By Koseli. Images by Verily Magazine.
I am so excited to share one of my new favorite magazines, Verily. Have you heard of it? It’s a women’s magazine that seeks to celebrate women as they are. It features strong cultural and lifestyle journalism, relationship advice that goes beyond sex tips, and beautiful and unique fashion worthy of the woman it adorns.Intriguing, right? To really introduce you to Verily’s incredible mission and purpose, we’ve decided to interview Verily’s founders and hear the rundown firsthand. Ready? I think you’ll love it.
Hi Verily! I know you co-founders are super passionate about the need for meaningful media for women, a more positive outlook on body image, and creating a space for women to be the “best version of themselves.” Can you tell us a little more about that?
Janet Sahm, co-founder: To be honest, Verily is a magazine, an outlet, I wish I had as a guidepost to navigate my life in an integrated way which I never saw in another publication. I looked to magazines, consciously or not, as signs for what was successful, desirable, and beautiful. The problem is, the majority of magazines start on the premise that you are not enough – thin enough, sexy enough, smart enough – you name it. Women are bombarded everyday with these visual and written messages in mainstream media.
We have the power to create the stories that we want to see, an alternative message that rings true to who women are and want to be. Much of the time, I think women just need to be given permission to feel beautiful, to know their own worth, to want something better for themselves. That’s exactly what we hope Verily will do.
Can you tell us a little more about the back story of Verily?
Verily started during a conversation between women over brunch. All of the women at the table expressed that the current magazine selection just didn’t resonate with them or the trajectory of their lives. Co-founder and style editor, Janet Sahm, had interned for over a year at Elle Magazine and came away feeling disillusioned with the entire industry. She spoke about her dream to one day start a fashion publication that would truly be positive and uplifting for women. Co-founder and editor-in-chief Kara Eschbach was working at Credit Suisse in the private equity secondary division and was looking for a venture that would be more personally meaningful. Both women really believe in the power of media to influence women’s sense of self and shape culture, so the idea really just clicked for me as the right kind of answer to that feeling. So when Janet mentioned her dream to start a fashion magazine, Kara piped in, “Why not do this right now?!”
Honestly, the magazine was really started out of identifying a personal need — it wasn’t just that some women somewhere wanted a different magazine, we wanted it! Women’s magazines have a special place in women’s lives — it’s one of the few segments of print media that has largely maintained its readership — and we think that there’s space for a different take on the content that women like to read about. We think it’s significant that we don’t start on the premise that women “aren’t enough.” Instead of buying into a culture of fear — you know, if only we could shed those last 10 lbs, dress cuter, snag that promotion, and get the hot boyfriend, then we’d be happy — Verily starts with the premise that women are intelligent, talented, beautiful, and are looking for inspiration to be the best versions of themselves. So many people talk about the need for better women’s media, so we’re trying to make it happen!
We are a magazine that celebrates the best of who you are, and serves as a guide and best friend for the modern woman. So, to be that outlet of intelligent curiosity, we offer fashion that is worthy of the women, relationship advice that goes beyond sex tips, and strong cultural and lifestyle journalism. Our approach is different in key ways — first of all, our tone and content selection differs from so many other magazines. We strive to treat women intelligently, with a best-friend mentality, delivering meaty content where readers walk away feeling like they really got something special out of the time they spent with us. Our relationship coverage is holistic and meets women in the myriad facets of their lives. Secondly, so many magazines tout “better body image” policies, but Verily actually does it by our commitment to never altering the face or body structure of our models through photoshop, and selecting models that represent the truly diverse beauty of our readers, in body shape and ethnicity.
Verily is written for young women ages 18 – 35 who are smart, savvy, culturally engaged, and who understand the power of media to shape culture and are looking for an uplifting publication. Often, the Verily reader is navigating a time of transition, whether it’s that first job post-graduation, managing a budget, or searching for a roadmap in romance. Verily is there with them as a co-journier, the modern woman’s guide to an integrated fulfilling life.
It’s really amazing that you never alter your models through Photoshop! How does Verily succeed where other women’s mags have failed? (In creating a space for women to be their best selves, and not cookie-cutter perfect women?)
A recent Dove study found that 75% of women felt worse about themselves after reading a typical fashion magazine. Verily is not a typical fashion magazine, a fact we are proud of.
Verily is a game-changer in the magazine industry for the following reasons: It’s raising the bar because of the wider variety of topics that are addressed in the medium of print fashion magazines, to the holistic relationships coverage that goes beyond the saccharine sweet or the hypersexual, to the firm stance never to photoshop a model’s face or body structure.
What are your hopes with Verily? What have been the highlights along the way?
From Kara Eschbach, co-founder:
We really want to be a conversation-starter and a source of inspiration for women. Our dream is that one day when a woman says to a random friend “oh, did you read that article in Verily?” they will have because many women have, and that it’s a meaty, meaningful discussion. And that people will tear some of the pages out and just savor the pictures and the fashion, because there’s nothing better than a dress that just makes you happy to look at.
We’d also like to be a self-sustaining business — you know, to pay for rent and the occasional drinks with friends. So this is my pitch for people to buy a subscription! It really is the lifeblood of our business and allows us to provide a high-quality product.
Thank you so much, Verily! It was so interesting to learn so much more about Verily’s mission. What do you think, readers? Do you share a similar sentiment towards current fashion magazines today? Do you have favorites that leave you only feeling positive after a read? I’d love to hear. I think we’re all always on the hunt for more positive, uplifting, interesting content online or in print. You can buy a Verily subscription here, follow their gorgeous (and super well edited) blog here, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook, too.