’s a similar move Facebook made a few years back. So it’s shifting the control of your feed from those you’re following to those running Pinterest. It definitely makes sense from a business standpoint, as it gives them an easier path for advertising. We’ll see how it affects the user experience over time. Here’s an interesting/helpful write-up I found

Newcomers (to us): So I just started making my Snapchat public, (@elsielarson), and I have to admit I’m pretty much obsessed with it. I’m too new to it to comment on how it is affecting the business, but I can see that thousands of you are viewing my snaps each day, and I'm enjoying sharing a less curated, more random side of my world with you. We’ve also got a Periscope account, (@abeautifulmess), but I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. We’ve only used it a couple times. Should we do more? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Both Snapchat and Periscope are a ton of fun. I love that they delete after 24 hours because it removes a lot of pressure for us to be too "produced" and makes it feel more lighthearted. But, to be honest, it also kind of bums me out to put a lot of effort into things that don't archive. I LOVE having over eight years of blog posts I can go back and read at any time! Even though some are highly embarrassing, I love that they are archived. So, I guess that's the number one thing that puts me on the fence with those two social media apps. I'd love to hear your thoughts, because basically the only reason I'd put more effort into either one of them is if YOU enjoy them! 

New projects we’ve got coming up soon!

– The new app! I feel like we keep teasing it and never giving any details…sorry about that. It’s just not quite done yet. But we're in the testing phase, so it's not too far away now! I CAN tell you it’s going to be a photo app focused on creating fresh, clean colorful images. Augh—so excited! 

– We’re launching a new small business e-Course soon. We’re now almost a decade into running this crazy business, and we’re going to share everything we’ve learned. It comes with over two hours of video lectures. Can't wait to launch that! 

– We're working on a cookbook, but it won't be on bookshelves until 2017. We already told you all about this one, but we’re still SUPER excited. We're just beginning the development, and we'll be working on it and shooting all fall, winter and spring this year! Follow @emmaredvelvet and @elsielarson for behind the scenes peeks. This is definitely a passion project for us, and we're so thrilled to have the opportunity to do this!! 

-New home tours! One of the things I am most excited about for the coming year is oversharing every detail of my home renovations and decorations. I am so passionate about this home, and I know Emma and Laura are in the same state of mind. There will be lots of fun home inspiration coming each month alllll year. 

Alrighty! Well that's what we're up to at the moment! We're excited to enter this fresh season which I am calling "cozy time" with you. We can't say enough about how much we love and appreciate each of you who read A Beautiful Mess! Thank you for coming here and being a part of our world. WE LOVE YOU! 

Feel free to give us any requests or constructive feedback you have on your mind! I think I've already said it 40 times in this post, but we're always looking to improve and we'd love to hear what you love and what you'd like to see more of. xx. Elsie (+ Emma too) 

  • Cozy sounds good to me 🙂 I think when ABM hit it big, it was like you lost that personalized experience. It made it more difficult to connect with you as human beings. I’m not that much into home decor but I know a lot of people who read the blog are so I’m sure they’re going to love it. I do love updates on your homes though and your travel guides are pretty cool. I love it when you guys scoop your business and offer up insights on biz. Definitely looking forward to the business e-course! Best of luck to both of you and I can’t wait to see how this works, with the long-distance business relationship. Should be interesting!

  • I’m so excited about the home renovations that each of you will be blogging about. I love that each of you has a new home that is completely different from the other and that you all of your own personal style. I can’t wait to see what all of you do!

    And I just have a quick question about the app. Will it only be available for iPhone or will it also be available for Android? I want to make sure I will be able to have access to it because it sounds like something I will be needing! 🙂

  • I always feel cosy when reading ABM so I already know I’m going to love your new direction. I’m a huge fan of Snapchat and I love the personal insight it gives into people who have more formal platforms for their blog/YouTube. Would definitely love more of that, and more hashtags on Instagram. Whenever I use one I always hope that my photo will be chosen – that will only be THE MOST EXCITING DAY EVER!

  • I’m really excited about all of this! Even though I am so happy you all made beautiful books about your homes last year, I am excited that new fresh content related to your homes will be back on the blog! yay for changing seasons!

  • Thanks for the update. You guys are such a great inspiration to me. And now with your new homes even more. My home renovations came to a bit of a stand still. But seeing you guys getting so much stuff done motivates me to get cracking too. Just about to tile a bathroom splash back all by myself!! Thanks for all that inspiration!
    Just started following you on Snapchat Elise and I love it. I like seeing the less perfect side of you guys and I mean that in a total positive way. Just every day stuff and lot of house progress.
    Periscope is cool, just started following a few people. The only negative thing I find is, that everyone is suddenly on all those new social media stuff so I feel I need to check all those sites.
    Happy renovating 🙂

  • Small biz ecourse…YES!!! That is awesome and I can’t wait. I’m so excited for you gals, and can’t wait to see what is yet to come. Also, I am obsessed with Periscope, so I would LOVE to see more.

  • Yay!!! I’m insanely excited for the cookbook. I agree that you should hone in on things that feel the most authentic to your brand, like cooking and home renovation/DIY, but I would really miss things like Sister Style and the cool little beauty/hair tutorials from contributors. Hope those “style” posts will still hang around! Love you gals!!!!

  • Loved reading this update! I’ve been reading ABM since late 2008, and I do feel like a bit of the personal, cozy vibe has been missing over the last year or two. I LOVE your more personal posts about life updates, business advice and sharing your home decor!!! Oh and anything about parties. I DO love the DIY crafts too, but the personal stuff is my favorite. 😀

    Can’t wait to see what this next year brings!

    xoxo
    Allison
    http://www.wonwderlass.com

  • I only discovered you recently but already you one of my favourite blogs! I am so excited to see all of the exciting things you have coming up, thanks for sharing!

  • I rarely leave comments because I’m lazy 😀 but I love following you on Instagram (both personal and biz accounts) as well as on Pinterest. Don’t know if it helps, but that’s where I like to follow you and where I interact 🙂

    I’m so excited for your fresh start! Thank you for sharing it with us 🙂

  • This is one of my favourite posts where both of you keep us updated on ABM and what’s next. I enjoy following the ABM blog and love seeing you on my IG feed.

  • I love Periscope. If you use Katch then you can save them (either privately or publicly) in case you do want to use them or view them again later. 🙂

  • I love following along with all of your changes. I been a reader since 2011, and while I haven’t been around since the very beginning of ABM I have seen your blog grow and it makes me SO INSPIRED!! I am a creative lady myself-working a 40 hr office job while running my Etsy shop (my TRUE love) with any free time I have. It has been super hard but seriously reading your blog has inspired me to start thinking about taking the next step.
    Random thought but I LOVE seeing your home renovations. DIY Network / HGTV would be smart to contact you both about a home renovation show. I know tons of people would love it!! Keep doing what you are doing. <333

  • And we love you!!! I Always feel happy when reading your posts 🙂
    I would also like that you keep doing small and easy DIY, books and tips for photography.
    All the luck on the new ABM year!

  • I’m a full-time supported of you guys, everything you decide to do, I love. The e-courses (I have to catch up!), and the messy box, the blog, Instagram. I think you make my life more colorful and I always appreciate that, so thank you.

    I don’t use Snapchat or Periscope, I’m kinda lazy when it comes to getting new things on my phone and I go all I dunnwannaaaa. So yeah :p

    One thing I’d really love to see back is Casual Fridays. I know Sarah is somewhere else now but you are all fantastic photographers and it was one of my favorite features. The behind-the-scenes, the messy desks, the cozy vibe you talk about here. I hope it comes back.

    Best of luck with every single thing!
    Natalia (from Chile).

  • I love, love, LOVE these updates! Anytime y’all pull back the curtain on your internal creative processes, it just inspires me SO much. Y’all are amazing and I am a forever fanatic of your work. Can’t wait to see what the future brings!

  • Yay for home tours! Thanks in advance for oversharing. I’m a house junkie and am thrilled 3 new houses are in the works 🙂

  • i LOVE the snapchats!! i love coming home after work and watching them. please continue!

  • I am loving the direction you are going! My favorite posts are your home tours and updates on diy stuff you are doing! They really don’t need to be finished spaces. Like your color stained floors. Loved that post. I also follow you on Instagram and Snapchat and really enjoy/look forward to those posts. Snapchat feels like a secret preview, which is super fun. I would love to see more from Laura too. I love her posts!

  • I loved the beauty posts in the past where yall shared daily makeup routines or hairstyles and the posts where you gave someone a little makeover and a few outfit styles. I hope to still see beauty and style posts!
    xoxo

  • I found your blog because of your “Happy Mail” subscription. I’m loving your subscriptions services, the style and the posts about using the Messy Box. I love all papercrafts and certainly enjoy that side of your products.

    I also really enjoy the personality that shines through every project and post on this blog. It’s beautiful and messy and real and I love it! Thanks for sharing your creations!

  • I am so excited for you guys! Keep going, you are doing amazing work! I am personally interested in that upcoming cookbook you make, so please keep me posted about that!

  • Yay all of you! I love ABM. What I would love to see more is the creative thought process and all your inspiration, tattoos for sure (I got so excited when Emma had that post), and also more of the personal story posts on the blog. I know we (readers) can get a lot of that aspect from following on social media but it’s nice to see into the lives of the people we look up to on this blog as people like us. Thanks and keep on keepin’ on xx

  • Love it all! I’ve been a faithful reader since 2009 and I’ve loved every new season of the blog and brand. I love peeking at your homes and look forward to reading more about your renovations. I don’t have my own home yet, so it’s not always applicable, but it’s still fun to look at! I would LOVE, and I feel like you’ve mentioned this before, if you would do a home line! I love the products you’ve produced and with all of your efforts going into homes right now, how perfect to introduce your own line?! Just dreaming out loud. Maybe one day! Til then I’ll be reading! Love ya girls!

  • Thanks for being so transparent with your updates! Your blog is a daily read for me and has been for a few years now. I’m definitely inspired by the business aspect, too, as a creative who hopes to go on her own full time someday. And I love following you all on social media (although I’m not a Snapchat or Periscope user… does that make me old?)

    One thing I’ve noticed over the past year, is how the amount of content you put here on the blog has decreased. It might’ve been this same post last year where you announced you were taking posts from three down to two a day to allow us readers to spend more time with each post. For me, that’s been pretty jarring here. If you’re growing, why should content decrease? I do understand that more of your efforts are going into your other projects that are working towards your brand as a whole. But I do hope you’re not leaving the blog behind. I’ve missed that third post… but maybe it’s just me.

    Thanks for all you ladies do! Keep being you.

  • i love the snapchats! pretty fun to see whats going on.
    and maybe its a good thing that thats only 24 hrs vs for a life time.
    plus theyre mostly updates of your home that will eventually end up a bigger scale on abm.

    one thing that has really bugged me about the abm products (when it comes to phones) is that the androids pretty much get left out.
    i hate that we never got an update on the abm app.
    i can honestly say that since you updated the iphone version i havent even opened mine. and i 100% understand that its harder to develop specially since the developers went and messed that up but i feel like it was just brushed under the rug. (but then again maybe it wasnt because i know you wrote a heart felt post on that)
    then the photo photo app…it just sucks to be left out because i seriously buy basically anything you guys shell out and it sucks that i cannot have the product that others have just because i go for a different brand other than apple.

    and the phone cases!!!! theres such a small (to me anyways) market for galaxy phone cases and again, nothing. with elsies artistic style, you guys would so kill it in the phone case game.
    ive only had one cover for every galaxy i have had because again, selection (although i did buy the abm cover for the s3 when you guys partnered up with that one etsy shop. i bought 2 actually)

    sorry if it seems like im complaining, i dont really mean too! specially since you already give us such cool free content on the blog every day but thats just my two cents.

    please think about it!
    thanks

  • I always enjoy the content of your blog! And I love watching as you guys change and grow. As a small business owner, it’s very inspirational : ) Thanks! : )

  • I’ve enjoyed your blog for many years, and am excited about where it is headed! I don’t do much crafting or DIY stuff myself, but I really enjoy seeing what you guys make and the way you decorate your homes. Looking forward to what comes next!

  • I’m so excited for the home renos, they’re by far my favorite! It’s so inspiring to see how a space can evolve. I sometimes get stuck on how a room looks and just kind of believe it will look like that forever lol — but I love love love seeing how you guys are able to completely transform drab and simple spaces. You all certainty have a gift for seeing potential in a space and it’s motivated me to do that same 🙂

    A quick sidenote: seeing as how Laura, Elsie and Emma have all recently sold houses they’ve spent a few years renovating and updating, I’m interested to know if the updates done to the home were worth it from an investment standpoint… I know it’s personal and a bit of a taboo subject, but I’d be interested to know if you gals got the money out of your homes when you sold. As a homeowner, I’m a little nervous to sink too many dollars into my place for the fear I won’t get it back when I decide to sell. Anyway, I realize that housing markets differ vastly from place to place, but if you’re comfortable advising on which renos you thought increased the value of your house and which did not so much, I’d love to hear your opinion 🙂

  • Your entire team is so inspiring! I love that you understand the need to diversify and change as trends change. Nothing is going to last forever, and instead of throwing in the towel when certain aspects of blogging (or whatever) changes, you just try to transition with it. Lots of luck to you in the coming year!

  • Can I suggest something? Could you add Diqus or something like that for comments? Something that lets us know when someone (usually you guys) reply to us, because I never know when you do.

  • I am so happy for you guys, I have been following Elsie since she had her own ABM and sold paintings in Etsy. What a great change.

    I am just a little worried you are going to be backing out from scrapbooking? Thats my absolute favorite content but I can see the rest of the public is more into home-decor. Please don’t let that die! I wish I could completely see all of Elsie’s scrapbooks :’)

  • Great write up. I am really excited for y’all! I am started following you (Elsie) on snapchat recently and it is awesome. Keep the snaps coming! I have a Periscope and I think it could be really cool for y’all. Maybe little videos when you’re traveling or doing less formal things? IDK. I really enjoy your videos and and would love to see more. Plus more Livestreams (gosh, this is a really demanding comment, sorry, i just really enjoy your stuff!) Whatever you decide, just keep it coming. It is inspiring to watch your journey.

  • I love these updates. It’s been so fun watching your awesome business grow over the last few years! I think Periscope is a really interesting concept, but I have yet to see anyone really leverage it in a valuable way. I would be so interested to see what you come up with if you try, but I also see where it can be a tough place to invest time and effort. I really see it as the ultimate “sneak peek” – a place to say, look at what we’re working on right now, this recipe is literally being cooked before your eyes. But you can do the same thing (in a way) via Instagram and, like you said, have the record! Either way, I’ll check it out if you try it out!

  • I love your blog, I read it everyday. My faves are home decor/ renovations, recipes, SCRAPBOOKING (please don get rid of this), crafts, and everything you post. I can’t think of one thing you could get rid of.

  • I’m mostly on Snapchat to see my sister and brother in law’s videos of them and their kids, but I started following you a couple weeks ago as well. I love getting to see the less produced lives of creators! I get to see my messy studio all the time, but I love getting a glimpse into how other people operate and then getting to see the finished product here is that much more rewarding.

    I love your site because of the personal aspect; I know the names of all the people who work for the company, and it gives it a much smaller feel even though you’ve blown up in the past few years. Excited to see where you guys as individuals and as a company go!

  • Love love love the DIY and Scrapbooking posts!! I would love to see some scrapbooking posts that do not exclusively use the messy box/book products (like the December Dailies- loved that one!!)I always turn to your blog when I am bored at work (whoops) and would love to see more content daily. It used to be such a treat to get a new post multiple times a day, and now it’s just once or twice (sad face). Keep up the great work and good luck with all your moves!

  • Periscope is only useful to those with iphones. You may put all your sessions on youtube, so that they are saved. Just make sure that they are set to public viewing.

  • It’s always interesting to read your ‘state of the biz’ posts. Truly inspiring for anyone who wants to start working on a creative project full time and from home (I know I do!). Love the quote “I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

  • You can always upload your Periscope videos to YouTube or Vimeo if you want… Just save the Periscope to your phone after you broadcast and then upload like any other video. I do this with only the ones I really like and want to keep though, not the ones where I am “umming” a ton and look like I have no idea how to speak English 🙂 You gotta watch live to see those gems! haha

  • I’m excited to see how you guys continue to evolve! And I’m getting super excited for all these home projects coming soon! I do hope you guys continue to do some small crafty, gifty DIYs–those are some of my faves! And I also really liked the book club! But I’ll be here no matter what 🙂

  • It will be avail for both! We plan to launch them at the same time too. We’ve never developed both at the same time before so we’re excited to see what everyone thinks. 🙂

    -emma

  • Oh no, you don’t seem like you’re complaining. We asked! We always like to hear about your experiences. You’ll be happy to know that we’ve been developing the Android version of our next app right along with the IOS version. We plan to launch both at the same time. So we have NOT forgotten about you Android users although I can totally understand why you might feel that way! Don’t worry—you’re gonna be a part of this next app from the very beginning and we’re really excited about that. 🙂

    -Emma

  • Hi Jody- it’s not taboo, but it’s not necessarily something I want to put up on the internet if that makes sense. Feel free to email me directly if you’re really curious about this point (emma@abeautifulmess.com). Not sure if my experiences can really help you, as house markets are so different all across the USA and the world, but if it can at all I’d be happy to share.

    -Emma

  • Emma- that is totally understandable!! Didn’t mean to sound snoopy, I was just curious. And thanks so much for the offer to chat – that is seriously so sweet – but it’s all good. Can’t wait to see the rest of your house updates!

    Cheers!

    Jody 🙂

  • I have both of your apps and I have found myself really yearning for full photo support rather than the square crop. At first I wanted this for scrapbooking (I love the phrases and doodles on the ABM app), but now that instagram dropped the crop I wish for the crop to be gone almost every time I use your apps. They are still lovely and I make it work..

    And if you did update the apps I would love more doodles/phrases/filters even if I have to pay!

    Thanks for making such fun projects. I am excited for the next app!

    Oksana

  • I haven’t got into Periscope yet, but I will definitely follow your account when I finally do! Also, I didn’t know you had Snapchat! It’ll be interesting to see you on a more laid back (is that the right way to describe it) social media!

  • Really excited to see a less produced ABM – bring back the Red Velvet Girl days!

    On a side note, I feel as though with the new cookbook coming out, ABM needs to up their recipe sharing game. I really enjoyed when you shared themed party spreads you had created as these made me excited to try new ideas and hold get togethers. I also miss the cute cupcakes!

  • Elsie, I love that you’re on Snapchat! I’ve been reading your blog since around 2008 I think, and it’s nice to see a bit of the “uncurated” side of your life. I hope you enjoy Nashville! Tennessee’s on my list of places to visit, particularly for Dollywood.

  • I love everything, especially home design and decor posts! An idea/suggestion for a future blog post: I would LOVE for you to do a post on retailers, shops, online sites and bigger box stores that you love for buying furniture, art, decor, all things “home.” I thought the Etsy post a few weeks back was great, but a more exhaustive post that’s almost more of a reference list or resource page would be so amazing, as someone who’s in the process of making a house a home. I always hit the 6-7 sites/stores when I’m hunting for something specific, then I get stalled. HELP!

  • I loved the idea of “cozy time” season. <3
    Maybe we'll feel more like "friends" talking about some project than someone reading about someone else's life who lives far far away.
    And I'm pretty sure you guys are going to be great in anything you desire.
    🙂

    But please please please keep making style posts as well. I love your style girls. I love that the outfits are "real life" outfits.

    Love you too guys! 🙂
    xo, Deborah
    http://www.loveandeverythingblog.com

    P.S. I’m loving the snapchat, it turned you into a REAL person to me Elsie. Not that you weren’t before, but, you know. Now it’s REALLY real. And I think it’s a good thing. It’s kind of fun.

  • Oh, one more thing.
    One day you said in a snap that it’s awkward to you to see that a lot of people are seeing your photos and videos and never talking back.
    But we can’t talk back. 🙁
    Actually we can, I did answered. But I think you can’t see if you are not following the person back. 🙂
    I think you probably know that now, but just wanted to explain too.

    xo sweetie

  • I’m a marketing major at university so I am a little obsessed with social media and how businesses can use it to have a better relationship with their customers. Elsie, I really like how you use Snapchat – I’ve unfollowed a couple of people on Snapchat because they shared too many Snaps and it was a bit overwhelming when I logged on. I have a question for you – do you like it when people reply to your snaps with another snap or with a chat comment?

    I’m pretty new to Periscope but Hilary Rushford is going some amazing stuff that I’m really enjoying and make the time to watch before they expire (because I’m in Australia so I often miss them live). I think Periscope is super interesting.

  • I really enjoyed this post. I had been thinking recently that the content on the site, while great, was feeling a little “too clean” or “too produced,” which I’m sure is such weird feedback (that I see a lot of other commenters have been saying). It’s kind of funny because I would imagine as you watch the site grow and gain success you’d want the content to get cleaner and more professional. While some of these projects call for it (more major home renovation type things), I do miss the kind of ‘scrappy’ DIY craft posts that really did give this blog the cozy vibe — from glitter jars to Friendsgiving garlands — just little homey DIY crafts here and there. I’ve been reading ABM for about 5 years now and I’m always looking forward to the changes you guys embrace — I’m excited that you guys are excited about working from home again, I’m sure that will be reflected in the content very soon 🙂

  • I completely agree with your comment. I have been a long-time reader of AMB and I miss how personalized the blog was in the first few years of its existence. This being said, it will continue to be one of my daily reads and I can’t wait to see how the blog evolves over the next few months/years!

  • I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, and it is my favorite of the ones I check regularly. There are a couple things that I really appreciate: you guys are constantly posting (there’s something new every day!); you rarely have any spelling or grammatical errors (sounds silly, but errors distract me and the fact you guys never have any shows that you care enough to proofread!) My favorite posts are the DIY of any kind. Thanks for all the work you do, you’re great!

  • Ya’ll continue to inspire me on a daily basis. It has been so fun watching this blog evolve. I love you on snapchat Elsie! I am so excited to see more of your personal home projects! Congratulations on so many happy things. I live (slightly) long distance from my sister and it hurts my heart but the challenge to keep each other in the loop is well worth it!

  • I love all this awesome news/updates! A new app!? I am so excited! This must be the year of change. I just started looking for my first place! While it is starting to turn into a rather daunting task (thumbs down), all of your home decor posts keep me motivated. I cannot wait to decorate my first apartment or whatever I end up finding.

    PS: I love the snapchats! They are so fun and it is cool to see your lives behind the blog 🙂

    xo
    Kristin

  • I’m so happy to hear all of this. I’m so glad you have been so successful and honestly, it’s no question why. You two are so sincere, talented, kind, and wonderful. I am so happy for you.

  • My favorite type of content, and the reason I check your blog, is definitely the more personal, advice-giving, random update, or going against a trend type (some favorites are sister style, talking about thrifting or swimsuit shopping, book club, Emma’s posts on fitness, changing dreams, and tattoos, any sort of biz tip…).

    I hope that cozy will still encompass some of that!
    I love your brand, and always look forward to checking your blog or clicking around the archives. Cheers to a great year!

  • Congrats on all the new projects! Sounds like it may be a good fit for you all!

    I’m relieved that ABM is simplifying. I was dazzled by the creative frenzy and lovely projects of the last two years, but I enjoyed the Red Velvet era the most.

    Cheers to your team!

    J

  • Hey Jody!
    I’m not planning to blog about that, but I’ll answer you here! :)) The things I did to my last house that helped increase the value were updating the countertops, restoring and matching some original wood floors and general modernizing it (painting over dated colors and replacing dated light fixtures). I’m not a house flipper by any means (we did all of that because that’s how we wanted it to be for us to live there) but generally if it greatly improves the home in your opinion then some others will probably share that opinion.

    xx! Elsie

  • Thank you Tamara!!
    Rachel has been doing an awesome job filling in for me, but as soon as we get back from Europe next month I’m planning to work on my “week in the life” scrapbook and I’ll share it here! I haven’t scrapbooked in months and I miss it!! 🙂

    Elsie

  • Thanks for sharing the evolution of your vision and current passions! I am wondering, though: will you be moving by away from paper crafting & photo books? How does your shop, Happy Mail and Messy Box fit into your home & food-focused strategy? Thanks! Hil

  • I’ve been reading ABM from pretty much the beginning. It’s been so great to see how it’s evolved over the years. I do agree that I somtimes miss the personal touch. I’d love to learn more about your contributors too! Keep up the good work everyone! As allways, its a pleasure to read your blog. 🙂

  • I’m a fairly new reader of ABM but I love it all the same! I love that it’s a bit of everything not just all beauty etc. I love the colours and I definitely feel at home when I come here – so I’m looking forward to seeing your new projects 🙂 xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

  • This is great news, I must admit I have stopped following you so much as I though you were becoming more corporate and I was missing what I had loved about your earlier on. I felt that you were becoming more about money and growth and it started to feel a bit sterile and formulaic.

    Great news and good luck with it all. S xxx

  • The home renovation/decoration posts are my favourite! I would like to echo other commenters also in relation to more ‘cozy’ or personal posts. Its great when you can truly hear your voice in your writing. I love following you on Snapchat! Thanks for all the hard work you put into ABM!

  • Yes, we’re still doing Happy Mail and Messy Box!

    I didn’t mean to say were were *only* going to blog about home and food. That’s not true at all. That’s just where we’d like to put more focus for the coming year. 🙂 So if we start a fun new feature or a big project, it’ll probably be in that space.

    xx- Elsie

  • I’ve been thinking about making snapchat public as well, (although I surely won’t have thousands of viewers) and it kind of scares me. Did you have any reservations? If so, what made you decide to take the plunge?

    Thanks for the update on your fabulous blog! I will be a follower here and in social media till the end.

    ♥Heather

  • So, you can use Katch to keep your Periscopes archived. I’ve seen a blogger archive them, then load them to YouTube!

    I can’t wait to see all the other fun stuff you all make – you’re so inspiring and I’m glad things are getting cozy.

    http://www.thedeanslistblog.com

  • I love the home decorating and the house tours. Not into the cooking part at all. But who knows it could one day lead to a cooking show. I first started reading your blog because of your scrapbooking. Still loved the photo book and the decorating book you guys came out with.

  • Yay! So happy to hear it 🙂 I just recently started creating photo books because of you and I love it! It has turned out to be a great way for me to be present in the NOW instead of always thinking of / planning for / dreaming about what’s next. Thank you! xo h

  • This is all so very exciting! I’m appreciative that you guys share these kinds of thoughts with your readers. I’ve been following your blog for years now, and in a (not creepy) way, I feel like I know you guys. It makes me happy to know that you care about us enough to keep us in the loop about where things are headed. So thank you!

    Also, I can’t WAIT to see all of your guys’ new home updates as they progress. I definitely love the home decor focus on the blog. With that being said, I LOVE your guys’ style and seeing your homes, but I also LOVE the “At Home With” feature. Just seeing the different ways that people nest and build their homes is so inspiring and interesting. I hope that is something that continues!

    Thanks again. Can’t wait for another great year of reading ABM 🙂

  • I admit I’m a frequent visitor but rarely comment! I’m waiting for the day where I’ll have a new house to renovate and use your tips. I’m in awe of the work you put in these houses, which is totally different from the Greek’s mentality. I rarely see people put so much effort to renovate a house in my home country…then again they all aim to buy a newly built apartment! Anyway I don’t know if anyone mentioned it, but Pinterest “promotes” your popular pins (those with lots of repins, comments etc). This post explains the situation http://www.sarahtitus.com/2015/01/23/9-reasons-you-should-be-deleting-your-pins-pinterest/ Hope it helps!

  • Elsie i love your snapchats! I feel like it gives the readers a more personal relationship with you. I like how I can be looking at my friends stories and then tap on yours like you are just another one of my girl-friends. I am such a huge fan of you ladies and I love how open you two are about the business. Thanks for being great! 🙂

  • I’ve been following along ever since Red Velvet. You guys were one of the first blogs I discovered online. And ever since then you never stopped to impress me. I talk about you with my friends and always show them the amazing things you make. ABM inspires me daily. I love how humble and real you have been throughout this journey.
    I am so excited about the changes that are taking place, I personally love change, I feel that it helps you see things differently, experience new things and be even more creative. Oh I cannot wait for all the home decor posts and all the diys!!!
    Elsie, your snaps are the cutest, seriously, I wrote you on Instagram how I always load them first <3 I think people are loving getting to see behind the scenes and feeling closer to you, and relating to your life.
    Best of luck for this coming year, ABM.
    Sending you all the love all the way from Beirut.

  • I didn’t read all 100+ comments, so I’m not sure whether this suggestion has been made; however, I would love a series about how your contributors and other people in your line of creative work got to where they are today and landed their dream jobs. I have loved reading your journeys and would really enjoy reading others’ and learning from them as well, particularly people who have made a big career shift. I think other readers would like this too 🙂

  • And if I hadn’t come back to check if somebody else had commented, I never would’ve known, Carolyn 😀

    (And it’s Disqus, I wrote the name wrong in my original comment, oops).

  • I’ve just recently started following you guys! Love what you’re doing, I hope you love working from home. I just recently started working from, and I love it! 🙂

  • I may be a little late to the party on this post…. but I was wondering if you’ll still be doing the happy mail in the future? My husband got me a year subscription for my birthday in May and it’s become like a little mid-month pick me up!

  • I’m gonna miss Sister Style, but I’m looking forward to more home designs.

  • Would LOVE to see you more on Periscope AND Snapchat!! You can actually sign up to http://katch.me or add #katch to your streams and it will archive all your streaming! So, challenge, overcome 😉 Thanks for all the awesomely hard work and great posts- I’ve loved them all along! Plus you ladies are SUCH an inspiration!! <3

  • I love that Emma will be making more food from her kitchen. My one request would be that you format your recipes so that they can be easily loaded into Paprika. I don’t know if you’ve come across this wonderful cross platform app but it’s wonderful. Here’s a review of it in one of my other favorite blogs – Uncluttered – https://unclutterer.com/2015/05/12/digital-recipe-solutions-to-love/

    I manually add your recipes when they can’t be saved – sometimes they can be and some times they can’t. I’m not sure what’s required in terms of formatting.

    Much appreciation for your work. I loved the recent empty house tour, too.

    Heather