True Story: I Inadvertently Created A Pinterest Phenomenon

This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/challenging/amazing things. This is the story of my friend Tiffany and her now-famous Pinterest board.
 
 
Tell us a bit about yourself! 
My name is Tiffany Beveridge, I’m 36 years old, originally from Sandy, Utah but living in the greater Philadelphia area. I work as a freelance copywriter, representing different brands from Mrs. Fields cookies to DuPont paint. I love to cook, read, and travel with my husband and two boys.
Tell us about your now-internet-famous Pinterest board.
The board began in a pretty organic way. I’m the mom of two boys who couldn’t care less what they wear and the only thing that ever made me really pine for another child was seeing adorable girl clothing in stores. (Not a good reason to have a child, by the way, just to dress them.) When Pinterest came along, there was even more opportunity to ogle all this cute stuff, but I felt I had no claim to it.Then I thought, why not? Pinterest is Fantasyland! So I created a board for my imaginary daughter and began re-pinning there. It was only when I went out seeking more pins that I discovered all the over-the-top images and styling out there, and the idea just grew. I mean, if I’m going to have an imaginary daughter, then I’m going to take it all the way. I started writing captions to the pictures and creating little micro-stories about Quinoa (named after the Pinterest-popular grain) and her life and friends.

Prior to pinterest, what were you doing on the internet?
I have been blogging at The Would-Be Writers Guild since 2006. I haven’t been blogging as regularly as I used to, but it has been a great place for me to make a lot of friends and get a lot of practice writing.
I also blog three times per week for Mrs. Fields Secrets as a day job.
To date, who has linked to or mentioned My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter?
It’s getting hard to keep track of, but: New York Magazine, New York Observer, Cosmo.com, Huffington Post, Phoenix New Times, Daily Mail, BuzzFeed, BuzzFeed UK, Get Off My Internets, Fashionista, Trendland, Beauty World News, Dangerous Minds, The Daily Skimm, Cafe Mom, Wet Paint, Rage Against the Minivan, Babble, Buzz Sugar, iVillage, Glamour, Essential Baby, Imgur, among others.
Has the popularity of this board lead to any sponsorship or publishing deals?
Yes, it’s leading to some great opportunities! I’m still working out the details now…
Have you thought about turning this board into something else – a blog? a book? a twitter stream?
My goal is definitely to turn this concept into a book. I am also considering migrating MIWDTD to a blog or tumblr, but a little hesitant because Pinterest is such a big part of the story and how it gained so much attention. I’m hopelessly loyal that way. These are decisions I need to make soon. And yes, updates are always on Twitter, either from me (@tiffanywbwg) or my darling daughter (@ImaginaryQuinoa).
How do you feel about the success of MIWDTD?
I was absolutely surprised, since the board itself existed for more than a year and a half as a little running joke among my friends and family before anybody really noticed. The first couple of days it was gaining attention, I kept shaking my head and laughing. It was probably the third day that I realized this was a big deal. And then I had a mild panic attack.
I am definitely flattered by the response. Every writer loves hearing good feedback, so this has been amazing. I mean, I’ve been telling my kids that I’m funny for years. Now I have proof!
Any advice for others who are trying to make it big on the internet?
I think my advice is don’t try to make it big on the Internet. Do what you enjoy doing, keep at it, put yourself out there, learn from every experience, and say yes to everything you can. I think that always leads to success in one form or another.Thanks so much for sharing, Tiffany!  Do you guys have any questions for Tiffany (and Quinoa)?  Have you ever written/created something that went viral?  For a hot minute Reddit thought I was the Ermagerd girl so that was hilarious/awful/lots of traffic.

12 Comments

Creole Wisdom

Fun. Fun!

I love that Tiffany was just minding her own business, having a good time on social media and got noticed. I cracked up when I heard she named her imaginary daughter "Quinoa." What a great moment of satire!

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Sarah M

I saw this on my friend's facebook page a little while ago and had fun reading through them…very clever!
Sarah M

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Sarah Von Bargen

Right?! When it started to blow up, a bunch of my friends were talking about it and I was all "Hey! I know her!" (and then brushed off my shoulders with pride and name dropping.)

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Kaitlin Marie

Lol! This is an incredible story. The internet is so random in what it chooses to love, and so is Pinterest.

I have one specific Pinterest board that jumped several hundred followers in a matter of days. Sometimes it's just a matter of the right person repinning one thing.

Crazy!!!

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Akirah

"I think my advice is don't try to make it big on the Internet. Do what you enjoy doing, keep at it, put yourself out there, learn from every experience, and say yes to everything you can. I think that always leads to success in one form or another."

That's the gold nugget. Right there.

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Liz Rose Bowman

Hil-arrrious interview. I know a boy named "Kale" and my sweet husboy keeps telling me that "Aubergine" would make a great daughter's name.

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Anonymous

Do you feel there is tension between MIWDTD being facetious, e.g. commentary on Pinterest culture, materialism and the objectification of children in addition to it being a fantasy/opportunity to ogle?

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Tiffany

Definitely. I think the tension and ambivalence is worth thinking and talking about. This doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's interesting to look at and think about the spectrum of responses.

Reply

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