ABM Staff Update!

Hey, guys! We’re here today to share an update on the A Beautiful Mess staff! We want to introduce you to everyone who is working so hard at our growing brand. You’ll see lots of familiar faces here but also get to meet those people whose jobs are behind the cameras (and computers!).A Beautiful Mess Staff (spring of 2014)So let’s start off with our team members who work in the studio! 

Elsie-emmaYou know us, but still …

Elsie Larson (me!), Founder and Creative Director 

I started A Beautiful Mess in 2007, but didn’t truly find my groove until I teamed up with my sister and business soul mate, Emma, in 2010. Today I mainly focus my energy on the creative side of the business. I oversee the look and feel of A Beautiful Mess’s online content as well as products and side projects (like our apps, books, and products). I would say I have just enough free time to keep redecorating my home but never enough to get bored. 😉

Spirit Animal: Chimpanzees, forever. 
Go-to road trip snack: Heath Mini Blizzards
Favorite movie: Mean Girls for funny, The Tree of Life for beautiful, Zoolander for quotable. 
Celebrity crush: Justin Timberlake + Will Smith + Steven Colbert
Guilty pleasure: Dog outfits + Katy Perry 
Non-blog hobby: Barre Method classes + The Mindy Project
Childhood hero: Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman

Emma Chapman, Co-Owner and Editor

Emma is my sister and the co-owner of A Beautiful Mess. She oversees the business side of what we do and made it possible for us to be where we are today! Recently Emma has also taken on an editorial role for both the blog and our online education program. Most people know Emma for recipes, which she is amazing at (see here for proof), but what people don’t often know is that she has a talent for business. She’s a forward thinker and pushed to create our first app despite family and friends discouraging the risk. She’s also a real big sucker for photos of baby pigs. 

Spirit Animal: Pug, especially my pug, Love Love
Go-to road trip snack: Heath bar or white cheddar popcorn
Favorite movie: Stranger than Fiction
Celebrity crush: Hugh Jackman
Guilty pleasure: Hot fudge sundaes, for no reason
Non-blog hobby: I’m currently writing a novel
Childhood hero: Donald Duck

Trey-philipTrey George, Business Development Manager 

Trey was hired to manage our sponsorships program, so that covers pitching and managing sponsored content, ads, ad networks, and overseeing our ad server. Also, his role has expanded to overseeing the development and updates of our apps (we have another app coming out later this season). He’s extremely talented, and we have a lot of happy hours celebrating his many accomplishments! 

Spirit Animal: Potoo
Go-to road trip snack: Sour Patch Kids or almonds 
Favorite movie: Cool answer—No Country for Old Men, Honest answer—Multiplicity or Home Alone 2
Celebrity Crush: Tina Fey
Guilty pleasure: Law and Order: SVU
Non-blog hobby: Camping
Childhood Hero: Emmett Smith. Probably still is.

Philip Bowles, Director of Technology

Philip oversees the development behind our websites. Our new shopping site was his first big project. Currently we are working on updates for the blog, so when you see them happen later this year you’ll know that it was Philip (and not just magic) that made those updates happen. In addition to being the only person on our staff who understands CSS, Philip is hilarious and about to become a dad! 

Spirit Animal: Tree Frog
Go-to road trip snack: Corn Nuts
Favorite movie: The Matrix
Celebrity crush: Stevie Nicks
Guilty pleasure: That Thing You Do
Non-blog hobby: Music-makin’

Sarah-lauraSarah Rhodes, Director of Photography

Sarah does most of the photos you currently see on A Beautiful Mess. We met her as the photographer for both our weddings, and when it came time to hire a photographer we knew she was the perfect fit. Sarah developed the A Beautiful Mess Actions with me. She also makes videos and entertains us daily with her amazing sense of humor! 

Spirit Animal: Sea Otter
Go-to road trip snack: Donuts and Cool Ranch Doritos
Favorite movie: Sense and Sensibility
Celebrity crush: Paul Rudd
Guilty pleasure: Creepy shows that solve murders
Non-blog hobby: Sewing, buying baby things, and TV
Childhood hero: Amy Grant!

Laura Gummerman, Staff Writer

Laura is a staff writer for the blog and produces weekly posts that include home and fashion DIYs, healthy recipes, lifestyle articles, and purrrrfect cat-related projects. She also helps out around the office by managing the support emails and making sure everyone learns how to make lattes. 

Spirit animal: Snow Leopard
Road snacks: Latte and Cheez-Its 
Favorite movie: Charade or The Way We Were 
Celebrity crush: Old School—Robert Redford, New School—Christian Bale, Young Buck—Liam Hemsworth
Non-blog hobby: Singing karaoke by making my husband play Amy Winehouse and The Cardigans songs so I can sing along. 
Childhood hero: Audrey Hepburn, always and forever 

Jeremy-joshJeremy Larson, Staff Videographer 

Jeremy has been creating videos with original music for ABM since last summer. At first it was just for fun, then freelance, then we offered him a part-time position because we loved working with him! We love the travel videos he’s created for us (see Austin, Nashville and Palm Springs), and currently we’re creating a series of cooking videos together, so stay tuned! 

Spirit animal: Llama
Road snacks: Coke Zero 
Favorite movie: The Deer Hunter
Celebrity crush: Brad Pitt
Guilty Pleasure: Bar Rescue 
Non-blog hobby: Cooking
Childhood hero: Dinosaurs

Joshua Rhodes, Project Assistant 

Joshua first started working with ABM as a contributor. His an exceptionally skilled craftsman. You’ll be seeing lots more projects created by him with step-by-step instructions as the year goes on. We’re so excited to have him around and bring our projects to the next level.

Spirit animal: Basset Hound
Road snacks: Sunflower seeds, Mamba
Favorite movie: The Sting
Celebrity crush: Martha Stewart
Non-blog hobby: Painting, running
Childhood hero: Hardy Boys

And now, our writers who work from home … 

Mandi-katieMandi Johnson, Writer

Mandi creates incredible projects for us (from big to small!). She has an eye for interior style and great ideas for budget living. See Mandi’s full archive here

Spirit Animal: Cardinal
Go-to road trip snack: Peanut butter filled pretzels
Favorite movie: Vertigo
Celebrity crush: Jimmy Stewart (You didn’t say he had to be living!)
Guilty pleasure: Eating endless amounts of goldfish crackers during Netflix marathons of Grey’s Anatomy
Non-blog hobby: Volleyball
Childhood hero: Zorro (I scrawled Zs across everything!)

Katie Shelton, Writer 

Katie writes beautiful hair tutorials and kiddo projects for the blog. She also manages the “At Home With” feature. One of our favorite ABM traditions is Katie’s yearly Halloween costume ideas for families (see 1,2,3). See Katie’s full archive here

Spirit Animal: Tacos
Go-to road trip snack: Twizzlers and BBQ Fritos (and heartburn)
Favorite movie: This is an impossible question to answer
Celebrity crush: Jena Malone
Guilty pleasure: Bryan Adams, forever
Non-blog hobby: Music and kids, man
Childhood hero: Definitely Debbie Gibson

Ruby-rachelRubyellen Bratcher, Writer 

Rubyellen is an inspiring mother of four with a contagious enthusiasm for handmade living. Her beautiful home is proof of both. Her most popular post of all time was her a-frame tent project. Our personal favorite was her paint-by-number pillow project. This Spring Rubyellen is working on a series of gardening tutorials for beginners! You can see Rubyellen’s full archive here

Go-to road trip snack: Anything with chocolate 
Favorite movie: About Time 
Celebrity crush: None. I used to have a long list, but once I met my husband I stopped daydreaming because he was all I ever dreamed of (sounds silly, but really!)
Guilty pleasure: Ice cream every night before bedtime
Non-blog hobby: I love to read! 
Childhood hero: Well, I was the older sister and always wanted a big sister, so when I would watch Barbie commercials or Jem and the Holograms, I always wished Barbie or Jem would come out of the television and be my older sister. Does that count as a hero?!

Rachel Denbow, Writer

Rachel has been writing for A Beautiful Mess and teaching e-courses with us for the past five years. She recently released 52 Weeks of Art Journaling the very same week her third child was born (super woman, no?) A few of our favorite projects Rachel has created are her woven rug, starburst mirror and her painted bike. Currently Rachel is working on a sewing basics e-course due out in September! 
Spirit Animal: Miniature horse
Go-to road trip snack: Peanut Butter Crackers
Favorite movie: Fried Green Tomatoes
Celebrity crush: Jude Law
Guilty pleasure: Licking the spoon, bowl, & beaters when I bake
Non-blog hobby: De-cluttering the house
Childhood hero: DJ Tanner

And last, but not least, just for fun … 

Until last year our team was made up of 100% dog people. But slowly, the cat people are creeping in.A Beautiful Mess (dog people)(DOG PEOPLE)

L_and_P_are_cats(crazy CAT PEOPLE) This gif. haha!

If you have any questions about our staff, let us know in the comments section! We’ll be sharing updates every season or two as our team continues to grow! xo. Elsie (Emma + the ABM team)

P.S. If you’re taking Candice’s DSLR workshop, you’ve already met her. But in addition to being a teacher’s aide in ABM workshops, Kimber Hodson works remotely as our official proofreader for everything you see on the blog and the shop. When we post about all our teachers, you’ll learn a little more about her. But we had to give her a quick shoutout. LOVE us some Kimber!

Credits // Author: Elsie Larson, Staff Photos: Sarah Rhodes. Edited with Liv from The Signature Collection. 

  • Hi! I really enjoyed this entry and am a longtime fan of this site and business. However, I do want to caution you against using the phrase “Spirit Animal” so flippantly. Spirit Animals are not a joke; they are a longstanding tradition in some First Nations cultures. The journey of finding what one’s spirit animal is is a long and arduous task and is not just something that can be answered by an Internet quiz or with a joke.

    There is already a very low understanding of First Nations cultures and traditions, and too many people treat FN culture like a joke. Please reconsider using this phrase.

  • So great to see how much of a team effort goes into such a great blog! Good work guys!


  • … after a week I finally get to write this comment! … ABM people is so great to meet you all! Thank you for your work! Wishes for more inspiration and magic moments in your life. xxx greetings from Greece!

  • gahhh… I know now, why I love ABM so much, it has a lot a very talented person as a team. waht a great post.

  • This was so much fun to read, especially for a new reader/follower/fan! 🙂

  • What a great team! And funny pictures!


  • Little late to the party here, but I loved reading all the tidbits. You guys are all great. Special thanks to Trey- I immediately googled his spirit animal and it cracked me up.

  • That’s exciting to know more about everybody behind the blog! You guys are very inspiring and love to read all your articles.

  • This is awesome! I would love to be part of a growing blog such as this one! You all seem like cool people to work with.


  • Great blog post! Request: reading this actually got me really curious about how you and Emma feel like your business spirit has developed over the years. I think it’d be really inspiring to hear about your processes, how thinking about the next content, projects, team roles, investments etc. may have evolved, about how your confidence in making the “right” decisions has come about too! And also if there are any reads that you’d recommend to small business owners! Jesse x

  • i love this!! so good to get to know everyone. you guys are amazing!!



  • Love this post! I have shared your blog with just about everyone i know…I always find myself smiling while I am looking at your pics and links…Nice to meet all of you!

  • Great post! Can you have Jeremy do some videography tutorials please?! I love those videos

  • I love this! It’s so great to read profiles about each of you. As a reader for a few years now, it’s so cool to see how your brand has grown and where your business is at today. I’m excited to watch it continue to grow. It definitely inspires me in my own life 🙂

  • Oh, I love posts like this from you guys. It’s always so nice to see what’s going on behind the scenes. This crazy cat girl loves the gif, too 🙂

  • Cute post!


  • You GUUUYS. I love this so much. Seeing the camaraderie and commitment to excellence is so beautiful, inspiring, refreshing, encouraging. It’s my desire to work alongside my husband (currently an Art Director at a non-profit). Seeing all of you and your hubbies is so fun! I would love to hear all of your feedback and thoughts — albeit very vulnerable — in a post about working/dreaming together while not letting it interfere with your relationship. Or perhaps it adds to it? Either way… I’d be all ears. <3

  • I’m so glad you did this! I have so many similarities to your staff and loved it!

  • Haha I love this! Been around ABM since the first year and it’s so good to see how it’s grown so far. Wish all the best.
    It’s a dream job you know? When you consider hiring internationally give a shout. My resume it’s ready to go ;D

  • You look like a wonderful, fun loving team – we had no idea there were so many of you!


  • It’s always so great to get to know who’s behind the scenes! 🙂

  • Hi Katie,
    I’ve only been doing classes for a couple weeks, but it’s my new obsession! I may post about it someday. You should definitely try it out! It’s hard, but really really good. 😀

  • Wow you guys can be so proud of what you are achieving! Amazing. I love the gif of Laura and Philip, she looks so excited and he looks like he is being made to stand in the photo. Love it.

    Lovely to ‘meet’ you all.


  • I had no idea that you now have this many people on staff! How wonderful to see your business grow. Congratulations on your success. Your team produces an amazing, fun, and inspirational blog. Thanks for the hard work, guys!

  • Love this! 🙂 So much fun learning about the ABM team. @Elsie, Barre Method has been on my list for quite some time! I’m nervous, because I’m a total beginner, but I’ve heard such great things. How long have you been attending classes? Maybe you could do a blog post about your experience? I’m thinking about trying my first class this Saturday morning. Perhaps that will become a new Saturday morning tradition for me! 🙂

  • This was really fun! The scene where Michelle makes her cat suit will go down as one of my favorite childhood cinematic moments ever. 🙂

  • Looks like you have a fantastic team! Loved seeing everyone that helps make your blog a success…


  • Love seeing the team behind the beautiful blog! Thanks for introducing everyone!

  • Love that gif! It made me laugh! 🙂

    I really enjoy reading about your team. I also think it’s quite interesting and awesome to see that you are adding a heap of guys to the mix for things too! And I can’t wait to see the gardening feature you mentioned!

  • I love this post, so nice to see the faces behind everything and find out a bit more about them.

    The GIF at the end is just brilliant. His face haha!

    By the way, loving the DSLR course so far, feeling really inspired!

  • Wow, I’ve been reading this blog for so long, and it’s been amazing to see how its grown over the years. It’s nice to see the faces of everyone who works on this amazing blog.

  • What a lovely team!! Such a dream to be part of a lovely and welcoming group… 😀 I hope one day to be lucky enough to be working with amazing people…

    One thought came to mind though… Are you guys would one day take internships and train someone with your expertise?

    Keep it up guys! Continue inspiring! <3

  • Hi the ABM team,
    I totally love this post!
    It’s great to get to know a little more about the people behind my favorite virtual place!I check your blog several times a day since 2010 and I never get tired of it, you do such a wonderful work, I think you have fun working together and that tanslates into your posts!
    I’m loving the work of Sarah (I LOVED the pictures of Emma and Trey’s weeding)and I’m amazed we share that guilty pleasure of “creepy shows solving murders”… 🙂
    Thank you for sharing!!


  • I find it really cool that you acknowledge everyone who works for you ! I love “meeting” everyone !

  • so nice to see who’s working on this amazing blog 🙂
    xo, cheyenne

  • sooo cool! I love that you and some of your husbands work together. Thats the dream!

  • Your team is lovely and very inspiring..I dream to be in your team some day or at least work with you or even meet you..because you have influenced my life in such a big way that you would not even know..Love

  • That gif at the end SERIOUSLY had me cracking up! hahahahaha. so fun to learn more about the team behind ABM!

  • So exciting to see the ABM team grow… this was such a fun post to read (and the photos are adorable!).

  • Finally, cat people 🙂 lol Actually, I personally love both… Laura’s funny pics reminded me of this video i saw on you tube…Cat-Friend vs Dog-Friend: http://youtu.be/GbycvPwr1Wg
    have you seen it? If you haven’t you should it’s halarious…
    great team you got there…

  • Finally, cat people 🙂 lol Actually, I personally love both… Laura funny pics reminded me of this video i saw on you tube…Cat-Friend vs Dog-Friend: http://youtu.be/GbycvPwr1Wg
    have you seen it? If you haven’t you should it’s halarious…
    great team you got there…

  • So fun guys! Great to see all the guru’s behind the curtains!

  • You have some great people working there! It’s so fun to get to know those random facts and favorites!

    Those black and white photos are to die for!

  • I love that Jeremy’s celebrity crush is Brad Pitt. Also, all of your spirit animals seem so oddly spot on.

  • Hei, I never comment here, but this post is so good!! I’m a Peruvian reader for many years, I LOVE everything that you do, and now that I know that I have many things in common with the team ( ALPACA, peanut, DJ TANNER!!!) I love you even more. Regards from PERU!!

  • Looks like a unique, fun group of people to work with! Plus, you got fam there so that’s nice too 🙂 Awesome!


    Lots of luck,

    Laurali Star

  • awww i love this post! its nice to meet the faces behind this beautiful company. And Jeremy’s videos are awesome! he is so talented. Your entire company exudes inspiration and happiness. It brings joy to my life every day. Thank you!!!

  • Mandi Johnson loves Jimmy Stewart!!


    loved this post. thanks so much for introducing me 🙂


  • Loved getting to “meet” everyone! The b+w portraits are really rad too. I liked the consistent questionnaire for each staff member too! Just a heads up though, using “spirit animals” in a joking/ non-serious way is kinda uncool. That’s serious business for the Native American population who already deal with more than their fair share of cultural appropriation… I know it’s hard to never step on anyone’s toes but I think you guys are great and just thought you should know!

  • I loved reading this. So forgive me for joining in. 🙂

    Spirit Animal: Lion
    Go-to road trip snack: Coffeeeeeeee
    Favorite movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (a close second is The Science of Sleep)
    Celebrity crush: The Lion Whisperer Kevin Richardson (not sure if he is a celebrity but his work with lions is magical and amazing)
    Guilty pleasure: reality tv
    Non-blog hobby: (I don’t write a blog) crafting, bikram yoga
    Childhood hero: Wonder Woman (the Lynda Carter version)

  • Amazing read. I love when I read something that makes me smile. Ending with that gif was the best.


  • aww…it’s great to officially meet everyone behind the scenes! wow your team has grown so much since I started reading =) so wonderful!

  • Awe- so sweet Kim!
    We do feel super lucky to have snagged him. 😀


  • I LOVE that Sarah also has the guilty pleasure of creepy shows that solve murders (I’m guilty of that). I love how each answer shows a bit of each staff member’s personality.

  • Woh! Thank you all for this wonderful site. Such a good ideas and friendship around here. Xx

  • It is interesting to see the people behind the site!


  • Fun post! I read every ABM post so it’s fun to see who the staff is and meet you guys! Hi, I’m Deanna.

  • It is so great to get to know the team better ! I love the crazy cat people gif. I am a cat person, I am so thrilled that Laura writes cat-related posts. Your team is so lovely, everyone seems wonderful !

  • i bet its so much fun in the office :). its really nice to see everybody that contributes to making of abeautifulmess, love all the projects and hair tutorials . keep up the good work.

    xo, angie

  • I had no idea so many of you were involved in ABM! Great work!!

    x Kenzie

  • Cute pictures!And I love learning a bit more about all of you! 🙂


  • Nice staff! You are wonderful!
    Laura, i’m agree with you, Audrey Hepburn forever!! And Cary Grant of course!!
    Esprit animal: aigle ! xo

  • Is great to know the faces behind the awesome projects you post here every day.
    Keep up the good job!
    Thanks for sharing all this incredible DIY with us.
    Have an amazing day 🙂

  • I love seeing and reading about all the new staff members! That’s such an exciting place for you guys to be and it must be great to have a business that can support others as well. I can’t wait to see your staff grow even more!


    p.s. I’m with the crazy cat people. 😉

  • This is probably one of my favorite posts! It’s so fun to put a face (or rather, faces!) to the one of my favorite daily reads 🙂

  • This is an awesome post, and I almost couldn’t believe it when I read that one of you’re celebrity crush’s, Elsie, is Steven Colbert. Here I thought I was a weirdo for having a little crush on that southern man, but good taste!:-)

  • I love the regular sister style but now that I know you have such a groovy team, I think it would be SUPER fun to see a once-in-a-while team style post! I think it could be pretty funny 🙂
    you guys look like SO MUCH FUN!

  • This post makes me SO happy! Look at the team you’ve assembled! When I look at these photos I see a group of people pursuing their passions wholeheartedly. Kudos A Beautiful Mess team! You are an inspiration 🙂

  • woooww! it’s wonderful that you have so many people working for you. I wish to do this someday. I have a small online store with a blog and hope to be able to grow it!

  • Haha- yea, we told everyone they didn’t have to answer every question if they didn’t have an answer. 😀


  • So many people. Looks like a great team full of fun! xx


  • I love you guys! You’re definitely a major inspiration for me and countless others. Thank you 🙂

  • Wowza…amazing to see all the great people behind a fabulous blog! It all makes sense now why it rules! P.S I really love that office desk and am trying to talk to husband into helping me make a mini version for a tv stand!


  • Does the awesome-beard-having (dude with prettier hair than me) Philip Bowles not have a childhood hero???

  • Hi Natalie,
    We don’t offer any internships right now.

    Thanks so much for reading! 🙂

  • Laughing over “Creepy shows that solve murders.” Yes! That’s my guilty pleasure too!

  • I love Bryan Adams, and I don’t feel guilty about it! Stand proud, Katie! I’ve been taking dance lessons for our wedding, and the song is ‘Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman’

  • This is brilliant, i’ve been a follower of ABM for a couple of years now and it is so lovely to get to know the whole team behind such a fab blog.

  • So fun to see photos of everyone and to learn a little bit more about the staff! Totally love you guys!

  • words cannot explain how friggin happy this post has made me!!!!

    i love this!
    aside from emmas heartfelt post this is my fave!!!
    now dont get me wrong, you guys post amazing stuff! but this was just WOW!!!

    i know this is far off but i love all of you guys!!!
    cant wait to see what’s in the future for ABM!

    as for the app, because i have to get ready to suffer (if i need too!), will it be both an apple and droid release….or do we droidians have to wait?



  • It is always so nice to see who is behind such amazing things happening at A Beautiful Mess!! Is there by any chance internships you guys offer? (specifically graphic design?)

  • Thank you so much! As a faithful reader, it is great to meet the whole team!

    Greetings from Europe,




  • Hello everyone! What a great achievement, well done for creating such a fun and competent team! Great spirit of entrepreneurship.

  • For some reason, I love the spirit animal question in this staff update. Paired with the lovely portrait shots of everyone, I honestly feel like I get the full personalities of all these individuals…and I love that!

    Thanks for sharing…can’t wait to see what 2014 brings to all these great people 🙂

  • Hands down, y’all have the best site ever. I could spend an entire day, going through your posts again and again.

  • It’s been so cool and ultimately inspiring watching ABM grow over the years – your daily posts keeps me going on the days I feel un-inspired/motivated xoxo

  • what a fun post! i love that you included a list of random things they like 🙂
    xo jac

  • Hi Mary,
    Most of the people we’ve hired we worked with on a for-fun or freelance basis before offering a job. We found our proofreader through Candice Stringham (one of our teachers) because she has worked with Candice for years. 🙂

    Thanks so much for reading!

  • So fun to get to know you guys better! When I was reading about you and Emma it reminded me so much of me and my sister. She’s totally the creative genius and I do all of the biz and editorial type stuff, and we’re infinitely better together. Love seeing behind the scenes and celebrating all that ABM has done in the last year!

  • Loved this post !! Awesome to see the team growing ! xxx Such fun ! x

  • Hi ABM Staff! Nice to meet you all.
    I have a question about how you find staff. I’m getting into the freelance editing biz and I am interested in editing web content and blogs. Would you mind telling me how you found your proofreader?

    Thanks from a native Springfieldian!

  • I LOVE Laura and Katie. I love their projects and their personal blogs. You guys like a fun bunch! Can I go visit your office and meet you all when I’m on vacation?

    Regards from one of your international readers!!!

  • This was awesome! I love the little quiz thing on each of you, and I LOVED that Jeremy’s crush was a guy, ahaha. Fun read.

    (And thanks for fixing the mistake on Trey’s bio.)

  • This was a fun read. You guys are so great and it’s nice to know a little more about you! The gif is my fave.

  • So good to see all the team-members! I think it’s amazing that 3 of you girls get to work with your significant others. There must be a lot of love in that office 😉

    – Esther

  • So cool to see the personalities of the staff and get to know who’s behind all of the awesomeness of abeautifulmess. Thanks for sharing!

  • So fun! You guys are all the bomb dot com. I love that Mandi’s childhood hero is Zorro! Yesss!

  • Such a fun and diverse staff! It looks like such a great place to work in everyday- What a dream come true!

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