This season, our friend Holly Becker of design blog decor8 introduced us to a few of her favorite fellow bloggers around the globe. An early adapter of blogging, Holly’s been blogging for seven years. We asked her about the evolution of her blog and the style influences she sees as an American expat living in Germany.
How would you describe the decor8 style?
decor8 is happy, creative, fresh, international, approachable, colorful, eclectic and very personal.
How has your style evolved over the 7(!) years you’ve been blogging?
I have learned to take better photos and that has had a positive impact on how my blog looks and feels not only to my readers, but also to me — I take more pride in my blog as a result. I am much closer to taking a photo that more accurately shows what I see in my mind’s eye than I was when I first started blogging, that’s for sure! Here is a photo that I took for my blog showing a new purchase in April 2006 of a canvas tote that I bought, shown in my home:
Here is an example of a DIY project that I photographed earlier this year in my home:
That is a big difference (at least in my opinion!) and it encourages me to keep working on my photography.
In August 2009 you moved from Boston to Hannover, Germany — has your ex-pat status changed your outlook on decorating?
Yes and no. I was blogging about European design long before I relocated because my husband is German and I’ve been traveling back and forth between Germany and Boston since 1999. Before I was married, I was frequently visiting London and Paris. I’ve always been a fan of the trends coming out of London, Amsterdam, Paris and Scandinavia as a result (there is a lot of Scandinavian design in Germany) and have been buying British decorating magazines since the late ‘90s. Living in Germany has influenced my decorating style because I have access to so many different styles and trends. With London being only a 50 minute flight from where I live, I feel like I suddenly have the best of both worlds.
Another thing about living in Germany that is a lot different (though in a very positive way) is how you dispose of things. Living in the city, you can’t just throw everything outside on garbage day. Germans have an excellent waste disposal program but it took me about 3 months to figure it all out. With such a complicated waste removal program, you have to take that into consideration when you are shopping – can you easily dispose of your current television to buy a new one, or sofa, or mattress?
What are your favorite German and European style influences?
I love how Europeans seem to embrace American design trends and then, turn them into something that feels very European. It’s like every trend from America is pressed through a design juicer and comes out with a new flavor. I really like that. I also love how old things are reimagined and repurposed versus just bringing grandmother’s old dresser down to the local dump – people here find some pretty genius ways to reuse things.
What are some of your favorite new changes in the blogosphere and what tools do you find the most helpful or most influential in changing how you work?
I love how cameras have evolved — I want to really take my photography up about a thousand notches this year. Since I started blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media sites have changed how we interact and share things online so drastically – I really love it. You no longer blog something and wait for people to show up and comment. You can immediately share your blog post on Twitter or Facebook and get instant feedback. It’s so gratifying. There are so many ways to keep in touch and to feel connected – we are really lucky to have these technologies in place connect, learn, make new friends and advance others and ourselves.
Congratulations on the international success of your books! In addition to being an accomplished author and blogger you contribute to multiple publications as a columnist and produce and teach regular blogging workshops. All of your Blogging Your Way e-courses have hundreds of students! How has being a blogging educator and mentor changed how you approach the medium?
Thank you very much! Yes, my books have done really well (thank you for carrying them in your stores, west elm!) and my online classes sell out with around 700 students per class – so I’ve had the chance to teach thousands of students worldwide about blogging and social media for the past four years through my e-classes. It’s been wonderful and such a privilege. I must shout out my co-teachers though, I hire 2 per class to work with me to teach students. so it’s really a group effort and I am so thankful for these wonderful teachers for helping me to make Blogging Your Way a special class. I also have to thank my husband who is the dedicated tech support guru for each class and who also teaches on blog etiquette, copyright, business planning, taxes and other business-related topics for bloggers. He is an expert in these areas as he is the decor8, LLC business manager currently and runs the backend of the business from A-Z.
I think being a mentor and educator is a natural fit for me because I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of helping bloggers both new and seasoned, to find success and gratification in their work. I genuinely want to make a significant and positive impact on others; it is fuel for me. As an educator, I have learned to not judge others as quickly as I might have if I only associated with my peers. It’s easy for seasoned bloggers to group together and when they see someone new, to make a quick judgment call as to how good they are or whether or not they have potential – but I’ve learned through teaching that you simply can’t judge others. You have no clue where someone brand new will be in 6 months. I’ve mentored people who appeared to not have a clue what they were doing and within a year, they had a successful blog and a book deal. I’m also continuously learning and sharing what I learn, I’m very transparent when it comes to sharing how I run my business, and students appreciate that. I’m also very encouraging and motivating, and I work hard to always be tactful but honest in my delivery. I don’t believe telling people what they want to hear makes for a good teacher, I believe in tactfully stating what others need to hear – that’s why people pay you to be their teacher in the first place, right?
With so many successes, we want to know — what do you want to attempt next?
I’m currently working on my third book and have asked stylist and photographer Leslie Shewring, to co-author with me because she has been a good friend to me and is loaded with talented and I was just dying to work with her on a book project. Aside from the book, I’m going to teach the next Blogging Your Way class in October and it will focus on Styling, Photography and Photo Layout Ideas for Bloggers. That’s going to be a lot of fun – we plan to beef it up with loads of videos and fun content – can’t wait!
Images: via decor8