{My family's dog Coach in the Design Darling market basket}

Whether you're new here (welcome!) or you've been reading for years (thank you!), I'd like to take a moment today to celebrate a little milestone and thank you all for being a huge part of the past few years for me!

I started Design Darling in my sorority dorm room in November 2009. No one read it for at least six months, mostly because I was too embarrassed to tell even my family and friends that I was writing it. Eventually I wised up and started spreading the word, confiding in a few girlfriends and reaching out to bloggers all over the country. I had no inkling that blogging would become such a rewarding part of my life or that so many of those initial girl crushes would turn into genuine friendships.

By late 2010, I was accepting small sponsors on the blog and contributing to a digital magazine in my spare time (conducting interviews over the phone from the coffee shop on campus — I swear I still had friends). When I graduated in May 2011, I balanced blogging, freelance writing, and working in PR for a few months before deciding I was onto something good with Design Darling and didn't want to give that up working long hours toward someone else's dream. I was 22, living at home, and had relatively little to lose so I decided to make the leap to blogging full-time and began work on my own online boutique.

I'd spent a few summers working in retail on Nantucket and I'd been curating product picks for my blog readers for two years... But I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had my parents' blessing (and their unused dining room table), $1500 in savings, and maybe 20,000 readers. I could sense that there was a void for an online shop full of bright, happy, preppy accessories for the kinds of girls who were reading Design Darling. I wanted to make the items I was buying in local boutiques and from independent designers I'd met through blogging available to a larger online audience. 

The months before I launched the boutique were some of the most exciting of my life so far. I was learning a dozen new things a day, from attending trade shows to building a website, negotiating drop ship agreements to photographing products as they arrived on my parents' doorstep. I made so many mistakes in those early months — amateur photos, products that cost me an arm and a leg to ship, vendors who didn't work out — but I'd never been so passionate about a project in my life. When the first sale rolled in at 8:05 the morning of March 1, 2012, I burst into tears at our kitchen counter — partially from exhaustion, certainly out of gratitude, and mostly because I still had no idea what I was doing.

I can't believe it's been two years since that day. I continue to learn so much from this business — and there's so much more I want to accomplish. I thank my lucky stars I get to run these two websites from a little studio in New York with a little dog named Rory and the support of my family and friends. I have the best readers and customers in the whole world, people who send thank you notes and words of encouragement on days when I'm sure I made a huge mistake getting myself into all of this. I've never cared more, worked harder, or been more excited about what's to come — and I have all of you to thank for that.

I can't wait to expand this business, to design my own products, to bring in interns and design assistants and all the people who will help me bring Design Darling to the next level. In the mean time, I'll keep chugging along — wearing my blogger, buyer, customer service, photographer, and social media hats — figuring it out and making mistakes as I go. I tear up thinking about how far this blog has come since my junior year of college and get goosebumps thinking about what both the blog and the boutique could become over the next four years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for tuning in, chiming in, and sticking around. I can't wait to have you here for what's next.

To celebrate the second birthday of the boutique, please enter TURNINGTWO at checkout to save 20% on your entire purchase through Sunday night. Happy weekend!


Hunter said...

This is such a great post! I will always support you and your blog!

Prep on a Budget

P.S. I would love to take you up on that internship when you begin looking ;)

Annie {annelliott.blogspot.com} said...

Congrats! My birthday is Sunday, so I am celebrating along with you! This is the perfect, inspiring post for me...I'm working through taking career chances and figuring things out as we speak. You're an inspiration to me and so many others. Happy 2 Years!! xo

Chelsea Mac said...

Congratulations on another fabulous milestone! Cheers to many more!

Haute Child in the City

Jackie {York Avenue} said...

Congratulations! So cool that you've built a business from the ground up. Can't wait to see what's next for Design Darling :)

Rachel Medlock said...

I loved hearing the full story behind Design Darling! Congratulations on reaching this milestone - can't wait to see what else you have in store. Have a lovely weekend!

Suppose Anything Goes

Samantha Tananbaum said...

Congrats on two years! It's truly amazing how far you've come and you deserve all of the success and happiness in the world. Good luck with the move!


Courtney Elizabeth said...

Congratulations! It's been great watching your journey, and I can't wait to see all the wonderful things ahead!

Jeanette said...

Congratulations on everything you've achieved with your awesome blog and boutique! Reading your blog is my daily treat. I feel like I should be thanking YOU!

kTm said...

Congratulations on two years! As a new blogger, I think it is very inspiring to see how far you've gone building Design Darling AND a boutique from the ground up. I can't wait to see what comes next!


Niki {Glossy Blonde} said...

Happy birthday to your boutique!!! And Coach is so cute!

KackyC. said...

So, so wonderful. You and your company are so inspiring to me! My roommate and I probably talk about your everyday relating you to our blogging goals and her hoping to start a business as well.

So thank you!!!

Ashley Fine said...

So incredibly proud of you! All the best:) xo

storrence08@gmail.com said...

Happy Birthday Design Darling! So happy for you :) xox

Brass Honey said...

So so proud of you. This is what inspires me in life, people like you- the entrepreneurs. You've made your dreams a reality. Congratulations on two years my dear. Very well deserved.

Kelsey said...

Congrats Mackenzie! That's awesome! And I love your shop :)

xx Kelsey - tortoiseinthesun.com

Monica {Cake and Lilies} said...

Congratulations! It's so impressive and admirable to hear how you've done all this so fast, and I can't wait to see what's next :) xoxo

Aneta and Sara said...

This is kind of random. But you were in my dream last night. You were explaining to me how much you loved hot pink and navy blue.

Heather said...

Congrats on two very successful years with Design Darling, it really is one of my favorite places to shop for the perfect little accents for my home (my mom LOVED my blue and white trellis tray!)

I know how tough it is to start a business from scratch and you have done such a great job with your boutique. It doesn't hurt that you also have wonderful taste! ;)

I love following your NYC adventures and can't wait to see what the future holds for Design Darling!

Grace - Stripes and Sequins said...

You are amazing. I'm so happy for you - you truly deserve every ounce of success you've had!!! xoxo

Dana said...

You are one of the most genuine bloggers out there, so THANK YOU for everything you've done for your readers! We love you!

Pink Champagne Problems

Tali Lekorenos said...

I'm a recent reader and I love your blog and your boutique! You inspire me :) x

Dana said...

Congratulations! You and your passion and hard work are such an inspiration! I cant wait to see whats in store in the future.

amy stone said...

So proud of you, but hopefully you're already aware of that. Can't wait to see what's next for the boutique, your blog, and new chapter as a Downtown™ Design Darling.

All of the love,

A.T. said...

Congratulations, truly an accomplishment!

Annie @ www.theparcelblog.com

Leslie Medford said...

Congratulations! I'm a new reader, and I'm already a big fan!

Lauren said...

Congrats on the milestone and success!


living well said...

Congrats on this milestone - you deserve all this success and more! I've been a reader for a few years and look forward to your posts. And your boutique is fabulous, obviously!!!

mikky said...

Congrats, congrats! It feels like just yesterday you announced the opening of your shop. Congrats on turning 2!


Michaela said...

Happy birthday, Design Darling! So glad I found you three years ago…and sent you my very first email with loads of questions about blogging! You were so gracious to answer them all :) I've loved watching you blossom over the last few years and simply adore your shop. Going to shop now and share with my readers!


Sweet Southern Prep said...

You were one of the first blogs I read, when I started getting into the blog world. Still remember reading your blog you had when you studied abroad. MackenzieAbroad or something like that? Loved living vicariously through you!

Congratulations on your success! I had no doubt you would be just as great now, as you were back then!

twelvetwenty1 said...

Congratulations, Mackenzie! I love reading your blog and wish you continued success. By the way, as an idea, if you clear out your closet annually or whatever, I think you might have some readers interested in picking up some of your old stuff... like a one-off consignment shop of your own.

Katherine Bousson said...

Congrats Mackenzie!!


Briana Luca said...

This was such an inspirational post! You're an incredible woman and I wish you so much more success! Congrats :)


Kellyinthecity said...

That's so awesome, Mackenzie! Congrats! What a huge accomplishment! :)


Kristin Clark said...

Congrats lady!!! Such an exciting accomplishment, certainly worthy of a celebration! :) Keep up the good work, we're all excited to see what's in store for Design Darling!

Kristin of LivingInColorPrint.com

Katie B said...

Reading this is so awesome and inspiring! Congratulations! I hope one day to have my own store and for my blog to be at least a small success!! Thank you for sharing and being so inspiring!


cait - pretty and fun said...

Yay!! Congratulations on two years of success for Design Darling - can't wait to see all that's ahead for you.


Becky Kinkead said...

I know this was from a few weeks ago- but actually gave goosebumps. It's inspiring to see your hard work pay off!