Erica Domesek was enjoying a successful career in the fashion industry, working as a prop stylist and creative consultant for brands like Anthropologie, Kate Spade and Madewell.
But when a friend mentioned she was going to buy an expensive necklace, Erica exclaimed, “You’re crazy, it’s $600. Why don’t we make it?” That spurred the creation of a “craft club,” in which friends came to Domesek’s apartment to create fun DIY projects.
Without even realizing it, Domesek had taken first step toward becoming a DIY-blogging diva. She went on to register P.S.- I Made This… as her hub on a newfangled blog platform called Tumblr in 2009. From there, things escalated rather quickly, as recessionistas and fashionistas alike embraced the DIY mentality to create fun, colorful and personalized items.
“It was born from something I truly love, and I’m most passionate about delivering smiles and helping people achieve a way to personalize their lives,” says Domesek, whose mantra is, I see it, I like it, I make it. “I’ve got DIY in my DNA,” she quips.
Domesek’s website houses more than 1,000 DIY pieces and sees 500,000 unique visitors a month. In less than five years, Domesek has amassed 47,000+ Twitter followers, 104,000+ Pinterest followers and more than 87,000 Instagram followers. But her crafty community isn’t just following — they’ve posted more than 10,000 Instagrams with the hashtag #PSIMadeThis.
“I recognized an opportunity for an industry that was essentially a horizontal through so many verticals, that I knew that I could help really pioneer DIY into its own vertical,” Domesek explains.
PSIMadeThis.com recently underwent its first redesign since launch, though the new design still doesn’t make room for advertisements or buttons. (“I don’t believe I want to violate the integrity of the look, feel and aesthetic of the brand for a couple hundred or thousand dollars a month,” Domesek says.) Domesek brings in revenue via branded content and partnerships with brands like Mercedes Benz, Tory Burch, Amazon and Maybelline. These large, consumer-facing brands are leveraging Domesek’s creative approach to fashion and decor, as well as her massively engaged social media audience. And while her empire is large already, this just the beginning.
Over the past four years, Domesek has been laser-focused on audience development, building a brand and becoming the “ultimate destination for all things personalization under the style umbrella.” Largely thanks to Domesek, people are educated and excited about DIY, and through her influence, she can monetize her property and brand even more. To that end, Domesek just released her second book, P.S.- you’re invited…, which highlights more than 40 DIY projects. The book, she says, is an invitation to just celebrate life every day.
“Every day there are moments you can personalize and customize to make life a little more exciting and happy,” says Domesek.
Perhaps Domesek’s biggest strength — aside from her creativity and handiwork, of course — is bridging the gap between online and offline. Her step-by-step tutorials on her website and YouTube channel make for engaging digital content for the DIY community, but the projects themselves are very physical objects — an ombre lampshade, a lacquered party tray, a statement necklace. The creative, DIY process itself is very visual, and photos of the finished products tend to perform very well on Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. This creates a cycle where people are inspired by DIY projects, they learn the process online (or in DIY books), they create the item in real life and then they post images of their finished work on social media.
Crafting may be a very social and personal way to express one’s individuality. But ironically, Domesek’s No. 1 rule is not to do DIY yourself. “When you get other peoples’ eyes and minds together, you start to think differently,” says Domesek. “My biggest advice is to get your friends together because it’s really about the conversation, and it’s more fun with friends.” And not only do you save money making things yourself instead of buying them at boutiques or department stores, but the items also are more “you” and make great conversation-starters. (Fun fact: That’s actually how the catchphrase “P.S.- I Made This…” came about.)
With 1,000 projects and two books under her belt, Domesek is looking forward to the next phase of her business. While fashion and decor trends come and go, there will always be a look to make your own, so DIY seems like an industry that’s poised to stay. And that’s a good thing, because Erica Domesek is in it for the long haul.
“Being able to — no pun intended — craft a career out of something you love is the ultimate dream, and it was a happy accident, but I got there.”