FEARLESS NOMAD: SARAH HARTLEY FROM HOLL & LANE
At State of Mind were all about one thing; meaningful stories. Which is why we decided to feature Sarah Hartley from Holl & Lane Magazine as a fearless nomad today. Holl & Lane is a magazine full of beautiful stories that everyone can relate to in some way or another. Read our interview with her below and then check out her magazine! She's offering a free mini issue download so you can get a sneak peek.
Tell us about who you are and what you do?
My name is Sarah and I’m the creator and editor of Holl & Lane Magazine. Holl & Lane is a quarterly publication focused on telling the honest stories of life, the stories that need to be heard, not just the pretty Instagram side of life. We’ve had stories on miscarriage and infertility, mental health and addiction, divorce and new love, and so much more. Our goal is to help others feel less alone by connecting people through our shared experiences. In the rest of my life, I’m also a wife and a mom to a toddler and I work full-time for an architecture firm.
What are you currently working on right now?
I am wrapping up our January issue and beginning to work on our April issue. We’ve made some big changes for 2017 so we’re working through them and growing our readership.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I love that I get to make all the decisions - but that is also the toughest part because I have no one else to blame for things that don’t work! But I get to run this magazine exactly how I believe it should be run and I get to tell the stories that I think need to be out there. It’s an amazing freedom.
How did you get started in the magazine world and what made you decide to go that route?
I’ve wanted to work for a magazine since I was a little girl and initially was going to go to school for journalism before I switched to fashion. But something in the back of my mind kept pulling me back to magazines. After having my son in 2014, I thought it was time to just decide which one of my big dreams I wanted to follow so that I could create a life of flexibility for my family. I settled on the magazine after realizing through my personal blog how desperate people were for media that was HONEST with them. I blogged throughout my tough pregnancy and new motherhood and was struck by how often my honest admissions made an impact. I knew then that something was seriously lacking from the media people were receiving.
What is the hardest thing about running a magazine and being an entrepreneur?
Money and time are the two biggest for me. Because I work full-time and have a toddler, I’m always lacking in time. It’s my dream that Holl & Lane will become my full-time job but in the meantime, I spend my lunch break and after my son is in bed working on the magazine now but I know I could do so much more given extra time. And money is always a factor as an entrepreneur. Printing a magazine is way more expensive than I ever anticipated and it’s very hard to make profits because it all goes right back into printing and shipping costs.
What is something you’ve learned the hard way?
To trust my gut. When I first started the magazine, even though I wanted it to be focused on the stories, I allowed outside perception to convince me that I needed to talk about EVERYTHING. So I had business and DIY, and food and style and so much more packed into the first half of our issues and the message of the magazine got lost. I knew I wanted to focus more on the stories and could feel in my gut that it was the right decision but I chose to ignore it for a long time.
The idea behind Holl & Lane is so unique and meaningful, what is one of the most impactful things that has happened after sharing such beautiful stories?
Thank you! The emails I get after an issue launch just make all of the hard times worth it. One in particular that stands out is an email that I got after we shared a story about a suicide. I received an email from someone that had just lost a friend to suicide and she told me how amazing it was to read it knowing that she wasn’t alone, and how thankful she was that we were telling stories like that. I have a Sunshine Folder that I put emails like that into to look back on and remember why we’re doing this.
What stories mean the most to you? Why do you choose to share them with your audience?
For me personally I love the stories on family since I’m still a new-ish mom. I can relate the most to them. But I love to share all types of stories because I think in every single issue that we put out, there is at least one story included that everyone can relate to, and I think that’s a powerful thing. To know that you aren’t alone out there when you’re struggling is an amazing feeling. I think the more that we talk about these stories, the less likely they are to be taboo and the more willing people will be to share and maybe even get help.
How has connecting with others for the magazine affected your business and personal life?
On the business side, it’s only helped us grow. I’m able to see in real time how each of these stories impacts someone else. In my personal life, I think it’s helped me to develop more understanding for the human condition. To see these things that people have struggled through and come out on the other side from has just been incredible and I feel lucky every day that people are willing to share their most vulnerable stories and moments with me.
What advice would you give someone wanting to run their own business or start their own magazine?
Make sure that you really consider it because it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. You have got to have passion for doing this otherwise you’ll burn yourself out REALLY quickly. It is incredibly expensive, time consuming and the profits are little to none. You also have to have a very unique idea to run with otherwise you will get lost in a sea of other magazine startups.
Where did you come up with the name Holl & Lane?
It’s actually a play on the cross streets of my home. The idea is that the stories that we’re telling are ones that you share with your closest friends and family in the security of our own home. We want Holl & Lane to feel like a big slumber party.
What do you do when you are not running a business?
Work my actual job, ha! I also spend time with my husband and son. I love napping, I love reading. But honestly, I really don’t have much free time these days so any that I do is usually spent playing trains or puzzles or having tickle fights.
What’s next for Holl & Lane?
We have recently moved from a bimonthly magazine to quarterly so that we’re able to really deep dive into each issue. We’ve begun doing Soul Sessions in our private Facebook Group with contributors from the issue where we talk more in depth about each article and relate the experiences back to our readers. We also have launched products and I’m hoping to do some more in the coming year. And two of my big goals for 2017 are to host an in-person event near Pittsburgh (where I live), and to start a podcast to listen to these stories in the author’s own voice which I think would just be incredible! Fingers crossed!
Tell us, where is your favorite place to find inspiration?
Photography is a big one for me. I so admire someone who can find something beautiful in the small details. And I love reading other magazines and looking through design websites. Plus, of course, Pinterest.