A Beautiful Mess: State of the Biz!

Elsie + Emma from A Beautiful MessRecently, we shared our 6-year journey from clueless beginnings to a full-time blogging career and beyond! We're incredibly thankful for the projects we've been able to work on up to this point and, as always, even MORE excited for the future! Without further ado, here's a chatty post about how our business works and some of our plans for the future! 

Studio Shopping/ 

For the past year we've been working from my (Elsie's) home. It's been convenient, because my space has big windows, a giant dining room table and plenty of space for our team of four people to work on projects and do computer work, while still staying close enough to chat. We never saw this as a permanent space for our studio, but it was better than the loft we had rented before which was WAY too tiny. And we've saved a bunch of money this past year. This is what my house looks like on an average day...What our %22office%22 really looks likeWhat our %22office%22 really looks likeThat's supposed to be my dining room table. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to having a normal home soon, and we're ALL looking forward to moving into a devoted studio and office space! It's been our favorite topic of conversation for the past few months! I will finally be able to go home after work. What?! Also all the work projects don't have to be constantly filling my dining room table. I think Jeremy is looking forward to having home dinners at a clean table! So as soon as Emma and I finished a book deadline last month, we finally had some freed up time and energy to spend house shopping. (insert cheers and dancing here)

Originally we assumed we'd want to move into some kind of industrial building, but after spending the year working from my home we knew that buying a residential home for our studio made more sense. We live in a part of the country where buying a house can be (way) more affordable than renting traditional office spaces, and our business has needs more conducive to a house. We're planning to remodel and redecorate our studio house room by room and share all of it here on the blog.

I can't even describe how excited we are to create our dream studio together! We'll be sure to share photos as soon as we close on that perfect place. The house shopping process has been incredibly fun! It's so different shopping for a studio than a house. Windows are everything, I'll say that for sure! 

Our Growing Team/A Beautiful Mess : the team!It seems like our team is always changing and growing! Currently, we are a team of four full-time people... soon to be five! We recently updated our about page with little profiles about each of our team members. Emma and I worked on the blog together for several years with some part-time workers as needed before we started building a full-time team. Our business is set up as a partnership which means we make all of the decisions together and equally share in the joys, the pains, the profits, the weekend workdays and everything else that comes along. Honestly we never even knew we would need or want a team until the needs started arising, and positions have been naturally creating themselves ever since! 

Last October (about 5 years after the blog first started) we were finally making enough revenue to add our first full-time employee. We hired Trey to manage the advertising and sponsorships program and other aspects of the business. The results of adding him to our team have been incredible. Not only is our advertising program more healthy and better than ever, but we've also been able to focus more on the creative aspects of our business (like developing the perfect recipe for Whiskey Cinnamon Rolls, of course!) This past April we added Laura to the team as a project assistant. She joined our team as we were really diving into our book 2 deadlines, and I can honestly say that I'm not sure we could have done it without her. In addition she assists with many of the blog posts you see here on the blog. She's a crazy perfectionist, and we love her. 

Pretty soon we will have a full-time photographer and videographer starting with us in February. We hired Sarah from Arrow and Apple. We do feel a tiny bit guilty stealing her from all future brides ever (sorry future brides! don't hate us!), but you know what? We had to! She's incredible and the perfect fit for our team. We still plan to take photos for the blog forever, but over the past six months we've realized that it's a little more than we can handle sometimes, and it's SO incredibly hard to get good photos of us together, much less candids! We're so excited about all of the possibilities that adding a photographer will open up! We just wish February would get here sooner. Ok, not really, but we can't wait to work with Sarah on a daily basis! 

In addition to our full-time team we work with contributors who write occasional articles here on the blog. (I'm working on their profiles and will add them to the About page very soon!) We also love our awesome agency, Rocket Mobile, who develops the A Beautiful Mess App! You'd laugh if you knew how many phone meetings we have with them. Apps are crazy, but we have absolutely fallen in love with the process! 

Basically, we work with a lot of awesome people. We are lucky and so incredibly thankful! 

Future Plans + Dreams/Elsie + EmmaPeople are always asking us, "So what's next?" To which we respond, "Um... more stuff like this?". That probably makes it sound like we don't think about the future, which isn't true at all. Sometimes I feel like I think about it too much. The truth is that we've found our sweet spot for our business. We're busy, without being too busy (we've been there too). We've narrowed down what our passions and priorities are. We've learned to be more selective with what we take on and we've found the project that make us feel energized, rather than drained.

In the next few years we will continue to build our brand in ways that play to our strengths and inspire us. We're working on a lot of collaborations with other companies. We love the process of designing for other companies and creating products with the A Beautiful Mess aesthetic. We will continue to invest in our app. Right now we're working on version 2.0 which is a huge (AWESOME!!) update for iPhone and Android will be getting all of the same new features as well on their launch day. We can't wait! We talked about the new studio space above, with the new space we're also excited to delve more into the video aspect of our blog. There is so much to learn and try in that category that inspires us! Sometime in the next year we're excited to start thinking about our next book proposal (we're taking a book break right now until after the Holidays). 

With all that said, we have to be honest and say that our biggest passion of all is still this blog. We're looking forward to trying out a few new features this fall. We're excited to share some room tours from our homes. We're extra anxious to decorate for the Holidays this year. It's an awesome feeling to have this blog at the center of our business. We love it. We love you. So that's a little bit about our biz! Feel free to ask any questions and we'll respond to you in the comments. xo. Elsie 

*bike photos and team photo by Janae Hardy.

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