We have been working on getting to this announcement for over a year now, and we are beyond excited to tell you what we have been working on for all of these months!
Do you remember the post we shared last summer about taking time off? Check it out if you missed it. In the post, we talked about what life had been like for the last few years, running a business together, the ups and downs, and the journey it had taken to get to taking a summer off. It is still one of my favorite posts because it was the beginning of a new chapter in our lives as a husband & wife, business owners, and as soon to be parents. Taking that time to reflect last summer had far more impact on our business and out personal lives than we could have ever imagined.
In those weeks of reflection, we went on a lot of long walks and had an on-going conversation about who we are as creatives and what fulfilling work genuinely looks like to each of us. From the day we launched Wild Measure, we never really slowed down and we rarely turned down a project that we felt excited about, even if it meant giving up our nights and weekends. It was so exciting to constantly have a new project beginning, but it was causing us to go in far too many directions with both time and our passions. This became one of our biggest blessings and our biggest problems. Between Mike and I, and our team of freelancers, we could truly take on any design project. This meant we were constantly evolving and taking on new services but never getting the time to slow down and get deep in any certain area. At the beginning of last summer, if you had asked either of us how the business was doing, we would have both agreed it was doing outstanding. However, if you would have asked how we as creative people were doing, we would have said we were feeling spread thin and honestly a bit creatively lost. Which was kind of a unique problem, we had a business that was doing really well but the business of creativity was slowly pulling us away from the joy of creating.
We were each looking for answers last summer, but we didn’t even know the right questions to ask. So we spent last summer just rhythmically giving ourselves space to work through the last few years of growing our business and talking about what we desired as creatives. One of the repeated issues we both felt was the lack of freedom we felt in what we do. Which is odd right? Isn’t that why we started our own business in the first place. What was happening to us was the trapping many start-up businesses run into. We were trying to do too many things and offer too many services. It is the recipe for burn out, and with a little one on the way we knew we needed to get it together, and soon.
We began, as you should, completely open minded to any and all options. We talked about what we loved, what we were truly great at, and what kind of life we wanted to bring our son into. We went on long walks, talked about travel, our years together, and how we saw the future. By the time we got to the end of the summer, we had a better understanding of who we were as creatives, but we still couldn’t agree upon what areas of the blog, studio, or our investment projects to cut. Everything just felt too essential.
On our drive down to Texas to speak at the Circles Conference in Dallas we took our friend Helena Price’s advice and finally picked up the book Essentialism and read it cover to cover. There were so many moments in the book where it just felt like the author was speaking directly to us. As the book’s tagline states, it is all about the disciplined pursuit of less. Which ideally should bring you more freedom, business, etc. When we arrived in Dallas and completed the book, we knew we had just read something special, but it wasn’t until the hour after we spoke on stage, that it all came together.
We love the Circles Conference and have met so many amazing creative people there. So we were really excited to come back and speak on a panel and answer questions about our business. But to be completely honest, we felt like our panel was kind of boring and we ended up talking about things we didn’t want to talk about. Which in retrospect, we were being really hard on ourselves, the talk went just fine, but our ride back to the hotel we were both quiet and could feel a conversation brewing. We had about 45 minutes to take a shower and get dressed before meeting up with Helena, who had also spoken earlier that day, for dinner. So when we closed the door of the hotel room, Mike broke the silence. He asked me the question we had been trying to get to all summer. He asked me, “what do we love to create” and grabbed a hotel pad of paper to make a list. I thought for a second and started to list off, “Type, Image, Creative Community, and…”. But I couldn’t think of anything else we really loved to create. Mike paused as he listed out those three things, and said, “That’s it“. We found our essential creative core.
From that point on everything else fell into place as we began to think about our business and the blog. Mike and I knew we wanted to continue working together because life is just better when we are creating together. We also knew we had to stop splitting our energy in two directions. So, there within 45 minutes of being in our hotel room we decided we had to bring Wild Measure and Fresh Exchange together. Which may not be a huge surprise, but it was a big moment for us.
From that point on, we begin building the foundation for one company, The Fresh Exchange, and we would focus on Type, Image, and the Creative Community all while sharing our lives on the blog as creatives chasing a simple and beautiful life as we have. We didn’t know what that looked like at the time, but we knew it would mean major changes. And how perfect was it that we got to celebrate our new direction with Helena that night! It really is great when moments in life align like that.
So about 3 months before I was due with Hayes, we wireframed and designed the new Fresh Exchange site where the Blog, Studio, Shop, and a new Learn area are being brought together into one site. We went deep into user flows and wireframes to ensure that the new site would represent our new direction. We designed a new logo that is a visual combination of The Fresh Exchange Blog and Wild Measure. We did over 18 different versions of the homepage and 5 full redesigns of every page on the site. We tested our ideas and explored new directions. Then on my 37th week of pregnancy, we handed the designs over to our developer and we waited for the birth of our son and the birth of our new site. It was a very relieving moment to go into our time of birth with the anticipation of the life and business that would be waiting for us on the other side.
Now, 4 months later, we are putting the final touches on this nearly year long relaunch of our business. Though it has been a year in the making, it feels more like it has taken our whole career to land here, which is a story I personally love in moments like this. When I began The Fresh Exchange Blog 7 years ago it was simply a creative outlet for me from my design business, but that was only the beginning of the journey. Today, it feels like we are just beginning our journey. We have so many plans for the future. It has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get here, but just like all those moments lead into a bigger moment and here are approaching it. A new era and a new chapter of our story.
Today, we wanted to fully explain what is ahead in anticipating for the new site launch in 2 weeks on June 27th. The biggest and largest part of this new shift is all about minimizing and simplifying. We have decided to meld Wild Measure into The Fresh Exchange. In our minds, The Fresh Exchange was always intended to go further than the blog, but until last summer that path had not been clear. The Fresh Exchange is a lifestyle brand and that is something we hope to see grow and flourish over the coming years.
There are many reasons we decided to bring Wild Measure into The Fresh Exchange and going under one name:
- We wanted to simplify our studio work down to only Type, Image, and Creative Community focus. We no longer are offering services outside of that, other than to our retainer clients. Instead, we are focusing our studio work on creating content for brands (some used on the blog and some not) and doing more type work with brands and businesses. More on that when the site launches… We felt The Fresh Exchange housed those items better than Wild Measure did. The Fresh Exchange in many ways has and always will be our own Wild Measure. These two words, Wild Measure, forever identify our desire to dream big with common sense attached, but it will now be our guiding spirit and no longer our studio name.
- We wanted people to be able to see us as one entity. Many of you were confused as to what was Fresh Exchange and what was Wild Measure. And part of that was intentional, but as we made the decision to simplify, many other pieces have fallen into place and we know it is a decision that will be the best in the long term.
- We feel that our dreams reside under the name The Fresh Exchange better as we move forward with our goals and dreams. Believe me, this took months to figure out… we even considered a whole new name… ugh.
- We want our focus to be in one direction. We can do a lot of things well, but we want to do a few things great. That takes discipline. We knew that if we cut away what we weren’t passionate about, even if they are profitable areas of our business, we could be great at the things we deeply longed for and loved. The stress of never having the time for what we desired to be great at could be stripped away and there we would find ourselves stepping towards becoming hopefully greater than we know we can be.
This was a huge decision to let go of one of our brands, but when we launched Wild Measure we saw ourselves building a studio that would grew into something beyond us, and the truth is Wild Measure always needed us at the core. As many times as we tried to replace ourselves in the business with other staff it just didn’t work. Once we were able to nail down the difference between what fulfilled us creatively and what we wanted as our end game in this journey, we saw that what Wild Measure was an idea we liked, but The Fresh Exchange was an idea we LOVE.
This means we had to start from the ground up and build a new site. Bringing these two things together meant a whole restructuring and a design that also took into account how you as our readers and followers interact with content as well. We have spent HOURS, MONTHS,….well a year! building this whole new site to be a meld of what was and what will be. That said, one of the biggest changes is our new domain. If you look up at your URL you will notice a little update today. We are now thefreshexchange.com and you would not believe what it took to get that, but we will save that story for another day… So if you are thinking I loved the old domain, don’t worry… you can type it in right now and you will naturally redirect back to the new domain. We just wanted to make you aware of it.
Finally, we wanted to give you a preview and some big highlights of what is to come when we launch the new site on June 27th.
We have a new logo:
If The Fresh Exchange Blog and Wild Measure had a logo baby. This would be that logo baby. It’s shares elements from both logos but is a logo all it’s own. We are really proud of it. See our process below:
The blog content is being reorganized into 4 categories:
We used those giant white boards in our studio to write down everything we do and then refine it down into four categories. Wow was this tough. But it was worth the work. Our 4 categories are: Style, Life, Travel, and Wellness. We will go deeper into these categories on the 27th when the site launches, but these are the pillars of what we feel makes for a well-lived life that is intentional and beautiful. It was no easy task, but we wanted to hone in on what the topics that really defined life as The Fresh Exchange.
The Learn section:
For years we have received a ton of emails from all of you asking about different topics and we have struggled to answer as many as we could, but we wanted to dedicate a page of our new site to teaching. This page will have the most growth over the next year, but for now, this is the place to go to learn about everything we use for our business and thing we suggest. We have a ton of surprises coming up, but we are really excited to began to provide a ton of resources for all of you.
We are posting a portfolio:
Yeah, after purposefully avoided it for years, our focus has shifted and we felt like our studio page should be different as well. We are excited to launching this end of the site as well.
The Shop is going to be a better resource:
I cannot tell you how many times we are asked, what kind of (blank) should I get for (blank). Which got us thinking, shouldn’t that be what The Fresh Exchange shop is? Some of the shop will be similar, but we are creating ways for you to filter it by the type of items you are specifically looking for. So, if you want to shop for curated items for your little one… you can! We also will be creating monthly edits that will detail a specific theme (like Summer in Northern Michigan) each month that correlates to the season. This will be released the same time every month and will be featured in our monthly emails….which….
Our email newsletter is growing:
We will now have a daily email for the newest blog post, a weekly email with a summary of the posts for the week, and then a very special updates email that will have downloads and other exclusive content only available to the email newsletter subscribers. I have wanted to start this for over a year now and so it was the first thing I made sure we set up for the new site.The updates email is where our new edits will be released each month as well as other exclusive content.
The final thing, when we launch our new site on June 27th make sure you don’t miss it because we have a giveaway planned for all of you who will be updating or signing up for our email list that day! We will announce the winner the following Friday so make sure you mark your calendar for the launch!!!
As always thank you for your support. We are so pumped about the next chapter of The Fresh Exchange and to bring all of you along on the journey with us!
Feel free to share any questions below about things! We are happy to answer them 🙂