Skip to content

dream.create.inspire: grace bonney of design*sponge.

February 14, 2011
i couldn’t be more honored to have the amazing + successful grace bonney of design*sponge to participate in this series, + who more perfect for the first post.  she truly epidimizes what this series for. thank you so much for sharing your dreams + inspirations with us, grace.

what is your company’s  mission?
My mission with the site is to provide all of the inspiration and tools people need to create a home that reflects who they are.

what are some images that inspire you , represent you or what your brand is visually inspired by?



what was your childhood dream?
I wanted to be a writer. I saw myself writing fiction and working for magazines, so I guess I held on to a little bit of that. I ended up really moving away from long-form writing, but expressing my interests and passions has always been a part of my dreams from day one.

your dailies (job)
It changes from day to day, but I typically work from 7am to 9 or 10pm (sometimes later) on everything from writing posts, answering emails, consulting with blogging/business clients, working on larger d*s projects like books and videos, and working on organizing our in-person events each season.

what is your favorite thing about your job?
setting my own schedule. i love being able to do what i love, when i love. if i want to work till 1am and sleep in until 10am, i can. i rarely do that, but just the idea that i CAN is huge.

favorite quote(s)
I honestly don’t have any. I’ve never been the sort of person who believed too much in quotes, because business and life change too often to stick to one rule or one saying. I try to really embrace how often things change and not be too hard on myself if the way I run my business or live my life changes.

favorite flower:
Juliet Roses. They are heaven on earth.

how do you stay motivated daily?
Surrounding myself with creative people. My goal has always been to build the best editorial team on the web and I truly believe we’ve done that. I am constantly inspired by the ideas, writing, and work of the writers who work with me at Design*Sponge. I think it’s really healthy to surround yourself with people who know different things than you do and push you to constantly step outside of your comfort zone and learn new things

toughest challenge upon working towards your dream?
Dealing with risk. I was never afraid to be different or avoid trends when I was younger, but now that more of my life is riding on my website, I’ve found that I’m less likely to leap without looking first. It’s something I have to push myself to do, but thankfully I have people around me reminding me how important it is to always push yourself to do something different, no matter the risk.

how did you work through it?
I try to build a support system around me that will always tell me like it is- no candy coating things, just being real and honest. I trust them to make sure I don’t do anything that’s too far from our core mission.

how many times have you heard no?
Oh, plenty. I think hearing “no” can be incredibly inspiring, because it gives you the motivation you need to prove people wrong or push past their limitations.

often times hearing “no” can be very demotivating, how have you turned no’s into yes’s or
find the silver lining?
I always try to see it as an excuse to learn. Could I do something better? If so, I see it as a chance to improve something. If it’s a case of someone not believing in me, it’s the best motivation and excuse to work harder to show them they were wrong.

i find it very important to recognize your accomplishments, while you set new
goals to have a sense of achievement. list your favorite accomplishment this
I think my biggest accomplishment this year is hiring our very first full-time employee. It’s been a very big, scary and important investment in the future of Design*Sponge and it means so many exciting new opportunities for us going forward.

balancing free services vs paid while building your business:
Early on I did almost all my freelance work for free. I did whatever people wanted if it meant I could learn an aspect of the business. I didn’t start getting paid for at least a year. Then I slowly built up a scale I used to determine if I could afford to do something for free. I still do things like this when I can if they’re a chance for me to learn a new skill, push myself, or improve the business.

what is the one thing that has given your company a big boost?:
Our willingness to work hard and then work even harder when we achieve what we are going for. I think we’re unwilling to rest, because we know we can always be better and try harder- that striving for “the best we can be” has always served well to set us apart.

as we grow + learn more about ourselves, evolution may be necessary. how do
your dreams evolve as you do?
I try to go with the flow- my tastes are always changing and I try to be honest about them, more often than not, other people understand those changes and can relate with them.

when do you know when its time to let go of a goal and move on to another?
I never let go unless I realize it wasn’t a positive goal. Sometimes things are delayed, but if you truly want something you’ll find a way to make it happen.

what inspires you?
It’s easier for me to say what doesn’t. Everything inspires me- food, nature, friends- anything that makes me see the world in a new way.

creatives tend to have numerous passions, how did you hone in your focus to
keep your creative-self satisfied?
I always stay true to what I love at any given time, which means embracing that my passions will change and grow over time. I’ve added them to D*S organically over time and always try to find a way to keep my aesthetic and values the same so the new topics don’t feel out of place.

your favorite go–to books/magazines/brands that you adore?
Martha Stewart Living will always be my gold standard for inspiration. The level of perfection she achieves in everything she does makes me work harder every day.

persons you have looked up to for drive + inspiration?
Martha Stewart, Ina Garten and Donna Hay: strong powerful women who do things their own way.

what do you recommend for creative, budding entrepreneurs working to create
their dreams?
Trust your gut. When you start listening to other peoples’ voices over your own you lose some of your originality- so always listen to what your inner voice tells you feels right, interesting, or exciting.

images via: zig zag from flor tiles, home tour image D*S sneak peek with alissa and ryan from shop horne, wall boxes are a diy project from D*S, striped sheets from dwellstudio, wallpapered wall and mirror room are from the greenbrier hotel by dorothy draper

visit here for more information on this series.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2011 9:03 am

    Love Grace! D*S remains one of my very favorite sites for its level of creativity and inspiration. Thanks for sharing this lovely interview. :)


  2. February 14, 2011 9:34 pm

    i really love this series and i hope you’ll keep up with it. it was such a pleasure to meet grace at lavish!, and i learned so much from listening to her in her sessions. i planned to do a business series this year, but got too busy to get it off the ground. some kind of way i feel like you heard my spirit! :)


  3. February 24, 2011 8:06 pm

    Grace is very inspiring, the perfect first feature! Having met her, her energy is palpable and I admire her dedication and hard work…she deserves all the goodness that has come her way.



  1. dream.create.inspire: catharina bruns of work is not a job « christina loucks
  2. dream.create.inspire: courtney khail – artist. « christina loucks
  3. dream.create.inspire: michelle jennings wiebe, ASID of studio m « christina loucks
  4. dream.create.inspire: textile designer + artist lourdes sanchez « christina loucks
  5. dream.create.inspire: dallas shaw; fashion illustrator « christina loucks
  6. dream.create.inspire: kirsten grove of simply grove | christina loucks
  7. dream.create.inspire: textile designer + artist lourdes sanchez | christina loucks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s