Business is Boring is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation. Host Simon Pound speaks with innovators and commentators focused on the future of New Zealand, with the interview available as both audio and a transcribed excerpt. This week, he speaks to Greta Kenyon about starting a magazine and how Together Journal has grown.
A few short years ago, a new magazine burst onto the wedding scene that quickly became a by-word for an entire trend it tracked.
Together Journal went on to be stocked in some of the biggest outlets in the United States (bookseller Barnes & Noble, upmarket department store Anthropolgie) in under a year – less time than it takes to organise most weddings.
The journal captures a feeling, with their style and photography becoming a calling card for the modern wedding. It showcases diversity and an Instagram friendly colour palette, with lots of men’s ankles, beautiful landscapes, round glasses and beards among jars, candles and flowers.
Like US-based lifestyle magazine Kinfolk, Together Journal is an antidote to a throwaway time – a special magazine to be savoured like a book. For many, getting their wedding into its pages or onto its social feeds have become a goal.
It might surprise you then that the person who started this mag wasn’t a longtime magazine or publishing professional, or even a seasoned veteran in the wedding world. Instead, Greta Kenyon hailed from fashion, and in taking time out from a successful career to have a family, she took to wedding photography and saw a gap for something special. In a world of declining print, Kenyon is growing Together Journal all over the world.
I imagine [around] 2010-ish, the whole world would’ve been talking about how print media was dead, how it’s all declining. What led you with three small children to say ‘I know what. A magazine.’
I think because I have a marketing background and I was always really conscious of where my work was going, so I could attract more clients that were similar to me. I didn’t want to shoot traditional, conservative weddings. I wanted to shoot creative people’s weddings who were modern, and I just don’t think these people were reading wedding magazines because the existing wedding magazines didn’t suit the style of work that I was doing or wanted to do.
Even blogs. It was very difficult to find a modern creative blog where I would have felt proud to have my type of work and I know that my colleagues were feeling the same way. I looked at other sectors in the magazine industry and there are beautiful home magazines, there are beautiful food magazines, gorgeous lifestyle magazines, and the design was very modern and those industries were evolving rapidly, but for me a lot of the wedding magazines that were out looked the same as when I was married 10 years ago and I just saw there was a gap for something beautiful and modern and different.
Of course, there were great print magazines who were growing – in any environment, there’s always people who are growing while things are shrinking, like Kinfolk, who you’ve worked for.
Yes, I was lucky enough to do a mix of lifestyle, editorial, and wedding photography, so wedding was probably only about a third of the work I was doing, and I was lucky enough to make a connection with Kinfolk magazine, I think because I ended up submitting a food shoot. They came back and said ‘we’re actually looking for someone in New Zealand.’ When they first launched globally they ran a series of global workshops and events and with my friend who was a stylist, we conducted the kinfolk workshops and events and we became quite friendly with them.
They definitely inspired me. I saw their magazine as a lifestyle magazine and how they had approached creating a global publication, how they had buy-in from a lot of their contributors, and they just seemed to operate quite differently from the other places and magazines. I talked to them about a wedding magazine and going global and what they thought and they were really helpful. I even showed them some of my design and they gave me some contacts in America. They were always there to ask questions to about distribution. I was very lucky and they definitely inspired me.
Environmental Innovation is the focus for this year’s C-Prize challenge – Callaghan Innovation is asking innovators to develop tech solutions with the power to change environmental outcomes. Business advice, mentoring and R&D expertise will support finalists to turn their concepts into reality. Follow the C-Prize journey.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.