Kinfolk and Bitch Media: A Conversation

Wed, 14 Oct 2015 17:00:44 +0000

Earlier this spring, Ooligan Press hosted their latest installment of Transmit Culture: a conversation between the editor of Kinfolk Georgia Frances King and the executive director of Bitch Media Julie Falk.

Kinfolk Magazine, currently on its seventeenth issue, published its first issue in 2011 with a modest print run of 2,000 copies and has quickly become an adjective for slow and intentional living. Today, Kinfolk has over 80,000 subscribers, and King explained the “gap in the market of what [readers] were looking for” as one reason for the publication’s current popularity.

In response to Falk’s question about Kinfolk today, King explained that it’s important to consider the lifestyle or idea a publication promotes as opposed to thinking about the publication merely as a product. “From the very start,” King said, “Kinfolk wasn’t a magazine—it was a vehicle for us to present this notion of slow living, which, to clarify, [is about] slowing down, simplifying your life, cultivating community, spending more time with friends and family. The way we’ve been defining [slow living] recently is reclaiming your time because time is really taken away from us.”

King elaborated on why Kinfolk is even more important today. “I’m that fast-paced person who works far too much and was starting to burn out,” she said, “and I think that people often forget nowadays that there is an option not to do that. And sometimes all you need is a reminder that you don’t have to be working yourself to the bone. It’s very important for you to put yourself out there and work very hard but when you continually say yes, you forget that you can say no and other people forget that you can say no.”

King explained the pushback Kinfolk encounters in presenting their slow-living message. “One of the main bits of negative feedback we get is that we’re too luxury, that we’re promoting a lifestyle that’s all about leisure and ‘Some of us have to work’ and ‘Some of us don’t earn that much money.’ I remember getting this email from someone who used, as the perfect example [of this privileged lifestyle], the cover of issue four, which is of this couple sitting on a beach on a log with two cups of camping coffee. […] And I’m like, ‘Well, maybe there isn’t a beach that you can go sit on—maybe it’s just a couch—but surely we can all take a moment out of all of our days to sit down and share a cup of coffee with someone.’ And people sometimes take things very literally, I find, in those circumstances.” Later, King added that “[there’s] also a difference between aspirational and inspirational. I think there’s nothing wrong with being an aspirational magazine—it’s something you want to look up to, it’s something you want to get to, as long as that aspiration has inspiration of how you can actually achieve it.”

According to King, readers interested in the future of Kinfolk can expect an expansion of the brand, more books, and maybe even more magazines to spread the good, slow word.

Watch the full conversation here.

Watch the Q&A here.

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