A contradiction in terms, perhaps, but a challenge that I embrace. Here are a few words about how it works.
When I began my own blog in 2009, the fact that anyone was reading besides my own sisters was a revelation. Nearly six years later it continues to be. But the truth is that every week there are many thousands of people reading what I write. In writing about my home and life, consumer products sometimes enter the conversation. And while it can seem at first inconsistent to write about simplicity and consumer goods in the same forum, my own drive for simplicity emerges in part from the fact that I wrestle with how to make responsible consumer choices in my daily life. Further, I find that when I post about products and don’t direct readers to places where they can find them themselves, I get requests for more information. Toward that end, a link to a product is a service that I can provide in this space. But it’s also an opportunity for me to highlight and support businesses and brands whose work I admire.
Most of the time I don’t receive remuneration for mentioning brands that I admire. But when I do? When those same brands in turn support the work that I am doing, a mutually beneficial relationship emerges. In fact, it’s something that I’m really proud of. In August I took a leap of faith by returning to work on this blog full-time. I knew that it would mean making choices about sponsorship that I hadn’t had to make before. But it also allowed me to make choices about sponsorship. In running my own blog I get to call the shots about what I post and who I partner with. I do my best to partner with thoughtful, creative, independent brands. When I partner with larger brands, who might on the face of it seem less knowable, those are decisions that I make in order to grow a platform, reach a wider audience, or earn money that allows my work here to continue. (And, if there are any wealthy benefactors out there who want to shower me with funds to support my blog, I will not turn you away, either!)
Kidding aside, here is the truth: blog posts do not emerge out of the firmament. They are a labor of love, yes. But they are also a labor of…labor. I could never devote the time that I do to this site without remuneration. But I’d rather be here than anywhere else. I love writing in this space. I love photographing for this space. I love sharing ideas and projects and I’m constantly working to find a way to be paid for my work in a way that also mirrors my own commitment to a simple, sustainable, ethical living. Partnering with brands on projects is a way that I can stay in this space week after week. Partnering with brands whose work I admire is a choice that I make. I turn down projects that don’t feel right for this blog.
Regarding some readers’ responses on last Friday’s post specifically, the series My Week in Objects (Mostly) began in 2009 as a way for me to take stock of the things in a given week that I am grateful for. And it continues to be that. If sometimes I include an item that has been given to me as a gift, that’s because it did, indeed, make my week. I am not so jaded that the gift of a beautiful sweater doesn’t stand out as special. If mentioning consumer products simply doesn’t sit well with you, I can respect that. And I’ll keep that in mind in the future. I don’t want my blog to feel like a catalog either. But I would like you to know that when I choose to share those things in my Friday posts, I am sharing them because they were a gesture of kindness that genuinely touched me, or made my week brighter. I’ve made a personal decision to keep these posts unsponsored. But if I write about a product that allows me to use an affiliate link and thereby earn a commission from future sales on that site, that’s money that also allows me to continue writing this blog.
And to the detractors who say that my blog has changed. That they miss the old tea leaves? When I began this blog I was more or less fresh out of college, working in my first real job, bored by it most of the time. Blogging was a creative outlet for me and my blog became a place where I could explore things that I was thinking about, build a sense of community, and engage on a daily basis with a world beyond the confines of my own home. I’ve since gone to graduate school. Moved to two new cities. Worked in two other full-time jobs. Gotten married. Had a baby. But this place? It’s still the space that I come to when I have an idea to share. It’s still a creative outlet. And especially gratifying, it’s become a place, not just where people come to read, but where they hope to receive guidance or engage in a conversation.
If you continue to read this space, I am so glad for your support. If you decide that you don’t want to read a blog that also garners an income and sometimes directs readers to consumer products, I respect your decision to respectfully stop reading.
I’m going to do something that I’ve never done before, and close the comments on this post. I’ve also decided to start moderating comments on my blog in general. This is not to stifle thoughtful participation from readers. If you do choose to write a critical, or dare I say, outrightly mean comment, know that I will receive it and take it to heart. But I won’t leave these notes published on my blog, because I think the world needs to see more kindness and compassion, not less.
Thank you, as always, for reading.