I can’t believe our final month of posts (ever!) at Design*Sponge is just around the corner. And as we start to code our final posts, it’s an honor to check in with some of our D*S alum and see what they’ve been up to. Today we’re checking in with Stephanie Catlow (formerly Stephanie Todaro) who, over the course of her four years with us, wrote close to 600 posts about everything from women in business to home tours, dog life, and city guides. So many exciting things have happened to Steph since her time here at DS, so let’s see what she’s up to these days! xo, Grace
Full name: Stephanie Catlow (formerly Stephanie Todaro)
DS role: Editor and writer for the Biz Ladies, City Guides, House of Harvey and Home Tour columns.
Could you please share with us your favorite post/s from your time at DS and why they were your favorite?
Having been able to work in so many areas of the site over the yeas, it’s really difficult to choose just one or a couple of “favorites.” But if you [were to] twist [my] arm, I’d likely say that the Biz Ladies profiles series — where we profiled many creative entrepreneurs making waves at the time — was very special to me. As a recent graduate at the time, trying to navigate my way through the ever-confusing world of creative business, I was so inspired and captivated by the real stories of launching, growing, developing and sustaining self-employment and the self-made business. Those pieces were the spark that ignited my own engines in pursuing a creative business journey of my own — and in all honesty — were the very first reference materials I turned to when figuring out where to even start.
Did you have any memorable moments, interactions or experiences during your time at DS that you’d feel comfortable sharing?
I think one of my most memorable moments at D*S was when I was first hired as the “book intern” for the first Design*Sponge book, Design*Sponge at Home. I was incredibly jobless — hello, bottom-of-the-barrel recession — living in Chicago in the dead of winter… things were pretty bleak. But after noticing a listing for an intern position at Design*Sponge, and having been an avid reader for so many years, I knew I had to give it a shot. My scream of pure elation when I got an email back from Grace saying that she’d like me to join the team was absolutely deafening. It was such a dream to work with Grace and her team, and little did I know how much this internship would help shift my career perspectives and mold me into the creative I am today. So dramatic, I know, but so absolutely true. Internships are magic, y’all!
What do you remember most about your time at DS or that has informed the work you do now?
Grace has always been, and will always be, an inspiration to me as a fellow creative entrepreneur. She was my first glimpse into what a successful, powerful, motivated, and innovating business woman looked like, and she was truly the catalyst for the launch of my own business some years later. While working alongside her and the remarkable team at D*S, I not only learned about what it was to work as a team — even in the ever-evolving virtual setting — but what it looked like to be an impeccable team leader with the constant and positive encouragement from Grace. Back in 2009, it truly seemed like the wild wild west of the internet — with so many bloggers becoming major movers and shakers and “celebrities” in their own right. It was such a thrill to work for one of the trailblazers and best in the industry, and to be able to connect with so many other amazingly talented and brilliant business owners through collaboration. The Biz Ladies Series in particular opened my eyes to how vast and diverse the world of creative entrepreneurship truly was, and how interested I was in joining in on it all!
What are you up to now? And how can our community support you and your work these days?
Things look a LOT different since my days as intern and editor at Design*Sponge. I’ve since gone on to pursue a career in photography, specializing in kids + family lifestyle and commercial work. I’ve also taken on the new roles of wife, mother (to two delicious boys, 2.5 years old and 6 months old), and business owner. I recently opened up my own brick-and-mortar portrait studio space in the Los Angeles area and am currently organizing a year’s worth of mini portrait events in the studio and around Southern California in the hopes of helping as many people as I can preserve their family dynamic through pictures. I’m also the owner of a kids fine art and accessories line called Little Cheese, where I offer vibrant and eclectic fine art photography for kid spaces and — soon to launch — baby and toddler photo albums. And for anyone curious about my first-born pup Harvey (the source behind the D*S column “Human/House/Harvey”), he’s living his best 8-year-old life out here in the California sun.