I started Design*Sponge 14 years ago with one simple goal: to create a space where I could talk about the things I loved with people who shared the same interests. I thought maybe one day this online archive of posts might act as a resume I could submit to a magazine. All I wanted was to be a part of a team and talk to the people making all of the beautiful and inspiring things I loved.
Design*Sponge became that dream (online) magazine job that I never knew I could have, and I am thankful for that incredible journey every single day. But in the back of my mind, I have still harbored that dream of creating a real print magazine of our own. It’s the project I’ve imagined doing since I was a little girl and today, that dream became a reality.
Today our brand new biannual magazine, Good Company, is on stands everywhere. From independent book stores across the Unites States to online book and magazine shops across the globe to the check-out stands of stores like Whole Foods and Paper Source, our debut issue is officially out in the world! And I am filled to the brim with joy. Let me tell you why…
In the Company of Women changed my life forever. What I learned from that project was that we need to connect more. We need to talk more – in person– and have moments that are honest and tangible and that stay with us. While I’ve loved creating those moments with our Biz Ladies column and After the Jump, what the book tour taught me was that gathering people together to have these deeper conversations in person (with more depth and more nuance) was what really made a difference in the world of people hoping to launch, maintain and grow independent businesses. And that having these conversations in print form — that people could hold in their hands and bring to bed and on trips and to the studio with them — was a huge part of that connection.
But rather than waiting another two years to produce “Volume 2” of In the Company of Women, I wanted to take these conversations and make them more regular and get them into the hands of people faster than every two years. So our publisher, Artisan Books, decided to jump into this unknown adventure with us and continue the conversations from the book in the new format of a biannual magazine (it’s basically a mini-book in terms of size and depth of content) that people can hold in their hands, share with friends, and connect with at events across the country.
This year we’re publishing two issues: one that’s on stands now and a Fall issue that will be out in October. Each issue will have a theme and our debut issue is dedicated to the idea of COMMUNITY.
For this issue we worked with over 75 creatives across a broad range of fields and geographic areas to discuss, honestly and openly, the ups and downs of the creative community. The issue is divided into three sections (Community, Changing Community and Community Health) and in each section we share the stories of people (primarily women and non-binary people) who are using their creative work to create new spaces, lift up underrepresented voices and support the communities around them.
The majority of this issue was created by and about people from underrepresented communities: women and non-binary people of color, people from the LGBTQ+ community, disabled people, people living with chronic illness and mental health challenges, etc. I wanted to put something different out in the world — something that would represent, visually and in words, the stories and lives of amazing people who we don’t always see in most magazines.
What’s inside this first issue? Here’s an overview of those 168 pages:
- Group interviews with 15 amazing women discussing what community means to them, challenges in their communities and how they’re overcoming them, and frank discussions about mental health.
- Personal essays about breakdowns, finding connection online and off, and the importance of representation for those living with disabilities.
- Three miniature zines (zines within a zine!) about building intentional community, the history of a cartoonist’s career, and combining art and activism.
- Studio tours with: tattoo artists, wood shop owners, rural business owners, leaders in the world of size-inclusive fashion, and more.
- Interviews with: women changing the world of online media representation, changing the world of book stores, inclusive stock photography, illustration, and more.
- Features on creative businesses that have made giving back and supporting their community a part of their business model.
You’ll hear from people like Anna Sale, Tavi Gevinson, Bethany Yellowtail, Ashley Ford, Kimberly Drew, Chef Melissa King, Tony-award winning actress/singer Cynthia Erivo, artists Lostboy, Mimi Pond, Grace D. Chin, Areeba Siddique and Miriam Klein-Stahl, writers like Heather Barmore, Shauna Ahern, Klancy Miller, Nicole Taylor and Rebekah Taussig, designers like Gabi Fresh and Nicolette Sara of Premme, women changing media like Emma Straub of Books are Magic, Andrea Gompf of Remezcla, Amy Choi of Mashup Americans and Reese Bernard of Autostraddle. And so, so many more.
I am so proud of this first issue and cannot wait for you all to see it. You can find alllll of the retail links (in the US and Internationally) right here. You can also come join us on tour this year (more dates coming this Fall!) and grab a ticket to see panel talks across the country.
Thank you so much to everyone who worked with us to make this first issue happen (including my incredible in-laws, who designed most of the issue and helped me immensely –– that’s us above!). It was the hardest project of my life so far and it is truly a dream to see it come to life after so many years of dreaming. If you liked In the Company of Women, I hope you’ll check out a copy of Good Company and join us as we pick up where we left off in the book for deeper and more personal conversations with an incredible group of people changing the world in creative ways. xo, Grace
I love seeing Good Company out in the world! This moment that Sara Kauten shared made my day. Things you can hold in your hands mean so much to me — especially when you can enjoy them while you’re getting ready for your day.
Last night’s debut panel event in Brooklyn! Over 250 people came to celebrate with us and listen to these amazing women speak about life, work and community.
Good Company No. 1: The Community Issue