This morning I wanted to take a moment to share some news that means more to me than I can truly put into words. After a year of planning and preparing, Amy Azzarito is joining Aaron and me at Design*Sponge as our first full-time team member. Before I move on to the next sentence I should explain that between that last sentence and this one I took a full minute to stop and smile- this news means so much to me and to the future of Design*Sponge that I can just barely contain my excitement- and some happy tears.
For the past six years I’ve been the only full-time editorial team member at D*S. As much as I loved working on the site, each year I found myself saying “I think I’m going to close the site this year. I just don’t know what I want to do.” Everyone I told thought I was crazy (or lying), but after all those years of working alone at home I had lost some of my passion and direction. I still loved Design*Sponge, our readers and our team of contributors just as much as I always had, but something inside me hadn’t quite clicked in terms of seeing what the real future of the site was.
But that started to change after I worked with Amy on the Design By The Book video series. Amy was working at the New York Public Library and working with her and the team there was, to this day, one of the best work experiences I’ve ever had. Working on videos, imagining new projects- it seemed like creative doors were starting to open that I hadn’t even imagined.
Over the course of the next year Amy joined us as a freelancer at Design*Sponge and quickly went above and beyond her duties with Past & Present to help me brainstorm and imagine all the fun things Design*Sponge could be in the future. It was all those excited conversations about D*S books, videos and events that really made me see the future of the site and re-discover my passion for things. It became clear early on that Amy would play a big role in the future of the site and I started planning (and saving) so we could offer her a full-time job.
This week is Amy’s first week working with us full-time and we’ve already hit the ground running. What does this mean for those of you reading? It means that things around here are about to get exciting! Our first big project together is doing a site-wide audit of the content we run everyday to make sure that each column and every post is the best it possibly can be. D*S has grown so much over the past year and we want to spend the next few months making sure that we take all your comments, emails and suggestions into effect to improve and strengthen everything we publish here. So stay tuned for improvements on some of your favorites and a few new additions along the way. This year is really about focusing on quality for us and making sure that every word and picture is the best it can be.
In addition, Amy and I are finishing up the D*S site redesign along with our tech gurus and will be launching that at the same time as the D*S Book pre-sale announcement. We have some AMAZING ideas (I can’t wait to tell you guys!!) and contests to launch in conjunction with both things later this spring (look for both towards the end of April). We’re also going to be planning a series of crafting/making events for this spring/summer so stay tuned for dates and information on those soon.
Having an extra set of (super talented) hands on board is going to mean we have more time to really enjoy and expand what we do here at D*S. So stay tuned for lots of fun this year! So….Welcome to the team, Amy!
And from Aaron, Amy and myself- thank you to everyone reading. Without you we wouldn’t get to wake up and do what we love every day and we’re so thankful for your support. The three of us are going to do everything we can to make sure D*S is the best it can be. xo, grace
*The images above are from our surprise team dinner last night at Per Se. We told Amy we wanted to take her out to celebrate but didn’t tell her where until we walked around the corner from the entrance. It was such an amazing night of food, ideas and celebration. Thank you to everyone at Per Se for making Amy’s special menu and for letting us peek inside the kitchen. It was truly a night we’ll always remember.