Grace Bonney launched the home decor and DIY blog Design Sponge in 2004, and today it draws more than two million monthly readers. Success notwithstanding, Bonney has a soft spot for mistakes. “It’s so important to talk about failing,” she says. “People aren’t always super open about it, but it creates connection in a way that doesn’t happen when you only focus on the good things.”
Bonney’s anthology In the Company of Women (Artisan, 2016), for which she solicited stories and advice from more than 100 artists and entrepreneurs, has sold 85,000 hardcover copies since its release, per NPD BookScan. She’s continuing the conversation with Good Company (Artisan), a biannual journal exploring the intersection of the creative life and business. PW spoke with Bonney about her changing interests, the tactility of a bookazine, and who’s considered “good company.”
How did you progress from blogging about design to writing about the people behind it?
I’ve accepted that my interests are going to grow and change, and while in my 20s my interest was in objects, now my interest is about people. I’m drawn to creative people who have a sense of self, an understanding that confidence doesn’t come from someone else’s style but from your own. We want to bring together people who have been underrepresented in the creative community—from women to people with physical challenges to those of diverse races and backgrounds—to better understand the ups and downs in the lives of creative businesses. I want people to feel like they’re having a conversation over coffee, getting not just someone’s highlight reel but having safe space to talk about things that foster connection and growth.
Why did you choose a journal format?
There’s a need for more content like this, and I didn’t want to wait two years to publish another anthology, because there are thousands of women I could talk to in the meantime. I also wanted to make something as tactile as possible, different from something online. One of my favorite things in this issue, which we plan to continue, is having articles that are miniature zines themselves, formatted as several pages on one page.
In the Company of Women focused on females in creative professions. Will Good Company do the same?
Good Company came out of the place In the Company of Women came out of—meaning women, in particular, have not had as many places to celebrate their professional achievements. It’s nice to see more places where they can show up, in person and online, to celebrate the professional sides of their identities.
Creative businesspeople are the focus, but the first issue does include people not in that space. We’re going to expand on that and find the creative moments in other kinds of business stories, like the one in the first issue about what it’s like to live in a rural place, where we spoke to a female lobsterman. We plan to include male-identified people as the publication grows. It’s all about allyship. The publishing world has a long way to go in catching up on businesspeople whose stories have not been told.