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What methods of organization have you found to be the most successful for you and your work?

It changes all the time, but everything we do is digital. Most of my business lives on Google docs or through Google platforms, so I don’t know what I’d do without those tools. I’ve long abandoned writing things down on paper, so everything has to be digital- with a backup reminder.

 

What has surprised you the most about running your business full-time?

How much I love the business end of things. Until a few years ago, I had a very “head in the sand” approach to the business side of my company. I wanted to be involved purely in the creative/editorial side- and that was an unwise decision to make. I am still in the process of learning that side of my work and getting back into the nitty gritty of financial decisions and, while it’s overwhelming, it’s important (and motivating) for me to understand every level of my business and what makes it tick.

 

How do you overcome self-doubt and days when you aren’t feeling creative?

I give into those days. I used to fight them and now I’ve realized they’re just a part of the package. I try to get outside, go for a walk with our dogs or just focus on something I can do with my hands (like gardening or cooking) that will get my mind off of work and back into the real world. It’s usually on those walks that creative ideas end up coming back to me.

 

How has living in the Hudson Valley region influenced your work in comparison to Brooklyn?

It’s given me the freedom to focus on what I really love and what really matters to me at DS. Living in NYC made me feel like I was constantly competing to be “the best”, when all I needed to do was stop and appreciate what had already been built and how well it was doing. I didn’t need to be “number 1” in order to be happy. Living upstate has given me the chance to find a quieter space where I could separate my own inner voice (and needs) from what the noise of the city made me feel.

 

What is your favorite quote/mantra?

“Whatever works, until it doesn’t”. Life changes, work changes. The sooner we embrace that and that solutions are usually only temporary, the easier it will be to go with the flow.

 

What has been the most challenging part of running Design*Sponge? What has been the most rewarding?

The most challenging and the most rewarding are the same for me- working with a team. I’m not a natural team manager and it’s been my Achilles heel. But it’s also given me some of the best moments of my work so far. Seeing people succeed and be able to do things like start companies or buy their first house because of their work with DS means more to me than anything else.

 

What advice would you give to a young creative woman just coming out of school?

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Take that unexpected job or trip or opportunity. Make mistakes. Who you are now and what you do now will not define you for the rest of your life. And always protect yourself and your value. Don’t let people tell you who you are and what you are good at isn’t worth anything. 

Grace Bonney

Where did your love for interiors and creating come from?

I’ve always been fascinated by the way a home can completely change your mood. It can make you feel welcomed, quieted and comforted. Or it can invigorate you and wake you up! All of those things affect how we live each day and I love figuring out how to build those feelings at home. Both of my parents have always been people who appreciate house & garden related activities so I think it’s just a part of me.

 

How has your style evolved since starting Design*Sponge?

It’s become much simpler. I used to cover myself in patterns and color and decoration. It was a very “more is more” approach. But as I get older (I started DS when I was 23 and now I’m 35) I find I want to be surrounded by things that calm me down and make me feel relaxed, rather than things that wake me up and make me energized- I get enough of that online and through my work.

 

What were you like growing up and how would you describe yourself now?

I was always someone who loved to write and who found more comfort in solitary situations than crowds. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to really enjoy and feel fueled by one on one interactions. I feel more comfortable in front of crowds than I ever imagined I could be, but at the end of the day, I still really enjoy working from home on my own and moments when I can connect with people one on one.