First, let me say: Pinkeggshell is coming into its own in a very big way. It has taken me 7 years to realize that my life, and yours, is multifaceted and we should’ve been telling lifestyle stories all along. I've tried to keep the focus of Pinkeggshell on decorating, opting not to venture too far away from that. In my mind, I didn't want to be cliché and I hadn’t yet envisioned that I was creating some type of lifestyle brand. Then it dawned on me: I was not only knowledgeable of design trends and homeowner “how to” guides but I was keeping up with fashion trends, must-have beauty novelties, new health regimens and had stowed away some travel diaries I have yet to share. Besides, what girl doesn't love a little variety?
Nothing was new. Nobody cared. Or did they?
Prior to this epiphany, I was picking a date to shut down Pinkeggshell when a group of friends gathered at my Atlanta condo to comb through the blog and come up with suggestions for improving it instead. If you remember, we launched this new platform in January. I thought it was dope and I thought we were doing everything we were supposed to be doing. Then, I started to feel indifferent about the blog and I didn't know why.
For weeks I tried to put myself in your shoes and think about the type of information you could use in your daily life. I'm a pencil and paper type of gal, so I wrote all the comments out on sticky notes and put them on my white board. I would add notes and images where I could until I worked things out. Months later I want you to know how proud I am that I went through the process, that I asked the tough questions. I put my baby out there and got some really valuable feedback.
Here are a few things I've learned. The first 3 are about me. The last 3 about the blog.
To my readers:
1. A few years back, I received this unsolicited feedback from a reader saying that I needed to be more transparent, but in an aggressive way. Even though I posted about it later, I really didn't respond well to it and nothing changed. Now, I get it: You want to know if I'm your type of chick. Would we really hang out? Get a drink when I'm in your city. Do I live by the J-code: Jay-z, "I ain’t talking about it, if I ain’t living it." I feel you. I received my final confirmation from Tiffany Brooks just the other day. She and I were on the phone and she asked why I didn't post more on Facebook. I was like why? She proceeded to tell me that she had been following me for years and was a huge fan long before she met me. It was really very touching.
To my colleagues:
2. You guys don't know how much I love you and how much I fight for you every day. What Tiffany was saying and what my panel of friends pointed out is the amount of behind the scenes stuff that goes on in my camp—especially as it pertains to the plight of Black interior design professionals. I know you can’t see me working on your behalf but I would like for you to help me move this thing forward. It should not matter who you are or where you live. We should be able to work together on this one.
I've flown all over the country on my own dime, to attend events, conferences, and meetings where I try my best to push our agenda forward. That agenda is not built as a reactionary effort but to respond to the lack of black faces within the design industry. It's meant to get magazines and brands to just think about you and your design business. I don't try to strong arm anyone or shame them into including more black designers. I simply ask that they look at their pages and ask themselves if the designers are a true representation of the country. Furthermore, black people are not isolated to one type of lifestyle and neither are our tastes or interests.
In May we celebrated the 5th installment of the #AATOP20. Sometimes the fences are built to keep us out, but this event was to bridge the gap and connect like-minded people. Now because I am a child of the most high, God, and believe that he orders my steps, I don't trip. I have carved a space unlike any other and in doing that; I know things will fall in place when they are supposed to. I don't trip because I know what I'm doing is necessary and that I have been chosen to lead the way.
3. You want a place to talk design. I believe many of you have what it takes to have thriving design businesses, the talent is there, but the business aspect requires commitment. I don't talk about this much, but I do business organization training for some pretty major design firms, I am super organized and successfully run my company by the numbers. I can help more than I do in this area. In the coming months we'll be rolling out some new events and partnerships. (Stick with me. More on that later.) In the meantime, submit your design projects to be featured on the blog. This is your place to be seen. You could do it by yourself, but why would you when you have me. The thing about designers, and I can't tell if it's in our DNA, but many of us have an “it’s all about me” mentality. Instead of shooting a project and sending it out to several blogs, we try to move it around social media on our own. That would be like Beyoncé only preforming in the US. Yes, I've very selective. Yes, I have high standards. But I won't give up on you if you don't give up on yourself!
About the Blog
1. Pinkeggshell loves the kids! Some of you have young children and you'd like to see more post celebrating them: Their spaces, hair and style. A little while after I started Pinkeggshell, I started a kids and baby blog called Lavender Gloss. I did not expect Pinkeggshell to take off so quickly so when it did and Lavender Gloss fell by the wayside. I should have let Pinkeggshell go and grown Lavender Gloss, but I went with what I knew the most about. Every time I attend an amazing event or meet the most amazing mothers, I kick myself for not having a platform to share their stories. In the coming months, you're going to see some cool spaces and parties and I can't wait. (You can submit your parties, nurseries and playrooms also.)
2. You want access to more live events. I have design classes and seminars in cities across the country 5 to 6 times per year. There are two formats. One where I teach decorating classes to homeowners and another, where I teach business classes to up-and-coming designers. I don't know why, but I seldom write about the classes on the blog or share the images via social media (I already know what you’re thinking). I like to think that when I'm in service to people that my efforts should not be self-serving. Of course that is only partial true. I say it's because I don't want anyone to copy my idea. But if I dig really deep the truth starts to surface. The real reason is fear. The fear that no one will show up if I make a big deal about it. Now let me tell you how crazy that is. Whereever I've spoken in the past 5 years, has either sold out or had standing room only. People always come and they always love it. And I absolutely love meeting people in person. Although I'm still hesitant to make this a bigger part of my business, now, I know better. That being said, be on the look out for more live events!
3. Finally, I get that you, too, are a work in progress and that you need help doing more than just decorating your home. I'm a woman born in the south. Unless that is your story as well, you have no idea how important everything about being a woman is in the south. The home, the clothes, the hair and the makeup are at the top. Followed by the hosting, entertaining, and tailgating. It's not until you round out the top 10 that what you do for a living even comes into play. What you "do" matters little compared to being a wife and mother. As outdated as it might sound to some, you are stretched thin. And it's not just church, the kids party on Saturday requires a double layer chocolate cake with rainbow sprinkles and long story short, you need as much of your information in one spot as possible.
So here's the deal.
Over the past few months I've brought on some new contributors to help bring you content in all the areas that effect your life. Be warned. The new contributors are some really dope dealers: They set trends not follow them. They will push you to grow and challenge yourself in their various areas of their expertise. The idea is not to tell you what to do or wear, but to encourage bold choices and inspire others to get on the individuality train.
Since the number one thing you want from the blog and me is to hear from me personally, at the beginning of each month you'll get a editor’s letter. Maybe not this long, but a letter from me to you.
I love you and thank you for sticking with me through all the changes.