This week we have been talking to Sarah Vera, founder of CONSIDERED magazine about her experience of launching and running a small business and her approach to slow, mindful living.
Hello Sarah, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Can you start by telling us a bit about the vision and ethos of your brand?
The vision and ethos of CONSIDERED is centred around sustainability and mindfulness, with an emphasis on living a little slower. I hoped that CONSIDERED Magazine would resonate with others like myself that were on a sustainable lifestyle journey and wanted to carve out a bit of time away from screens and hectic routines to appreciate art and design, mindful travel, slow fashion and explore other everyday aspects of a sustainable lifestyle.
What was your background before launching your business? Is it an area you already had experience in, or something completely new and unknown?
My background before CONSIDERED is working as a freelance business consultant, which is a bit of a catch all term for the various projects I work on. I still do some freelance work alongside CONSIDERED with it being a bi-annual publication only at the moment. I was keen to learn more about sustainability and also photography so the two came together well. I have no prior experience in publishing / curating / photography / writing at all so I’ve been learning as I go!
Did you have a specific business plan in place when you started off, or have you found things have developed more organically?
I didn’t have a business plan, no. Although with the nature of my freelance work I tend to enjoy thinking about strategy etc so in the background I had an idea of what I’d hope to achieve with the mag. In saying that, I’ve very much been learning and adapting too with it being a whole new industry to me. I love magazines but had no idea where to start so I just put one foot in front of the other and kept going. It hasn’t always been easy but I’ve had a lot of fun and met a lot of brilliant people on the way that have helped shape it into what it is today.
What is your favourite part of running your own business? And what is the biggest challenge?
I very much enjoy the creative outlet that CONSIDERED brings in contrast with my otherwise logic-based freelance work. The biggest challenge at the moment for CONSIDERED is deciding how to grow in a way that has minimal impact in line with the brand ethos. Depending on distribution methods and print run strategies, there can be a fair bit of waste in the print mag industry - one of the reasons I decided to bring distribution in house for Volume 3. So that’s something that I’m giving some thought at the moment in terms of how to take the brand forward.
How do you try to reflect these values of sustainability and slow living in your personal life?
I try to reflect the CONSIDERED values of sustainable and mindful living as much as I can. I’m definitely not perfect, and Covid-19 has made this even more challenging I would say. It’s been tricky to support local businesses whilst also avoiding all disposables for example, but i’m always thinking about how to do better.
I definitely try not to have too much on at once and value the little but important things like an occasional lie in and taking time away from screens.
Talk us through your normal day to day. Do you have a regular routine, or is there a lot of variety depending on what you’re working on?
My day to day can vary but typically it involves a morning dog walk with my puppy Oscar, coffee, then settling into whatever I’m working on. I’m a fan of breaks between working which means I sometimes do less than I might like but it’s all about balance.
How has your business been affected by the pandemic? Have you had to adjust your strategy and have there been any unexpected challenges or positives to draw from your experience?
Due to the pandemic I decided to delay the release of Volume 3, mainly because it was difficult to predict how it might affect the distribution channels and our printers. We had already shot and written the vast majority of the content at that time but again, I didn’t want there to be a lot of waste.
Waiting a few weeks allowed some extra, topical pieces to be added such as Lucielle Salomon’s article about Sustainability and BIPOC communities, written on reflection following the Black Lives Matter amplification.
Can you tell us anything about your plans for the future of the brand?
As I hinted before, in-between my freelance work I’m currently thinking about how I can grow the business in a sustainable way. I have quite a few ideas that I’ll be exploring so we’ll see!