Grace Bonney : Design Sponge

Photo Credit: Peter Yang

1. Has writing always been your passion?

My favorite toy as a child was a typewriter. As an only child, it always felt like the best way to entertain myself and find an outlet for my imagination.

2. Working for so many notable publications what was your sign to know you could start a online blog on your own?

 I started the blog well before I started writing for publications. When I started D*S magazines like Domino and Blueprint didn't exist yet, so I really only thought of my blog as a fun hobby. When the home/lifestyle niche blew up big time it became clear that their might be a job in there if I worked at it hard enough.

3. How did you find contributors? Did you use resources from your prior publications?

I found my contributors by hiring people I was fans of or already knew as friends. I wanted to find people I trusted and could let go to do their own thing without needing much guidance.

4. The blog is almost 9 years old, did you expect this to grow so much? What were your biggest surprises?

Absolutely not- I thought it would be a fun hobby until I got the guts to apply for a job at a magazine and even though that came to pass, I kept the blog the whole time and, knock on wood, it's lasted longer than a lot of my favorite magazines.

5. Do you see yourself starting something else beyond the blog? Anything in the works?

I'd always love to open a charity wing of Design*Sponge. Animal rights, world hunger and helping military families are a big passion of ours, so I'd love to find a way to give back more on a regular basis.

6. When did you start the D S Biz Lady Series? What made you decide that?

That was inspired by an informal Biz Ladies dinner at my friend Rena Tom's house (she owned Rare Device then and now works at- and founded- Makeshift Society). Rena invited us over for drinks and some casual moral support (all the guests ran their own businesses) and I mentioned it on the blog as a great way to get advice and feedback. People asked me to create one so I did. Then I turned it into a 10 city national meetup one year (I funded it on my own) and then, when travel became too costly, turned it into a weekly free advice column.

7. Has social media played a large role in your business?

Until recently it hasn't played a huge part. I only really got into twitter two years ago, so it's been something I've slowly learned to love and embrace as a place to be more casual and talk about things other than design.

8. Where are you originally from? Will New York always be your home?

I'm from Virginia Beach, VA. I love the south but I think I'm pretty much a New Yorker (more specifically, a Brooklynite) now.

9. Who inspires you? Do you have anyone on your wish list to contribute to Design Sponge?

I'm inspired right now mainly by people who really put themselves on the line for their work- musicians, comedians, chefs- people who make their personality and their passion a major part of what they do.