How The Self-Made Sisters Behind A Beautiful Mess Grew to $5M a Year
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Emma Chapman and Elsie Larson never set out to build a business empire; they were simply looking to do something that they loved.
However, these two sisters from Missouri got bit by the entrepreneurial bug pretty quickly. The little blog they created at their store to pass the time has now become one of the leading lifestyle blogs on the internet: A Beautiful Mess.
A Beautiful Mess offers readers a wide variety of content revolving around crafts, easy-to-make recipes, step-by-step decor tutorials, style, and related advice. Their motto is “Stay home and make something,” and that's exactly what they teach their readers to do.
How it All Began for Emma and Elsie
The sisters first built their site in 2010. At the time, they were living in Springfield, Missouri, and running a brick-and-mortar vintage retail shop there called Red Velvet. As weekdays were quiet at the store, they started blogging to pass the time.
However, they began to spend more time on their blog and less in their store, so they eventually closed it to focus their attention exclusively on A Beautiful Mess.
Hard Work Brings Growth
When Emma and Elsie started their blog, they were heavily in debt. But with a combination of perseverance, hard work, and the right strategies, they were able to grow it. In 2014, they celebrated their second $1 million year.
Now they employ several full-time staffers and freelancers, and the website has thousands of posts and receives more than 2 million unique visitors per month.
One of their most successful strategies is consistently creating shareable content, specifically recipes and DIY tutorials.
Leveraging Their Success
After building A Beautiful Mess to epic proportions, they used it to use it to create multiple income streams and a diverse business empire.
Their projects include:
- Subscriptions to monthly stationery packages
- Scrapbooking supplies
- Paper products
- Books they've written
- Online design classes
- iPhone covers, and
- A Photoshop app
And at least according to SimilarWeb, they make up to $5 million every year. But it's likely more.
As their site is extremely visual and has a large focus on photography, the women have built on that strength and parlayed it into products such as courses, on shooting videos and DSLR cameras, books, and apps.
They have two books, one which covers topics like painting, crafting, and decorating interiors, and the other offers inspiring photography ideas. Their photo editing app, A Color Story, has performed extremely well.
According to the sisters, their financial success is attributable to the creation of multiple income streams. Every year they look to add an additional income stream to their portfolio.
An Important Lesson (or Two)
If there’s one thing Elsie and Emma aren’t afraid of, it’s failure.
When they decided to create their first photo editing app, which enhances colors, many people warned them and advised them against it. They drained their business savings to do it because they believed it would succeed and that they would regret not trying.
When it went live, it shot to #1 in the app store and stayed there. To date, it has been downloaded millions of times. They’ve gone on to release multiple apps since then and plan on staying in the app industry while they grow their other income streams.
The other advice they often offer other entrepreneurs is to diversify your income streams. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. If one of your streams or ventures fails, you ideally have several others to fall back on.
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