Pam Pierce called me on the phone. We had never spoken before but I knew who she was. “I’d like to host your event in Houston,” she said. I imagined she meant in the office of Milieu, the magazine she edited. “In my home,” she continued. “We can serve tea whilst you talk.” I nervously explained that we don’t always know who turns up to these events, there might be complete strangers in her home, a total whack job, not just friends of friends of friends. “I don’t mind,” she continued, “I like what you are doing, I like that your company encourages women in this way. I like that you are doing something different.”
When I arrived in Houston Pam and I went out for lunch. She ate fried oysters. I ate cheese grits. And drank Mimosas. I do love Texas.
Pam told me that one day, about three years ago, she came home to her husband and told him she had had an idea. “You had better sit down,” she advised. She was going to shut down her successful interior design studio and she was going to start a magazine. “A WHAT?” he asked. Pam had decided to launch a magazine, a good old-fashioned homes and gardens magazine printed on European paper and distributed around America. He told her she was mad. Everyone Pam talked about the idea told her she was mad. Nutty, bonkers. No one was starting magazines; everyone was closing magazines, they told her.
Pam had to learn a whole new language, she confessed to me she did not even know what a publisher did when she began. When she called journalists and writers they hung up the phone, when she tried to contact photographers they were skeptical. The first few runs were a disaster, the paper looked pink, Pam called the factory but no one cared because apparently Pam was no one.
Three years later Pam Pierce has a growing audience and a very pretty un-pink magazine.
I left lunch feeling motivated, and that was not just the Mimosas. So many people had told me too I was nutty-bonkers-mad to launch a business I knew nothing about but I’m glad I did not listen. We’ve just broken though all our targets and we are galloping into our third year.
It’s hard out there sometimes as a woman with a vision and a goal, but it’s easier when you have shining examples ahead of you.