An Interview with Fiorella Valdesolo of Gather Journal
While checking out all of the amazing brands at The Northern Grade in Austin, we came across this inspiring little magazine in the airstream of Moore & Gilles. After opening the first page we were transported for about an hour (sorry for hogging the couch guys!) into the world of Gather. Once we looked at the Masthead we noticed our old friend Fiorella Valdesolo, formerly of Nylon and Teen Vogue, was running the ship. We rang her up recently to hear more about this food-focused book.
How did Gather come about?
I founded it with Michele Outland who is a dear friend of mine. She worked at Nylon and we both went freelance about five years ago. We were both itching to do a creative project together and we are both paper people and love it as a medium, so we knew the project had to be in print.
We talked about a style publication but always came back to food since we were always talking about something we cooked or a restaurant where we ate. Michelle and I put the first issue together in under three months and we celebrated our second anniversary in print two weeks ago.
How has the journey been?
The reaction has been more than we anticipated. We created this for ourselves so it is great to have so much response. Seeing people’s reactions has been hugely gratifying. Each issue has grown and circulation has been increasing.
Why start a paper magazine instead of keeping everything online?
People thought we were crazy to start a paper magazine. But we were committed to it and now there is a resurgence of magazines. Lots of small magazines are coming out and they tend to hang out in a category of their own on your bookshelf. People want to connect with what they are reading in a more intimate way. They are so overwhelmed with online information that they want to reconnect with something in a tangible way.
The photography is amazing.
We have a lineup of photographers and we let them take over each chapter so their style can really come through. We are grateful to work with a lot of people Michelle has worked with in the past including Marcus Nilsson, Martyn Thompson and Gentl and Hyers. I think these photographers are excited to run wild a little bit.
We noticed a travel piece in the current issue. Is that something new?
We extended travel with the Dessert issue so we thought we would do a little feature. I think travel will come into play more in the future as well. Our inspiration for recipes comes from where we are traveling so it makes sense. It’s an organic relationship.
How did the mix tape section on the site come about?
We are both big music heads and we always have music on when eating and cooking so we thought it would be fun to have playlists for every issue. We have some great people making the mixes. You always want music on during a meal anyway.
Is Gather doing any collaborations?
In every issue we have a marketplace and some items are not food related. In that section we do some custom product like a denim tote bag with tattoo artist Minka Sicklinger. Others will definitely follow suit.
How is Gather distributed?
We actually do a lot of it ourselves. We would rather connect with smaller stores one on one than farm out the distribution to some big company. In the smaller stores people really trust the owners’ sensibility and the customers know the magazine is legit.
What is next?
We are adding new things every few months. The website was just redesigned by Studio Mercury and we also have an app in the works. We are slowly building as we go and with each issue we are hoping to increase circulation.
We just did an event in New York City and we have a pop up shop in Space 98 in Williamsburg Brooklyn where the issue will come to life in July and August. We just have to come up with a theme for the next issue!