Wendy Diamond: My Inspiration for Sweet Designs Magazine
Stephanie Lynn, age 25, Massachusetts
At many points in our magazine's three-plus years of operation, I've been asked about who or what initially inspired me to launch Sweet Designs Magazine. Even for those who have been writing and working with me on this publication for a long time, the answer may surprise you. I mean, like a majority of young people, I've always had an interest in magazines, and when I was a teen, I could only dream of actually writing for one, but I knew of no venues. With a then-still-new internet, opportunities were extremely scarce for youth during those years. Now, I'm running a monthly online publication that's read by many thousands of young readers.
In September of 2003 I was a first semester freshman at Bryant University. I was still navigating the social web of activities available to me at my new school. One of the organizations I knew to be a fit was Bryant's Global Entrepreneurship Program. As a Business Administration major, I knew my experiences would be valuable to my professional success. As a college sophomore, I would later be hired to work closely under the director doing various administrative tasks, including handling the registration for the program's many events throughout the school year. Over time, many of the best contacts and friends I made at the school were through this organization.
As a new student, I decided to attend GEP's first guest speaker of the year, Wendy Diamond. Among the many events I'd attend during my college career, this one has always stood out in my memory. Wendy Diamond is the founder of a magazine called Animal Fair, a pet lifestyle magazine in support of animal rescue and adoption. Wendy has a passion and authenticity for her business and for animals that exudes from her charismatic personality. Since her speaking event at Bryant in '03, she has gone on to write several books, including How to Understand Women Through Their Cats (2006), How to Understand Men Through Their Dogs, and her latest, It's a Dog's World: The Guide to Four Legged Living (2010). In addition, Wendy has published two cookbooks: An All Star Feast (1997) and A Musical Feast (1995). She has hosted Yappy Hour, a nationwide tour featuring parties for animal enthusiasts and their dogs. Note: For more information on Wendy and Lucky's Yappy Hour Tour, please see my article "A Cocktail Party for Dogs: Why I Attended Wendy Diamond's Yappy Hour Tour in Boston" about my personal experience at this amazing and fun charity event.
Stephanie Lynn with Wendy and Lucky Diamond at Yappy Hour 2010 in Boston.
Wendy adopted her beloved white Maltese pup Lucky in 1999. Lucky is the inspiration and mascot for her company, Animal Fair Media, Inc., and she travels with Wendy to her many events and speaking engagements. If you are so lucky to have a photo with Lucky, you could appear on the "Who Got Lucky" gossip page in the magazine. Wendy and Lucky have had the pleasure to meet and feature many celebrities in the section, including some I'm sure you've heard of: Katherine Heigl, Tori Spelling, Perez Hilton, Hillary Duff, Amanda Bynes, Rachael Ray, Abigail Breslin, and even Bill Clinton! Animal Fair has also had the opportunity to feature celebs, such as Drew Barrymore, Hillary Swank, Renee Zellweger, and Halle Berry on the cover with their pets.
After listening to Wendy share her passion and successes, I was so inspired. In my heart, I was ready to jump right in and start my own magazine. But what would the magazine be about and who would read it? I wondered. My business-minded brain quickly began to focus on the logistics. How would I raise money for such a venture? Print magazines can be really expensive, after all. What steps would I take to get started? ... and so on. At the end of the evening I took a few moments to speak with Wendy and get a photo with Lucky. All I could think of was, I could NEVER do that! I flipped through the contents of the free Animal Fair issue I had received at the event. I studied the types of stories that were covered, and how wit and fun were properly incorporated throughout its pages. Eventually the magazine was put aside, but the evening was not forgotten.
A few years later, near the end of 2006, when Sweet Designs was still a young company, I began to ponder the magazine idea again. I had a huge audience of young females, and when I proposed the idea many instantly expressed interest in writing. Through some research, I noticed that a lot of magazines, especially ones for young females, were online. That was the key element that got everything started. I suddenly didn't have to worry about the cost of printing and circulation. I could design a website, find young talented writers to contribute their work, see it published, and have it available for free to youth all over the country and the world online.
So, readers, please know that it CAN be done, even though I once thought it couldn't! You can accomplish a lot if you put thought, research, hard work, personality, and heart into your ventures. I have proof because Animal Fair has been running strong for 11 years, and Sweet Designs Magazine for over 3 years. We're two women actively making our business goals and dreams a reality. Now, what inspires you? Brainstorm, decide thoughtfully, do your homework, and make it your own. Hard work, consistency, and passion will go a long way. I wish the best to my readers and writers! Good luck!
To learn more about Wendy and Lucky Diamond's Yappy Hour Tour, please read my article "A Cocktail Party for Dogs: Why I Attended Wendy Diamond's Yappy Hour Tour in Boston".