28 ;e Costco Connection AUGUST 2015
PINTEREST IS A great source for recipes, home
cleaning tips and DIY projects. But anyone who’s
ever tried to replicate anything from the popular
social media site knows that not all “pins” pan out.
Enter madefrompinterest.net, a blog started by sisters Debbie McEwen, Sherri Walter and Tracy van
Overbeek, that test-drives popular pinned recipes,
house tips and crafts so readers can reserve their
efforts for ones that work.
The sisters, all Costco members, wanted to
fulfill their late father’s dream of his daughters
running a family business. Inspired by a friend
who blogged for a living, van Overbeek suggested
the idea to her sisters, since they could sustain it
from three separate states (Utah, Virginia and
California). The sisters were all avid Pinterest
users, and they quickly jumped on the idea, loving
it for, if nothing else, the opportunity to stay in
After a year of research and attending blogging
conferences, they launched the site in October
2012. Today, Made From Pinterest is the primary
source of income for all three sisters. The site earns
money through paid advertisements as well as
Along with a team of contributors, van Overbeek
says, they also hire interns each year to help them
stay on top of trends. Their team posts daily, while
the sisters handle the behind-the-scenes work:
McEwen manages their finances and budget,
Walter handles photography and recipe
development, and van Overbeek oversees
marketing and brand relations.
The blog has 1 million hits per
month on average, with an audience
composed mostly of women ages
25 to 44. Their most popular
posts are simple recipes and
cleaning tips, with “Million
Dollar Spaghetti” being
their most read.
Debbie McEwen, Tracy van Overbeek
and Sherri Walter (top photo)
By Christina Guerrero
CAN’T FIGURE OUT what to make for dinner? Need help planning that organic
garden? Looking for DIY projects to entertain the kiddos while they’re on summer
vacation? There’s a blog for that—and that and that.
The business of blogging has practically broken the Internet, with millions of
blog sites ranging in topics from A to Z. In 2011 more than 181 million blogs from
around the world were tracked by Nielsen/McKinsey, according to Nielsen.com. At
the rate they are being created, it’s almost impossible to keep up with statistics,
but likely thousands, perhaps millions, more have been created since then. Half of
these bloggers are ages 18 to 34, seven out of 10 have attended college and the
majority are women, with one in three being mothers. Also, 52 percent are parents with children under age 18 living at home, according to “Buzz in the
Blogosphere: Millions More Bloggers and Blog Readers” on Nielsen.com.
But what has made the growing blogosphere the go-to resource for so many
“The majority of the people writing on those blogs are consumers just like you
and me,” says Costco member and blogger Rebecca Flansburg of Baxter,
Minnesota. “They are people in the trenches of life and parenthood who will give a
very accurate and honest opinion of facts, services and products.”
Flansburg, 49, created franticmommy.com eight years ago, blogging in the
early mornings before scooting off to her full-time job. Then she decided she
needed a career change that would allow her to spend more time with her chil-
dren. “I wanted to make a living on my own terms,” she says.
Her blog about the joys of parenthood and her dream of working from home
brings in income through advertisements and attracts about 20,000 monthly visitors. She now works from home full time as a virtual assistant, freelance writer
and manager of other clients’ blogs.
Flansburg says it is possible to make money from blogging, but it doesn’t
happen overnight: “You need multiple streams of income; it’s challenging making
money with only your blog and even harder to make a living from it. Trying multiple things for income is key.”
The Connection spoke to the following Costco member bloggers from across
the U.S. to see how they turned their blogging passion into a successful business.