Embracing Simplicity in 2024, Or: In My Oatmeal Era

Embracing Simplicity in 2024, Or: In My Oatmeal Era

Posted by Amy Zhang on

Hi, my name is Amy, and oatmeal is one of my all-time favorite colors. I know that might seem strange. By nature, an oatmeal hue and its edible namesake are the ultimate symbol of simple, bland, and plain (arguably to a fault). It’s a “passed by and forget it because I didn’t even notice it to begin with” color — but that’s exactly what I like about it. Other colors I love? Cream, beige, taupe… camel if I feel like spicing things up. Basically, anything and everything neutral, unassuming, and reliably pleasant.

(Ironically, I actually really dislike oatmeal as a food. The mushy-lumpy-chewy oat texture just isn’t for me. But I think it might be a sweetness level thing, because I'm a huge fan of zhōu — more commonly known as congee in the US — which is basically just a savory rice version of oatmeal.)

Anyways. Earlier this week, we launched a great, big, massively upgraded site redesign. AMY ZHANG 2.0, if you will. We actually didn’t change our branding much (Raffy is still, and always will be, our silly little mascot), but we did focus on creating a brand experience that mirrors who we are as people — mostly understated, but with some flashy moments. Frequently cerebral, but with a penchant for NFL memes. A little reserved in person, but always armed with a cheeky pop culture reference. Oatmeal at heart, but dressed up with pretty, witty details.

How did we get here? Well. 2023 was hard, y’all. For a lot of reasons, and for a lot of people. Us included.

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Don’t get me wrong — a lot of really wonderful things happened for us, too. Joe and I got married, we celebrated with friends in Vegas, and most recently, we started building our life together in a whole new state. In the business, we found exciting new ways to expand our reach, and I feel like I really hit my stride with illustrating and designing products.

That being said, it was still a tough year. It was full of big changes, big moves, and big investments. Big, complicated things. It was a year where we threw a lot of spaghetti at the wall to figure out what would stick for us — and to be honest, a lot of it simply didn’t. We poured so much time (and money) into big business endeavors that, while not complete busts, were ultimately not worth what we had put into them. We spent our energy trying all the things we were told we SHOULD be doing, or that we thought we SHOULD try, and ultimately came out having learned that “shoulds” often don’t align with our version of business.

Were they tough lessons to learn? Absolutely. But much like James Acaster did in his appearance on Celebrity Bake Off, we made the most of it, as best we could. And through that process, we’ve gotten a much clearer vision of where we want to go from here. A whole host of new priorities, starting with simplifying the site down to our metaphorical oatmeal base. Once we had that, we were able to add the brighter, bolder, more personality-driven accents that you’re seeing now.

I can’t wait to keep bringing you more of the unique shopping experience that we’re crafting here. One that’s driven by our niche interests and unique tastes, and yes, also our neuroses (but like, in a fun way!). Stay tuned for so many fun new things, like more long-form content, our attempt at recipe development, a few field trips here and there, and 👀 top secret 👀 new product categories — all coming your way this year!

* Adorable oatmeal bowls by Cathy Feiss Ceramics — find them here!

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