At Snyder Diamond, we place a high value in not only telling our own story, but in elevating others in the L.A. community we love.
By Kelly Phillips Badal
Why do we share the stories we do? Here, Snyder Diamond’s new senior director of marketing Matthew Wold and resident writer Kelly Phillips Badal discuss what happens behind the scenes of Design on Tap.
Matthew Wold: Even before I started working with Snyder Diamond I admired the well-written articles on the company’s Design On Tap (DOT) blog. In a way Kelly, you introduced me to the brand.
Kelly Phillips Badal: I’m flattered to hear that—though I want to add that I’m just one of many writers who’ve contributed to DOT since it launched in 2014. It has quite a rich archive. I think DOT really makes it clear that Snyder Diamond celebrates the design, architecture, building, developer and homeowner community and loves to shine a light on the huge variety of talent, ideas and projects happening here. The company could easily just tell stories about the products it sells—DOT does that too, of course—but highlighting and servicing the L.A. community is really the mission of the blog. That’s a big part of the reason why I’m involved: I love telling those stories. And it’s clear from working with you that you have a passion for storytelling too, Matthew.
MW: Yes! Marketing is about connecting with people, engaging them, and engaging with them, and storytelling plays a big role in that. Our world has become highly commoditized so it’s become increasingly critical for companies like Snyder Diamond to have a point of view that goes beyond the idea of us being just someone that ‘sells stuff’. That point of view is conveyed in the images and words we choose, the experiences we create in our showrooms and online, and the topics that we choose to talk about on Design On Tap or social media—these are the things that define us and differentiate us from somebody else. You’re right in that I do have a passion for storytelling—my mom is a great writer and her flair and reverence for strong writing rubbed off on me. I was a kid that needed a lot of outlets for self-expression and writing played an important role. Later that passion became useful in school and in my work at Intel and Belkin International. I was also at Amazon.com for ten years in Seattle where writing was highly valued. I worked a lot of different positions during my AMZN decade, but held an editor title for a while and was a contributing editor for six years.
KPB: Wow, I didn’t know that you’d been a writer and editor yourself as well.
MW: Stints really. I will say that collaborating with and managing talented writers over the years has made me a better writer, but more importantly gave me deep appreciation for the almost exasperating amount of brain energy that writing requires! I add that although intellect certainly plays a role in writing, life experience, wisdom and heart can really elevate ability.
KPB: I agree. Do you have any favorite memories or anecdotes from working with Amazon?
MW: Too many to mention. I would say that overall I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been surrounded by many inspiring minds, from Tom Nissley, who ended up being an eight-time Jeopardy! winner, to Jason Kilar, who created Hulu. I also had some kickass bosses including Laura Porco, who brought Kindle to market, and Julie Todaro who led Amazon.ca. Through Amazon I also had the chance to meet and interview folks in the entertainment industry—which of course seemed very glamorous to me, living up in Seattle.
KPB: Any names I’d recognize?
MW: A lot! Joan Collins, Bruce Campbell, The B-52s, Cindy Lauper, Wes Craven, Tyne Daly, Sharon Gless, Paris Hilton, David Lynch, Werner Herzog, Dick Van Dyke, Rami Malek...if it sounds like I’m name dropping, I am, and I’m fine with that. Youth truly is wasted on the young. I’m not sure I was able to fully appreciate how extraordinary these opportunities were at the time. But back to you, Kelly—how did you get into writing?
KPB: I was the kid who always loved the idea of writing and publishing, so I launched my own monthly school newspaper in 6th grade and recruited my friends to write for it. Then I managed my high school’s monthly newspaper, and became (at different points) the editor-in-chief of my college’s weekly entertainment magazine and the managing editor of its daily newspaper. Somehow I was bold enough to pitch a personal essay to Seventeen magazine in the midst of all that, which was eventually published as a two page feature. That kickstarted my career, before I’d even earned my degree. My first ‘real’ job as an editor at Better Homes & Gardens then led to a lifelong love of interior design. I’ve written about everything at this point—travel, fashion, food, beauty, celebrities and more—but writing about design, interiors and architecture has become a passion and a specialty.
MW: Amazing. Writing is clearly in your DNA. Since you’ve been at Snyder Diamond, what is your approach to writing these DOT articles?
KPB: I love to draw out people’s stories, to hear about what excites them. Everyone has a story to share or something to teach, and part of my job is to find that thing—and highlight it. I also appreciate that Snyder Diamond seeks to have its DOT readers end each article feeling smarter, better educated, and inspired. The best writers cast themselves as readers too, so I always think, ‘What would interest me? What do I want to read?’
MW: Outside of your work with us here, what is some of the work you’re most proud of?
KPB: I spent a year as the editor in chief of Interiors California magazine, and really enjoyed deepening my relationships with so many talented members of the design community throughout California during that tenure. I’m so proud of each word in every issue I produced. Right now, I regularly contribute to LUXE Interiors + Design and California Homes, and the amount of talented designers that this work puts me in touch with regularly humbles me. I’ve also done some travel writing over the years that keeps the memories I have of certain special places vivid and alive. For instance, I’ve written about exploring an unopened area of the Serengeti for BBC Travel, riding camelback in the Sahara for Conde Nast Traveler and winding my way through Cuba when its borders first re-opened to Americans for Travel & Leisure.
MW: Hey, writing can come with perks, right? I don’t think I understood the breadth and depth of your experience in the L.A. design world…that’s really impressive. What are some of the DOT projects that stood out, or were the most enjoyable or challenging to write?
KPB: As the pandemic hit, DOT launched a series called ‘Design in Exile’ that spotlighted designers working from home and handling their businesses during a pandemic, as well as peeked into many designers’ homes and home offices. It was a challenging series, as the world was changing around us daily and emotions were running high. But I’m proud of that work. And more recently, I loved talking with architecture and design firm M Rad about how design can save the world, as well as the incomparable Brigette Romanek about her one big 2021 design prediction and the BIPOC designers inspiring her now.
MW: What have you enjoyed most about collaborating with us at Snyder Diamond?
KPB: I like that while the products Snyder Diamond offers the design community are global in reach, the company’s focus is local. Snyder Diamond really cares about elevating different voices of the L.A. design community, forging connections and just sharing great design. It’s great to be part of that commitment.
MW: And we’re so glad to have you with us!
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