Featured Blogger: Sara Ost of EcoSalon
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
According to its “About” page, “EcoSalon is the conscious culture and fashion website.” Publisher and Editor, Sara Ost lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she pries herself away from her laptop and EcoSalon just often enough to check out the latest restaurants and hike in the beautiful hills of Marin. She was educated at Pepperdine University and is originally from the Seattle area. Sara and the rest of the Ecosalon crew can be found on Twitter where they are followed by a range of eco-friendly organizations from @WWF to @MotherEarthNews, and on Facebook where they post updates and host contests.
Q: How did you decide on the name for EcoSalon? Could you elaborate on the meaning behind the site’s motto “Have a Heart”?
A: The name credit goes to a flash of brilliance from one of our founders. You know immediately what the perspective will be (“eco”) and the retro concept of an intellectual gathering (“salon”).
“Have a heart” is about living consciously, fearlessly and fully. We believe green will not go mainstream unless we start with the heart. All the problems we face, from social to economic to environmental woes, will only be resolved when we live in a more conscious way. This doesn’t mean touchy-feely or warm-fuzzy. Having a heart takes courage.
Q: Were there any unexpected joys or pains you experienced when you started blogging?
A: Oh, yes, lots. Pains I didn’t expect: the literal physical pain in my hands from very long hours at the laptop. New media is relentless – you don’t put the edition to bed and go to bed, too, you work nonstop and the goalposts are always moving. For me that’s thrilling, but it can also lend itself to things like constantly apologizing to your friend for not returning her phone call…for a week! There are irreplaceable joys, as well. I’ve had the great fortune of becoming connected to so many talented and good people, personally and professionally, who inspire and push me. Blogging creates an ecosystem of ideas, competition, collaboration and creativity that is breathtaking at times.
Q: When did you start blogging, and what was the inspiration that got you started?
A: I’ve always been an “internet nerd” and an editor, though I think I first got into blogging for fun in college after the AOL chatting and ICQ stuff faded. It was a pretty natural transition into a career, in hindsight.
Q: Where do you get your motivation and inspiration for your blog posts?
A: I try to look outside of green to keep our perspective both grounded and fresh. I read for several hours every day and practically live in gchat with our editors and writers. There’s a constant back and forth of discussion and brainstorming. The #1 question is not, Will the choir approve? It’s: Would people who inspire us, regardless of whether they’re green, find this interesting?
Q: What do you think makes EcoSalon different compared to other eco-conscious blogs?
A: We’ve evolved a lot since the first year. I think our voice is distinct; it’s irreverent but mature. And of course I think we might be the only publisher of green content that doesn’t use a green design.
Q: Do you correspond one-on-one with your readers?
We interact mainly on Facebook and Twitter, though we sometimes feature loyal readers in articles, which is lots of fun. It’s a creative, savvy bunch. http://ecosalon.com/tag/reader-spotlight/
Q: You have some big-name followers on Twitter. What does Tweeting add to your blogging experience?
A: In addition to posting fascinating updates about myself and my cat, I use it mainly as an information resource. If a pal who’s a super smart techie thinks a certain tech story is important, I want to see it. (I’m kidding about the fascinating part.)
Q: How much time do you spend on blogging each day?
A: Well, it’s my job, and so much of my life is online, so…all the time!
Q: What is your personal favorite blog post?
A: I’m proud of a few of the articles I’ve written this year, particularly on women’s issues and media and how these things relate to being eco-conscious. A post I wrote about Walmart selling makeup for 8-year-old girls is very close to my heart.
Q: What is something your readers do not know about you?
A: I’m very private in some ways and am an open book in others. I believe in being transparent, though, so if someone wants to know something about my views or background it wouldn’t be too hard to find out. I’ve said a whole lot of things on the internet! Something my readers may not know? Well, I hope they know how much I appreciate it when they tell me what they think.