at beards & daisies HQ, we’re huge fans of 91 Magazine. we love flicking through the gorgeous pages for a bit of inspo for all things interiors - and even a few yummy recipe ideas. if you’re an avid reader yourself, you may have even spotted a few houseplant tips from yours truly!
So, you can imagine how thrilled we were to chat to the lovely editor & founder, Caroline Rowland, to learn more about the behind the scenes.
Tell us about yourself and your publication, 91 Magazine.
I'm Caroline Rowland, I live in Surrey with my husband, daughter and two cats. I am the publisher and editor of 91 Magazine, which is an independent interiors & lifestyle magazine, with a strong focus on creative interiors and independent small business. The magazine publishes twice a year in April & October, and we also publish a free quarterly e-zine and of course, our award-winning blog. We also offer a series of online workshops - or Creative Sessions as we call them - covering all kinds of topics for small businesses and anyone living creatively, and I offer one-to-one consultancy for people wanting to self publish their own magazine.
Describe a typical day in the life.
After I've got my daughter off to school, I usually try to fit in a short session of yoga, which I find essential as most of the day I am sat in front of my computer. I usually work until about 3pm, and that can be quite varied - anything from preparing our blog posts for the week, writing emails to our subscribers, packing orders, planning content for the next issue of the magazine, or editing depending on what stage we are at. I also spend a lot of time communicating on email with our contributors, my team, people we are featuring, advertisers etc. Occasionally, if we are working on a new issue I will go on a photoshoot with one of our photographers which is always fun, but most of my days are desk-based.
What inspired you to launch your own magazine?
I've always loved magazines from a young age, and after my degree in photography, I realised I really wanted to work in publishing, and one of my first jobs ended up being with the Financial Times weekend paper as a photo editor. While I was working there, I started blogging about interiors in my spare time, and that evolved into the idea of creating my own interiors magazine - I wanted an interiors magazine that really spoke to people like me. I didn't have a big budget, but I wanted a stylish, creative home so I craved a magazine that featured homes of creative people. I basically created the magazine that I wanted to buy!
What are your thoughts on 'the end' of print?
Well, 91 initially began as an online magazine, but I always dreamt of it being in print. This became a reality in 2016, and actually then was when it really became a proper business for me. People are reluctant to pay for digital content, but a print magazine is more tangible. Plus, I think people still enjoy the ritual of sitting down with a cuppa and a beautifully-made publication. It may be the end for certain types of print, for example most people prefer to consume news content online, but I do think the type of content that we read and view for enjoyment is still better experienced in print. It’s plain to see through our percentage of print vs. digital sales of the magazine what our readers prefer!
What’s your favourite feature in the magazine to date?
Ooo, that is far too hard to answer! Plus, it is always changing - each new issue becomes my new favourite. Although I do love Volume 9 - I loved some of the homes we featured in there, but also it was the edition that was published just after we had gone into the first lockdown. I didn't know what was going to happen, but it turned out we had a record number of orders and people were buying extra copies to send to friends which was lovely. It felt like we were able to bring people a little break from the crazy reality of what was happening at that time. We published a 10 year anniversary edition in the summer of 2021 which was really special too, as it felt like an accumulation of everything the magazine had become and everything it stood for. A lot of it was produced when we were in and out of lockdowns too, so I'm super proud of what the team managed to do.
Who would be your dream collaborator to feature in 91 Magazine?
That's another really hard one! I'm very lucky that we have featured some people in the past who I really admire and didn’t expect to say yes to being featured, so that is really wonderful. Even though I'm not hugely into the world of celebrity, I've often thought how cool it would be to have an endorsement from some of the women in the public eye who I admire... I would love to see Claudia Winkleman, Dawn O'Porter or Fearne Cotton with a copy of the magazine!
How would you describe your magazine in 3 words?
Creative, relatable and inspirational