Tonight our guest is Morgan Mills from Brooklyn, NY who just created an online magazine (women's lifestyle). We have conducted an interview with her.
What inspires you to create this online magazine Wisteria Magazine? What is this magazine about?
Ever since I was a little girl I have dreamt of starting a magazine. After years of reading magazines, I became disappointed because while I enjoyed looking at the pretty ads, the content itself was a let down. I never found the information given to be helpful, and at many times it actually made me feel worse. That is what originally inspired me to design a magazine that inspires and uplifts women, which is what I began doing in 2006. I believe that everything happens for a reason and the reason that I did not fulfill my dream fully at that time was because I was not ready, and had not yet learned about all of the elements that are now vital to the magazine. Through the last decade I have been through a lot and I am now fulfilling my dream in a much greater way than I could have ever imagined in 2006. About two years ago is when the format of Wisteria was inspired. I had a nanny job and had plenty of time to read. I also had 2 years sober and was very into self-improvement books. I spent hours reading inspirational content every day. As I was reading, I would come across sentences that really stood out to me, so naturally I hi-lighted them. After my first few books however, I realized that hi-lighting just wasn’t going to cut it. While it helped, going back to each book for inspiration and trying to find all of the hi-lighted portions became annoying. So I created a notebook where I wrote down all of the best sentences from all of the books I read. This way, I could go back to one source to review and re-inspire myself. That is when I realized that is what I wanted for Wisteria. I don’t want it to be a magazine that you read and toss out (well we don’t have a print version YET, but that is the goal!). But even online I don’t want it to be a magazine where you read the content once and never view it again. I want to provide readers with the “take-away”, just like my notebook of “take-aways” from the books I read. When reading an article I want people to feel a clear gain of useful and inspirational information. So many times I read a magazine article and by the time I’m done I think to myself “wait, what just happened, I have no idea what the point was of anything that was said.” That’s not to say they didn’t include useful information, there’s just usually enough filler content for ADHD people like myself to wander off in their mind while reading. Some Wisteria articles are necessarily long, but most are short, sweet and to the point! This magazine is about helping women become the strongest and most unique version of themselves, and doing so in a way that is visually appealing and straight-forward. Today’s generation will appreciate that with our need for stimulus and engaging content.
Why is it called 'Wisteria" and who are your target readers and audience?
The name Wisteria was chosen for its symbolism. Wisteria vines are known for their strength and endurance, which represent the ability of the heart to endure hardship, grief and rejection. Wisteria vines are beneficial to the soil around them, but if they grow out of control they can become destructive. That is why Wisteria aims to help you harness your power and use it for yourself instead of against yourself.
Wisteria’s target audience is women ages 15-45 - obviously I want everyone to read it no matter what age they are, but if I have to narrow it down I would say this age range will encompass the majority of our readers. The audience that this magazine is directed towards are those who want to be heard, who want to embrace their style, who have been through a lot, and those who desire change and freedom from the mind. I want Wisteria to help everyone, but I do believe that these are the people who will truly connect with the magazine on a soul level.
Do you have an editorial calendar? Which are the most popular themes?
I created a deadline for all of the writers to submit an article on the 15th and 30th of each month. I try to have at least 3 new articles posted per week, and send out a weekly newsletter to subscribers letting them know what the new articles are for that week. This is one of the reasons I highly advise everyone to subscribe, because otherwise it can be hard to find where the new stuff is without a little searching.
The most popular themes I believe will be addiction, wellness,being yourself and speaking your mind. I feel very passionate about the disease of addiction and I know that this topic affects almost everyone, but it is also a topic that isn’t spoken about enough or taken seriously as a real disease. I want to change this. I also feel it is very important for girls to feel comfortable in their own skin and style and not allow peers or society to change what is at their core. It is just as important for women to stand up for themselves and speak out about things. I don’t think people realize how often women are pressured into keeping quiet about real shit. Whether it be as simple as feeling the need to hide your tampon on the way to the bathroom or calling someone out when they are crossing the line. Wellness is also a strong theme because in order to live life to the fullest and deal with all these other issues, being strong and healthy mentally, spiritually, and emotionally is the key to “coping” in a productive way. There are many ways to increase wellness that many people aren’t aware of. Even if they are aware of them, there are still many who haven’t given them a chance or really committed to trying them out. So like I said, it is these themes that I believe will form the impact that this magazine is seeking to create.
How regularly do you conduct product reviews on your magazine?
There is no method as to how often we conduct a product review. If a writer feels passionate about a product and suddenly feels the urge to let people know how great it is, then it becomes an article. Or if someone reaches out to me wanting me to promote what they are passionate about, and it ties in with the vision I have for the magazine, I will promote it. There is no specific guideline stating how many product reviews we should have per month. I let my writers have the creative freedom to write what they are feeling passionate about or urged to write about at the time.
How do you encourage readers to not focus on who said what or who did that in your segment 'The Voice’?
We have yet to post our first super intense article in this section, but when we do post those articles that may seem controversial or fierce, the writer will sign off as something like “Emotional Emma” or “Pissed Penelope” or “Deranged Donna”. This method will not only give readers an idea of the emotional tone of the article, but it will also force people to focus on the content and not the personal life of who wrote it. It is human nature to be curious about someone’s life when you read something intense. But I don’t want people to see these article’s as someone else’s life, I want them to see them as something they can relate to their own life. Let’s say, for examples sake, that our writer Stefanie wrote a journal entry article on a time that she was extremely upset. I wouldn’t want someone reading it to think “I wonder why Stefanie is upset, I think I know her, I wonder what is going on in her life to make her upset.” See how it suddenly becomes someone else’s issue and the reader is entirely disconnected from it. But if it is signed “Emotional Emma” - everyone can relate because we’ve all been an “Emotional Emma” at times.
What is the hottest topic being discussed?
The hottest topic being discussed currently is addiction. Addiction is an issue that affects everyone in some way shape or form, but as I said before it is not being addressed enough. It is also the most controversial section in the magazine. There are many who still believe addiction is not a real disease and is just a result of “bad behavior.” People know deep down that there is much more to it, but everyone is afraid to talk about it. I discuss this in my article “ShhH” on the stigma of heroin addiction.