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Pink Loves Brown, Closing Up Shop

I intended to take only a brief maternity leave from my stationery shop, Pink Loves Brown, after August was born. Just as I had done with Eleanor. The first time around, I closed for six months, and I foolishly thought that I could reopen much quicker the second time around. I was a WAHM already — I’d been around the block! I knew what to expect! Six months? Let’s go for six weeks!

I didn’t know what to expect. The shop stayed closed a little longer. Then a lot longer.

Pink Loves Brown at the Renegade Craft Fair, 2007

We considered reopening the shop last year when Brandon lost his job, but we decided against it. The blog, and the opportunities that came along with it, would support our family far better than my stationery line. Going full-time here has gone well, and so I quietly (finally) closed the shop a couple of months ago. I don’t know why it took me so long to write about it. I shuttered something that was successful, which is a hard thing to explain. I sometimes think of the way I write about our life as having my hand on the five-second delay, not because I’m hiding anything or afraid of letting something slip, but because havings a tiny bit of distance helps me get perspective. Closing the shop was difficult. It was a huge part of our lives.

Pink Loves Brown in Venus Magazine, 2008

I started my stationery business in 2005, after requests started picking up from friends and family (and friends of family) to design invitations. Like many new stationers, I became interested after designing my own wedding invitations. After a few custom invitation projects, I realized that I was more interested in creating a line of greeting cards and stationery, and so I focused my attention there. The shop did well, and picked up a fair amount of press coverage. I came out with new design collections every 4-6 months, and promoted them on the blog and through my shop’s newsletter. Over time, I added buttons, magnets, bookplates, and paper suitcases to my shop’s wares.

Pink Loves Brown Pocket Mirrors

Pink Loves Brown Personalized Stationery

We finished the basement with the intention of moving my studio down there (along with creating the laundry room, play room, and storage space). We did move everything downstairs, but only utilized the space for personal use. There are only so many hours in a day. The time I devote to work, time away from Brandon and the kids, needs to be spent as productively as possible. That meant letting the shop go and closing that chapter. I know it’s not a surprise, and that I should have come to this point much sooner, but here we are.

Pink Loves Brown Paper Suitcases

In an effort to clear out my inventory before we move, I’ll be selling the remainder of my paper suitcases for the next week. All sales will be final, and only the paper suitcase category will be active. Everything else in the shop will be listed as “out of stock,” but I do still have plenty of inventory left. So all of the other stuff you see in the shop? Freebies, with purchase! Bonus goodies will be included with each order, grab bag style.

(And if you’re a local stationer in need of card stock, envelopes, or cellophane card sleeves and boxes, let me know. You’re welcome to my surplus of supplies if you’ll come pick it up.)

Pink Loves Brown Stationery Sets

Some of you have been reading for a long time, and you probably remember when the shop was open. Some of you have even been customers! The shop was a huge part of this blog’s journey, and whether you’re new here or have been around since the beginning, thank you.

Update: The paper suitcases are now sold out (I’ll ship everything out by Monday morning at the latest), and someone will be picking up the surplus supplies.

Bing Loves Pinterest (and Bloggers)

I’ve been working with Bing, along with several other lifestyle and design bloggers, to help them understand our searching and social media habits. (When I mentioned being in Seattle last December, it was to visit the Microsoft headquarters.) Our focus group discussed some of the irksome technical aspects of blogging that we deal with, such as finding original sources for images. We all had plenty of love for Pinterest, but it can be frustrating to come across photos we’d like to incorporate, only to find that the source listed is a search engine.

Bing — Pin To Pinterest

Bing has worked to include the feedback from us bloggers, which led to (among other things) a ‘Pin to Pinterest’ option in their image search. You can search, using their image filters (by color, size, etc.), then pin directly from the results. The source will be credited, not just bing.com, and you can narrow down results to a specific site as well (e.g. site:makingitlovely.com).

Bing — Pin To Pinterest

It was interesting to be a part of the process. From a traffic standpoint, a search engine would benefit by acting as a middle-man and retaining their URL as the source. We bloggers though, as content creators, insisted that pinned images should go back to the original page and I’m glad to see that was implemented. It makes the feature more useful for us, and also for you and the Pinterest community as a whole. Hooray for making our internet lives a smidge easier!


bing
This post was sponsored by Bing.

2013 Making it Lovely Reader Survey

Thank you, everyone, for taking my 2013 reader survey recently. Below are the results. I would have had this information to share with you much sooner had I not insisted on attempting to make the charts and graphs pretty. (Silly me, trying to make it lovely.)

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Survey Results

I asked several questions about posting frequency, blog reading habits, and about your feelings on sponsored posts. I’m glad to see that so many of you are supportive, long-time readers — I really appreciate that.

Making it Lovely 2013 Reader Survey Results

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Why do you read Making it Lovely?

  • “I love your style , pretty and feminine- but somehow there’s an edge to it. Also I enjoy your writing style- its smart and to the point- with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Your level of transparency seems perfectly balanced to me, I know enough about you to understand your point of view- yet you are not living your entire life on your blog. I am also a young(ish) mother of two perfect darlings that rock my world and I just wanted to say from one momma to another that I think you do a really wonderful job of acknowledging and honoring motherhood, while still making plenty of thoughtful conversation about other things. I feel as though so many blogs are JUST about mothering or they’re about interior design exclusively and their children are just another prop to style. You are a rare gem, indeed. Cheers to your anniversary, dear! “

  • “I like your aesthetic, but also feel like yours is a more “grounded” blog — sometimes when I read a lot of blogs I get the feeling that I need to buy all of the things. I generally don’t have that feeling from reading yours — I get ideas, inspiration, etc. but don’t feel like if I only changed everything in my home/wardrobe I would be better. Hope that makes sense. “

  • “I’m inspired by your decorating posts. Whether or not we have the same style doesn’t really matter. I like to see the things you put together and try to think about how I might do something similar in my own home, with my own twist. That’s why I like “Making it Yours” so much. Of all the design blogs I follow, you’re the only one doing that. I love seeing how the same item can seem so different when accessories are switched. “

  • “I love your tone and the pictures you take are great. I also like that you seem down to earth and honest. You have a realistic price point for most of the stuff you share and you are able to mix the high with the low in such a fabulous manner. Your kids are adorable and it is fun to see them growing up plus you are from the Midwest, where I am originally from. “

  • “You grabbed me with the pink living room, held on tight with the Madeline Wienrib rug, and cinched the deal with the refreshing quirky personality. I return again and again to read your words and to be inspired that smart is cool and individuality is cooler, and that anyone can have a beautiful home that expresses their passions. (And not just the designers, though I do love them too :) “

What are a few of your favorite blogs?

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Topics

Looks like you love seeing photos of my home, makeovers for readers, and DIY projects, and you’d like to see those topics more often.

Topics

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Are there any other features or topics you'd like to see more of on Making it Lovely?

  • “I love hearing about products, services, apps, screen savers (I still have that flip clock screensaver on my iMac), etc. that you’re using. I know it’s hard to walk the line between a casual ‘I’m loving this’ post and an endorsement, but I really love hearing about the things you’re loving, using, crushing over, etc. And I miss your font crush posts!”

  • “I live in Chicago, close to Oak Park and I’d love to see more posted on neighborhood. I think it’s charming.”

  • “More before and afters. Remind us of your space, keep us in the loop about what has changed. Show the evolution of your style. Take more photos yourself (fewer mood boards and things pulled from the net).”

  • “I like posts that give me the feeling of going shopping with you– explaining how you select different items, why you reject others, how you think they work together. That can be accomplished with actual make-overs/purchases/projects (in either fashion or home stuff) but also with mood boards.”

  • “I’d love to see periodic photography tips and tricks. I know you say you’re still learning, but we can learn with you.”

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Demographics

The average reader is a married woman between the ages of 25-34, a homeowner, well-educated, with young children.

Making it Lovely 2013 Reader Survey Results: Demographics

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Is there anything else you'd like to say?

  • “I’d just like to say that, a while back you wrote how you’ve decided to remain the only writer/contributor to your blog & I LOVE that! I meant to comment that on that post but I never did. I don’t know why I don’t comment. Perhaps it’s because I think there’s no possible way you read them all? Do you? If you do, I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting & encouraging you in that way. I super love your blog & think you’re an inspiring lady!”

  • “I follow way too many blogs. I need to clear out my reader. However, I think – without cheating – you are a former bookstore employee? I think you love books. Anyway, our daughters are similar in age and I think it would be a cool feature for you and Eleanor to review a children’s book every week/month. Maybe? Random thought.”

  • “I love reading your blog for many reasons. I certainly love looking at pictures/projects of your home, as I feel my style is similar. There are things I would love to do in my own house. I also really like your writing. I always find it positive and encouraging. You are a person who I would spend time with in life! Down-to-earth. I find you inspiring, and look forward to reading new posts every day. I find myself at a point in life where I can’t decide what I need to do next. I come to Making-it-Lovely because it makes me feel happy. A lot of your personal posts make me feel like I tackle things calmly. In my job I do some online work already, and I’d love to take it a bit further. I read your posts and feel better about taking on challenges. Anyway, I really love this blog. THANK YOU FOR WRITING IT.”

  • “You do a great job, and have a unique style. I hope the feedback doesn’t make you change things too much. Hats off to you for being able to support your family from this!”

  • “Keep up the good work. I’m proud of the decisions you’ve made and appreciate your candidness, and your ability to not pontificate on your life. Your blog isn’t so much ME! ME! ME! as so many are prone to be. It’s thought provoking and minimal, as if you trust your readers’ ability to think and form their own opinions. You give us something to think about without shoving it down our throats. Thank you. “

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