Can you believe it’s been 10 years? If you had told me 10 years ago that this is where I would be, this is where the blog would be, I would have looked at you like you were crazy! This post is rather long, so for those who immediately think, “TLDR?” — thank you very much for being along with me on this journey and for your support!
I have had the honor and privilege of being part of the beauty blogging community since its early days and seeing it grow from more text-only blogs to the deeply interactive, creative spaces that they can be today. I have seen the change in how brands and retailers interact with bloggers (and now, other social media influencers) from when brands only worked with top ten online media to seeing brands continually evolve their influencer strategies across platforms and influencers with better ways to measure than purely the size of one’s following. There are more ways than ever before to find and engage with beauty lovers around the globe–one of my favorite places these days is Reddit’s MakeupAddiction community, which has given me a boost in enthusiasm since joining–that have made my joy and passion for makeup more enriching, personal, and enjoyable.
I believe that Temptalia’s longevity and success are due to the strength and positivity of our community of readers, first and foremost, because without the support of readers, we really would not be where we are today. It is the enduring readership, engagement, and word-of-mouth (or click, in the digital space) that has given the blog a strong foundation to stand on. This belief is why I feel so strongly about being as candid as possible in my reviews, because my reviews are for my readers; they are not to win brands over or to convince you to buy something you didn’t need in the first place. They are intended to help you make better, smarter purchases; to have a better idea of what the product is like and does and whether that’s something that works for you. They are intended to take down the hype and buzz a notch and ground the product in reality. Starting from readers always helps me make better decisions in the long-run, so I thank you for reading, but I thank you for providing me the strength to make difficult choices about what directions to take because they have made me a better, more honest, more confident person, period. You earn trust, and you have to keep earning it to maintain; it is not something you want to lose because it can be near-to-impossible to earn it back. I am so humbled to have you believe in me, and to trust in my reviews, when I know the community at large has had issues with transparency and disclosure over the last five years.
There will never be an adequate way to thank you all for what you have done for me. I have grown-up blogging, I have moved from teenager to new adult to a total grown-up with grown-up responsibilities, like retirement savings, estate plans, and life insurance. You were there when Mellan, my furriest of family members, entered my life and changed it irrevocably. You were there when I graduated college, when I graduated graduate school. You were there when my husband proposed to me (quite literally, as he proposed on the blog!), and later, when I got married. You have provided not just me, but my husband and my brother-in-law (and so a smaller extent, my mother and my sister) enduring jobs. My husband has been working behind-the-scenes at Temptalia since it started, as he was already a web designer at the time!
Your esteem of me, your trust, and your support have shaped me over the last 10 years into the person I am today. I am so lucky and so grateful to be able to have a dream job: one that I am passionate about doing, one that I can do well, and one that gives me what I need to live a good life. A few years ago, my mom had our logo embroidered in silk, and it was a housewarming gift for our first home. It hung there, and it continues to hang in my second home, because whatever home I live is the home that Temptalia built. Thank you so much for giving me a home; both figuratively and literally–a reason for being, a place to share my passion, a place where my skills are useful, and a place to keep my family warm. Thank you so, so very much.
Second place finish, of course, goes to my family and friends who have supported me over the years. My mother, who is my role model in all things, is both responsible for my commitment to readers and honesty but also helping me build Temptalia as a brand and as a business. Her experience has been invaluable to me, and her advice, her fielding of negotiations when I first started, helped to set the stage for success behind the scenes. I more recently learned that my own mom’s work ethic flows from my grandmother, who just recently gave me the advice to do as much and as well as I can today, while I’m young, which was music to a work-a-holic’s ears! I was and continue to be lucky to have my family, extended family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that have supported blogging, that have looked at it with admiration and not disdain, that never said makeup was frivolous or unworthy of pursuit. I’m pretty sure that of all my family members, my dad actually reads and keeps up with the blog the most, which is so endearing. My sister always asks me for more business cards, because she apparently distributes them at a rate of 50x faster than I do!
To my husband, who has been there for me for the last 11 years: thank you for your support, your faith in me, and your love. I could not ask for a more supportive and understanding partner in life or in work. He has been in the background of the blog since it started, and he laid a lot of the groundwork for features like The Dupe List, Swatch, Gallery, Foundation Matrix, and so forth. He is actually now responsible for what we call “new development,” where he has built other sites that he now designs and creates content for (his site actually gets more pageviews than Temptalia now!).
To Mellan, my labrador love: for an example of living life with only optimism, there is no better example than Mellan. He is a happy dog, one that plays like he’s still a puppy, and one that always brings a smile to my face if I am having a down moment. He also lets me talk his ears off, and he never interrupts or tells me to be quiet!
To my brother-in-law, Nick, who has become the lead behind development for Temptalia in the last couple of years: he is like a magic coding genie; I say, “I want XYZ” and he never makes it sound impossible. I tell him where a pain point is in my review process, and he looks for ways to alleviate the bottleneck. I appreciate his willingness to learn, his ability to take direction and switch on and off tasks as priorities change, and always finding creative solutions when we are faced with a technical problem!
Reflecting on the Journey, So Far
I’m not someone who looks back that often; I am surprisingly a present person–I plan for the future but I very much live my life day-to-day and focus on achieving short-term goals while having a larger picture sketched out. I thought today would be a good time to reflect on the past and share some of those reflections with you, my dearest readers, as so many of you have been here from the beginning but so many of you have joined me along the way.
I’m no stranger to the internet nor producing content online, and I’ve spent a large amount of my free time on the internet since I was 13, when AOL was the big thing (in fact, I still use AIM to chat with friends and family!). Few know this at this point, but I used to make ‘zines through AOL, and I had two that I sent daily for years (years!), which I really think set-up my ability to maintain a daily blog through the years. (Fun fact: this why there are regular “columns” like question of the day, hit list, rant and rave; they are all concepts I used in my past ‘zines.) I have, effectively, been making and distributing free content for over half my life! It is funny as when I was younger and doing the whole ‘zine thing, spending that much time online made you a loser, but now, I feel like so many of us have our lives intertwined with the internet and social media that the cool thing is to have a strong internet presence! I officially quit ‘zines when I graduated high school and went to college, thinking I would not be able to balance the two (and feeling like it was time to move on, to some degree).
As an adult, I understand more of what my mom has always said to me – that her dream retirement is not to do nothing but to have a second career (one she has always thought about) as a college professor (which she has already achieved, though I’m pretty sure she works harder and more hours than she did in her first career). In college, I was so, so bored. The concept of free time was foreign to me, and I had too much of it. I got two part-time jobs, I took extra classes, and I still felt like something was missing. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup growing up, so when I went away to college, that’s when I really discovered and had a chance to play and experiment with it myself. I fell in love with MAC Pigments, and it led me to participate in the mac_cosmetics community on Livejournal. It was exactly what I was looking for; it was a something, a hobby, anything that I felt a real passion and delight in–and it was makeup.
The first posts on Temptalia were published on October 3rd, 2006, and they were really setting up an archive of makeup looks I had already shared with mac_cosmetics. The first review ever published was for MAC Formal Black (October 21st, 2006). There was no long-term goal for the blog when it started; it was meant to be a place to easily archive my looks, tutorials, and post the occasional review/swatches. I didn’t know anything blogging back then, and beauty blogging was definitely in its infancy–it was still the “wild, wild west” so-to-speak. It wasn’t until January 2007 that I started to post more regularly, and I got closer to daily blogging by May 2007.
I know the exact tipping point that turned Temptalia from a casual blogging affair to something more: MAC reached out to me in July 2007! Me! Little ol’ me! As a huge, huge fan of MAC (it was the only brand I purchased at the time), being recognized and contacted by their team (thank you Heather!) was incredible. I interviewed Dita Von Teese a few months later, I attended my first press dinner (with MAC) for San Francisco Fashion Week. The idea that my blog was being taken seriously by the very company I was most passionate about made it real; made it a THING! It made me take blogging a lot more seriously, even if I definitely had no expectations that it would be a career or even a part-time job at that point. By Semptember 2007, I was pretty much blogging daily, if not multiple times per day. This is where a lot of the format of Temptalia that you see today started taking shape; the first Temptalia Asks You went live in September 2007. (Fun fact: There have been 3,270 Temptalia Asks You posts to date.) By June 2008, I was posting between five and six times a day, which is the current level I post today, and since then, that’s what I’ve done. I think I have missed one day, possibly a question of the day still went up, when I was sick with the swine flu (I’ve never been that sick before; I could barely move) since moving to a daily schedule!
We have done some really cool things (well, obviously, I think we have!) over the years, like creating The Dupe List, Swatch, Gallery, and Foundation Matrix. We have improved on these things greatly over the last few years in particular, as the system of products has its own database so everything is intertwined, which makes everyone’s life better.
A Temptalia Timeline
- November 2007 — First Annual Temptalia Awards
- January 25, 2008 — WWD names Temptalia one of ten hottest beauty blogs
- February 25, 2008 — Magellan is announced
- November 15, 2008 — Beyond Beauty Look Compilation eBook
- February 25, 2009 — New logo
- April 20, 2009 — Best Beauty Blog, Glam Media
- June 5, 2009 — Temptalia Gallery (predecessor of the Swatch Gallery)
- July 24, 2009 — Top Beauty Blog (out of 50), Konector
- January 23, 2010 — Foundation Matrix Born
- January 31, 2010 — Newsletter started
- June 28, 2010 — The Dupe List launches
- July 16, 2010 — Revlon features Editor’s Choice Logo on False Eyelashes
- April 5, 2011 — The Glossover introduced
- May 19, 2011 — Swatch Gallery
- May 30, 2011 — MAC x Temptalia, Jealousy Wakes Eyeshadow
- October 8, 2011 — Foundation Matrix 1.5
- December 24, 2011 — Shaun proposed on the blog
- August 16, 2012 — First major direct campaign (Sephora Color Vision)
- May 3, 2013 — MyTemptalia Launches
- August 2013 — Illamasqua features Editor’s Choice Logo on Nail Varnishes
- November 21, 2013 — Foundation Matrix 2.0
- February 7, 2014 — The Dupe List 2.0
- February 7, 2014 — Christine Mielke, Editor, listed as 50 Most Influential People in Beauty by WWD
- August 7, 2015 — MyTemptalia 2.0
- February 26, 2016 — Foundation Matrix 3.0
- May 2016 — The Dupe List 3.0 / Swatch Gallery 3.0
- October 2016 — 10 Years
Thank you for your support, and here’s hoping for another 10 years we can be proud of!