Our lives are just a combination of one season after another. A new season cannot begin until the one you are in comes to a close. I am finding myself now at the end of one of those seasons. Over the past several years it has become more evident to me that this chapter of my life needs to close. So with that I am saying a fond farewell to the Marketing and Advertising season of my life.
The past two decades have been exhilarating to say the least. It also has come with great trials that have ended with overall perseverance, that with each setback, if you allow it, it can be a great steppingstone forward.
I started out in my Marketing and Advertising career 20 years ago as just a simple territory manager for a local weekly publication. I have always been in sales but this was a new area that was not only challenging but created a sense of fulfillment inside of me. I have always loved hearing people's stories and learning new things. Being an outside sales person gave me both. As I developed relationships with clients over the past two decades, I became a part of their lives and they became part of mine as friendships were formed. With the vast variety of businesses I would call on they all had one thing in common, people. People are pretty much the same, no matter if they’re running a million dollar corporation or a few thousand dollar a week small town business. All of them have hopes, dreams and aspirations and everyone wants to succeed, no one wants to be a failure. This gave me great satisfaction to learn each of their businesses and see how I could help them ensure their dreams while working on my own.
A little over a decade passed and I became a publisher. Nothing really changed in my day-to-day duties except the immense pressure of that new position. Now being responsible for the livelihoods of others while ensuring that a business can continue to succeed and grow, immediately became taxing. With what seems like a revolving door of employees, some of whom I miss dearly and some I was glad to see you go, the challenges of business took their toll. However they also had their highlights. Fresh faces with fresh ideas sparked once more the desire for me to learn and grow. It also inspired the creative side of me. While not as gifted as my brother in creating art I have thoroughly enjoyed creating ads that were memorable for clients while pushing the boundaries of my own artistry. In late 2014, with a new production manager in place, my desire for something more was rekindled. Thus the creation of Hushh magazine was born. Collectively we wanted the magazine to be something different in the greater Knoxville area. We wanted it to showcase and highlight those that had been overshadowed by larger companies. We called it the hidden gems that Knoxville offered: The best kept secrets! Hence the name Hushh with focus on the 'shh factor. The first issue became reality in August 2015. We kicked off our premier with great success with both the Knox County Mayor as well as a representative from the city mayor's office present to help celebrate this new beginning. From the very beginning, even though there was a format to the publication, we did not want to put constraints as to allow the publication to evolve into what it has become today. While there are still similarities to that very first issue, it has evolved into something quite more than what I had expected.
What I also never expected were other publications, who had been well established in the area, to mimic our work. At first I was a little flattered. From the very beginning it was a priority that we chose a charity for each issue to feature. I have always been a huge advocate of our local charities and wanted to bring more awareness to non profit organizations in our area. Now other known publications have started highlighting charities which never did before. (Which I really hope will increase more awareness in our community for ways they can help.) We also made it a priority in the beginning to feature salons, boutiques, and small eateries in the Knoxville area. Out of the way places so to speak. Also showcasing individuals in the area, whether it was highlighting their talent or the opening of their new business. Once again other publications started using the same format and even showcased the same individuals after being featured in our publication. While I do agree that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, whenever it comes to the publishing business in the same area, it’s just simply rude. I guess I should take away that we have done something right since several want to use the same ideas that we have created that were never used prior to Hushh’s existence. I have to admit though, at times it has made my blood boil. There has been so much work and effort that has been poured into the publication over the past eight years. And for the past three it as been basically myself and our senior editor creating most of the stories, interviews and all ads. So it has become quite frustrating to have something that you have poured yourself into, to basically be copied by another publication.
Over the past couple years having to take a new role as caregiver for family members, and the passing of my Mom, doing what I have loved for the past two decades became more work than pleasure. I have always said when I quit having fun I will put the key in the door for the last time. So it is time for me to say a fond farewell. It most certainly is bittersweet. I want to see the magazine, as well as the other publications provided by our group to continue to succeed. I have been heavily invested for two decades and it is hard to let go of something that you have poured your heart into. I am not sure what the next season looks like but I am excited to embark on a new journey and adventure. You can’t take hold of the future while you’re still clinging to the past.
So as I embark on this new season and where it may lead, I pray that I have learned from my setbacks and failures. Embracing the new challenges ahead knowing that persistence means perseverance.
I am incredibly grateful for all those that have supported me through the years. To my clients; it has been a pleasure getting to know you and calling many of you friends. To my associates; past and present thank you for your contribution not only to the business but my life as well. And those of you that have picked up the publication followed our blog, Facebook or website, I give a very sincere thank you.