say hi to_ WOTH Wonderful Things Magazine
A few months ago we heard a bit of buzz about a new Dutch interiors magazine coming out and if you know us at all, you know how deeply we love everything about the experimental Dutch design scene.
I was pleased to find a copy of the very first edition of WOTH (Wonderful Things) Magazine in my mailbox one sunny Parisian morning to accompany my 2-3 cup of coffee waking ritual. Dutch design, marble interiors and a special on my all time favourite contemporary designer (sorry not sorry everybody else) Sabine Marcelis?! Not throwing this magazine to the side with the bills and the rest of the mail...!
Mary Hessing and Toon Lauren, the due behind WOTH Magazine, are design publishing veterans from The Netherlands. With a love and affinity for the objects in their life and home as well as the creators and givers behind them, they wanted to fill a niche with their own magazine dedicated to just that.
Mary took an idea, built this publication from the ground up and was able to get support from the community, who bought subscriptions before it was even out yet, as well as faith from brands who became founding partners while WOTH was still in its developmental stages. We love hearing the stories of people who took a chance and followed their passion. Mary’s determination, kindness and skill made a mere idea materialise into a well informed magazine on contemporary design. There are a lot of design magazines out there but this has to be the first one I’ve read in a long time that not only feels relevant, but genuine. Those are all certainly traits that we can get behind.
We had a chat with Mary about getting the initiative started. Have a look at what she had to say below!
| Kristen | Could you please tell us a little bit about WOTH and how you got the idea to create it?
| Mary | WOTH is an abbreviation of Wonderful Things. Like the logo it is a pun of sorts, its a positive optimistic claim.
We like to put the designers, creative people at center stage. We are interested in their stories, the way they live, where they work, what they eat or read and especially in what they create. It is our little secret that WOTH as a title features a little bit of 'human interest' concerning designers.
| Kristen | How long did it take to develop before you launched it?
| Mary | It took us 6 months to start from scratch until the launch of Wonderful Things Magazine in both Dutch and English editions September 1st. Beginning of March Toon Lauwen my partner in WOTH started talking to potential founding partners amongst brands, retailers in Holland. We were fortunate to find 10 partners prepared to support our project buying adds at a friendly rate. Next we produced some videos featuring well known Dutch designers like Scholten & Baijings, Ralph Nauta of Studio Drift, FormaFantasma and Kiki & Joost speaking out in favor of the upstart and used those appeals to boost a crowdfunding campaign reaching potential readers and suscribers via Indiegogo and social media. This campaign ran from June until July. In the mean time we prepared the design for the layout with Jaap van Triest- discussed the positioning and branding, had a logo designed by Gert Dumbar, talked to publishers (and had a three week holiday in Spain with our kids) chose a printer and distributor for Holland and Belgium. In August we decided to publish it indepently.
| Kristen | How do you fund something like that from the beginning? Do you have full time staff, freelancers, contributors?
| Mary | Fundraising via Indiegogo was successful and heartwarming. Over 600 people donated, ordered an issue or subscription- this provided a basis to cover first operational costs like editing, printing etc. We were lucky to find many producers donating content for the first issue; photographers, journalists, columnists like Job Smeets, international professionals like Wim Pijbes (then director of Rijksmuseum) and acclaimed architectural photographer Iwan Baan.
| Kristen | How many people are you behind it? What were your professional backgrounds before you started WOTH?
| Mary | We started working with professionals from the same team I previously headed as editor in chief of Dutch monthly Eigen Huis & Interieur. When publisher Sanoma beginning 2016 decided to move the editorial production of this title to a Belgian branch we all were fired. Some of the finest professionals now work as freelancers for WOTH- all in all some 40 cooperated to no1!
| Kristen | Did you feel like there was something missing in the Interior Design and Furniture Design realms in terms of publishing? Was there something special you wanted to communicate?
| Mary | We feel that dedicated content and authenticity in interiors is becoming more and more scarce; both in print as online people are consuming content. People who love design we reckoned, will favor a magazine that looks like a well crafted object in terms of art direction, is visibly curated and offers lots of interesting reading material.
| Kristen | How do you go about scouting and searching the perfect subjects or stories for your magazine? Do you have a set number of sections for each issue or does it change depending on what interesting things or people you find?
| Mary | We have 3 editorial sections: People, Places and Things. The first takes form of portraits and in depth interviews with professionals from the creative industry: product- interior- fashion designers, but also chefs or creative brand managers may appear in this section. Places opens up the interiors of creative people- could also feature workshops. Things is devoted to new things of interest- products. And we have an international agenda listing all upcoming events, exhibitions, fairs in design, arts etc
But nothing is too fixed yet, we are a small independent magazine so we like to keep track of what is going on and stay short on the ball. If something interesting is coming along we will make room for it. Often it wil fit perfectly in one of our named sections.
| Kristen | What was one thing you learned along the way that you were not expecting?
| Mary | You start up a magazine, because you feel a personal need and you have a hunch that more people will think as you do. And it’s based on crowdfunding, such a project may grow into something more than you could expect of a mere paper product - it turned out to be more like a public platform enveloping a optimistic spirit. We were sort of surprised by that. Slowly we discover that WOTH hits a positive note and fills in a need among readers.
| Kristen | Do you have any tips for those who want to start a magazine? From funding to staffing to finding advertisers?
| Mary | Quality quality quality especially in the field that we are working in, is key. It is the main motivation for our readers as it is for the designers that are featured in our magazine and for our advertisers who run high-end brands themselves. Always follow your heart and play a fair game.
| Kristen | Do you have any resources or communities that you could recommend for people to go to if they want to start their own independent publication?
| Mary | Indiegogo was our crowdfunding platform of choice. They had some pretty good magazine campaigns.
For our international subscriptions Bruil & van de Staaij is important. You can find a international subscription or order an issue trough their site.