GTWoman: 10 years & 60 issues in business

19 of the GTKids!

This issue marks the 10th birthday of Grand Traverse Woman Magazine! Our first issue was Aug-Sept 2003. My sister Kerry and I like to look back fondly on that issue as “the era we didn’t know squat.”

We were just getting by back then, trying things and hoping and guessing. (We still do a lot of that, truth be told!) So we stopped this afternoon to take out a copy of our first issue, when we would have been a mere 28 years old. We were horrified by the design and some of the content we’d come up with so long ago. We then paged through a decade of issues and decided we not only got better, we got better fast.

By Issue 2, the fonts were legible and by Issue 4, a few of the women pictured came out looking Caucasian instead of 50 shades of gray. By Issue 5, we’d attracted the attention of women (who weren’t related to us) who would subscribe to GTWoman.

By our second full year in business, (at which point we figured we’d be out of ideas), we seemed to be (shockingly) gaining momentum. Women were reading us, advertisers were calling us, writers were contacting us. Electronically. At this point, Kerry had to admit that email was not a passing fad.

Soon, we could actually answer (most) questions asked about our very own business. We had a media kit and we knew what it was. We were learning to manage a staff of freelancers — pizza being key to this operation.

By that fall, we feared we might actually be in business another year and decided to add women’s events to our line-up.

We still remember saying: “If 30 women come tonight, wouldn’t that be cool?”
We had over 130 women at our first Network Nite. We acted very casual and remembered to hand everyone nametags like it was all part of our plan. But when the last gal left, we flipped: there was high-fiving and squealing and again with the pizza.

Not long after that we decided to buy a few pieces of office attire to get us through the business world. We didn’t think we could wear suits without looking at each other and laughing, but we did manage to wear a skirt and iron a blouse. We even, with some apprehension, took to accessorizing. This business was transforming us!

From there, we realized we’d have to start dyeing our hair; we were aging along with the biz. We started joking about a “Senior Edition” of GTWoman even as we discussed the wonders of 10-minute touch-up.

Then, 10 years had passed. We wouldn’t say it was in the blink of an eye, but we might say it was in the blink of several bad hairdos, a few typos, a thousand pizzas and the dawning of Kerry’s email inbox.

For our cover photo this issue, we gathered the moms who help us make it happen and gathered their kiddos for a photo. (The women decided we didn’t want to have to fix our hair, so we went with a kids-only shot.) What a cool picture to get after many years and many issues together!

Thank you to everyone who has helped us make it 10 years. We hope you’ll join at our Sept. 11 Network Nite when we celebrate this milestone!

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