Mini Magazine is a digital lifestyle publication for the modern parent. Our goal is to provide fresh content for parents that you don’t typically find in traditional parenting magazines— we deliver interviews with designers and popular brand owners, seasonal fashion picks, and the best new baby gear. I like to think of it as Vogue for the juice box crowd.
I used to love flipping through Cookie Magazine (RIP) despite having no kids of my own yet. I loved everything about it from the subject matter and interviews to the art direction, layout, and design. But after that closed, there really was nothing like it, especially in the digital space which was where publishing was headed. I was only a Junior in college at the time, studying Journalism and learning the fundamentals of magazine design, so I went home, mocked up a cover just for fun, and seemed to spiral from there.
I was having so much fun mocking up features and told my then boyfriend (now husband) that I was going to start a magazine. I threw the idea out onto Twitter, starting an account for a business I truly didn’t even have yet, and we had interest on day one, with people asking where they could buy the magazine. That’s how I knew I was onto something. I started scrambling, planning content and finding photographers, and jumped on a plane to LA to shoot our very first cover (we’re talking Chicago to LA and back again in one day) so we could launch a magazine just a few months later.
It typically stems from what is trending at the time or who and what I find interesting from season to season. If I’m into a certain designer who happens to have kids, I go straight to the source and try to interview them for the magazine. If there’s a great new show on TV and one of the cast members is a parent, we dive in to give our readers a behind the scenes peek into their life. I also keep my eyes out for the best new products in the baby world— whether I see them in the store, on social media, or they land in my inbox.
I love the design process. As fun as it is to gather content and interview business owners and other inspiring parents, starting a new document on my computer and planning how it’s all going to come together is my favorite. It’s one thing to have the content on paper, but packaging it in a way that’s fun to read is the best.
We are exclusively digital, always have been and for the foreseeable future, always will be. It’s just where I see things headed in this industry. I love coffee table books and beautiful print publications (I also run Tulle Magazine, a wedding publication that’s venturing into print this year), but for busy parents, digital is the easiest and most convenient way to digest content. By publishing digitally, we’ve been able to leverage social media to really build our brand and readership. That share button is everything. You can’t do that with print.
Mini’s gone through a name change, site malfunctions, and the works, but when you’re a business owner, it’s all on you and you roll with the punches. I run Mini largely by myself, I plan and write all of the content and I design the entire issue. It helps to be nice to people, be flexible, and willing to remedy the situation however you can.
Go where the people are. We started on Twitter, but these days, Instagram makes up our biggest social media following. Network with those who might share a similar audience and see how you can collab to introduce more people to your publication, whether that’s with giveaways or other cross-promoted content.
You have to be fearless. If I had been afraid to reach out to big names in the beginning of the magazine, when we had a small following, we probably wouldn’t have grown to the extent that we have. The worst they can do is say no— so try! You don’t ask, you don’t get.
I’m still figuring that out as I’m a new parent myself! It’s funny, after running Mini for almost seven years and gathering tips from other parents, all you can do is take it one day at a time. I don’t know that there is a true balance, as some days I feel on top of my game and others I feel like I’ve dropped every ball, but you have to be present with each. When you’re at home, be at home and press pause on work. When you’re at work, go all in. There is a tremendous amount of guilt that comes with that, but it’s all par for the course.
We’re really ramping up content on our site that we can provide in between publishing the magazine. We have new features and articles out that are site-exclusive (you won’t find them in the magazine) every week! We hope to continue to do that and fingers crossed, expand into product collabs with some of our favorite brands.