I’m so excited that we’re getting an update from Anne Ditmeyer today! Anne has become such a star and we are all so envious of her beautiful and creative life in Paris these days. Anne started out as an intern at Design*Sponge (the very first one ever!) and went on to contribute as one of our first editors, covering everything from homes and DIY to travel. Travel is what Anne does so well, and she oversaw the expansion of our city guides from a small offshoot to one of the most popular parts of the site. So it’s no surprise that Anne is now doing work in France at the intersection of travel, design, and creative entrepreneurship. I’m so excited for this update — we miss you, Anne! xo, Grace
Photos by Ashley Ludaescher
Full Name: Anne Ditmeyer
Role at Design*Sponge: Contributing editor for 6 years
Where can we find you online these days?
What are some of your favorite posts from your time at DS?:
I first met David Lebovitz at a wine event in Paris. I introduced myself and said I worked for Design*Sponge. I don’t remember how exactly things proceeded from there, but he definitely knew D*S, and before I knew it Grace had entrusted me to work on a special project with him. It was scary for me because it was the first video I ever did. Little did I know I’d go on to do many more videos: I spent the past couple years filming online UX courses, so it was good training. David and I had an awesome day filming, and I can now claim David is a friend in Paris.
I spent most of my time rounding up home tours for Sneak Peeks. I remember first meeting Judith de Graaff over coffee in Paris. She told me I might be interested in seeing her house for the column. I’d been told that a lot during my time at D*S, but this is probably the one that truly blew me away. It took me seven years, but I finally visited in person last year. Such an amazing home (and it’s for sale!). The best part is, Judith has become a dear friend, and member of the Mastermind group I’m in. She’s also gone on to co-found the incredible Urban Jungle Bloggers project, community, and book celebrating plants in one’s home. Judith is just one of so many people I met thanks to my time at D*S.
While I primarily ran the Sneak Peek column, I had the chance to do some special interviews. The show MadMen was immensely popular at the time, so it was such a treat for me to go behind the scenes and interview Adam Rowe who was an art assistant on the show. (Fun fact, he’s gone on to work on Parks & Rec, RENT Live, and The Good Place!).
I also loved being on After the Jump podcast too where Grace and I chatted about international connections.
Are there any other memorable moments you could share with us?
I was the first ever D*S intern turned contributing editor. Along the way, multiple people have thought that Grace and I could be sisters! I recall one even thought I got the job because she thought we were related. [Editor’s note: I didn’t know about this last bit. This cracked me up. That said, Anne and I do look a lot alike!]
Really, though, I love the hundreds of people I met (both virtually, and many in person) during my time as a contributing editor. It helped me build an incredible foundation and network of talented creatives around the world. In my own work I do my best to celebrate the work of others too. I’m so honored to call so many of these people friends. It goes to show you never know what may happen with a single, simple email.
What do you remember most about your time at DS or that has informed the work you do now?
Grace is going to laugh, but one of the best skills I learned from her was the art of email. She always was friendly, responsive, and moved things forward. She never sat me down and taught me this, but I learned through the act of our exchanges. In starting my own business, being strong on email was one of the many secrets to my early success. I also learned not to take negative comments personally.
Here’s a tip: Write an awesome about page. The about page was always the first page I looked for when scouting people to feature on D*S. I always love knowing who the human is behind the work, and what their story is. Don’t make your contact information hard to find! You never know who may be looking…
Honestly I’ve learned so much from Grace even after stepping down from my role, particularly around diversity, inclusion, and representation. In the Company of Women was the book I read on flight right before I learned about the 2016 presidential election results. I love the stories this book tells, and the continued conversation on social media.
What are you up to now? And how can our community support you and your work these days?
I run my own business based out of Paris, France that explores the intersection of travel, design, and creative entrepreneurship. I’m part designer, creative coach, and consultant. I offer 1:1 sessions with creatives to help get them where they want to be, and one of my favorite offerings is a Deep Dive Exploration Day of Paris which combines a day of coaching while exploring Paris for maximum inspiration. I’ve done a lot of teaching, and you can still find my courses on Skillshare (including map making and résumé redesign).
Most recently I’ve launched Navigate Paris Online, an online experience that was inspired by my Paris tours and 10+ years in France, which encourages people to explore the city through their own interests. It’s designed to be a travel planning companion to give you the confidence to explore, get lost, and make the most of your time in Paris. My hope is to encourage people to better experience and engage with the city like a local would, and not a passive tourist.
I have some ideas for creative workshops (online, in Paris, and beyond), so sign up for my weekly newsletter for a dose of inspiration and announcements about my latest projects.
Thanks for the inspiring adventure, Grace! Wishing you the best in your next chapter! ~Anne