NEW YORK — Erica Domesek is the embodiment of the modern day do-it-yourself movement.
The 31-year-old creator of the DIY Web concept P.S. — I made this... is gearing up for a big month. Her second book, “P.S. — You’re Invited,” comes out Sept. 10, and details more than 40 DIY projects in the areas of fashion, home decor and entertaining. She also has product collaborations with Bloomingdale’s and West Elm and will be featured in Gap’s upcoming fall campaign. Tonight, Domesek kicks off a multicity book tour at the Paramount Hotel here with a party that will be cohosted by Microsoft and Swarovski.
Over the past four years, Domesek has created over 1,000 original pieces for Psimadethis.com, which garners 500,000 unique visitors a month. The DIY doyenne also has a combined social media following of 650,000. Rachael Ray was the company’s first investor, and to date, Domesek has worked with over 50 brand partners including Mercedes-Benz, Amazon, Tory Burch, Saks Fifth Avenue, Maybelline, Procter & Gamble, Walgreens and Guess. Domesek currently employs six people, a number that will double next year.
Fluttering about her Lower East Side studio, aka the “P.S. World Craftquarters,” Domesek talked to WWD about the first relaunch of the site since it started as a Tumblr blog in 2009, Swarovski-encrusted glue guns and the growing DIY movement.
WWD: Your mission is to bring the digital world to the physical world. Explain.
Erica Domesek: In a time where everybody is connected, we speak to the connected girl and those moments that are offline. The biggest challenge right now is how do you take those moments where she’s connected digitally and see a real call to action offline. That is why what we’re doing is so powerful, because even though this girl is connected — living on two to three screens simultaneously — it’s about them and the moments where she’s able to capture her real passion and personalize moments that are longer than 140 characters and will live longer than 15 seconds. It’s actually a very cyclical process: she gets inspired from digital, there’s a call to action to create in her physical world and her excitement and eagerness to share with community then brings it back to digital. This is a really powerful cycle.
WWD: What kind of DIY projects elicit the most engagement and response from fans?
E.D.: Four words: comfort with a twist. The things that we see that perform really well are either posts that use items that are identifiable and comfortable or there is [a sense of] nostalgia behind them. Our highest performing project [meaning the most traffic, pins, comments, coverage and shares] was an ombré painted wall. The reason for that is that it used just three cans of paint — that’s the comfort. People are comfortable with the idea of painting a wall and the actual “ingredient” of paint. The twist was the application process. It’s not the projects that are the most groundbreaking, it’s not inventing something new but what it’s doing is giving that “wow” moment, that “OMG” where people take a second and are so excited. That is the reaction we look for and that’s what makes a successful project.
WWD: Do you think of yourself as a threat to the fashion industry?
E.D.: I am one of the biggest fans of the industry. I am a fan first and foremost. I have looked to people, whether it’s Marc Jacobs or Oscar de la Renta as icons and inspirations since I was a little girl. I am so grateful that we’ve been embraced by the fashion community. [Now] we’re at a place where people are coming to us for trends — it’s succeeding DIY’s. When Proenza [Schouler] did their tie-dye collection everybody fell in love with it, but the truth is there’s only a small percentage of the world who can afford that. However, we want to put a lens on Proenza to say: This is happening in the industry, it’s a trend, embrace it. If you can’t afford it, here is a way to achieve a look inspired by it. There is one person that goes to us for trend stories, another that goes to us for straight DIYs and another person that is somewhere in the middle.
WWD: Do you think the DIY, hands-on thing in the fashion world is a fad? Or is it a reaction to the world that we live in?
E.D.: When I was asked this question four years ago, I said it wasn’t a trend, it’s a way of life....We’re now in a place where the world is not just responding to the movement, but wants to be a part of it and promote it.