I've talked about chasing my dreams before. The ups and downs and frustrations that come with navigating that journey. Sometimes I feel like I never make any progress or that there are too many obstacles to overcome. And sometimes I get inspired by seeing others chase their dreams and make them a reality.
Sarah Hartley is one of those people and I'm honored to know her. As some of you know, I'm on the social media team for Holl & Lane Magazine which was founded by Sarah and I love every minute of it. Getting to see firsthand how Sarah is kicking butt and taking names has renewed my commitment to my own dreams.
This is Sarah's story.
I’m seven years old and I’m sitting at a mini table and chairs. I’m writing furiously into a notebook and occasionally looking back to yell at my imaginary assistant. We’re running a magazine here, and she needs to get her act together. There are models to schedule, clothes to lay out, and articles to write (in marker)! We’re on a deadline, here!
I alternated between a lot of dream careers as I was growing up. McDonalds fry maker (because I assumed that meant free fries), a teacher, and a magazine editor. I dreamt of writing for Sassy magazine. As I grew up, the other dreams started to fade away and magazine editor stayed at the forefront. After high school I chose a college with an excellent journalism program and was all set to follow my dream. Until I wasn’t. Somewhere in the few months before I left for school I talked myself out of journalism, out of the longtime dream that I had. I was afraid of what life would look like, I didn’t think that I stood a chance in the competitive world of magazines, I wasn’t tall and skinny and blonde (which is what I assumed most people who worked in magazines looked like). I lost my nerve. So I went to school, got a fashion degree, followed by a Master’s in business, and put the dream out of my mind.
Fast forward to a few years ago when I’m living in a new city, working from home in an insurance job that I despise and feeling the tug of creativity pulling me in so many directions that I didn’t know how to focus on just one. I made a list of three dream goals that I had for myself- I wanted to write a book, I wanted to own a clothing boutique, and I wanted to start my own magazine. I had no idea how to do any of these things so from time to time I’d put half hearted research into it and then move on again.
It wasn’t until I started my personal blog that the need for another creative outlet became strong again. The blog helped to fulfill some of that need, but not enough. I wanted something bigger, I wanted a dream.
One of my biggest pet peeves in life is listening to someone talk and talk and talk about something but they never do anything about it. I was becoming that way. I had talked about these big dreams but never did anything to go after them. Early this year I knew it was time to pick one and focus on it. So I thought hard about which one I could easily start (because if it was too hard, I knew I’d never do it). A clothing boutique would involve too much money, so that one was out. A book sounded good, but I had no idea what I wanted to write about. So magazine it was. I decided in April that it was time to follow this dream I had for a long time. I picked a launch date of June 1st and then threw myself into preparing.
I had absolutely no idea what went into designing a magazine. I had no idea where stories or contributors came from and I have no formal design experience. But I didn’t let any of that stop me. I started thinking about the types of stories I wanted to read, I started polling my friends and family about what they love and don’t love about other magazines. And then I started soliciting them for stories. At the same time, I announced on my blog that I was starting this venture. I bought the domain and secured the names for social media. Doing all this made it real and made me feel like I couldn’t back out. I had generated interest and damnit, I was going to follow through.
As I started meticulously designing each and every page, it started to really come together and it became something I was immensely proud of. Each night after I put my son to bed, I would sit down on the couch with my laptop, open up InDesign and layout the magazine until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. All day at work (I now work a full time job in marketing for an architectural firm) I’d daydream about new ideas and new stories and new layouts. At lunchtime I’d race to the conference room, laptop in hand, ready to dive in for that short half hour break.
Pretty soon it was June 1st, launch date. I had already sent the completed issue out to a select group of people I called my focus group and the response I got was unbelievable. Email after email and comment after comment was filled with nothing but praise and positivity. It left me smiling for days. So now when it was time to launch to the rest of the world I felt confident and I felt ready. And thankfully the response has been nothing short of amazing.
I’m now just about to launch Issue 2 of Holl & Lane magazine. And this one is even better than the first, in my opinion, because I have learned so much in the short time between the two issues.
My focus for this magazine has, and will continue to be, telling other people’s stories in a beautiful way. So many people have such amazing, inspiring, beautiful, heartwarming and heartbreaking stories but they may not have the outlet. I want to give them that. I want to tell stories that don’t get heard often enough. I want people to read my magazine and feel less alone after. I want them to feel like they’re amongst friends. I want Holl & Lane to feel real and approachable.
I want to tell the stories of our lives.
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Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your inspiring story and letting people share their own stories in the pages of Holl & Lane Magazine!!
The 2nd issue of Holl & Lane will be available on August 1st. Sign up for the newsletter to have it delivered directly to your inbox!