Content vs. Physical Goods vs. Both with Mandi Gubler

Business Models The Future Belongs to Creators
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Mandi Gubler, creator of Happy Happy Houseplant and Vintage Revivals, is no stranger to creating content for an online audience.

In 2010, Mandi Gubler started her first blog, Vintage Revivals, when blogging was in its hay day. In the decade since, she has seen success in her blogging business, primarily through consistently creating content. However, with her newer brand, Happy Happy Houseplant, Mandi was able to incorporate physical goods into her business.

Here’s what Mandi has to say about shifting from a content-centered business model to one centered on the sale of physical goods.

Sponsored Content

Sponsorship was where the bulk of the income came from for Vintage Revivals. As a matter of fact, Mandi was strategic about the brands she would partner with.

Mandi watched her peers take on any and every sponsorship opportunity that came their way, but she knew she didn’t want to follow suit. She knew that others were in the sponsorship game to get paid. Mandi, on the other hand, questioned how many of these sponsorships were with brands they actually liked and enjoyed.

It was really important for me to sponsor products that I could stand behind. That’s what makes for a really special sponsorship opportunity.

Mandi made a list of her dream brand partnerships—many of which she would go on to eventually partner with. But that didn’t happen overnight. At first, Mandi felt like everyone was getting good opportunities while she was working for free paint. In the long run, though, she felt like it worked out way better.

Now, the authenticity surrounding Mandi’s sponsorship opportunities shines through her success and her sponsorship rates.

In addition to sponsorship opportunities, Vintage Revival earned money through advertising and products that complemented her DIY tutorials.

Dealing with burnout

While running a successful blog and creating content is a lot of work, Mandi’s love for learning helped her avoid the burnout that living on the creator hamster wheel so often results in.

Truthfully, I really love the creative process. I love learning new things. I am at my best self when I can take on a new project, trying new things—even when I might fail.

The longevity of Vintage Revivals was sustained by Mandi’s genuine passion for the creative life of reinventing and adapting.

However, things started to change when Mandi bought a building, renovated it into a home, and landed a TV show five years ago. She was featured on the Magnolia Show, In With The Old, where the renovation of the building was showcased for the first episode.

The tight deadlines and exhausting work led her to pivot and dive headfirst into a new business. Fast forward to today, and Mandi is the proud owner of Happy Happy Houseplant, another wildly successful brand.

New business, new business model

Mandi created Happy Happy Houseplants by first optimizing the content she was publishing for Vintage Revivals. Then, she got into search engine optimization (SEO) and found that plant content ranked really high in searches.

Mandi had already planned to incorporate more plant content into Vintage Revivals since plants are a part of a well-designed space. However, Mandi decided to pivot and turn that idea into another business, adding physical products as its primary revenue generator.

This new business decision allowed Mandi to finally get off the neverending hamster wheel of content creating and brand partnerships.

You need to have a physical product. It’s more sustainable for the long-term success of a business. Relying on perpetual content creation and sponsorship deals is a recipe for burnout.

In contrast to the sponsorship model, selling a physical product allowed Mandi more time to focus on new product development and provide greater value to her growing audience. This business model created sustainability and longevity for her business.

Creating physical goods your audience will love

Mandi’s venture into selling physical products was successful because she knew her audience well, allowing her to create a product they would want to buy.

Our products are selling because it’s what people want.

Mandi listened to her audience and solved a problem for them. They loved plants and wanted them in their homes, but they didn’t know how to take care of them. Happy Happy Houseplant simplifies plant care information so anyone with a plant can understand it and find it helpful.

Not only do her products meet a need, but they are designed to delight.

We spend a lot of time on product presentation design and customer experience. I want a product that works, is easy to use, and adds to the aesthetic of my space.

Happy Happy Houseplant customers see success with their houseplants and enjoy sharing their feedback with Mandi and her team. The premium content and products that Mandi creates for her audience are the seeds of her rapidly growing business.

You can follow Mandi on Instagram and check out her website for Happy Happy Houseplant.

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