Canberra Lifestyle

The tale of: HOORAY! Magazine

Founded in 2013, HOORAY! began as an independent bridal magazine named Hitched, before changing its name and expanding into a party and entertaining magazine.

Today, HOORAY! is an online destination offering sustenance, styling, atmosphere and celebrations that nourish the mind, the eye, the spirit and of course, the stomach. A go-to guide for fun-loving couples and party planners.

As Canberrans we are so proud of this publication born out of a little studio in Green Square Kingston. Since then it has been through immense change and just keeps on getting better and better. We sat down with local darling Emily Coates to ask all of the questions about the mag and her life as owner and editor…

Thanks for chatting with us Emily. Firstly, how long have you been the Editor of Hooray! Magazine?

I started with HOORAY! as the Online Editor back in 2015. Around this time, you might have seen our magazine poking out of a newsstand in your local newsagent or supermarket. We had a gorgeous bi-monthly publication with an illustrated cover, independently produced in Australia and sold right across the globe.

While we adored our beloved print magazine, in early 2016 we had to bite the bullet and move with the times. While our print readership was remaining relatively steady, our online audience was growing like crazy. The data was black and white; people weren’t heading to the newsagent in search of inspiration anymore—they were browsing Pinterest, scrolling Instagram and hunting down vendors on Google.

So, we made the tough decision to stop printing and shift our focus towards our digital platforms. After we stopped printing, I went on quite a journey in other roles while continuing to grow HOORAY! as an online publisher on a freelance basis.

And now, in 2017, I’ve come full circle with HOORAY! …but this time as Owner and Editor!

Tell us a bit about the brand and what you love most about it.

HOORAY! is a leading source of wedding and event styling inspiration; a go-to guide and online destination for fun-loving couples and those who plan events, style them and enjoy them.

HOORAY! is all about celebrating—from weddings and birthday parties, through to engagements, baby showers, dinner soirees and everything in-between.

I love that we’re not your typical bridal and events publisher. You won’t find any tired traditions, awkward small talk or function room weddings here. We’re for fun-loving couples and party planners who put their own spin on things, creating an occasion that is uniquely ‘them’.

Emily-Coates_08 - Kelly Tunney Photography.jpg

Have you always worked in publishing?

I’ve always been drawn to all things creative, social and digital.

My career has seen me managing creative projects at ZOO advertising agency; developing digital strategy, managing social media and creative content production for online bridal publication The LANE, working alongside luxury brands like Tiffany & Co and Cartier; working client-side on the most recent Air Force brand campaign ‘What is Up?’; providing policy advice on the digital economy to the Australian Government; studying fashion marketing in Milan; and starting my own social media consultancy, ‘Ivy Social’, where I provide social media advice to a select number of clients.

Phew …glad we made it through that paragraph! To say I’ve had a colourful career to date would be quite the understatement.

Tell us a little about how HOORAY! is set up and run. How do you get all the glorious ‘real life’ content into the pages from around the world?

HOORAY! is never short of beautiful and inspiring content. We produce our own content, such as feature articles, fashion editorials and styled photoshoots. This gives us a great opportunity to get creative, develop fresh ideas for our readers, and give our talented vendors an opportunity to shine.

HOORAY! receives an absolutely overwhelming volume of submissions from photographers, stylists, brands and PR agencies who put their work forward for publication with us. We also have partnerships with a wonderful network of creatives, who will always give us a heads up when they have something special to share.

How many people work for HOORAY!?

HOORAY! is a result of two full-timers (myself and our lovely Giorgi!), as well as our wonderful contributing editors, creatives and interns who work with us on a more flexible basis.

Who has been your business mentor or someone you’ve called upon for guidance?

My friends in the bridal, social media and publishing industries are always more than happy to throw around ideas and talk strategy. My partner Ashley constantly inspires me to put in the hard yards and work tirelessly towards goals.

Jamie Wilson and Laurence Kain are two friends who are also successful local business owners, and are always happy help me to navigate new terrain. Not only are they clever entrepreneurs, they’re also super lovely humans (check out Jamie’s creative agency Coordinate and Laurence’s new venture Capital Brewing Co).

What’s the best part about owning your own business?

I love being in the driver’s seat; having the freedom to act on gut instinct, dictate our own strategy, and work towards our own goals.

And what are the not so great parts?

There’s no security blanket to fall onto. While I’ve always been an incredibly driven person, there’s an added sense of drive when working for your own business.

What’s next for Hooray! Magazine? Will we see Style Sesh make a come-back?

We’ve got big plans ahead. Next year will see us putting together more shoots and partnering with more incredible brands… Style Sesh (our reader workshops) may make a return. Watch this space!

Describe your typical life in a day:

7am: Wake up and take my puppy out for a quick run around. Eat breakfast with my partner while checking the HOORAY! social media accounts.

9am: Drive to the office. Grab a coffee for myself and the team from Idelic in Kingston on my way. Settle in, chat about any overnight activity, action anything urgent and set our plan of attack for the day.

10am: Time to get the inboxes under control—I reply to emails from vendors, readers, PRs and other lovely creative types. We sort through our mail deliveries and organise press samples for upcoming shoots.

11.30 am: Meetings—ideally over a coffee, but most often over a teleconference as most of our advertisers are interstate.

12.30pm: Giorgi drags me away from my desk to get some sunshine and eat lunch outside. Occasionally we’ll take a quick stroll to Kingston Foreshore to grab a bite to eat.

1.30 pm: Back to the office. I get completely absorbed in writing, putting together proposals, selecting imagery or developing concepts for upcoming shoots.

3.30 pm: Quick afternoon coffee/tea break, then straight back into it.

4.30 pm: Package up our online orders, ready for mailing the following day. We still write hand-written notes to our readers for each and every online order!

5.30 pm: Head home, swinging past the National Gallery to pick my partner up from work along my way.

7.00 pm: Cook dinner, catch up with my partner, and spend some time chilling out in the living room. Lots of snuggles with the puppy!

8.30 pm: Back to it! I’ll head to our home office and my second ‘work day’ begins. This is my favourite time to work—there are no interruptions, so it’s easy to get in the zone. Usually my partner will get stuck into his music production projects and I’ll spend time planning our social media posts, getting on top of admin and writing articles.

Midnight: I’ll head to bed. Yes—It’s late—but I’m a total night owl.


EMILY in a flash:

Coffee or tea?:  Coffee. That’s an easy one!

On your bedside table we’ll find: Not much—our place is quite minimal. Daisies in an arty crumpled black vase, an Artemide lamp, and that’s it!

Favourite flowers: This feels like picking a favourite child. The fragrance of Gardenia and Jasmine; the aesthetic of Hydrangeas en masse and Japanese Anemones.

Book you’re currently reading: Currently inspired by ‘Perfect Imperfect’ by Karen McCartney, though it’s more of a coffee table book. Next on my list is the Monocle Guide to Good Business.

Signature scent: Gucci Flora

5 can’t-live-without handbag contents: Phone, phone charger, lip balm, laptop (yes, it fits!) and Pepito, my 10-week-old puppy (he occasionally rides in my bag, so he totally counts!).

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