Meet the Magazine: Lionheart
Lionheart is an independent lifestyle magazine featuring all of our favourite things - style, culture, stories, interviews, travel, photography, craft and illustration. I spoke to founding editor, Helen Martin, to find out what lead her to creating this beautiful indie mag...
In five steps, can you summarise the path that led you to start your magazine?
- I couldn’t find anything at the time – 2011 – that reflected my life, ideas and ambitions.
I wanted to create something friendly, accessible and beautiful – a book to return to. Mostly, I hoped that readers would feel inspired and good about themselves after reading the mag.
- I love print! It was so important to me to create something tactile; to cut out, carry around and keep.
- I found a printer locally (who have been around for over 100 years and appreciate a good chocolate brownie!), started some focus groups, collated some brilliant contributors and created many, many scrapbooks of ideas as to how I would like the magazine to look and feel.
My friend and designer, Dave, and I put the magazine together. The first issue took us about nine months. We both had full-time jobs and had never put a magazine together from the very start to the shop-shelf-ready end. I also had to invest all of my money into it, that was quite scary. I updated people on Twitter and my blog throughout the process and couldn’t believe it when people came to the launch of issue one. We had a little market stall, handmade pizzas and cakes made by friends, cocktails, crafts and, obviously, stacks of fresh new mags. I love the launches, meeting great people and having fun. These days, Holly Giblin designs the magazine with gorgeous style. And I’m pleased to say that after many years of both Lionheart and working in offices as a freelancer, although there are always challenges, it’s a smoother and swifter process. I love it. Always with the same ethos and ROARING heart!
Where does your magazine's name come from?
It’s about bravery, roaring from your heart and believing in yourself, others, goodness in the world.
I had a focus group in London and one of my now long-term contributors, writer Jess Furseth, came up with the name. Every time the magazine was discussed it was with so much passion, it was literally like a ROAR from the heart! “Lionheart?” she said. I think I still have the notebook with this circled 100 times!
What does your magazine celebrate?
Freedom, being, accepting and loving yourself, kindness, learning, creativity, friendship and exploration...
Why do you love physically, printed magazines?
I’ve always been a scrapbook maker. I love to cut out pictures and quotes, remind myself of their inspiration, of that feeling of YES, that makes sense to me. I also think the tactile nature of magazines makes everything pop like a screen never can, print is so immersive – like diving into a pool. In terms of texture and size, I wanted it to be matte and smaller in size so that it was mobile and calming, with the colours running deep in the thick paper. Also, perfect bound like a book. Some readers have the whole collection, one to nine, which is so amazing! It’s definitely a journey and I’m thankful for every Lionheart reader. Such a wonderful community, always illustrated in roaring beauty, at the launch parties - an open, friendly and pretty magic vibe!
Any top books, magazines, blogs you can't stop reading at the mo?
I love reading books, they are like my meditation forcing me to stop and enter a whole new world. I’m reading The Lido at the moment, which is a really sweet book on loneliness and the power of friendship. I’ve also just read Joan Didion’s South and West, The Immortalists and The Party by Elizabeth Day. I love Frankie, Lunch Lady, 91 Magazine and I write regularly for Project Calm. I think The Frugality, Mamalina and Charlotte Philby’s site (particularly The Lives of Others) are great reads. I also read The Pool and The Guardian online. I’m one of those people with a phone with 100 notes and 50 tabs open. I can’t stop this!
Where is your favourite place to read a book or magazine?
Anywhere! Preferably on a beach – cold and windy or balmy hot. Or with loads of pillows and a cup of coffee on my bed. Bliss!
Tell me your favourite business, cafe, bar or shop + why you like them?
I think that Sleepydoe is excellent, not only do I love Sophie’s nightwear (for me and my children), I love her business style. She’s very clever and I think creates something covetable and beautiful. The two seasons feels special! I’m looking forward to putting my new baby (due in five days) in one of the little swan suits! I also love independent shops like Papersmiths, Me and East, Sisters Guild and of course, home byKirsty to name a few! These shops are championing makers, creators and doing it so carefully and beautifully. It means a lot when someone believes in your product!
Can you pick 3 products you love from home byKirsty's website?
1. St. David's Cross Indigo Throw: I love this throw, I have a thing for Welsh blanket designs and the sumptuousness of it. Perfect for a reading den!
2. Spotty Cat Pink Print: Cat prints are another draw to me, especially the big cats. I love the colour and style of this one.
3. Luna Stud Earrings: I love the shape of these earrings, so satisfying and just a little statement – something earrings are great for! I can imagine wearing them with everything.
Huge thanks to the lovely Helen for taking the time to answer our Meet the Magazine questions. You can pick up the latest edition of Lionheart from the website right now, and head straight to your favourite reading spot.