An Interview with Founder of Darling Magazine, Sarah Dubbeldam
Pursuits of Purpose is a series where we feature interviews with people who are on the front lines of creating social value and leading a generation toward a new way of living, acting, and thinking. For past features, click HERE.
What inspired you to start Darling magazine?
I was inspired to start Darling Magazine because I was struggling with anxiety and depression as a woman in my early 20s and I didn’t know where to turn for solid advice on how to be healthy and whole. My friend and I dreamt up Darling as a magazine that would be a mentor and an encouraging voice to women where they could turn for all of the issues they are facing in life and learn to be confident, have healthy self-esteem and handle their life with wisdom and grace. I knew that I wasn’t the only woman that felt this way and through that other women would be encouraged by a modern day mentor such as Darling with timeless and solid advice. That is the voice we seek to create with Darling and we have been so grateful to be able to impact women all over the world with a message of worth and purpose.
What does a day in the life of a CEO and Editor-in-Chief of “Darling” look like?
My day looks like a combination of emailing, brainstorming, working in design programs and editing article drafts, tons of phone calls, PR meetings, business development meetings, financial meetings, staff meetings and the like. I have to touch every single department and cast vision for everything and that takes a lot of energy and decision-making. Most days it involves reading articles, looking at visuals and talking about ideas and brand partnerships with my team. There are many moving parts in the magazine, from the small credits that go in for the clothing to the bigger decisions such as page count and layout, and topics we are going to cover for future issues. It’s a busy life but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
What women do you feel inspired by right now?
I feel inspired by women that are pioneering in their space right now especially women who are in film, medicine and politics. I think that women need a voice in every industry, and the ones that are the minority in those industries are definitely my heroes.
You used to be a model before starting Darling. How has your career and unique perspective as a model inform or impact your work today?
Being a model made me realize how narrow the ideals of beauty are in culture. I would go to a casting call that was labeled “young American mom” and I would go in the room and every single woman in the room would be a size 2, 5’9” with blonde hair and blue or green eyes. I would often ask myself, “Is this really the world’s idea of the perfect American mom?” I had a serious issue with the standards and issues of perfection that were perpetrated through the industry, as well with the rampant use of Photoshop. I think that the modeling industry really needs to change their perspective on what beauty is and cast women who are diverse in size, shape, height and ethnicity and see what that does for advertising and for the runway. With Darling, I am passionate about women not only owning, but truly valuing their unique look and not comparing themselves to what they see in media — most of the time it’s a façade and not worth pouring energy into achieving!
Where do you see Darling in five years?
In 5 years, I see Darling structured similarly to how it is now, with an online presence, social media, events, a print magazine and video, but at a larger scale and with many meaningful brand partnerships. We really want to move the needle on the use of retouching on images and the way that women are spoken to and represented in media. We want to actually widen the perspective of beauty and help women become healthier all over the world.
We want women to be educated on how to view images and advertising and not correlate it with their personal worth or beauty. I think that we can make a significant impact in culture in general by becoming the go-to destination for younger and older women alike to find solid advice and content that’s classy, lasting, smart and elevated.
Why have you chosen to do a crowd investing campaign for the next phase of Darling Media?
We have chosen to do a crowd equity fundraising campaign through IndieGogo and MicroVentures because we want to allow our followers to own a piece of our company. Many people don’t know that we actually started on Kickstarter! We are proud of our grassroots origins and now that we are launching Darling Studios — video content for Darling — we realized that we wanted to open up the company to the public to allow them to have shares/ownership in Darling. They have helped build us this far, and we wanted to give them a piece of ownership to say thank you. For as little as the price of a nice haircut, you can be an investor in Darling and you don’t have to be accredited.
We are all about women investing money smartly, across multiple industries and we want them to have a piece of this company that is helping encourage women just like themselves.
We only have 4 days left as of today in the campaign and this is probably the only time that Darling will offer shares to the public, so for people that are interested, they can go to JoinDarling.com and all of the information is there.
Darling has an abundance of thoughtful lifestyle and fashion advice. In what ways do you take a mindful approach to the products you buy?
Darling is all about educating readers on companies that are ethical, sustainable and are publicly open about their practices and their company. We believe that lasting change happens with the individual and that every single purchase matters, just like we believe that with every click of a mouse, you are voting for media whether you believe it or not.
We believe that every dollar you spend on clothing or goods is impacting the world and that’s why we love companies like Krochet Kids, that are doing it right and are doing it well, doing it the hard way and not the easy way, in order to honor people, their dignity and their talent.
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
I would tell myself to be patient with the process and to realize that to build something lasting and quality takes time. In our “instant” world, we are so used to getting what we want at the drop of a hat, at the click of a button, at the swipe of an iPhone, that we have a hard time with patience and realizing that good things honestly take time — tons of effort — lots of sweat and tears! I would have told myself to be patient with that process and to slowly gain as much experience as I can, and to do my best but not be too hard on myself, and to realize that life is a process and that growing only happens through experience.
What are you eyeing from our Summer collection?
From the summer look book, I am literally obsessed with the Painted Lines Graphic Tee. I cannot wait to rock that! I love the slouchy fit and abstract lines — it’s perfectly cool and chic for summer and can be paired with something dressy or casual. Love it!