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 dayWhat 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.

  • so exciting to be getting a full time photographer! i can only imagine what a dream that would be. yes! and arrow and apple is the perfect choice for you guys! always excited to see what you guys are up to! its been such a beautiful thing to watch you grow over the years. i’m still so honored that i was once a part of your red velvet shop, which already seems like eons ago. love you girls!

  • loved this post! thank you so much for sharing, have always admired how your team is driven and also constantly dreaming! one thing I’ve often wondered is how you and emma draw the line between work/non work life.

  • So……what’s the Android launch date? I think I check the Play store three times a week! πŸ™‚

  • this is awesome. thanks for sharing some behind the scenes stuff! ya’ll are super inspiring and i hope you keep hitting all those goals of yours!

  • awesome news!! congrats on the expansion (both with people and studio).
    this may be too personal (and i’m sorry if it is) -i was just curious after reading the about page. emma- are you keeping your maiden name?

  • You guys are such an inspiration to me! I can honestly say that reading Elsie’s blog inspired me to start my own, open a business and live my dreams. I have loved seeing everything unfold on your journey! πŸ™‚

  • I have loved hearing about your journey as you have written before and what exciting things are to come yet on A beautiful Mess.
    I think you have a managed to create a perfect blend of ‘big-time type blog material with your talents with a wide reach of influence’ while ‘keeping it real and personal and human’ (if that makes sense :-).
    I am so glad I found you ladies 6 months ago as I’m loving reading. Thanks.

    http://wellingtonchic.co.nz

  • I’m so excited for your team to grow and flourish in the next few weeks/months/years… it’s so exciting!I work at Michaels Arts & Crafts store and you have no idea how many conversations I have with customers about your blog. They either get a craft idea from it, or I recommend it for a fresh read. You are going places πŸ™‚

    M.

  • You guys are such an inspiration! As a new blogger, it’s easy to get discouraged, but watching you two doing what you love reminds me that that’s the most important factor in choosing the right work. Please keep the business update posts coming!

  • What an exceptional post. Loved reading more about your past & plans πŸ™‚

    What one piece of advice would you give bloggers today?

    πŸ™‚

    Fifi

  • Ah I love this and I love you guys so much! Your blog is wonderful. Will you ever have any internship opportunities? I live in the midwest as well, quite near Missouri. I also have a blog and LOVE crafting so I know I would be a great intern. Just wondering if that will be something you will be looking for? Thanks!

  • I looooove these biz posts! so neat to see behind the scenes and see where ABM is going. thanks for sharing! looking forward to reading the contributor bios!

  • Q: What one piece of advice would you give bloggers today?
    A: Fiona, I think the best advice we can give is to write a blog that makes you happy! It’s the best way to prevent burnout and stay inspired!

    Q: Will you ever have any internship opportunities?
    A: Hi Aleah! We’re not planning an internship opportunities at the time. If that ever changes we will announce it here! Thanks for asking! We’re flattered that you would ask!

  • Kellie- Yes, I decided to keep my maiden name. Lot’s of reasons, some personal and some business. Trey and I talked about it before we ever got engaged and it just felt like the right move for me/us. πŸ™‚ Emma

  • Hello from the South West of England! I think I might have been the first person Amazon kindly delivered your book. Wonderful to see how you are inspired and in turn inspire others. Am I the only one hoping that number 5 is a small person…. πŸ˜‰
    Much love and happiness – keep up the good work!

    ps Where do you store all your props?!

  • Good luck to you all! I am so happy to have become a regular reader of this site. I love the app, I think you’re all fantastic, and I’m excited to see what’s next!

    The Rambling Fangirl

  • Hi Johanna! Early October. We don’t have an exact date, but please keep checking here and on my instagram- we’ll announce it the moment it goes up! Elsie

  • Hi Juni- This hasn’t been easy, but these days we have definite days off and we don’t work while we’re on vacations. It took some time to find our groove, but we’re able to hang out on the weekends without talking about work. πŸ™‚

    Thank you so much!! Elsie

  • Hi Fifi! The most important piece of advice I can think of is to always write a blog that makes you happy! It helps to prevent burnout and keep things fresh and exciting!

    Thanks so much for reading! Elsie

  • So very encouraging to read about your journey of blogging! I’m a newbie blogger (graphic/web designer by trade) and now crafter and blog about handmade art. Wow, I LOVE, blogging, I never thought I would! I can see myself doing this full time once my children are older πŸ˜‰ Your story is an inspiration to me! You all look so happy in every photo! Congratulations!
    Ursula, blogger at
    http://kraftmint.com
    {a journal of modern crafts}

  • The shirt Laura is wearing in the pic above is sooooo cute!! Any idea where it’s from?

  • Hi Aleah,
    We’re so flattered that you would even ask! Thank you!
    We’re not planning any internships at this time. If that ever changes, we will post about it here. πŸ™‚

    Elsie

  • Hi Lucy,
    AHHHH! Cutest/sweetest comment ever! Thank you.

    Right now we have our styling stuff and supplies EVERYWHERE. In the new space we’re planning two rooms for it, crafting & styling. God knows we need some organization! We’ll be sure to share it when it’s pretty. Until then, just assume its in super ugly piled up boxes. πŸ˜‰

    Elsie

  • I love seeing the behind the scenes of the business! It is so inspiring especially for someone considering starting a business one day. I would love to know more about the process of designing your app. My graphic design class is doing a group project to create new apps and it seems such a long and complicated process to design one for real!

  • I think I discovered this blog through anne the adventurer and I can honestly say I am beyond greatful that I did. I went all the way back to the beginning, to when elsie started it all.
    I know back then it was just for fun but thanks! Thanks a lot for doing what you do and being awesome and sharing it with the world.
    im anxiously waiting for your becky higgings line to come out and im cursing sept being so long because I want the app soooooo bad!!!!!
    thank you and good luck β™₯β™₯β™₯

  • Sounds exciting! You probably already know to do this but make sure the zoning is okay for a business in the residential neighborhood…our office was a home before we converted it into an office and the zoning was fine for it (it wouldn’t be now but was when my father bought it so it’s okay). I agree, we live in the Midwest and commercial buildings are MUCH more expensive. Our restaurant buildings for our franchise each cost around $500,000. We own most of them now since my father started his franchise in the 70’s but the few buildings we rent are $5,000-$7,000 a month! Ridiculous! Happy house hunting!!

  • congratulations on the continued success! it’s amazing to watch you two live your dream! it’s inspiring & you’re always pushing me to reach a little father.

  • I just recently attended a “Twitter Chat” for ladies (and guys) with an interest in sewing. It was a lot of fun, and I got to “meet” some great ladies. I also left with a lot of links to fabric and pattern sources and a ton of project ideas. It made me think, maybe A Beautiful Mess should host a Twitter Chat on crafts or DIYs or even recipes. Just a thought. It could be fun!

  • So happy to have a sneak peek into your lives and business and live vicariously thorough you all. Your whole team and your goals are truly inspiring. I have a question….when will be the Red Velvet Vintage closing/estate sale? I live in Branson and share a care with my husband and want to make sure I can arrange to have it for that day. Sad to see it go, but excited to see what you all have in store.

  • I can’t wait to see all of the adorable thing you guys will come up with. Did you guys design/work with project life on one of their new kits?

  • So many new adventures! Love reading the updates. Been following your blog for years, and recently moved to Springfield, so I have loved trying the places you have recommended- and of course the projects! It has inspired me to start my own creative enterprise too! Keep on being fabulous you guys!

  • I love this post! I’m such a nosey parker when it comes to other small businesses. your new house/studio sounds SO exciting! I wish it was that easy to buy a house in Sydney. when I was working in fashion design everyone’s studios were in old industrial complexes which get freeeeezing in winter so I’m going to try to work from home as long as possible.
    I’ve done your dream job e-course twice now (I’m currently in the process of changing directions with my business so I felt like I should do it again!) and it has really helped me focus. I’m not afraid of making goals and timelines now! you should see all the index cards on my wall… lists forever!
    so thanks for always sharing stuff like this with us and keep it up!

  • Kristina,
    Hey! Thanks so much! I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we actually just closed our local shop on September 1st.
    For us, learning what to let go of and what to expand has been key to moving forward. πŸ™‚ We were sad to say goodbye to the shop, but also SO excited about everything else.
    elsie

  • just saw this comment and had to reply – I worked at IKEA in Sydney and lots of customers would show me pics from ABM asking ‘do you have this rug/cushion/lamp/etc etc?’ I think some of them would have just pulled them from pinterest but still, your influence spreads far and wide! I think you guys and your bloggy friends are the reason the lappljung ruta cushion and rug are ALWAYS sold out! (that’s the black & white geometric pattern one).

  • This is so effing awesome! Totally love that you gals have grown this great business, together, being creative and having FUN!

  • YouΒ΄re so sweet and have such a good vibe. IΒ΄m Always happy after I read your posts! I hope you do more DIY, which is my favorite part of the blog. And what about comingo to Brazil?? I can be your host πŸ˜‰

  • Ali, That is so awesome! I’m so glad you enjoyed the course. Good luck with your new biz!
    ps. Working from home is awesome- I would do it always if I could! πŸ˜‰
    elsie

  • Can I just say, you guys have my dream life? I love it! I love everything you do, good luck in the future and stay classy, A Beautiful Mess πŸ˜‰

    xo Becky
    Seductive Mania

  • I’m dying to make a trip back to my home town of Springfield!! Will you all do any book signings in town or else where? Or have “open times” at the new studio for people to possibly stop by for, oh I don’t know, tours our signings? ;o)

  • Glad Sarah got to do Mallory’s wedding before you snatched her up. She is incredible and will add so much to your blog. So very happy for all of you!!!

  • You two are such an inspiration. I found your blog two years ago and have been reading ever since. ABM is my homepage on my web browser. I’m always happy to see the new recipes and projects you come up with. I recently enrolled into a craft college and that is a little bit because of you. Seeing you do the things you love every day made me inspired to do so in my own life. Thank you for making everyday a little bit brighter.

  • Hi there! I was just going to ask about the local shop… glad I read through the comments first! I am so jealous of the fact that you guys get to shop for/buy/decorate another house! I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

    If I had one questions to ask you guys, it would be this: What advice do you have for those of us whose parents/families/friends just don’t understand our desire to own a creative business? The biggest comment I get is “For every one person who makes it there’s got to be a hundred that don’t…” and hearing that from people I love is so discouraging! I currently have a full time job and run my Etsy business/blog on the side, so its not like I have all my eggs in one basket. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Liz
    PS – your blog and e-courses have been my #1 source of inspiration! Endless thanks!

  • Wow! You guys are the best! Thanks for keeping us all in the loop. πŸ™‚ I’m curious as to what’s going to happen with your brick & mortar shop? You had mentioned awhile ago about an estate sale. Is that still happening? Xo. Megan

  • It’s really interesting all of these things about the blog. As many people, I’ve made my blog because the two of you really inspire me to.

    Love to read you, since ever!
    Kisses from Argentina!
    Jime Ji

  • Liz,
    We have dealt with these same kinds of comments in the past. I think it’s important to really listen to people who love you, no matter what they have to say. Parents have the best advice. πŸ™‚

    With that said, a lot of amazing businesses are built on an element of risk. It’s your choice whether the risk is worth it. We haven’t had success in every single thing we’ve tried, but we’ve been able to own our failures, learn and improve. I think that’s a big part of it all. It takes time to build a successful brand and it’s a long road. I probably wouldn’t encourage someone I loved to jump in too soon either, ya know?

    Good luck to you!
    elsie

  • We have recently closed the Red Velvet local store to pursue other ventures. It was an amazing four years! Currently, we are preparing for an estate sale. We will announce details soon.
    Thanks!

  • I’m so happy for you all! I have to tell you, I’ve been reading this blog since the beginning- I stumbled upon it totally by accident. I was instantly hooked, and it has been a constant source of inspiration to me! I’ve been working really hard lately on making my blog better and I even took one of your e-courses. Love you guys! Keep up the great work!
    xox Nicki
    coffeeandlemonade.typepad.com

  • This is all so exciting! Good luck finding the best studio home.

    Do you still have the vintage store?

  • This is a great post!! It’s very cool to hear of all exciting plans, as well as a bit about the inner workings of ABM. And “Studio house”?!?! EEK can’t wait to hear more about this!!! Awesome.

  • Thank you so much for your response! I think you are right in that they are probably afraid that I will jump in too soon with no backup plan… Maybe it will help for me to remind them that I may be a dreamer but (I think) I do have my priorities straight, and I definitely won’t jump in too soon! Just baby steps, and lots of dreaming and planning!

    And I will try to remember that what they are saying is coming from love πŸ™‚

    Thanks for taking the time to answer questions, it means the world!

  • congrats to you guys! i’m so excited to see the things to come. i don’t often read blogs, but when i do…it’s ya’lls. and its usually awesome. yay ya’ll! (oh no, you made the texan come out in me… :D)

  • I have always had a hard time with decorating and figuring out how to make a home (or rental apt which is what I am currently in) truly mine. I have loved everything about your blog and most of your home style is what I had in mind but couldn’t figure out how to create it. so, thank you for bringing ideas to life and showing how easy crafting can be!

  • Thank you so much for sharing all the aspects of your business. As a fellow blogger (for about 9 months now), I am always amazed and so curious how folks can build such successful businesses out of it! I’m hoping to get there one day. Thank you for being an inspiration!
    Nikki
    Fashion Finds on a Dime

  • I am so excited for you all and your future! What an amazing brand you have built. You should be very proud of the hard work and determination.

    As someone who just started blogging a few months ago, I would love to know: if you could give your starting-out-self one piece of advice or wisdom, what would it be?

    Great post and I’m so excited for you to get a house! Springfield has some great real estate!

  • Thanks for sharing all the insights and future plans, I loved reading it! You are a truly inspiration. Congratulations for all your work!

  • I love reading about your business plans and how things work over at A Beautiful Mess HQ. You have been an incredible inspiration to me, the moment I read your blog for the first time I thought ‘that is what i want to do!’. The way you have crafted your business around your lives so that you get to do things you enjoy on a daily basis is just amazing! But since I started reading yours I’ve been working harder on my own blog, I quit my day job to start a function band business and I’ve also started a wedding blog which makes everything tie in nicely! Everything is going well so far. It just goes to prove that you don’t have to be stuck in a boring 9 til 5 !

    Keep up the good work, you are an inspiration!

  • Great little summary on your success! So exciting for you to move into a proper office. I wish you and your little blog all the best for success now and into the future πŸ™‚

    Rowdy Fairy Blog

    Follow Me on Bloglovin!

  • You are living the dream of any blogger I know. And here in Germany we are dimensions away from full-time blogging for a living.

    I wish you all the best for the future and cannot thank you enough for being such an inspiration to me!

  • Ξ•lsie and Emma hi! I’ve been following you for more than a year now and I’m really excited that I have found you! I love your ideas, the different things you do, your pictures! You’re an inspiration to me. It’s obvious that you work so much that makes me wonder when you have time to relax (or do boring things such as cleaning the house, ironing, etc). I wish you all the best with whatever (new and old) you do! Looking forward to your new ideas and adventures! love from Greece! xxx

  • I loved reading this post!! (like everything on ABM!)

    I can’t believe I have been reading for about 4-5 years now! That is actually so crazy! Time is flying by!
    ABM (and the other Red Velvet ladies blogs) always inspire me!

    I’m so excited for you ladies and what the future holds for you all! πŸ™‚

    Love, Ngaio xx

  • This was so interesting! It’s so nice to know what goes on behind the great blog posts and fun projects. I feel like the internet really allows us to know everything about anything, I love that. I also love A Beautiful Mess and this incredible team for putting so much effort into things that make our lives more beautiful! To be honest I think I wouldn’t have realised how creative I am if it hadn’t been for ABM and I would probably still be studying some very boring (but safe) subject at university instead of embracing what I’m truly destined for. If I had to sum up what I’ve learnt from you guys in a sentence, it would be that the best path for us isn’t always the easiest but it’s so worth it! You are definitely not working so hard in vain and I (and so many others) will keep supporting you until you run for presidents of the universe, or something. πŸ™‚

  • Really enjoyed this post, you guys are constant inspiration for me and I loooove your blog! You perfectly balance awesome craft and diy with just the right amount of personal. Can’t wait to see all the projects for the new house, you guys are gonna have a field day!

  • I’ve started reading your blog when Elsie was planning her wedding (I first discovered “Le wedding party” and then I arrived at ABM). Since then I read this amazing blog everyday, it’s the only blog I follow on a regular basis. It’s such an inspiring place. You girls (ehm, guys! πŸ˜€ ) are incredible.
    If I were American I would have begged to work with you! Maybe one day… *_*

    You rule!
    Claudia

  • Brilliant post, loved reading your success and you kept inspiring to push myself towards my goal of my current art business: to get a live in studio and continue selling artwork and doing commission work.

    My business at the moment has kind of reached its plateau, any tips how to move away from this and get it busy?

    Thank you!

  • Hi Marie,

    We’ve closed the Red Velvet brick and mortar store and will be selling off the inventory in an estate sale here before long (we’ll announce those details soon). As far as the online store, we’re in the process of reimagining it, so stay tuned!

    Emma

  • I love your story, thank you so much for sharing. A real biz-home, how exciting! And you get to redecorate it all too:) ah sweet jealousy:)). And I adore your book, it has a prime position on my coffee table. Seeing you make your dreams and visions come true is such a huge inspiration for me as I am just starting out with my new venture. You are my daily reminder of what is possible. Blessings to all you do.

  • Hi Katrina,

    I guess I have advice in two parts. First, marketing, and the best/most cost-effective form of marketing is networking. I’m sure you’re already talking to friends and aquaintances about your business (if not, do), but try to expand on that. Look for friends with a larger reach. Start working with some smaller-ish (100k pageviews a month) blogs that hit your target demographic. They’re affordable, and you can grow with them. Second, if marketing isn’t really changing anything, business can take just as much creativity as product development. One thing we’ve always done here is evaluate and re-evaluate revenue streams. If one isn’t performing, we look for another. That doesn’t necessarily mean go learn a new skill. Moreover, you should look for another way to sell and maximize your current skillset. Does that make sense? Hopefully this isn’t too generic.

    xoxo. Emma

  • You guys are very inspiring! Continue to inspire people and congratulaions on your new home/studio. Can’t wait to see renovation posts.

    xo,
    Gwen

  • Hi
    I just wanted to say that your blog has been a real source of amazing inspiration to me espically the sister style posts . and seeing you make a clothing line and set up an app showed me that anything is possible if you work hard ! I hope that when i am older i can also work in such a creative environment . Thank you guys so much for all the amazing work that you do !
    Eleanor x

  • Hi !
    I just wanted to say that this blog is an amazing source of inspiration for me especially the sister style posts . I hope that someday I will be able to work in such a creative environment too. Also you have really showed me that by working hard you can do great things like make a clothing line and an app . Thank you so much for everything that you do !
    Eleanor x

  • This post is great. YOu gus are so inspiring, motivating, and dang lucky! I’m excited about the android app, and even more excited to see what you do for the holidays!!!

    PS. if you need any recipe contributors. . .

  • Honestly, this is like my dream job all summed up. You guys are such an inspiration to me, and I can’t wait to hear more about what you guys are planning for the future! I love you guys!!

    xx

  • I loveeeeeee the shirt Elsie is wearing in the first pic (red & white chevron) Any idea where it’s from?

  • It’s such an inspirational post πŸ™‚ Thank you! You make the freelance&blogging life worth giving my best! Thank you and wish you luck in everything!

  • you ladies are my total inspiration. a few years ago I started reading your blog and I suddenly realized that you CAN be happy doing the things that make you happy. Building your work around your life, instead of the other way round. My dream is to someday be able to work as something that inspires me and makes me happy. You are such an amazing inspiration for me!
    I feel that I need a little “nudge” in the right direction, a partner in crime who will share my dream of growing up to be happy, but I haven’t found anyone to share my “fantasy” with. I have a “nice” stresfull and boring 9-6 office job which I would love to dump, even if it meant making less money.. I just want to be happy!
    Any tips on how to to amazing stuff on your own?

  • What a lovely post! Hearing your passion and dedication to your blog and all that surrounds it is so inspiring. I must say, I always look forward to my lunch breaks because that means I can read your blog! I do have one question though… I graduated college with a BFA in Fine Arts (I concentrated in Jewelry and Metalsmithing, minor in photography)however, it’s hard to make it without a 9-5 job. I tried to start up a blog a year ago, but couldn’t keep up with it because the motivation would come and go with the stress of work every day. I am constantly wishing that I could have kept up with it, to keep myself creatively motivated. Could you guys give any suggestions for someone like me? Some days I don’t know how you are able to do multiple posts every day! It amazes me! πŸ™‚

  • I read and loved this entire post, and so admire and respect your expansion and huge joy during this whole process (I’m willing to bet that’s the key to it all). But what I love most about this are the images of Emma and Trey; your dynamic is happy, silly, and wonderful. Nothing better, you guys!

  • Sounds like lots of wonderful ideas and I look forward to hearing about your new studio space. Love the phone app and look forward to seeing it grow. Have you thought about producing a calendar/day book? I am always looking for one with a week at a glance, plenty of room to write my to-do lists, but has a unique style (rather than just something boring I purchase out of an office store). Just another idea (like you need any more, LOL) to toss out there.

  • i have tweeted this a couple times but i would LOVE to see a pet expansion pack on the app. i think it would be so cute to have some paw prints, dog bones, “woof”, etc. and maybe some things for the cat people too (haha!)

    i take a ton of photos of my dog and would love to add some cute doggie doodles to her pictures. πŸ™‚

  • Ladies (and gent!), thank you so much for taking the time to put out this post. I am in about year two of a “what am I meant to be doing” journey and this was just the reminder that I needed to enjoy the ride. It will be worth it in the end.

    And to all of us – who knows where the journey will take us even further down the line. I look forward to watching your (and hopefully my ;P) progress!

  • I so enjoy reading about the behind the scenes and all the future plans you and Emma have created. It is very inspiring. I love seeing people dreams come true.

  • This is such a great post! I always love reading posts on blogging and learning more about the behind the scenes life of bloggers. I’m excited too you guys in your new office space and I can’t wait to see how you DIY the house, too! πŸ™‚

  • Love this post! It’s really inspiring to see what you ladies have accomplished these last 6 years. Can’t wait to see what you do in the next 6!

    xx
    youngmildandfree.wordpress.com

  • Elsie and Emma hi! It’s been almost two years I’ve been following your blog and I’m really excited that I do! You’re such an inspiration! You deal with so many different things. I love your projects, your pictures, anything extra that you add about your lives… Your life seems to be so busy which makes me wonder when you have time to relax (or do “interesting activities” such as cleaning, ironing, etc). I wish you all the best! Looking forward to your future projects! love from Greece. xxx
    PS. Sorry if my message comes up twice, my computer is being funny today…

  • I love your blog so very much!! I check it every day. Just got a new Android tablet so I am looking forward to the app. Also, I was pleasantly surprised when I found ABM blog in the lifestyle section of the Currents app on the tablet. Now it is even easier to keep up with your wonderful blog.

  • This is truly incredible! It makes me want to work even harder because I love blogging and would really like to be able to make it a career πŸ™‚

    Congrats guys! SO excited to see photos of the studio.

    Tiffany Ima

    Style Honestly

  • I’ve been following your adventures for a while now and I’m so amazed by the evolution it has been through. You are an inspiration for me in the building of my own business eventhough it’s a completely different area. I was wondering if you still had time to take care of the clothes shop and Emma’s sweet shoppe? Any new dresses for us to dream on and purchase in the future?

  • Elsie + Emma,
    Be still my heart, you two are just so lovely and I couldn’t be happier for you! I’m 17 years old and have followed your blog (fairly obsessively) for 2 years, and sometimes I feel like I really know you guys. I know I’m probably too young to be swooning over your adorable weddings and houses and puppies, but I can’t help it!(;

    How you were brave enough to follow your dreams at the very start of this all? I have career goals and dreams, but I don’t know if I’m brave enough to go for them when the outcome is so uncertain. You guys inspire me to, though!
    Keep up the great work over there!

    Love from Michigan! Casey(:
    ps. I’m going to get a pug someday just because of you guys. It’s happening.

  • Elsie + Emma,
    Be still my heart, you two are just so lovely and I couldn’t be happier for you! I’m 17 years old, and I’ve followed you blog (fairly obsessively) for 2 years. I’m probably too young to be swooning over your adorable weddings and houses and puppies, but I can’t help it!(;

    How were you two brave enough to chase your dream at the very beginning of this adventure? I have goals/dreams that I’d love to make into my career, but it’s so scary when the future is uncertain. But you ladies inspire me every day!

    Keep up the beautiful work!
    Love from Michigan, Casey(:

    ps. I’m going to adopt a pug someday just because of you guys. It’s happening.

  • Wow just wow! so happy to have found you two years ago! Love all you do! Good luck with everything. Excited to continue following along with all of your future projects

  • Ohhhh girls and boy
    I really really really love your blog, projects and app!!!
    Good luck and I’m excited for the news that are coming!!!

    Xoxo from Brazil!

  • so happy to hear about your staff, it makes both of you appear “human” to know that you can’t do it all on your own LOL two questions: (1) how, exactly, would you describe the ABM aesthetic & (2) when it all started did the both of you have day time jobs? thanks for sharing! you both are gorgeous (inside & out) & an inspiration. XO

  • That was really interesting! I love your projects because you can always feel the love and passion you give. (I just bought your book and it’s really really awesome!) So good to see, that it’s rewarding for you. Love, Eva from Germany

  • Wow! This was fascinating to read. As someone with a small blog and big dreams, I love reading your posts about past progress and future plans – it makes me feel so inspired! Thank you for posting about the process. <3

  • So excited for the android app! Definitely kick myself for getting rid of my iphone sometimes but glad its coming soon.

  • congratulations ladies!
    i remember reading Elsie’s blog back in the day (I even bought a commissioned painting off Elsie! love it <3) & it's been so incredible to watch A Beautiful Mess continue to grow & expand!
    good luck with everything that's coming your way - i can't wait to see it all unfold
    Cheray x

  • I have to be honest and say they I do NOT like all the video content. I understand that its a direction that you want to take, but I ask that when you do DIYs and things that in stead of just doing video, make video an option, but please also keep with your current format of pictures and text for those of us that are old school or have computers that don’t handle video well. That would make everyone happy

  • I love love love hearing your story from its beginnings. I have my own blog and am currently still in the ground stage of ‘working from the ground up’, so it’s really nice to have some inspirational success to look to. I only hope I can one day reach the stage you guys have achieved. Congratulations!

  • What a wonderful journey, and an especially interesting post for someone to read who’s studying small business and entrepreneurship (that’s me!) Thanks for sharing!

  • I have been an off and on follower of your blog for YEARS and I feel like I have gotten to know you guys over time through this amazing website! I always come here for a little bit of inspiration and happiness πŸ™‚ I’ve always been curious, aside from the revenue from you new book (which I got a couple weeks ago and it’s amazing!) plus sponsors, what are your business’ actual sources of income? Sorry if that question is too nosy!

  • Hey Amanda!
    Thanks so much for buying our book!
    No worries! Our income sources are… advertisements here on the blog, our App, e-courses, books and product collaborations/side projects.

    elsie

  • As someone who doesn’t always comment but has been following your blog for many years, I just want to say thank you! This was a great post and I couldn’t be more thrilled for the changes that are ahead of you. A Beautiful Mess was the blog that really sparked my interest when I first started blogging almost four-years ago. It made me realize that I could be more and do more. Though I have made many mistakes along the way, I realized that it was through those mistakes that I have learned the most.

    My blog and indie business is getting a full on makeover at the moment but one of the things that I have learned from you, is to follow your bliss. Do what you love, even if it doesn’t always suit everyone. I have and it has led me into helping others develop and brand their own blogs and indie businesses. Especially on the WordPress circuit. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because in a way, I couldn’t have done it without you! You girls have been my go-to inspiration for many years and I feel, in your own way, you have helped to lead me on a career path that I never would have expected. Thank you so much for being a true inspiration in my life. I know you probably hear that sort of thing a lot but it’s simply because it’s true πŸ™‚

    Charmed,

    Laurali Star

  • Just reading this post today, not sure how I missed it before!! Thank you for sharing all your plans and goals…I love the idea of you buying a home to use as your working studio. I have often commented on this Blog and on your Instagram that you, Elsie and Emma are the “Martha Stewart’s of a new generation” and I do mean that. I could see all of this happening from the day I started following you last August 2012.

    Wishing you all the best on your future endeavors and looking forward to all you do as usual! (Cannot wait to see how you are going to decorate your home for Christmas, Elsie!!)