Caroline Rowland of 91 Magazine
June 19, 2016 Philippa

We are so pleased to be selling the first ever print issue of the fantastic 91 Magazine and to celebrate, we caught up with the inspirational person responsible for bringing the magazine to life, Editor and Publisher, Caroline Rowland. 91 Magazine’s first issue is so packed full of creative inspiration and beautiful imagery that it’s become our go-to read when we need a little escapism and we know we’ll keep coming back to it time and again over the coming months. We couldn’t wait to talk to Caroline and find out just how she does it and where she gets her inspiration from.

To get us started, can you tell us a little about your creative journey and how and why you first started wanting to create, edit and publish beautiful, inspirational content?

I’ve always been creative and ‘arty’ – even at school the only subject I liked was Art, so I left after my GCSEs to go to art college, before moving from Belfast to London to study photography. I soon realised I was never going to be a photographer, so my path led to picture editing. I worked for photo libraries and then the Financial Times at the start of my career. But even outside of work, I felt the need to fill my spare time with creativity and started blogging in 2008. This, combined with the experience I had gained at the FT, led to me realise my passion for editing and curating, so 91 Magazine was the next step. I left full time employment in 2013, and have never looked back!

What are the best bits about what you do?

I love collaborating with our contributors, who are all so talented, and coming up with just the right ideas for the magazine. I then get so excited when the features start to come in. It’s such a buzz to see a beautiful piece of work that I know is going to look amazing in the magazine! Then of course, finally seeing it in print is super rewarding.

And the worst?!

The long hours are quite tough. I have to fit editing the magazine around other work and my 2 year old, so I work late into the evenings most nights. Sometimes you just want to crash out on the sofa, but I can’t relax knowing I’ve got a million and one things to do!

How was 91 Magazine born and how has it evolved?

I launched it in 2011 as a digital magazine. I felt there was a gap in the UK market for a beautifully designed interiors/lifestyle magazine, which was highly inspirational, yet accessible. I started off creating the whole thing on my own (with contributing writers/photographers etc for the content), but in 2014 I had my daughter and I was working on my first interiors book, so I took a break from the magazine. This was obviously to do with the time constraints I faced but also it was a chance to assess how, and if, I was going to continue with it. At the start of this year, I decided that yes, I was, but that I needed help. Soon I had an amazing team on board and we have taken things to the next level by publishing it in print. It is SO different now to how it started life in 2011!

And did you face any particular challenges when re-launching 91 Magazine?

We had some significant problems with the printers we decided to use, and without going into all the detail, we are overcoming this by just not using them again! You live and learn a lot on these journeys, and sometimes it’s just a case of moving on and trying something else.

Of all the projects you’ve worked on, I’d love to know if any stand out as being particularly special?

Oh well, I guess apart from the magazine, I has to be my book, The Shopkeepers Home. It was a total dream come true to work with such a prestigious publisher like Jacqui Small, and while it was hard work, I absolutely loved the process of putting the book together.

Which professional achievements are you most proud of and why?

Following on from the last answer it has to be seeing the book in the shops and now seeing 91 Magazine next to it in the likes of Anthropologie! I must admit, I often pop into my local Waterstones just to have a look at my book on the shelves! 😉 It’s just as rewarding seeing them both in gorgeous little indie shops everywhere too, and I particularly love seeing people’s snaps on Instagram of the book or magazine on display!

Taking a look at the list of all of the different projects you are involved with or have done is dizzying; I have to ask – how do you do it? Do you have any tips you can share?

Well I guess those have all been spread out over a period of time, but yes I am usually juggling quite a few things! At the moment as well as the magazine, I also work part time as Content Director for an interiors brand called One World Trading, and I am also doing some freelance picture research for a book publisher. Not to mention trying to keep the 91 Mag blog and my own blog Patchwork Harmony ticking over! My main tip is lists! Lists, Lists Lists! I often don’t do it enough myself, but when I do it find it really keeps me on track, and it helps you to feel like you are getting somewhere as you tick things off.

When things do get tough, what advice or words of encouragement do you give to yourself to get you through?

Ha! Usually I turn to my hubby and have a good old moan! When things are tough, I often get myself in a tizzy, so just talking to family or friends usually helps to get me out of it. I now have the loveliest bunch of ladies working with me on the magazine, so I email them too and we all work things out together. The support of a team has become invaluable to me.

What advice would you give to people who’d like to work in content creation, publishing, writing or blogging?

Just start! Start blogging, start writing, whatever, but just start. So many people procrastinate and then never get anywhere. The more you do it, the better you get, and the more you’ll have to show prospective editors or collaborators. Also, constantly absorb other creative content, and see what’s happening out there in the genre you’re into, as you’ll learn so much from others.

Now, to give you a break from all the questions, we love (and we know you love!), beautiful imagery. Can you share with us an image that gives you creative inspiration?

It’s too hard to pin this to one image, so this is just an example of something that inspires me! If you know my book, you’ll know I love interiors and I love shops, so going into places like Petersham Nurseries in Richmond really gets my creative heart pumping! Every corner you turn is a feast for the eyes!

Finally, can you share an image that you use to inspire you to keep creating and working through all of those deadlines!

I think what gives me the most inspiration is the hope that what we do inspires others and makes other people’s day better when they sit down with the magazine and a cuppa. But actually this image always makes me feel inspired – my daughter at just 20 months old entranced by a painting in the Tate Modern. Visual art can speak to anyone, no matter what your age or where you are in the world, so we have to keep creating and keep speaking to the world visually!

We hope you enjoyed finding out about Caroline’s journey and inspiration as much as we did! We’d love to hear about what inspires you, whether for a creative project like Caroline’s or in everyday life. Leave a comment below to share your tips for what inspires you to take on challenges and new projects!

Snap up your copy of 91 Magazine  now and get it delivered to your door, for a mega-dose of creativity, with features about inspirational women, trend and style features, yummy recipes and tons of drop-dead-gorgeous photos to get those creative juices flowing.

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