Grace Bonney is a blogging trailblazer. With an eye for interior design, DIY, and writing, she started Design*Sponge in 2004. It’s a super popular destination for all things creative — home, design, and entrepreneurship — that gets 1 million views daily. Now Grace has launched a new book, In the Company of Women, talking to over 100 diverse women in the business of creativity like Eileen Fisher, Tavi Gevinson, Liz Lambert, and Jodie Patterson.
On this episode, Stephan talks to Grace about the evolution of Design*Sponge and gets meta, asking Grace questions about her own interview questions in her new book.
“It's easy to fall in that trap of thinking that because a woman does what you do, there’s a finite amount of space … and it’s just never true.”
Grace's book starts with a quote from Marian Wright Edelman: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” It's sort of a mission statement for the book and the reason Grace traveled the country to interview women of color, LGBT women, differently-abled women and women over 40 — all demographics often overlooked in the media and in the world of creative entrepreneurship.
“I didn’t want this to be a greatest hits of everything you did right in your career, because you don’t learn anything from that.”
In building her own brand, Grace admits her own struggles with keeping Design*Sponge going financially, while giving her readers what they want and listening to feedback. In those moments of hardship, she's found defining traits of her brand, and she wanted to find these moments in other people's stories.
By alternating questions about success with questions about failures, and talking about her own first-hand experiences, Grace was able to really connect with people and make them feel comfortable sharing their stories. It seems that the best kinds of questions challenge people to do more than recall something, but to discover something — ideally, about themselves.
In the Company of Women is out now. You can check it out and ask yourself and your friends some of the questions. Listen to the full episode above to hear Grace answer some of her own questions from the book and check out the full calendar of her month-long book tour which starts October 4!
Feature photo by Sasha Israel Photography
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