>>Blog Out Loud Interview
Erin Loechner of Design For Mankind, BAKERY & Shelter Pop

we have such a treat for you Blog Out Loud readers - the lovely Erin of indie art and design blog, Design For Mankind, creative business blog, BAKERY, and a contributor to AOL's Shelter Pop. Erin is, quite honestly, the nicest person I've never met - in person, that is. She has such a genuine tone in all of her work and you know that she is just like that in real life. She has a background in marketing and is a true blogging pioneer that's been paving the way with great content like her Mankind Mag (that I had the honor of being in - issue 5), her fun and informative video series called Dialogue and her keen eye for placing the spotlight on talented artists and designers.

With Design For Mankind, you've really created a wonderful platform for indie artists and designers. What inspired you to start this blog? How do you find your content (it's always amazing). And what inspired you to start Mankind Mag?

The blog started as a creative outlet for me. I was living in L.A. working at a top advertising firm, feeling as if I'd sold my soul to consumerism. I spent my days producing and researching marketing materials to sell Americans more items that they didn't need, and I wanted to create something that counter-balanced the desire to spend, spend, spend. I realized that not only is inspiration free, but it's very necessary in today's culture. The idea grew very organically from there, and I'm happy to note that the majority of the content that I feature can't be bought with money, but are geared toward artistic development.

Mankind Mag, then, was derived from Design for Mankind itself as a cry to release a publication that wasn't consumerist in itself. Therefore, there are no products in Mankind Mag -- just pure, good art and design.

As far as content goes, I'm constantly conversing with friends, strangers and the community around me. I find it so interesting that we all walk very different paths that often fork into the same crossroad. That, to me, is inspiring.

The majority of my features come from emerging artists across the country whose work I wouldn't be familiar with if not for this awesome thing we call the Internet. To unearth new inspiration, I like to source artist pages for links to their friends. Often times, creativity begets creativity, so artists tend to run in similar circles and the community blossoms from there. I also make an effort to keep my eyes and ears open at all times -- you never know when you'll run into a talented typographer in the local coffee shop!

As Design For Mankind has grown, you've evolved into more polished website and now offer a video content series called Dialogue. Design For Mankind has really become a brand. How has this experience been for you? How do you balance blog life and life life?

Oh dear; you are so kind to say that! As a former marketing guru, hearing the word "brand" associated with Design for Mankind sort of makes me sweat in the pits. I haven't meant to create it as such (us marketing folk rarely take our own advice when it comes to branding), but am thrilled that it's evolved into something that stands out.

Dialogue taught me a lot, actually. I really wanted to start conversations about art, design and the sort of lifestyle artists wish to lead. I felt that there weren't any specifics when it comes to answering the tough questions re: rejection, family matters and time management. Thus, I asked a few of my artist friends to talk to me about it and boom --- Dialogue was born. I'm really thrilled about the series and wish it could continue in the same vein, but I'd be a hypocrite if I edited advice-oriented interviews and not listen to the advice itself. I've learned that working 18 hours per day (really! no joke!) isn't life balance, and something had to go. Dialogue will continue, but rather than weekly, I hope to slow down the series into something that can be both helpful for others, yet manageable for me.

You've teamed up with Jamie from Design Milk and launched BAKERY, a consulting service for small business owners and artists to excel in advancing their companies. (LOVE THIS!) How have you enjoyed this venture and how do you utilize the BAKERY blog to talk about your company?

Oh my goodness. Jaime Derringer is amazing. She is hilarious, driven and incredibly talented. And the funny part is -- we've never met in person. We've launched this very successful business that operates solely over Skype, Google Docs and e-mail, and I find that fascinating. We're very blessed that it's worked out so well (our dogs even love each other, and sometimes they break dance on Skype together).

The BAKERY blog is very therapeutic for me, and I think I speak for Jaime when I say that it often reflects business-related dilemmas we're experiencing ourselves in our own independent ventures. It's very honest and (I hope) relate-able. Is that even a word?

We're in the process of launching something verrrry exciting, so we've been preoccupied with clients and planning and such, but we hope the blog hasn't taken a backseat to all of this. It's really important to both of us to give something back to our readers in the form of good, quality information.

What are your best tips for new bloggers in regards to "blogging etiquette" when it comes to networking style, exchanging links, posting, crediting?

Hmm, blog etiquette. See, I'm really bad at this, b/c to me, an e-mail is an e-mail. I don't really have a lot of e-pet peeves when writing to me, b/c I'm just flattered you're writing to me. Yesterday, I received an email from Tokyo that I couldn't (for the life of me!) understand, but followed the link and eventually found an image that was incredible. So I posted it! I have no idea what it is, or why it was made, but it's awesome. And sometimes awesome trumps etiquette.

With that said, when blogging something, give credit where credit is due. I don't see that as blogging etiquette; I just see that as common courtesy. If your mother sent you a cute birthday card, you wouldn't pretend like you just stumbled upon the card yourself, right? Part of the fun is in the hunt, so be honest about where your inspiration came from. It's only fair, I suppose. Besides -- it benefits you. The more outbound links you create, the higher your page rank is likely to increase. Just a tiny tidbit for you bloggers. ;)

Thanks, Erin! Want to learn more about Erin? Click here to read 18 more great things.

Check out more of our Blog Out Loud interviews:
>>Zem Joaquin of eco fabulous
>>Erin Vale of Vale Design
>>Melanie Nelson of Blogging Basics 101


Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

What a great interview! I'm so amazed by Erin and inspired by everything she does. I agree that everything I read or see from her comes across as so genuine and nice. I get so excited when I see that there is a new episode of Dialogue! It was so much fun to read more about her and her online ventures.

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