Many trends are popping up all over our social media feeds, but the deeper momentum I am seeing for the upcoming season does not deal with colors, shoes or anything like the #GemFinds in this trend analysis report. What I see are people who are opening up and truthfully speaking about their life story. Sarah Hartley of Holl & Lane Magazine, a forerunner in this shift towards honest living, has created a business by encouraging real woman to be bold and brave about the truths they have gone through. She fully believes that when you are courageous enough to tell your story, you are then helping someone else feel less alone. Gem Nation couldn’t agree with her more, after all, your story is without a doubt what paved the way for you to dive in to chasing your dreams.
RELATED: Bloggers Telling Honest Stories (via Holl & Lane)
Holl and Lane is published bimonthly on the first of the month as a “place to sit, away from the storm, and realize that others have been through hard times too and made it through.” However, it’s more than just a media outlet, it’s a community of women sharing their hearts with boldness. I’m confident our exclusive interview below with the fierce force of inspiration behind it all will leave you with a newfound sense of courage to lead your life with:
1. What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve always had 3 goals for my life: to write a novel, own my own boutique, and start a magazine. In 2015 I knew it was time for me to chase one of my dreams so I settled on the magazine thinking it would be the easiest one. I wanted to create a magazine that wasn’t out there yet – one that would talk about the real side of life, and not just talk about the pretty, happy things. I wanted a magazine that would help others feel less alone and know that we’re all connected out of our experiences. Also, admittedly, I wanted to start this journey so that I could quit my 9-5 (though I haven’t gotten there yet) to be able to stay home with my son.
2. What book has inspired you the most?
Is it cliche to say #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoroso? I took a lot of wisdom away from that book. I spent a lot of time writing down some of the things that she said as reminders for myself.
3. If you had a magic wand, what are the 3 things you would change in the world?
I’d make the world more peaceful. That isn’t just a Miss America answer. I honestly want peace in the world because now that I have a son I’m terrified of the world he’s going to grow up in. I’d like to cure cancer. It has taken some people very close to me and I don’t want it to take any more. I’d also like to get rid of student debt. I have plenty myself and I think it stops a lot of people from going after their dreams because they can’t afford to NOT have a steady job. (Can I also add that I’d like to end world hunger – that kind of goes hand in hand with the peaceful thing. But seeing starving kids breaks my heart every single time.)
4. What ignited your interest to start a magazine company and blog?
As I mentioned, a magazine has always been one of my dreams. But after blogging throughout a tough pregnancy and being honest about everything, I realized that there was a desperate need from people for more honest media, and for people to see themselves in the media rather than celebrities and picture perfect lives. So I set out to create the magazine that I felt was lacking. I wanted to create a magazine that would give real women a voice and a platform about their real lives.
5. How do you embrace imperfection in your business?
Ha! Everything I do is imperfect, and I think that’s what adds to the magazine as well. I’m not perfect so certainly I’m going to make mistakes and my readers are going to see them. And I’ve found that that draws people to me and the magazine more. Because I’m not just talking about honesty and vulnerability, I’m allowing people to see it. I’ve learned that the more you allow people in to see that side of you, the more invested they will be.
6. What advice do you have for bloggers who accept content for their site when they have a submission that doesn’t exactly match up with their style/voice?
Use it as a learning experience and be more specific next time. Look for ways that you can be more specific when talking with the content creators and write it down. This way you’ll be able to use it as a tool in the future.
7. How do you express the importance of working together in a competitive world within your team? Do you have any specific team building skills or events that help you bond?
From the very beginning, I’ve told my team that I want them to think of the magazine as theirs as well. Because the more they identify with it, the harder they’ll work to see its’ success. I’m also in constant contact with my team and we have become great friends. They know that not only do I have their back, but that I also want to see THEIR dreams succeed, and I do whatever I can to help them with that. I like to have monthly Skype chats just so that we can get together “face-to-face” and chat – most of the time we just end up laughing through it.