Girls, what would you say to a magazine that focuses on being the best of who we are as women? A magazine that wants to embrace femininity and make women learn they should be valued for being themselves – the unique, beautiful, strong, and intelligent women they are? A magazine that aims to promote and reinforce what being a woman is all about? A magazine whose motto is “less of who you should be and more of who you are”?
Oh and it’s also jam-packed with pages and pages of fashion, recipes, relationship advice, and other great lifestyle features – sound pretty cool yet?
Well then, Verily magazine is your answer.
“Our approach with Verily is just about being the best of who we are. I think that’s treating others and ourselves with respect. It’s seeing that women enrich the world, and treating them as the intelligent, beautiful, powerful, ambitious, caring, giving, creative people that we are,” said Kara Eschbach, native Metro Detroiter and co-founder of Verily.
CW50 got a chance to sit down with Kara and talk about what Verily magazine is all about.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in the Metro Detroit area (on Grosse Ile) and went to Purdue to study accounting and finance, where I was on the varsity golf team and ended up being the commencement speaker. After Purdue, I took a job at Credit Suisse in NYC, where I was on the investment team for a private equity secondaries fund — basically I spent all day working in excel and figuring out how much companies are worth, which might sound boring to some people, but I really liked it! I started in 2008, right before the crash, so things got really crazy almost as soon as I started. It was an invaluable experience in how to think about businesses, how to be analytical and think through problems, and work in a high-pressure environment. I also got to work with some incredible people, who really instilled in me the value of a positive work environment, and that life is more than just success in the professional world.
What prompted you to start a magazine? Where did the idea come from?
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. My co-founder, 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. I 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 the frustration we were all feeling. At the time, I was looking to leave the world of finance and work somewhere that would feel more personally meaningful, so I thought, “why not do this right now?!”
What types of topics do you address in the magazine?
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 woman, 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, not just providing sex tips. Secondly, we try to actually live up to the demand for showing more diversity of beauty — we never alter 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.
The magazine is targeted to women, is there reason behind that?
In all 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 circulation over the last decade — and we think that there’s space for a different take on the content that women like to read about. Instead of starting on the premise that women “aren’t enough” and pushing 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. The comment we most frequently get is that we’re refreshing; that when women finish reading, they feel inspired and uplifted. So many people talk about the need for better women’s media, but we’re making it happen.
What are your goals with the magazine?
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 it’s a given that many women have, and that it’s a meaty, meaningful discussion. And we hope that people will tear some of the pages out and just savor the pictures and the fashion, because there’s nothing better than a picture 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, so buy up!
We also hear you host a SiriusXM radio show, “Catching Up with Kara and Monica,” could you tell us about that?
This is one of those “I can’t believe my own life” kind of things, but I had done an interview on a different show about Verily, and a program manager at SiriusXM asked me if I was interested in doing a show. It’s been a great challenge to learn a new media medium, and we share our personal lives a lot so it’s kind of scary, but it’s so edifying to have people call in and share their lives and thoughts with you as well.