This month’s DS BIG 10 Giveaway is coming courtesy of a brand that has been a big part of Design*Sponge’s history: west elm. Not only were they our co-sponsor for the DS book tour, but they provided such genuine and uplifting support during that nearly 30 city tour that kept Amy and I going when 4am wake-up calls started to wear on us. As a brand, west elm has been influential in supporting and celebrating the indie community, frequently partnering with Etsy to showcase handmade work and doing guest collections with some of our favorite design schools and their students. It’s rare to find a company that is excited and truly interested in helping the community that surrounds it, so we feel incredibly lucky to have west elm based in our own home town of Brooklyn. Today they are generously giving away a $500 gift card to one lucky DS reader. All you need to do is answer the question below in the comment section. At the end of the month, west elm will pick their favorite answer and send them a card for a serious shopping spree. Thank you so much to west elm for their support over the past years and for this generous donation to the DS BIG 10 giveaway year. xo, grace
To enter the competition all you have to do is answer this question from West Elm team in the comment section below: What is the one thing West Elm doesn’t sell but you wish they did?
UPDATE: Congrats to our winner, Erica Warren!
Click through for an interview with West Elm’s Creative Director, Vanessa Holden after the jump!
I truly believe that everyone has an inner decorator just waiting to get out. But decorating has mostly been about an ‘expert’ projecting their aesthetic point of view on us. There really is no right and wrong way to decorate. Sure, there are lessons we can all learn about mixing color, texture, materials, about space planning, lighting, and meeting functional needs in your home. But our homes are our stories. They are the most personal spaces in the world. And most people just need a little bit of confidence, reassurance and help. It’s pretty fun to help people discover their personal style – to tell someone ‘your taste is you and that’s amazing, own it!’
On a daily basis I’m inspired by the people around me (I call our office the smarty party), and by our customers. We’re creating products and inspiration for their homes – that’s pretty meaningful! We just started showcasing customer Instagram photos with the hashtag #mywestelm on our website. It’s so fun to see how their homes look and how they are using our products – sometimes in ways we never expected.
Focusing and narrowing down choices. There are so many products we could create, events we could host, collaborators we could work with. Everyone quotes Steve Jobs, but I do really love his quote about focus: “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good things that there are.
What are you proudest of as a business/brand so far?
We’ve had a lot of awesome days at west elm and shared in a lot of success, but I have to say one of my proudest days at work was the day we decided – very quickly – to stop selling products from a vendor who was obviously knocking off the work of independent artists. We did not expect the positive response that we got from the community. It reinforced a lot of our hard work and made us all pause and realize that our customers really appreciate what we stand for. It was a very cool day for all of us.
You wrote a really interesting piece recently about changes in the blog world. The same is true for the retail world. The way people are shopping has completely changed in the past few years – in ways it hadn’t changed in the last 20 or even 50 years before that. With that in mind, we’re super focused right now on creating a seamless cross-channel experience for our customers – helping them gather information and inspiration, and shop whenever and wherever they want. We’re also working on ways to personalize the shopping experience online and surface content and products that are relevant to a customer’s specific needs. And we’re still completely focused on building community around our stores. Our stores are our home and we love throwing parties and events, hosting classes and workshops, and using our spaces to introducing our customers to artists, makers, creators and ideas we love.