As the Founder of Darling Media, I am always amazed at you, our audience. I watch the way you love one another on our social platforms and genuinely engage with our content—eager to grow and consider new ways of thinking. You truly embody the social movement of everything Darling stands for and I am grateful for your constant support.
This image is from our very first photo shoot. I bought the boat on Craigslist and still remember picking it up. We had no idea what we were doing, but at least we had an amazing photographer, Elizabeth Messina! It’s been such a wild ride with Darling and I wanted to take time to let you in on the inner-workings of this company and cast vision for the future. I am a visionary at heart and I see big and fresh things for Darling ahead.
There are a lot of conversations these days around being a female “boss,” and many perspectives on what that means. There is the pressure to “hustle,” “achieve,” “beat your competitors” and also pretend like you have it all together.
But I’ve always been a fan of vulnerability as an entrepreneur. When I listen to podcasts such as How I Built This, I think “Ok, yes, I am not alone.” Building a brand, a community, a voice and a company is not for the faint of heart. The toughest part is actually the ownership; you never just go home after doing your job, you carry every single aspect and responsibility. The tough decisions fall on you, the behind-the-scenes elements never cease and the loneliness of leadership is a real thing. Over the years I’ve experienced more ups and downs than I could ever explain, yet I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It is also FUN, and I can’t stop dreaming.
Over the last six years we made a pivot from being solely a print magazine into a media company with a digital platform, interactive events, a community-centered social media presence and video content. Our conversations around character development and authentic beauty have made huge waves—including major companies following our no-retouching policy and our #thatsdarling hashtag being used over 20 million times.
While this impact has been incredible, over the last two years in particular, the magazine industry has experienced great turmoil. Currently, if you research anything about magazines you see that numerous major titles have folded. This letter from Editor Tavi Gevinson explains the media landscape in great detail. The combination of high costs of production and massive changes in the landscape of advertising moving to digital and Facebook has made magazines nearly impossible to profit. While I believe in working hard and pressing in no matter what, I am also a fan of doing smart business.
I’ve looked at where culture is heading with each of us on our phones statistically over 6+ hours a day, and seen the way we are now interacting with one another as an opportunity for greater content impact. That said, we will no longer be publishing the message of Darling in its current quarterly print format. Instead, I am taking a bold step ahead and creating a different type of printed product: The Darling Mini-Guides. These are a series of slightly shorter-form, “wise guides” centered on timely, specific topics that also involve YOU through interactive creative exercises. Think of them as your new favorite book meets journal meets mentor.
The heart behind this product is the same as the magazine, but more focused in nature. Instead of being limited to seasons like magazines, the topics meet specific needs in any season. They can be gifted to a friend going through something, and are better suited for group discussions and community building. With the same Darling aesthetic and thoughtful style of writing, they are timely, helpful and pretty (YAY). They will be available digitally with some interactive elements that we are keeping secret for now, but you’ll love it. For those of you who still love print, they are available by print on demand as well.
The Darling Mini-Guides are launching in winter 2019, so sign up on the mailing list on our homepage (top right) to be the first to know when they go on sale.
Lastly, I don’t make this announcement lightly and definitely not without honoring every single Darling staff member, writer, editor, artist, photographer, stylist, model, publicist and everyone else who contributed to these 24 issues we brought to print. My biggest fear in life is that people don’t know how grateful I am for them, so please know my thankfulness is felt in full.
If you are a current subscriber, we sent an informative e-mail to you regarding these changes recently, but if you didn’t receive it, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take good care of you.
Sarah Dubbeldam, Darling Founder