An Open Letter To The HSS Community

Re the recent content slowdown and what’s currently happening

Dear HSS Readers,

I wanted to take this opportunity to speak to you one on one to address what’s been going on recently behind the scenes here at He Spoke Style. Though I know it’s a blogging faux pas to apologize when one has not posted in a while – as you’ve just endured for the past two weeks with me – but because we’ve always been über consistent with the flow of content I felt it necessary to offer you an explanation.

Before I do that, however, I do want to offer an apology for the recent slowdown. To be honest, I was a bit burned out. Though we’ve built up a small but very respectable team over the past four and a half years, I personally shoulder much of the workload and burden when it comes to our little enterprise. And over that time, it’s taken a small toll. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still super eager and have tons of creativity left in me and stories to tell, but sometimes a dude just needs a break. If you’re not that familiar with the ins and outs of publishing a popular blog, let me break it down quickly.

Producing a quality online publication is not just about writing. Yes, writing is insanely important – content is king, after all – but it is the just the tip of iceberg when it comes to the life and health of an online magazine. There are a ton of important considerations that go unseen. These include, SEO, content forecasting, photo styling, photo shoots, video shoots, image selection, editing, the editorial calendar, editorial meetings, social media strategy, social media composition and execution, answering emails, answering more emails, answering even more emails, working with partners, procuring new business, creating and email newsletter, negotiating contracts, submitting drafts for approval, paying employees, paying studio rent and subscription costs, keeping the studio neat, accounting, tweaking a business plan, and so on.

That was just a stream of consciousness list off the top of my head. In no way am I looking for sympathy. In fact, to a certain extent, I wear these multiple hats as a badge of honor. I know what it takes and I’m willing to put in the work. On the flip side, there’s only so much time in the day, only so much space in the brain and only so much one can reasonably do given both of those constraints.

About a month ago, I was talking to a good friend of mine, who owns a very successful tech company (and is now my coach though I used to routinely drop him when I raced a bicycle, hehe…) about how I’ve been feeling and what I’m dealing with in terms of my business. He told me that it sounded like I was at what Andrew Grove called a strategic inflection point. And he was right. By the way, if you don’t know who Andrew Grove was, haven’t heard of strategic inflection points and consider yourself any sort of entrepreneur, I highly recommend reading this book.

The bottom line is that in order to continue to grow our company, I need to reprioritize and evaluate the best use of my time. And, after a little time off, I finally believe that I’ve figured out what needs to happen and what is going to happen, effective immediately. I’ll share it with you below.

Editorial

Strong editorial is the backbone of what we do here at HSS and it’s not going to stop. This is something I am extremely passionate about and will not allow to go away. However, I need to step back from it to a certain degree to focus on the next big steps for the company.

Okay, sure, but what does that mean?

Well, for one, I’m going to be doing a little, maybe a lot, less writing than I have in the past. I’ll retain my role as Creative Director/Editor-In-Chief, but a few of our fine thoroughbreds are going to be taking on the lion’s share of the writing. As you’ve likely seen over the past six to 12 months, we’ve been adding some new voices to the site. Each has a unique style that is still very much in keeping with what I’d call the HSS editorial voice.

Upper level, we’ve promoted Adam, who is now involved more deeply in our editorial planning and vision and I’m very pleased to have just welcomed J.A. Shapira as a full-time member of the HSS Team. I already know you dig them, the knowledge they’ve been dropping and the conversations they’ve started, and I think you’re really going to like everything you read from them in the future.

This move is designed to free me up to focus on another area of content…

Video

This has been an area of intense anguish for me over the past couple of years. It’s something I enjoying doing, that I know you enjoy watching, but is very time consuming to produce, especially when you’re keeping up with written editorial and publishing a daily website. But equally to the point for me as pretty much the CEO of my business, is that YouTube is a weakness in our digital portfolio that needs attention. Saying it’s do or die might be a touch dramatic, but that’s the sense of urgency I have about it.

And then there’s that other thing that’s happening on September 5th…

The HSS Shop

A huge move for us that I am insanely excited about – so excited that I’m actually going to drop the link right here because I can’t hold it back. We’ve got nearly the entire collection in our possession now and I couldn’t be happier with how it looks. Some outstanding partnerships as well as just some extremely well-curated items. It’s a solid starting point for us that focuses on the things we value most – quality, design, craftsmanship and timelessness. We’ve tailored our offerings to reflect our readers. Professional. Discerning. Gentlemen. I think you’re really going to like it.

So, in a nutshell, that’s where we’re at. Regular content will resume tomorrow. I appreciate your patience and understanding as we articulate into the next exciting phase of HSS. Everything and more.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

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Chime In

  • tomas

    Frank, open and direct.The kind of communication you have accustomed us to. It takes a great man to acknowledge his boundaries, take a breath and reassess his environment in order to go «once more unto the breach». Keep up the good work and never sell yourself short, yours is the best fashion blog (and this is a very reductive expression seeing as your work is SO much more than a blog) around and i wouldn’t trade it for any other.
    Greetings to all HSS staff and keep ’em coming.

  • http://cutandbasted.com Sam

    Everyone deserves a break and time to reflect. Looks like you’ve done that, and have come out of it focused and ready to move forward. Some guys would do that and decide to shut down. Glad you chose the former. Look forward to the new content and the shop. Good luck!

  • Georges Weyer

    Dear Brian,
    this is good news! Good to hear that you are well after having taken a break and that you will continue with a motivated team.
    Kind regards!

  • Jose Grau

    Thanks for your honesty Brian. Cant wait for all the new content and definitely cannot wait for the HSS shop

  • Chris Cox

    Congratulations all around. You’re making the right moves and great decisions. Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Luis Martinez

    Actually Brian, it is good to hear (and see on Instagram) that you are taking care of yourself and enjoying life. You have certainly worked very hard and it shows! The last thing we, your readers, want is for you to get so sick of it and lose your mojo. Having said that, I am sure the shop will be another successful milestone in your path, and I for once cannot wait what you and your team bring to it! Your work is The Inspiration for many of us.

  • Graeme T McLean

    Good to take a step back and have a few days to evaluate things. If you lose your drive and creativity, then there is no hope for the rest of us. All sounds very exciting. I wish you and the team continued success.

  • http://gentlemanwithin.com Khoi | Gentleman Within

    Cheers to the next chapter of HSS. Can’t wait for everything that’s in store.