Content vs. Physical Goods vs. Both with Mandi Gubler

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There’s truly no such thing as an overnight success. Mandi Gubler spent years working on her first blog, Vintage Revivals. Her site launched when blogging was still an emerging industry and unlike her competitors, Mandi refused to accept every sponsorship offer that came her way, holding out for a few brands on her dream list. Eventually, as the success of her blog grew, those dream brands came knocking. And her fan base, impressed with Mandi’s commitment to authenticity, expanded.

But every good thing comes to an end. While her love for learning new skills fended off the natural burnout most creators experience, a TV show with the Magnolia Network expedited her exhaustion. Tight deadlines and grueling renovation work led Mandi to look elsewhere for a creative income. Luckily, she’d been working on a new blog for the past year: Happy Happy Houseplant.

Moving an audience from one familiar brand to another is no easy feat, but Mandi pulled it off. As her business transitioned, so did her business model, and at the advice of a fellow creator, Mandi began selling physical products rather than relying on sponsorships. As a result, Mandi finally got off the neverending hamster wheel that is creating content, scouting brands, and doing it all over again.

In this episode, Charli, Haley, and Miguel chat with Mandi about the difference between sponsorships and selling physical products, how to create a product that your audience actually wants, and her perspective on fending off creator burnout.

Key Takeaways

  • [03:11] - Have you heard?
    • [03:27] - Sharon McMann (or Sharon Says So) is a news and education content creator. Her content is extremely helpful, especially now as we try to make sense of the complex Ukraine-Russia conflict.
    • [05:01] - TikTok is expanding into long-form videos.
    • [06:05] - Instagram is discontinuing IGTV.
  • [08:38] - Main Topic: Mandi Gubler on Content vs. Physical Goods.
    • [08:52] - Mandi started a blog in 2010 called Vintage Revivals. In the past decade, it’s experienced tremendous growth.
    • [10:05] - Five years ago Mandi bought a building and turned it into a home. She was even featured on the Magnolia Show, In With The Old.
    • [12:50] - Vintage Revivals’ main source of income is sponsorships. Mandi held out for the brands she truly loves. That authenticity has ultimately been reflected in her success and her sponsorship rates.
    • [17:08] - Mandi’s love for learning helped her avoid the burnout that living on the creator hamster wheel so often creates. However, when she landed a TV show, the tight deadlines and exhausting work led her to pivot and dive headfirst into a new business.
    • [31:20] - Mandi knew her audience well which allowed her to create a product that resonated with them.
    • [32:47] - Different from the sponsorship model, selling a physical product allowed Mandi more time to focus on new product development and providing value to her audience.
    • [39:39] - Mandi had to choose between her two businesses and it was difficult given that her identity was so entwined with Vintage Revivals.
    • [44:40] - When you care about the content you’re creating and the people you’re creating it for, that's a marker of success. And when you’re building a brand and you’re building it around serving people, you’re always more successful.
  • [45:39] - Submit your listener shoutout!
  • [46:17] - A sneak peek at next week’s episode.

Quotes

[13:46] - “That was something that was really important to me when everyone was talking about all these different paint lines and different posts and for me that just felt really inauthentic and like, you’re clearly just doing this because you’re getting paid, what do you actually like? So it was really important for me to have stuff that I really stood behind. And so that works out really well with sponsors.” ~ Mandi Gubler

[17:58] - “Truthfully, I really love the creative process. For me, I’m not driven by money or status or really anything other than experience. I love learning new things. And so to take on a project like figuring out how to make tile, that is when I am my best self, is when I’m trying to do things and failing and reworking things.” ~ Mandi Gubler

[26:30] - “You have to have a physical product. It’s so much better than just doing sponsorships and being on this kind of content creation hamster wheel.” ~ Mandi Gubler

[30:28] - “We’re sharing the best information that actually helps people, we have the most amazing products, and we’re coming out with some really, really exciting ones, and it’s working because it’s what people want.” ~ Mandi Gubler


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