Now, for the latest edition in our occasional series, Upstarts, we’ll hear from a stay-at-home mom who launched a multimedia publishing company from her kitchen table in Laramie. Kati Hime is the owner and editor of three high-quality magazines that focus on life in and across the Cowboy State. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.
(Dog barking. Hime answers door.)
REBECCA MARTINEZ: The door to Kati Hime’s publishing headquarters is guarded by Daisy, the maltese-yorkie mix. (Hime answers door.) Hime and her husband Levi plan and publish Wyoming Weddings, Wyoming Lifestyle and Wyovore magazines in their sunny kitchen, the walls lined with their children’s artwork. Kati is a Wyoming native and says the job is a great fit for her.
KATI HIME: I love connecting with people. I really, really do. And I love learning about what people think about our state, and I love learning about personalities, and the differences in our state, and when I learn all those things, it makes me feel even more connected and even more of a cheerleader for Wyoming.
MARTINEZ: The publishing business is a second job for Hime and her husband: He’s a geologist, who’s on the road a lot. Hime has always loved writing, but pursued a practical career as a medical sonographer. She switched to part-time work after the birth of her second child, but she got antsy sitting at home and wanted to start her own business. After selling cosmetics out of the house for a while, she heard that a wedding guide in the state had folded, leaving a void in the local bridal publishing market, and she pounced. Hime and her husband poured their savings into creating Wyoming Weddings, a free annual bridal planning guide. Unlike national wedding magazines, her wedding guide would help Wyoming brides prepare for weather and wind, a limited number of venues, and manage relationships with vendors in the state.
HIME: It as a smile and a handshake state, and it is a state that works very much on personal connections, and those things make a wedding a very special day.
MARTINEZ: Hime write many of the articles herself, but she also hired contract writers, photographers and a designer, and released the first issue in January of 2009. Hime’s husband handles the website. Hime also tracks down dozens of advertisers, and personally distributes the magazine to hundreds of locations across the state.
Preparing for the 2014 issue, Hime interviews Rich and Stephanie Osborne, who own Ardent Photography in Laramie. They’re helping her compile a list of tips for choosing a wedding photographer. Stephanie remembers meeting Hime at a bridal expo several years ago, and being impressed by her energy.
STEPHANIE OSBORNE: Kati’s one of the hardest workers that we know. I would say that like she multitasks and keeps herself busy and works so hard for her advertisers. And so you really feel comfortable putting in an investment for her, because you know that she’s going to make a payoff. If anybody can do it, then she’ll do it, ‘cause she works so hard.
MARTINEZ: Since 2009, the magazine has grown in size and quality, now featuring large, colorful photo spreads on thick, glossy pages. Eight-thousand copies went around the state this year, and Hime plans to print 10-thousand in 2014.
(phone rings, Hime answers)
But Hime had energy to spare and set about developing a free quarterly magazine covering more Wyoming stories. Wyoming Lifestyle Magazine first appeared in 2010. It profiles unique homes and interesting people, highlights University of Wyoming Sports and offers health tips. Hime recalls one of her favorite stories, in which she interviewed the Sunbonnet Gals in Torrington.
HIME: They sew sunbonnets every week in the Senior Center. It’s the cutest thing! And they actually use a real, honest-to-God pattern from the Oregon Trail days. And it’s so unique, that they’re not allowed to share it. They keep it under lock and key.
MARTINEZ: Hime estimates that Wyoming Lifestyle has about 35,000 readers in print and online. But with even more energy to spare, she created Wyovore in 2011. That annual magazine targets people outside of Wyoming, and features western-style tourist spots, restaurants and hotels around the state. Two-thousand issues out a year, at about 5-bucks a pop. Hime says it’s especially popular in Italy, home of the Spaghetti Western.
This year, Cody’s Chamberlin Inn was featured in a four page article with photos highlighting the bright, cozy building and grounds. General Manager Kelly Diehl Statton says she was impressed by the quality of the spread, and was happy to find that Wyovore targets the very same people the Inn hopes to entice.
KELLY DIEHL STATTON: Obviously any exposure we can get outside the state or inside the state is great. And the article that was written about us is much more in depth than any sort of advertising we can do. You know, it was beautiful.
MARTINEZ: Hime says would like to continue growing the magazine business when her kids get older. As it is, she handles most of the advertising, writing, editing, and distribution herself, and she estimates she works about 60 hours a week. That doesn’t include her part-time sonography job. Hime says the magazines are turning some profit, but she’s not seeing the revenues just yet.
HIME: And sometimes, when you’re 3 or 4 years into it and you’re working on paying off that debt and you haven’t paid yourself yet, and you’re sitting up at midnight and you look awful and you’re like, “oh, my God! Why am I doing this?”
MARTINEZ: But Hime says positive feedback from readers gets her through the hard days and energizes her. She knows the publishing industry nationwide is in a rocky state, but she says it worth it’s to take a chance on what you really love.
For Wyoming Public Radio, I’m Rebecca Martinez.