We couldn't be more excited to share today's Creative Community interview with you all! The ladies behind Hearth Magazine answer some tough and some fun questions. We had the honor of working with them for their third volume and were encouraged by their genuine, sweet spirits! Check out their magazine if you haven't already! Without further adieu, meet our long distant friends, Brenda and Tonya!
*all photos provided by Hearth Magazine
We are very interested in how business owners balance work + family/friends. How do you manage time for all of the important things and people in your life?
Brenda - This can be a struggle for us and I'd love to tell you that we have it all figured out, because we are amazing. But we aren't that together. Every day is a new day and we do the best we can to make sure all our obligations are met to work, family, ect... We are lucky in that we only have a few really busy times during the year that takes us away from our family. They are very supportive and are our biggest cheerleaders. Tonya and I put our families first, always. Even if something Hearth related gets put off for a day to spend a few precious hours with our kids and husbands, its worth it to us. There is nothing more important to us than our families.
Can you describe your individual creative backgrounds a bit?
Brenda - Ever since I was a wee young thing, I've always wanted to be a writer. I can remember writing stories when I was in elementary school. I graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Journalism and have worked steadily in the newspaper industry for nearly 10 years. Writing is my passion and there is nothing I do better. I am completely smitten by words and how they can invoke emotion and tell a story.
Tonya- I took my first photography class when I was a nanny in New York. As soon as I stepped into the darkroom I knew I didn't want to do anything alse. I graduated from Rocky Mountain School of Photography in 2004 and ran a successful wedding and portrait business for the past 10 years. I love the creative process and I have had so much fun working with the photographers who have contributed to Hearth.
When/how did you realize your love for print and desire to produce your own magazine?
Brenda - We always knew we wanted to do something together. One day we were sitting around, chatting about our kids and life in general and the idea came to us - we should start a magazine that utilizes my talent from words and Tonya's talent for art/design/photography. It was only a few months later that we officially started Hearth.
How does your work as curators and editors of Hearth effect the way you see the world?
Brenda - I am always looking for new stories and I love talking to people and finding out about them. I am constantly seeking out unique products and artisans that value creativity. Since working with Tonya, I have learned to appreciate beauty in all forms around me. I now take the time to stop and appreciate the view before rushing off.
Tonya- I feel like Hearth has made me appericate the people who run small businesses. The artists who have a passion and are able to make a living doinging what they love. They are inspiring and I love nothing more than supporting them but featuring them in Hearth and also buy purchasing their products.
Have you two always worked well together, even growing up? Do you have a favorite memory of working together as kids?
Brenda - I'm seven years older than Tonya which meant we were in a different stage of growing up while we were young. But I have always had a lot of fun with her. When she graduated high school, she moved in with me. I think that was the start of our friendship. We support each other no matter what. There is no one I'd rather scheme with than Tonya.
Tonya- Although Brenda is so much older than me she has always been my friend. I never remember her telling me to get out of her room or leave her alone. She would always take me to the mall or do my hair when I was growing up. Now that we work together we are better friends than ever.
What has been challenging about producing a printed journal and how are you overcoming those challenges?
Brenda - Writing the big check for printing has been the most difficult for sure! We have set incrediably high standards for the product we want to deliver, which comes at a high price. We both value the print issues but there is more to Hearth than just the physical magazines. Hearth is about building a community of like minded people. Print is just one small part of what makes Hearth special.
Has there been a point when you wanted to throw in the towel? Can you describe how you overcame that time and kept going?
Brenda - We both have our bad days for sure, usually on different days though, which makes it easier. The thing that keeps us going is our community. We are always so amazed by the support we recieve from our followers. During our last Kickstarter campaign, it came down to the last week and we were still far from our goal. Our community rallied for us and we were able to not only reach our goal but exceed it. It was such a humbling experience.
Somedays I don't even want to walk in my office and look at anything Hearth related. On those days I read a book or take a walk with my girls. I think everyone needs a recharge day. It also helps remind me of why I work so hard to make Hearth sucessful. Not just for my own personal fullfillment but to help support my family.
Tonya- There have been so many days that I have wanted to throw in the towel. Hearth has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. What keeps me going is the community we have built. I really feel like Hearth matters to so many people and I don't want that to go away.
How do you friends/family encourage you?
Brenda - The level of support is crazy! We have made so many amazing friends since we started. People that we share a personal as well as a business relationship. We wouldn't have been able to keep this up with out the love and support we recieve.
What step in creating each issue is your favorite?
Brenda - I love sitting down with a stack of submissions and reading through them. We always pick a theme for the magazine after we collect all the content. It just sort of all comes togetherand the stories and photos compliment each other. I also love the editing process because I love it but also being able to see pictures and words come together to create something brilliant.
How do you take your coffee/tea?
Brenda - It depends on my mood. If I'm looking for something refreshing a light, I love Lady Gray tea with a squeeze of fresh lemon and some sugar. If I'm in the mood for something warm, creamy and comforting, my go to is chai tea with cream and sugar in it. I'm also a sucker for a really great cup of cocoa with whipped cream on it.
Tonya- We are not big coffee and tea drinkers but occasionally I will make a cup of Roasted Almond tea from Heritage House Coffee in Northport, Alabama. I add just a bit of sugar and milk...yum. I also will sometimes brew a peppermint tea with honey.
Most productive place to work?
Brenda - Where ever my children are not. But seriously, I have a lovely office just off my master suite that Tonya and I set up. Its filled with my favorite things and I find myself so inspired in here. Plus its close to my girls play room so I can keep an eye on them. If I really need to concentrate, I arrange for a sitter and I hit my local library for a few hours of listening to the Civil Wars, One Direction or John Mayer and just get some work done.
Favorite place to visit for rest?
Brenda - My favorite place to rest at home is on my couch. I just got a new L shaped couch and its marvelous. I love being snuggled up under my favorite blanket in the corner with the fireplace going and my latest favorite book in my hands.
As for my favorite place to visit, that depends. As I get older and my family's life starts to grow more complicated and busy, I find my favorite place to be is with my husband and my girls, somewhere away from electronics and just being together. We love exploring new places close to home and finding adventures in new places.
Tonya- One of my favorite vacations to take with my family is our yearly vacations to southern California. We have been visiting Newport Beach for years and I love the laid back vibe of the place. We have nothing to do but swim, walk on the beach and eat delicious food. We may sneak away for a day or two to Disneyland which is the opposite of relaxing, but nothing beats seeing your kids eyes light up when they see the castle at the end of Main Street.
How do you unwind from the busyness of daily life?
Brenda - I love playing games on my iPad. Somedays, I get so overwhelmed that I just need to check my brain for a bit and not have to think. Reading also relaxes me and I read at least a book a week. Sometimes I will watch TV but I find that when I'm trying to come down, the quite is better for me.
Tonya- My husband and I will usually do what boring married couples do. We get our kids to bed and binge watch TV shows on Netflix.
We have a soft spot for collaborations and you two do it well -- can you describe that process -- division of work, identifying each other's strengths/weaknesses, when and how you schedule time to check-in.
Brenda - Collaborations are so wonderful! Its wonderful to bring people together and creates something brand new. Our motto from the start has been to help build up our unique strengths. I don't mess with the art side and Tonya doesn't mess with the editorial. We waste so much time and effort trying to do it all by ourselves. Its exhausting! Our whole Hearth team works so well together. I don't micro manage my team. They are adults and know what they need to do. I've never been let down yet. If I haven't texted Tonya at least a dozen times and talked to her three or four times, something feels wrong. I think that if you have faith and believe in the people you surround yourself with, it makes everything just go that much smoother.
Tonya- Nothing is more important to me than the community we have build around us.