Images shot by: Eric Ryan Anderson
Today marks the five year anniversary of The Fresh Exchange. Can you believe that?! Five years feels a little surreal. When I began this space, my life looked very different. I had recently finished college as a graphic designer, the economy sucked, I needed a creative outlet from the work I was doing, and I was recently engaged to marry my best friend. When I hit publish five years ago, I had no expectations or idea of where this space would take me. The name was made up on a whim, the first logo was…well, the first, and I had no idea what I wanted in life, but I knew I needed a space that inspired me. What resulted has been incredible. Setting aside all worldly success, there is something this space has given me that is far more valuable. It has given me direction, friendships, challenges, clarity, honesty, travel, and a space for Mike and I to do what we love. How this space has changed us and defined us both—individually, as creatives, and as a married couple—still amazes me. It is a little overwhelming, honestly.
In these five years, this blog has become the canvas for Mike and I’s journey. As we have gone back through and cataloged all of our past content, I realized how far we have come and how much this space has impacted us. This is why we are so extremely excited for what is next.
For the last two years, I have been working to define and navigate this space between remaining authentic and partnering with brands. I have had to come to terms with some of my mistakes and learn that quality is, and will always be, better than quantity. I have also learned how much Mike and I value the visual experience of online content. So, as we began to design this phase of TFE, we took note of your thoughts, our thoughts, our vision, and what we want it to be.
Our goal was to build a space that was focused on creation and beauty. We plan to continue to use this space to challenge ourselves creatively. We wanted to make it simpler to find new, or even embarrassingly old, content. The goal was to build a space that made it easier to connect with the content we are creating. Our inspiration for this didn’t come from the typical places. This space has been in the works for nearly 10 months. It was built along our travels and experiences: during the depths of winter in Michigan, while traveling on a train in Spain, while asking real questions as we hiked the Basque Coast, and on every road trip we have taken since 2013. We had 14 full site designs we threw away to get to the one we have today. But it was all worth it.
This new design and new vision has been a major part of our life, to say the least. It only felt right to launch it on the fifth anniversary. The journey has been longer than we expected, but as I have said before, it all comes together when and how it should. Great things in life aren’t rushed, and for us, this was one of those great things. I wanted this space to represent not just what we want to do, but why we are doing this.
So, here is the five-year-old Fresh Exchange with a full body makeover. She is brand spanking new, so be easy on her. She may still have some kinks to work out. (Please let us know if you have issues!! For real! Please add a comment.)
Before you dive too deep into the new design, I want to lay out some key features we think will make your experience here even better than it has been in the past. We know there will be an adjustment period, but we think over time you will love this new design even more.
The Email Newsletter:
Not only can you follow us via RSS, we have now integrated that RSS feed to be delivered straight to your email every time there is a new post. In addition, beginning January 2015, we will send out a monthly newsletter with exclusive content and a highlight of the most loved, popular, and (possibly) commented posts. Mike and I both follow blogs through our email, and we love a good email newsletter, so we really wanted to make this a priority. Sign up now, so you don’t miss our first monthly newsletter in January. You can always unsubscribe if we become annoying ;).
In the past, we had a print shop through Society 6. However, this new shop is going to be a little bit different. We have done a lot of product roundups in the past, but it is difficult to go back and find that exact item you’re looking for, so we thought “why not keep all of the things we are shopping for in one place?” So, stop in here from time-to-time to see what we love, what we’re wearing, or even what shops we are currently enjoying.
We are big fans of Instagram, and we love the low commitment of liking or “hearting” something. We wanted to bring that to our space in order to make it quick and easy for you let us know something really struck your fancy. No need to sign in or give us any info, just click the heart to let us know you love it. This “heart” will help indicate the most popular content on the blog. So give it a click and let the popular posts rise to the top. Give it a try!
We want to make it easier to find the content you want to see and read. We worked for many long days and nights to re-catalog all 2,000 posts for you. We simplified and made it easier to find what you are looking for.
Responsive & Retina Design:
If these are new phrases to you, no worries. Basically, we have designed the site to look good on any device you are using. We even have a state for different computer screen sizes. The site will respond to fit your iPhone and your iMac alike. We want you to be inspired no matter where you are.
We know it feels like a major shift, but we have big plans for 2015 that this new design will be a key part of. This new design is challenging us to continue to create beautiful things to our best ability, share our journey along the way, and live a life we are passionate about. As many of you have told us in the last five years, this space has encouraged you to do the same.
So tonight, when you head to happy hour, give a little hurrah for a five-year-old Fresh Exchange, will ya? In some way, we will all be doing it together. We are looking forward to these next years, wherever they may lead.
Thank you again for all of your support and grace while watching us discover our path and direction. Every one of you means a lot to us.