// garden peonies image via //
Dear Emily Schuman,
As a longtime reader of your lifestyle blog Cupcakes and Cashmere, I feel like I need to air some grievances here. Since “Alina-gate,” GOMI has been an amusing resource for me and others whom, I feel, might just be your most passionate and truest fans. In this era of Lena, Mindy, Amy and Tina, I couldn’t agree more that the “girl on girl” crime has got to stop so I want to be clear that I’m not voicing any support for a the unchecked expression of petty jealousy. If someone isn’t a fan of a look, so be it. I acknowledge that some of the GOMI discussions are petty. But much what is being discussed lately is how absurdly you’re behaving toward many longtime readers and fans and I’ve had enough. I’m speaking out via my own creative outlet since the censorship of your own platforms is so unforgiving.
I think you have a responsibility to not keep your readers at arm’s length in the way you’ve been doing for a while now — deleting critical comments and blocking users who bring poor sponsorship choices to your attention and categorizing comments as being “rude or disrespectful” when they’re neither — they’re true but you don’t like them and want them hidden. Is that because you don’t want sponsors seeing them? Do you realize that you’re turning away many intelligent, thoughtful fans and followers? You’re running a business for goodness sake.
Personally, I’d like to see a little more transparency and ownership as far as how you handle issues like what happened with your last sponsor, NuSkin. We’re all human and mistakes happen but I don’t think an update on an already published post is quite enough ownership. As someone who has read your blog for a long time and supported both the authorship of your books and your clothing line (I LOVE my green army jacket and still wear of the first eyelash lace dresses you created), I have a vested interest here. I WANT to keep reading (and rooting for you). You’re making it very difficult though.
There is a massive transition happening in the blogging world right now and though I’ve always sensed you approached your blog with more of a business angle from the beginning than most others with your background at AOL, and had an early eye toward developing a lifestyle empire, almost like a younger, modern Martha Stewart, I would advise you to inject some humanity into this entire endeavor.
These days, bloggers, tastemakers and thought leaders are leaning so heavily toward building a wall up between themselves and their readers with some of the best of the best, like John and Sherry of Young House Love, exiting the blogging world entirely in mid-2014, only to re-enter on their own, much more defined and protected terms.
Their departure really, really stung if I’m being totally honest. I was never one of the critical readers who lambasted them for one too many posts about their laundry room makeover nor am I a critical reader of most of the types of reads I’d deem “for fun” or “for inspiration.” I was just happy to be able to read and follow-along with their adventures as they perked up their homes and raised their kids. When Sherry sang praises for cloth diapering, it became one of my most fervent aspirational dreams to one day cloth diaper my future child. They became like friends and were such a source of design inspiration for me. Our aesthetics weren’t even similar, but guess what color my entire downstairs is painted thanks to their recommendation? Benjamin Edgecomb Gray. Sherry is right, it’s the perfect neutral in any light.
Still, I was very hurt to see them reach such a height of success and then slam the door on readers like me, more or less. The thing is, Sherry and John are so authentic and relatable, they soon opened that door a crack… and then a bit more, and then a bit more, always remaining true to themselves as they re-entered the public eye while explaining and detailing their perspective and why they took a step back, how things will change moving forward, etc. It was all too soon that I forgave any hurt I’d experienced as one of those non-demanding readers who never expected 24/7 access and was just thrilled to be able to be back in their occasional orbit.
You have always posted in a much more formal tone then them though, referencing more and more lately that you are in fact, a boss running a business, so I don’t elaborate so thoroughly on John and Sherry to make a comparison per se, but rather to give you an example that I think you could benefit from. Take a step back and assess what is happening right now with your business please. I also mention them because I think that no matter what mistakes may have been made over the years, owning to them, acknowledging them, and responding authentically will make all the difference.
A longtime reader