As 2016 draws to a close, I can't help but reflect on the year and appreciate what a wonderful 12 months it's been for 91 Magazine. As some of you may have heard me say, I very nearly closed the magazine at the end of 2015 - I'd taken a year away from it while writing my book, and I wasn't sure if I could carry on publishing it on my own, as I had been since 2011. But it was exactly this time last year that I spoke to Laura about coming onboard with me. If she had have said no, I'm not sure whether we would be where we are now. I probably would have lost heart, but thankfully she agreed to be my deputy, and I owe it to her that I kept going. I now have someone to share my enthusiasm and passion for the magazine which makes it so much more enjoyable. We had our first editorial meeting on the 7th January and that day we decided - let's get the magazine into print. From there, our little team grew, with Lucy, Kath, Olivia and Catherine joining us, and I can honestly say I have had the best time getting to know these ladies and working with them, they are all hugely talented and full of creative spirit, and I couldn't be more happy to have them as my team.
Our first print issue landed in May and that was definitely a highlight of the year. Despite the problems we faced with our printers, we were thrilled to finally hold the magazine in our hands, and then to receive the lovely feedback from readers, it truly was a special time.
The support we got from independent shops who decided to stock the magazine also meant so much, and it was a dream come true to see it popping up on the shelves of the most beautiful of boutiques.
As well as working with small brands and makers, we were delighted to collaborate with larger stores such as Anthropologie, who not only stock the magazine, but also hosted our launch event in the summer! It was another highlight for me - celebrating with so many creative folk who travelled from far and wide to the event was so much fun and meant a great deal to have so much support. Thanks again to everyone involved!
Straight after our party, we cracked on with planning the A/W issue, it was super exciting to start working on new ideas, armed with the knowledge we'd gained from publishing the first issue - top of our list being to find a new printer. As well as my editorial team, we have such a wonderful group of contributors, who show such passion for their work. One of the best things for me as an editor is when the images and words start coming in to me, it's so exciting to see the work and start building the pages.
I'm a HUGE fan of collaboration, so we couldn't have been happier to have West Elm and Bluebird Tea Co on board to work alongside on two of our features for the A/W issue. Then to top it off, West Elm invited us to host a curated pop up shop in their store in November, to coincide with the publication of the new issue. What a total honour, I'm not sure how we will top this one! You can read more about the event and the lovely stallholders and workshop hosts who joined us over the four days.
As our first year ends, the magazine is currently stocked in 70 shops in the UK, a few in Europe and a couple in Canada. We LOVE every single shop that has it on their shelves, but it was a bit of a 'pinch me' moment when I visited Selfridges recently to find it pride of place in the front row of the interiors/lifestyle section. When I came to London as a student 16 years ago, I regularly spent afternoons browsing the magazines in Selfridges, so I feel super proud to see it amongst all of these mainstream and independent publications.
Laura and I and the rest of the 91 team would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone whose supported us this year. Contributors, guest bloggers, sponsors, advertisers, stockists and of course - our readers! I would be surrounded by cardboard boxes full of magazines for the rest of my days if it wasn't for you guys! Thanks for buying 91, and thanks for sharing the love online, it means so much to know that we are able to produce a publication that resonates with so many of you. We are sold out of the S/S 16 issue (although you *may* still be able to find a copy via some of our stockists) and we are already down to around 200 copies of the A/W issue left, so don't delay if you haven't already got it! We're busy working on S/S 2017, and can't wait to share it with you in a few months time!
But for now, we wish you a wonderful 2017 - follow your creative dreams and live the life you love!
Caroline & the 91 team xxx