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oh joy from 2005 to 2015…

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

Last week, I celebrated ten years of Oh Joy! When I started this blog (and my business) 10 years ago, I never thought it would turn into my job. I never thought I'd make real, live friends through it. I never thought I'd connect with people all over the world and get to share my vision with complete strangers. I never thought that it would give me the opportunity to create something from nothing and create a job I truly love doing every day.

In celebration, I'm looking back at the last 10 years to show how things have changed and evolved and grown (both personally and professionally) in the last decade. This is a long post (but a fun one). So I hope you'll hang out and read along…

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2005 – This is when it all began. I left New York to move to Philly in pursuit of love. My boyfriend at the time (now my husband) had just started his residency, and it was time to live together after almost 9 years of a long-distance relationship. I had just moved into a new apartment, gotten engaged, and was looking for a new design job. The world was my oyster, yet I was unemployed, broke, and yet trying to start my career and new life with my future husband. My blog in 2005 was about the things I lovedโ€”Bob, my cats, lip balm and potatoes, and snacks. I also started interviewing designers who I admired to ask them business advice and began sharing wedding vendors whose work I admired. I was looking for a new job and didn't yet know my blog would become a big part of it.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2006 – This was the year I got married. I shared a lot of wedding inspiration (remember, this is before all the awesome wedding blogs were out, so it was all from print magazine and tear-outs). I also started freelancing at this time and worked for a variety of different companies. I turned our dining room into an office and started showing a peek into my design inspirations and indie products I loved. This was the year that I realized I was getting freelance work through those who were reading my blog and decided to freelance full-time and turned "Oh Joy" into not just a blog but a design studio as well. This was the first (and last year) that I liked the color "chocolate brown". I still liked cats, too.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2007 –  By 2007, I was a somewhat legit business. I had design clients from around the country and was really immersed in Philadelphia and getting to know other designers/entrepreneurs there. I began a weekly design column for the local newspaper. I also launched a stationery line that year which gave me a taste of what manufacturing was like. This is the year I created one of my most recognized floral patterns for a card that now still lives on in wallpaper today. I started sharing my love of interiors and even got nominated in a Domino Magazine contest. It's funny to look back at the colors I liked back then and how much more muted my color palette was.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2008 – This is the year that blogs started to become a thing. It was a really good year for new bloggers and some of your favorite blogs probably started around this year. I loved sharing up-and-coming designers I was discovering and kept myself constantly scouring for what was fresh and new. While I was still blogging daily, I was also focused on growing my design business. I did a lot of freelance work for Urban Outfitters and was still selling my stationery line in stores around the countryโ€”including Anthropologie. I was sharing all things Philly and even getting design recognition locally. And, I hired my first intern!

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2009 – In 2009, we left the comforts of Philly to move to San Diego for one year for Bob's job. I was sad to go but opened my eyes (and tastebuds) to a new city. I started using a social media tool called Twitter and I started a second blog dedicated to my love of food (I soon realized how it didn't make sense to start a new blog and just merged the two together ;). After realizing how much I loved making products (but hated dealing with manufacturing), I began to work with more companies to license my designs. I began exploring more local sites and shooting more original photos and getting more comfortable taking photos for my blog.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2010 – I was loving San Diego life and going out to local events and eating my way through the city. I loved the weather so much, I begged Bob to look for a job on the West Coast so that I could stay in the sunshine forever. He found a job in Los Angeles and (after making sure our moms would be okay with us not moving back to Philly), off to LA we went! My first book, Creative, Inc., came out and we celebrated with my first book party (I still love this trailer we made)! I celebrated 5 years as a blogger and began adding in regular columns and contributors to my site. I began to develop real friendships with people I met through my blog (which now a days doesn't seem like a big deal, but back then was very new and kind of still weird ;). I began to acclimate myself to (yet another) new city.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2011 – As we began to start our future in LA, we also worked on starting our family. I announced my pregnancy, shared those bump photos along the way, and welcomed our first (life-changing) baby. I was working with a handful of freelancers who contributed to the site. I was managing 5 different freelancers, and we were posting 3 times a day! Bob (briefly) had a guy's column on Oh Joy which I loved but his real job took over, and I wasn't able to support his demand for a raise ;P. We were on Emily Henderson's show, Secrets from a Stylist on HGTV, and Emily almost gave me a heart attack with her first reveal all in pink and red. My design work was going well, but with the arrival of Ruby, I began to slow down on freelance design work and focus more on Oh Joy related projects. I also started using a new social media site called Pinterest ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2012 – We were growing our content on the blog, and I was continuing to manage regular contributors as I transitioned into life with a newborn. However, after beginning to share more personal posts on my blog (especially when it came to those about motherhood), it felt weird for me to mix my voice with those of my contributors. I loved the visuals we were coming up with, but my blog didn't feel personal anymore. So, I took my blog back. I kindly let go of all of my freelance contributors who worked on columns for the site and went back to writing all the posts myself. It was ironic because my second book, Blog, Inc. had just come out, and here I was going in a direction that seemed like the opposite direction of where you'd think to go when you want to grow. But getting more personal felt right. We also celebrated Ruby's 1st birthday!

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2013 – My business was growing, and it was time to get helpโ€”not just remote freelancers that I had worked with previously, but actual employees who would work with me in person by my side. This was the year that my business really grewโ€”I got a studio, hired my first two employees, and signed licensing deals with The Land of Nod and Target that would launch the following year. I was also creating more video content and trying to expand the types of content I was creating for the blog. Pinterest was a growing space for Oh Joy and images from this post got re-pinned 1.5 millions times within 2 days of the post going live. We also went to France, and Ruby learned the joys of baguettes and chocolate croissants.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2014 – This was my biggest (and hardest) year yet. We launched our first Oh Joy collection for Target and baby bedding with The Land of Nod. We stopped having banner ads on the blog and blog income came from sponsored content instead. I focused more on outside projects (Oh Joy book in the works, our line at Target and other licenses) and had the blog be the companion to the Oh Joy world. I announced our 2nd baby and loved sharing style tips for other pregnant mamas. So we made my favorite video series to dateโ€”Dressing the Bump. I had a bumpy pregnancy with gestational diabetes and 3 weeks of bed rest while trying to finish a book. But that all didn't matter once our newest babe arrived. The cherry on top of the cake of the best year yet professionally, was the arrival of our little Coco who made our family complete. 

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2015 – This year, we launched my 3rd book and a line of Oh Joy Band-Aids,. I expanded my Dressing the Bump series from last year into Dressing the Babe which is so much fun for me to get a chance to show my personal style and take some fun photos with my kids. And because it's taken me a while to "not feel guilty" about the fact that I choose to work and own my own business and be a working mom, I've decided to show what I've come to realize my strength is as a motherโ€”that my kids get to see their mom creating her own job, pursuing her dreams, and hopefully teaching them about passion and going after what you want in the process. Our "Career Day" series was inspired by this after seeing what Ruby would naturally pick up on by getting to see what I for a living. This year isn't over yet, but we've been working really hard on a lot of exciting things coming out next year!

So, here we are 10 years later. Lots of people ask…what's next? What's your plan for the next five years? Honestly, I don't have it totally mapped out. I have learned to put out a few goals out there (more products, doing more new things that challenge me, etc.) but also to know that there are paths that will reveal themselves and things I will do that I don't even know about yet. When it comes to blogging, I can't believe I'm still doing it. I still love sharing my ideas and my vision with you all, but to be honest, it does get harder and harder to keep coming up with new ideas every day. There are so many talented people out there, and I am always thinking about how I can improve and how I can share ideas in new ways with you. If there's anything you'd love to see here in the near future, please let me know. I always want to hear from you guys. And, again, simply thank you for just being here and for choosing to spend any part of your time here. It means more to me than you'll ever know.

69 comments

  1. Joy, what an incredible journey. Congrats once again. All your hard work is paying off and is source of inspiration for millions now. Wish you all the best going forward, keep creating an sharing with us ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This post really inspires me as an newbie to blogging! You’ve come a long way and kept your passions and goals in mind always. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  3. I have been a fan and follower since the Nantaka Joy days! It’s so great to see long lasting blogs, since so many of the ones I used to know have retired and gone the way of Instagram only. I tried blogging in 2010, was doing pretty well, and then called it quits for a variety of reasons, something I still sort of regret today!
    When I started blogging again in 2015, I noticed so many of the big blogs I followed back then are gone. Maybe there is a niche for me again, I wonder? My blog is a small home-grown thing, but, hey, who wouldn’t like more followers? ๐Ÿ™‚
    I blog because it reminds me how good life is and to look at what’s beautiful in each day. I visit blogs like yours for the same reason. Thank you for bringing a brief relief of color and joy (no pun intended!) to my day for the 7 or 8 years I’ve visited your site.
    Analog House
    http://theanaloghouse.blogspot.com/

  4. Woah ! that’s a lot. I find it very interesting to see the 10 years at once like that… And it makes me realize it takes time to build something. I also realize it’s ok for a mother to also have the ambition to build something for herself and to exists outside of her family (even if it’s not every day guilt-free). Thank you Joy, for showing us a way to do ! and congrats.

  5. Love your blog! It’s the only one I follow like solid. Congratulations on 10 years! As far as what I’d love to see more of…I love your posts on products you love and outfits you and your kids wear. Most of the products you show though are out of my budget. I’d love to see more posts with things I could actually afford to buy ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Thanks so much Anna! Blogging has definitely changed over the last 10 years and I think itโ€™s different world if youโ€™re starting now or starting back up again. But no matter what, I always say to share what naturally comes out of you and thatโ€™s what youโ€™ll enjoy the most.
    Joy

  7. Thanks Karissa for your thoughtful comment! I always try and include a range of price points, but thatโ€™s always good to hear any feedback! What is a realistic price range for you?
    Joy

  8. I’ve not been following you for 10 years, but in the 5 years I have you’ve achieved some gorgeous and creative things. Your posts are always positive and an inspiration to see what can be achieved when you put your mind to it.
    A big thanks too for including my work in a few projects. They’ve been some of the highlight of my career too. x

  9. I LOVE this post – it’s such a great overview of your extremely inspiring career. Bravo!
    I get asked that question of “what’s next?” a lot, and it always gives me a little bit of anxiety. Do you feel the same way at all?

  10. I have been following you since 2011 and you are still one of my every day reads. I love your blog and seeing how you’ve grown over the years helps me keep my hope alive for mine. Plus meeting you at your book signing in LA made my entire year!
    Congrats on 10 years!!
    Love, Allison over at Allison’s Eye
    http://allisons-eye.com/

  11. Hi Joy! This has got to be one of my top 3 favorite posts from you since I became a reader of yours! I’m so glad to hear that you still enjoy blogging after all these years. Please don’t ever stop! :). What a wonderful recap of your 10 year journey in blogging. Congrats!! Xo, Tee

  12. oh my goodness. congratulations and thank you so much for sharing. it’s blowing my mind to realize i’ve been reading your blog for six years! ah!
    keep up the great work joy!

  13. Wow! According to your timeline, I’ve been following you since 2008, maybe even 2007. How time flies! Your blog was one of the first ones I followed and still do. Congrats on all your achievements!

  14. Joy! I’ve been such a fan of yours since the beginning. I loved seeing your 10 years recapped. I don’t remember how I found out about your blog, but its been bookmarked every since the first time I checked it out! Your posts are a daily inspiration that you can do what you love and that quirkiness and creativity can be celebrated! I also loved seeing Hand in Hand on your 2011 section as well — that was a fun thing to see for sure. We are so happy we had the opportunity to work together and get to see your incredible talent first hand! What a great journey!

  15. Joy, you asked about ideas for blog posts… I love stopping by your blog because you have such great style. What if you included posts that were just one of your drawings/designs or a few drawings/designs? They could be doodles, more finished work, or samples of the creative process to create products, such as the designs for your Band-Aids. Thanks so much for sharing your style with us over these past years.

  16. I’ve really enjoyed following along for just a short three out of ten years, but I have to say that it’s really nice seeing someone put everything into perspective when it comes to progress over time. You’ve certainly earned every last bit of your success and I want you to know how inspirational you are!

  17. Congrats on 10 years! I really liked how you highlighted changes in your blog during each year and the reasoning behind them. I just started my blog a few months ago and this is great inspiration and motivation on how a blog can keep changing throughout time.

  18. That was a pure joy to read (pardon the pun!). I think I probably joined you on your blogging journey around three-quarters of the way through. How was I so late to the party?!
    You asked what content we might enjoy for the future. Well, more of the same, and definitely all the colour! But I’d particularly find a series of updates to Blog Inc useful. I have the book, but it would be so informative to have a couple of posts updating the content since so much has changed since it came out.
    Gosh, just imagine what your blog might be like ten years from now! Cheers to that, I say. xx

  19. Big congratulations Joy on 10 years!
    Even though I only discovered your blog and company about a year ago, you have been a true inspiration for me. Launching my own business recently has been very tough but reading this post has motivated me to keep pursuing what I love to do. t has been amazing to read about all your adventures and experiences to date.
    Wishing you plenty more success!
    from yours truly
    Tiffany x

  20. Joy, you are a complete inspiration to me. I am just starting to get serious with my blogging after piddling about with it for about 5 years. I’d love JamJarGill to be a company one day. I love your blog and your designs and wish you every happiness going forward ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. You really do show a wide range of price points, greatly appreciated! I’ve got more of a Target range budget so I guess for me I would love to see more cool stuff closer to those prices from all sorts of places (which may or may not even be realistic ha). I really hope I didn’t come across as complaining! Because I’m certainly not ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. This was great to see! Congrats! I am pretty sure I started reading your blog in ’09 as I remember everything from that point forward. I remember thinking how brave you were to go back to writing on your own and let go of all of your contributors, but it really was a great move to focus on YOU as the brand. Glad to see you doing such great things and so glad I got to meet you when you came to NYC for the book signing. Well, here’s to 10 more years of awesomeness for you on the business and personal side.
    Tiffany

  23. I’ve been reading your blog since 2007! and even sent you an e-mail back in my college days wondering if you needed an intern. haha. It’s been a great read through out these years. Can’t wait to see what’s in store next ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Congratulations Joy! Quite an achievement in this fast pace tech world! I’ve been reading daily since 2009. Looking forward to seeing what you offer for the next 10 years!

  25. I have to say this is honestly one of my favorite posts that you have put onto the blog. I have not been here from the beginning, but I have been here for a few years and your blog is such a source of inspiration. It’s been so exciting to see your brand and your family grow. Congrats on all of your success!
    Rachel
    http://rachelinflight.com

  26. okay I teared up a bit. I didn’t realize how long I’ve been following along, but it’s been years. It was sort of lovely to sit down and revisit those moments from your past. I need to start writing again… documenting the times is such a gift when you’re in the mood to reminisce. Thanks again for sharing your world with us xo

  27. Holy smokes! Happy ten years of blogging, Joy! It’s been amazing following you all these years, and seeing how your blog and business (and family!) has evolved. Chocolate brown made me chuckle! I love the colour explosion of the last few years. Such a bright and happy-inducing colour palette. I remember the Oh Joy Eats blog, hehe! So good. Lots of love to you, always love your honesty too (your balancing life/work/family post is still one of my favourites). Here’s to many more amazing things to come! xo

  28. Congratulations, Joy!! I found your blog about a year ago and loved reading the journey you took with this blog — inspiring!
    Also, that wallpaper…IN LOVE. So glad you recapped the last 10 years cause otherwise, I might’ve not found it! I must get my hands on the gray/gold version; chrysanthemum prints are my jam!

  29. Congratulations Joy! I honestly hadn’t realized just how long I have been following along with you and your journey (at least since 2009!)! You have been such an inspiration, and a great example of what it truly means (the good and not so fun) to follow your passions. I love your posts where you give tips/advice/experiences about being an entrepreneur. So many of those things can be applied to many aspects of life. Here’s to many more years!

  30. Congratulations on 10 years! It seems crazy that back in… I think it was 2007 or so… I typed “Oh Joy” into a search engine just to see what would pop up. And that’s how I found you all… the way from Australia. You’ve been with me as I moved through my design degree, when I moved to London and even still now. You’re something familiar to me now and wonderful. Thank you for sharing your life and all the beauty in it! I’m excited to see where you take us next.

  31. I’ve been following your blog since 2009!!! I’m a huge fan of all your beautiful works and hope you continue for years and years to come! (Would I be selfish if I said forever!!!??) love you and your family and just for your heart and passion. You’re amazing at what you do. Such a unique voice and style that I am crazy about! ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Good gracious, you were and are ONE BUSY LADY! Thank you for blessing me so with your blog; the colors and creativity, the fun it invokes, and your vulnerability and honesty is just the cherry on top. Thank you for being REAL and just plain lovely! Happy 10 Year Anniversary and may the next 10 be super amazing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. I was going through my art files from 2008 and there were the years of work and design we did together while you were a fledgling designer in Philadelphia and I was fledgling entrepreneur working from my home. You were so eager and willing to teach and it was so much fun coming up with product cards. What a journey it’s been. Congrats!

  34. I loved this post. So fun to look back and see how your family and business have evolved over the years. I’ve been reading your blog for eight years or so. My boyfriend and I are currently long distance and plan to be long distance for 6 more years while I finish my MD/PhD training in a city that unfortunately doesn’t have many career opportunities for him. Glad to hear we aren’t the only ones to do longterm long distance.

  35. Yay for Joy! I’m thrilled for you. This was a pleasure to read. You should maybe write a memoir next! I’d read it ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. I still remember emailing you in 2008 or 2009 for an intern position! Haha…
    Hope you visit Boston some day! ๐Ÿ˜€

  37. I love seeing your journey! I am a graphic designer (currently working as a web developer) trying to carve a niche creating my own line of products to sell online. I love blogging about motherhood, design, and home projects. I hope when I look back in the next ten years I can come anywhere close to how successful you’ve been. You’re a true inspiration!

  38. you are such an inspiration to me. I use to read dozens of blogs daily now 10 years later with three kids ages 6,6,3 a full time business and a husband who likes home cooked meals daily, i am lucky if I get to glance at your instagram once a week. But I love my lie and am so blessed to have it and love that you have been there all along to throw a splash of color in my face when I was feeling grey (not that grey is bad). cheers to 10 more. Happy Thanks giving.

  39. Thank you so much Julie! And give yourself a break and some time for yourself too. I know how it goes when we put everyone before ourselves!
    Joy

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