A Conversation with Grace Bonney, Design*Sponge Entrepreneur and Author

Via her popular blog and now, a new book, Grace Bonney steps further into the spotlight
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  • Grace Bonney
Design*Sponge creator and author Grace Bonney.

Grace Bonney could definitely see herself living in Seattle.

“My wife and I constantly joke—only half-heartedly—about moving to Seattle or Vashon Island,” says Bonney, who lives in New York. "Every time I visit, I casually browse the real estate listings, pick up amazing produce at the markets and imagine what it would be like to just walk home and cook dinner here, rather than going back to a hotel room.”

Bonney, who founded the popular design and lifestyle blog Design*Sponge, visited Seattle in mid-October as part of a multi-city tour promoting the release of her new book, In the Company of Women. The book, which features a collection of inspiring interviews and conversations with successful business women ad creative entrepreneurs, was discussed in each city with a panel of influential women local to the area.

“It was honestly a dream come true,” Bonney says of the book. “It felt like the college experience I always wish I’d had, one where I had endless conversations with strong, smart and inspiring women of all ages. I didn’t want the process to end and I’m so glad that I’ve got the book tour to keep that energy and momentum going. Interviewing all of these women felt like getting a lifetime’s worth of advice, support and feedback in just a few months.”

The movers and shakers of Seattle, she says, are what will bring her back.

“On my next trip I want to check out Delancey,” she says. “Having Molly Wizenberg on our panel in Seattle was a huge treat.”

The Seattle panel, held October 18, was a sold-out event, a testament to what Bonney worked so hard to achieve with In the Company of Women.

“It means so much to me to see a project that means so much to me and with which I identify so closely being received so well across the country,” Bonney says. “I couldn’t be happier and more excited that people are feeling inspired to start companies and follow their dreams. I’m proud of so many aspects of this book: its inclusivity, its range of businesses portrayed and its balance of practical and big-picture advice. I think whether you’re looking for a general pep-talk and inspiration or something more nitty-gritty and vulnerable, this book has a story to represent every woman’s path in business.”

You could say it’s kind of a big moment for Grace Bonney. Along her with new book, Bonney’s now twelve-year-old site Design*Sponge stands as a pioneer in the field of design and lifestyle blogs.

But the visionary entrepreneur didn’t reach success how she initially thought, having had to come to terms with a change of career that initially appeared set and secure.

“Realizing that magazines weren’t the safe ‘forever’ job I thought they would be was a huge moment for me,” Bonney says. “I’d spent my whole life wanting to work for someone else because I thought it was safer and more secure. Then when all the magazines I wrote for closed within two years, I had to shift gears and embrace the stress and insecurity of being your own boss. That moment really went on to define how I lead my company and how I set the tone for what we do.”

With the enduring success of Design*Sponge and In the Company of Women, Bonney looks forward to the future with the same gusto and motivation.

“I want to keep the momentum that this book has creating going in another form,” Bonney says. “I have some big ideas and hopefully can spend this winter planning and getting them off the ground for 2017. I think women need a place to feel safe and supported when they’re starting and running businesses and I want to keep finding a way to work on providing that resource in one form or another.”

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