The Interview: Mary Hessing of WOTH - Wonderful Things
Founded by Mary Hessing, former editor in chief of Dutch design magazine Eigen Huis & Interieur and her partner Toon Lauwen, WOTH - Wonderful Things is a new creative studio and magazine based in The Hague in the Netherlands. The studio offers a wide range of services including made-to-measure communication for PR, custom publishing, advertising, websites, look-books, books, magazines and branding.
Earlier this year WOTH initiated a crowdfunding campaign for a new interior and lifestyle magazine. A magazine with rich visuals, strong concepts and contributions from the likes of Job Smeets, Wim Pijbes and Iwan Baan. We spoke with Mary Hessing regarding the studio's forthcoming magazine and what we can expect form this exciting new concept.
What was the initial idea behind creating WOTH?
To make a genuinely new and convincingly beautiful magazine on design-interior-architecture and leisure; about the things we love and make life wonderful (material or not). We love to give room to the creative individuals, brands and makers that dream those things up.
What do you hope to achieve with the magazine?
People do judge a book (or magazine) by it’s cover. So we need to be both empathic and convincing in our delivery of a quality magazine. Make it tangible again; through it’s rich content, type, paper and flow. Something like wandering through a museum or the surprise your feel exploring a shop with a collection you did not expect.
Crowdfunding played an integral part in the launch, the support was clearly very strong having reached your goal. Did you expect to receive such strong support?
We hoped and suspected that there was room for a new and positive vibe in a magazine like WOTH. Still we felt quite overwhelmed by the warmth and endorsement by such a great number of people; more than 450 that subscribed for a whole year or ordered a single issue. They paid real money; based on trust in our campaign.
Do you think your rich history in journalism gives you a stronger focus on what people would like to read and see?
Yes, definitely. Me and my partner Toon Lauwen go a long way back in publishing. I was the editor in chief of Eigen Huis & Interieur a Dutch Design magazine and before that deputy editor of Hollands largest women’s weekly Libelle. Toon has worked as a curator and designjournalist for more than twenty years and has published many books on architecture and design. We want to make WOTH Wonderful Things a magazine we believe in, that conveys a commitment to quality to our readers; rich in curated content, showing expertise and wonderful to look at.
You have a strong list of contributors for the first issue, can you tell us a bit about who is featured and what they will bring?
Yes we tap into the rather humorous memories of Job Smeets, in a column on bulky vintage Mercedes and BMW's that made quite a mark in the village he grew up in. There is a intimate contribution by Wim Pijbes, explaining his recent decision to quit his prominent job as head-director of the Rijksmuseum to move into a career as the director of the new Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar. And we show a visual essay by the amiable Iwan Baan, now a worldwide famed photographer that has been flying helicopters portraying architecture since he was clean out of Art School.
You have chosen to publish WOTH both in print and digitally, what was the idea behind this?
We believe in print for all it’s obvious, tactile reasons. We want to make a magazine that really connects and belongs to readers. During my earlier career we have worked out digital formats for iPad and iPhone. Our very campaign, using video, social media and online, demonstrated the perks of interactive communication with subscribers, readers, but also retailers and professionals. Clearly there is room for something new positive and worthwhile like WOTH Wonderful Things but we are aware that it has to grow into a platform offering differentiated content to different types of use and users. Quality can be delivered to all types of media, as long you keep committed to authentic content and storytelling.
Issue 1 of WOTH - Wonderful Things magazine wil be launched on the first of September in two separate editions: Dutch and English.