Sophie Scott is the editor of London-based print magazine, Balance Media. We caught up with Sophie to find out what it’s like to be the editor of your own free print magazine.
Can you share a little about yourself and how you came to be the editor of the wellness magazine for Londoners, Balance Media?
I’ve always been fascinated by the human condition and psychology. I’ve worked as a motivational coach, as a counsellor, and now I’m training to be an Integrative Transpersonal Psychotherapist. Having experienced stress and anxiety in my own life, I know that meditation and looking after oneself and one’s wellbeing is the single most important thing that any of us can do.
Where did the inspiration for Balance Media come from?
I looked around and saw that no other magazine talked about how we can train our brain or get to know ourselves better to ensure that we can lead happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives. Magazines are usually about fashion and the way we look, but rarely consider what’s going on inside. Free magazines offer a unique opportunity to speak to readers – they are accessible and available to everybody. I felt passionately about creating a magazine that spoke to both men and women because wellness is synonymous with white, middle class females, but that shouldn’t be the case. Men need to talk about their psychology and wellbeing just as much, if not more so, than women. And, of course, people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, too. So, I thought, what better way to allow people to think about these things than through a free magazine? Wellness is also now worth £17 billion to the UK economy and continues to grow, so I saw this as something that commercially stacks up. There are so many great brands out there that would want to engage with the readership. It’s about championing ethical wellbeing brands that inspire Londoners to ‘live well.’
“Men need to talk about their psychology and wellbeing just as much, if not more so, than women.”
What is the ethos of the magazine; who is its audience?
Fundamentally, the magazine aims to spread a little positivity across the Capital. The media can be damaging, but we’re trying to reinvent the wheel through promoting positive news stories and the importance of self-reflection. We live in such a fast-paced city, but how many times do you really connect with others, let alone yourself? Our readers are discerning and think a little outside the box – they’re passionate about the brands they use, as well as the world around them. Mindfulness is central to the magazine – it makes you more switched on – but as the name suggests, Balance doesn’t promote any one way of living. We streamline the best qualitative information courtesy of our leading experts/ authors and empower people to make choices for themselves.
“The media can be damaging, but we’re trying to reinvent the wheel through promoting positive news stories and the importance of self-reflection.”
What obstacles did you face when you launched a free print magazine?
Launching anything from scratch is extremely challenging. I have worked the longest hours possible and, at times, have lost all semblance of work-life balance! I’ve often found myself doing five different people’s jobs in any one day, and wondering if it’s really worth the headache. But passion has seen me through. And following my instinct. When you have a vision, a lot of people will try and sway you, or encourage you to dilute the message but if you feel something enough, you have to stick to your guns.
What is the best thing about working in the wellness industry?
The best thing is getting to meet like-minded people who are passionate about helping others and being the best version of themselves that they can be. I meet so many compassionate, smart and switched on people, and brilliant experts who are leading the way in new research. Also, there are many perks to the job. It’s lovely to try out new classes, and products.
“When you have a vision, a lot of people will try and sway you, or encourage you to dilute the message but if you feel something enough, you have to stick to your guns. “
And the worst…?
Occasionally you meet people who are helping to keep the wellness industry elite. Some are attracted to wellness for the wrong reasons. It can become an obsession if you’re not careful! It’s really important that it’s accessible and practical for the single mother living on a council estate just as much as it is to the mother of three who lives in Chelsea and has a nanny.
Where do you see the wellness industry in five years time?
Technology is already starting to be used in really positive ways to improve wellbeing. Hopefully there will be a lot more attention on the mind, psychology and focusing inwardly. Therapy and self-development will be the norm in the way that going to the gym is now. I’m also hoping that eating super foods and natural free-from foods will be more accessible and cheaper for everybody. Ideally the foods that don’t contain a lot of crap will end up finding a place in the market whereby they’re cheaper because they’re not packed with chemicals.
Has there been a defining moment since the inception of the magazine in which you’ve felt you have ‘made it’?
Having both Ellie Goulding and Daniel Radcliffe agreeing to be cover stars for our third issue was a big one! Also, receiving so many supportive messages from the public since we’ve launched is another. I did get an email from Downing Street asking for the magazine to be delivered every month, which I thought was a prank. But it wasn’t!
When you’re not editing the magazine, what do you do for fun?
I like to meditate and I love to do yoga – it brings me back into my body. I really enjoy travelling, and getting out and spending time in nature. But, I also love spending time with friends and having a glass of wine… it’s all about balance, after all!
Where can people pick up a copy and how can they get involved with the magazine?
Balance is hand distributed every month outside 100+ underground stations, so it’s widely available across the Capital. As well as that, it’s available all month long in retail outlets from Planet Organic to Waitrose to Waterstones, and then in hairdressers, spas and offices. Readers can get involved by signing up to the reader panel – I absolutely love hearing from our readers!