Happy 1st Birthday to Office Envy!June 3, 2012
On the Friday of Memorial Day weekend 2011, at the airport,while perusing a copy of Inc Magazine, the nugget of an idea surfaced. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what other people’s offices look like? To see the spaces where inspiring business people do the work that inspires them? To peak inside the most exciting companies to see how they’ve arranged their physical space to reflect their own identities and inspire their employees.
The gestation period for blogs, like all businesses, can vary greatly, but the idea for Office Envy was so shot through with adrenaline that it wasn’t long before the notion that was conceived at a JFK airport gate became reality.
In fact,by the time the plane ride was over the domain name was bought and the site, though still just a twinkle in this blogger’s eye, felt destined to be. It was only a week before the first post was published on June 4, 2011.
On the first anniversary of this site, it’s time to reflect on the highlights of the last year and remind ourselves of how much we’ve benefited from following through on an idea and sticking with it for a year.
A few highlights from Office-Envy.com’s first year:
1) Our Twitter handle was hastily attained the night we went to dinner with Laurel Touby, founder of MediaBistro.com and she asked what she wanted her to tweet about us to her 9,000-some followers. “What’s your Twitter handle?” she asked. Having no twitter handle to speak of we meekly asked her to tweet that she was dining with the founder of Office-Envy.com. He mild disgust for our social media retardation was palpable – and that was all it took. We started a Twitter account that night and one year later have 282 followers – not a huge audience but one that is growing slowly and steadily and one that is filled with interesting, like-minded tweeters.
2) The August weekend that Hurricane Irene sent East Coast residents seeking refuge indoors for 48 hours we spent the weekend browsing our favorite blogs for logo design inspiration. We learned a lot about our own business instincts and style when we found a logo designer whose work we admired on someone else’s blog and reached out to her immediately and commissioned her without delay. Some of that “delay” might have been a good thing – but we were too focused on moving forward, and quickly, to ask some of the questions we perhaps should have. Nevertheless, it was a learning experience, and our new logos were born from it.
3) One of our personal favorite posts — and one of the most popular — of the year was the Russell + Hazel give away post. We were invited to stop by the Russell + Hazel flagship store in Minneapolis, MN, where we were dazzled by a beautiful array of binders and colorful office organization supplies. Our give away was met by enthusiasm and excitement on Twitter and on the blog that made us realize we were really onto something. During the week of Thanksgiving, it gave us one more thing to be grateful for.
5) In November, we turned to Office Envy as a channel to express our sadness over a loved one lost. At first we didn’t want to write about the sudden loss of our Nana on the blog, but then we thought about all the reasons to have a blog in the first place and all the emotions and words poured out easily as we wrote about her home office – perhaps the one room in her house we had neglected to spend much time in over the years. Writing was cathartic.
And then something happened that we’ll never forget – something that all by itself would make this last year of blogging worth all the while. A stranger wrote in (scroll down to see comments section) to tell us that our post had touched her heart. She said that she had lost her husband suddenly several years ago and that the post had made her contemplate his home office space. She told us that she could just now enter the space and think of him without feeling pain. We read that comment over and over – let the words sink in. The thought that we had touched another human heart — made a connection with a complete stranger — just by opening up over the Office Envy airwaves was truly touching.
6) It never fails to amaze us to see the constant stream of traffic that comes to the site each day. For a while about 6 months ago the Google Analytics code fell off the site and reported that no one was visiting the site. “No problem” we thought, “it’s not about numbers.” But as soon as the code was put back on the site, we realized that we had managed to build a readership base. And it felt great.
7) Perhaps the most surprising outcome of working on this project has been all the people that we have met, both online and in person as a result of our work on Office-Envy.com . It’s has given us a reason to meet new people, something new to talk about with old friends and an excuse to explore both new places and old with a fresh perspective. We’ve taken a harder look at the space we spend our own work days in. We’ve gone back to revisit the offices we knew in our formative years and noticed personal details that reveal something special about the people we love who have built those offices around themselves over several decades. Office Envy has not just given us a view into some inspirational spaces, but also given us entree into the lives of some very inspirational people.
Finally, we’d like to give a special thanks to the companies and individuals who have allowed us into their spaces for exclusive Office Envy tours including: Ralph Lauren, Gilt Groupe, Jos. A Bank, Toys R Us, Grind, WeWork, Bloomingdale’s, Staples, Family Law Attorney Cathy Gorlin, Medical Director of Memorial Blood Bank Jed Gorlin, Law Firm Founder Marshall Tanick, CEO of PR firm Padilla Speer Beardsley Lynn Casey among others.
We’re very much looking forward to what the next year brings!
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