MAEVE: Bold, brave and making her way

19 May 2011

Written by: Penny Evangelou

‘She’s assertive. She knows what she wants. She seeks to push boundaries. She seeks to be a point of difference.’

This is how MAEVE magazine’s co-editor, Stephanie Crawford, would describe the publication if she were a woman. This ‘she’ that Stephanie describes is the vision of ‘a small group of intelligent 30-something women wanting to get more from their media’.

Long gone are the days where the sealed-section of Cosmo was the subject of feverish curiosity — we’ve already been well informed on how to flirt, get, steal, keep and win back a man. Female readers are now looking for something different from their magazines. They are searching for reading material that will engage them, get them thinking again, even inspire them. And that is the objective of MAEVE, a magazine that recognises that the modern woman demands more.

The creators of MAEVE describe the magazine as an online publication that is ‘all about women and the things that influence, inspire and impact the lives of women’.  Crawford says the magazine’s range extends to ‘opinion pieces, interviews, personal experiences and a great catalogue of art, fashion and photography’.

As a new publication, it has tried hard to separate itself from your average magazine, offering new reading material for the mature, modern woman. As such, it’s gathering attention from various publications and picking up an international following.

The magazine also has a very strong feminine presence and its target audience is women in their thirties and forties. Crawford notes that although the publication is designed for slightly older women, the site has room for growth with ‘readership in the 20-something market also increasing’. So how have they managed to have a mixed audience with readers as young as their early twenties for a site designed for the concerns and ideas of the mature woman?

‘We believe these readers are attracted to MAEVE as they also seek more from their media,’ Crawford says. ‘They’re the generation embracing the online world and social networks’.

But it’s not just that. MAEVE isn’t the standard ‘yummy-mummy magazine; it is beautifully designed, well thought out and engages an audience that reaches beyond those who are interested in motherhood.

Jodi Walker, the magazine’s editor and creative director, says that the feeling from ‘intelligent and street smart women’ is they desire something more from their media than tabloid gossip.

‘They want to be inspired. They want to see beautiful things. Art, culture, fashion, photography. They want to know what other people are doing and how they are doing it; how they are parenting; how they are loving; how they are living,’ she says.

This deep consideration of lives of mothers beyond motherhood is the reason why MAEVE has appeal for such a wide age group.

Design is also an important element in this online magazine, proving that beautifying a webpage will keep readers engaged.

As the creative editor and creative director, Walker agrees that a balance of text and visual elements are essential to an online magazine like MAEVE.

‘I cannot stress how important this balance is,’ she says. ‘Visually, it sets the tone to the story or product and keeps our readers immersed in their MAEVE world. Unlike printed material if the reader loses interest they don’t just push the magazine away from them — they shut down the page altogether.’

Crawford says one of the biggest difficulties she has faced as part of the online magazine team is writing for a quarterly and world-wide publication.

‘Our focus is on publishing content, which interests and engages readers around the world,’ she says.

‘We need to keep her current. For example you won’t see a piece on a movie preview or event in the magazine. We have a blog where we publish on more time specific events and topics.’

Although their workload at MAEVE could easily be considered as a full-time occupation, the girls also work outside of the magazine. Crawford is also an editor at White Echo, a digital and media consultancy. Walker works as a freelance graphic designer and is also the creator/designer of children’s label ITCH.

Reading MAEVE online  is free and the girls always welcome (unpaid) contributors. However Crawford echoes their hope to someday move away from their online territory – ‘Of course, we’d love to see MAEVE in print!’ – but for now MAEVE remains a growing part of the internet.

The MAEVE girls have also found a way around the challenge of promoting their online escapades by using social media.  And it’s working.

‘We love using Facebook and Twitter — we’re at times amazed at the number of followers we’re attracting each day,’ says Crawford. ‘We love social media and its ability to connect us with women around the world.’

Penny Evangelou is a final-year Bachelor of Journalism student who is passionate about food, fashion and beauty writing. She is a member of the upstart editorial team.