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Entrepreneurs to Watch: Tamara Komuniecki and Cynthia Merriman of Delish Magazine

Entrepreneurs to Watch: Tamara Komuniecki and Cynthia Merriman of Delish Magazine

Headed up by Vancouver moms Tamara Komuniecki and Cynthia Merriman, Delish Magazine is a new e-magazine all about living like you mean it, set to launch this spring. Both of these women have serious skills in their areas of expertise to apply to their new venture – Tamara will take on the role of Editor in-Chief and Cynthia will head up the look and feel as Design Director.

What inspired you to start your company?

Cynthia: Having been a graphic designer for over ten years, working for design firms, companies and doing my own freelance work, I was always looking for “the” project — something to use what I have learned so far, try new things, meet new people, and get recognition too! Plus to be able to have control over the design – a total moot point! I had been involved with various projects with Tamara over the years, so much so, that our styles and personalities were in sync with each other. It seemed like a perfect fit to take on the magazine when Delish was decided on. Despite being pregnant with my third child, it was just too exciting to pass up. With print magazines going under left and right, going all-digital with the magazine was such an obvious choice.

Tamara: I have been a broadcast and print journalist for 16 years and my most recent position was as Editor-in-Chief of a magazine in California. When my husband and I moved back to Vancouver, I knew that this was the type of work I wanted to continue doing. Such positions with established magazines are very hard to come by and I quickly found out that all was fairly quiet on the print front in terms of openings, so I decided it was time to start my own venture. Many magazines are folding their print operations and going electronic and I have been a blogger for so long that I decided the burgeoning genre of e-magazines would be perfect.

Having worked with Cynthia on other projects, I knew I couldn’t do this without her. She and I were both pregnant when we first started discussing the start-up in earnest but we decided we would just try to make it work. Then I had our son Finn very prematurely at 28 weeks of pregnancy! Seven weeks of hospital care in the ICU followed for him. The project was put on hold and has been a few times since then, but we both manage to fit it in between nursing sessions or during – we’ve become proficient at one-handed typing!

We now plan to launch in May and just keep getting better from there. We brought in Managing Editor, Emma Alvarez Gibson, who is based in San Pedro, California, as I had become familiar with her work when she was one of the writers at my previous magazine. Her style and sensibility meshes perfectly with ours and she embraced and even enhanced the vision of what we wanted Delish Magazine to be from the beginning. Plus, Emma has a young son as well and so my final wish, to create something that I could do at home, will hopefully grow to the point where it can sustain three work at home moms.

Tell us about Delish Magazine.

Maybe it’s better to start off with what it’s NOT all about. It’s not about making a woman feel inadequate, like she is not enough or does not have enough. It is not about rampant consumerism, but rather it is about appreciation of and participation in a way of living that begins at home – the heart centre of our lives, and extends to health, relationships, work, our larger community, and the world. It will celebrate true efforts made by real people to live consciously, responsibly and joyously. It will offer (primarily a female audience), information you can use, in all areas of life.

What’s your vision for your company?

Our vision is that Delish will become a self-sustaining entity – a new media success story. We would love it if the e-magazine genre became popular but hope that readers are able to separate the wheat from the chaff. What we mean by that is that we want them to recognize journalistic experience and integrity, as well as beautiful design on our pages and continue to read every issue. Also, the stories will keep coming – we never, ever worry about a lack of good content but the fact is we need advertising revenue to make this work and for that we need eyes on our pages.

What excites you about what you’re doing?

This is such a new genre, and it might be mistaken for blogging in the beginning, but we’re out to show readers what can happen when journalists move from established mediums into a new form of medium. Everyone was into fusion a while back and hybrids are everywhere to be found now. It’s exciting that we’re forming our own media hybrid – a cross between a print magazine and blog, while offering the best of each. Things like sharing of personal stories and first-person perspectives meeting solid research and commentary from experts, with a healthy dose of truly useful information – recipes, reviews and you-heard-it-here-first helpful product news.

What are some early examples of success?

The word of mouth and excitement that are building are just infectious. People are talking about what we’re doing, asking questions, inquiring about advertising and signing up for news of our launch. And you should see the pages that are coming together, wow! Our premiere issue will likely be the smallest one and we’ll build more in for the Fall 2010 issue, but we are so pleased with what is being written and designed already.

Tell us about some of your challenges.

We have three principals involved in Delish Magazine, all with kids and all living in different cities (but thankfully in the same time zone!) Plus, there is no formula to follow for success. What we are doing is throwing together the parts that each of us is good at and winging the rest. The good thing about this though, is that we are creating our own thing completely. The freedom and potential it represents makes us all giddy.

What’s next for you?

We are working crazily to launch our first issue in May, and along with that an accompanying website and blog. Then it’s on to the Fall 2010 issue!

Delish Magazine | Twitter: @delishmag

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