HOW TO BUILD A MAGAZINE
Founder of Scars of Survival Global Magazine Shares Her Journey of bringing her vision to life.
With Sathya Callender-Wilson
When it comes to turning personal tragedy into a force for good, few stories are as powerful as that of the founder of Scars of Survival Magazine. This global magazine is dedicated to empowering survivors of trauma and abuse, and its creation is rooted in the founder’s own experiences.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the founder’s journey from trauma to triumph, and how she has built a successful magazine and business around her vision and personal history.
Transforming Pain into a Global Movement
Sathya Callender-Wilson, founder and CEO of Scars of Survival Magazine, shares her painful experiences with domestic violence that started when she was just six years old. Her mother was abused for almost six years, and Sathya herself was abused by a baby-sitter’s boyfriend. Later, when she was 16, she got involved with a man 12 years older than her, who also became abusive. Sathya’s father had moved on and started another family, which left her without a father figure and with no idea that abuse was not normal.
As a single mother, Sathya faced many struggles, including time in shelters and reliance on social services. She eventually got a good job and became self-sufficient. However, Sathya’s abusive partner returned to her life, and the cycle of abuse started again. She was knocked unconscious, had busted lips, a busted nose, and was thrown into walls. Her children slept with knives under their pillows, and considered “doing something to him” to stop the abuse. After appealing to God for help and wisdom, Sathya called upon a friend to help them get out of the relationship, and that decision started the path to her healing.
Sathya recommends that those in abusive relationships take time to heal before starting a new relationship to avoid becoming toxic. She learned this firsthand after rushing into another relationship too soon, leading to a five-year marriage that ultimately failed.
Despite her struggles, Sathya has prevailed and now uses her past experiences to advocate for victims of domestic violence and to empower survivors through her magazine, Scars of Survival.
Scars of Survival Magazine was launched in June, 2020 after the CEO Mrs. Sathya Callender-Wilson overcame a 9 year domestic violence relationship that nearly took her life. She wanted to cultivate a safe place for survivors to share stories of inspiration and triumph, and Scars of Survival Magazine has done that globally. The publication is the only magazine in the media industry that specifically caters to the domestic violence community. Their headquarters is located in Alpharetta, GA.
From Vision to Reality: Starting a Global Magazine
The founder of Scars of Survival has always been passionate about using storytelling as a means of healing and empowerment. After experiencing trauma and abuse in her own life, she realized the power of sharing personal stories to connect with others and inspire change.
Sathya shares how her vision for the magazine came from God and once she embraced the idea it wasn’t long before she brought her vision to fruition. The original challenge was to search the internet to see if such a magazine existed, and there was none.
The idea for Scars of Survival began to take shape, and the founder worked tirelessly to bring her vision to life. From fundraising, to building a team, the journey to launching the publication was not without its challenges.
FROM TRAUMA TO TRIUMPH
PRINT INSIDER ASKS: What were the biggest challenges with creating the magazine? (finding content, staff, readers, etc)
Sathya shares, “My biggest challenge wasn’t finding content, it was recruiting staff that understood the vision, mission, had the experience in that role and was genuine in regards to the stories we share. Content has come fairly easy from the beginning because of the arena we’re in (domestic violence). Once survivors knew they could now share their stories in a safe environment they did just that. We only have two openings for 2023.”
How long did it take to put your first issue together?
“It took me about two months to publish my first issue.”
The founder remained dedicated to her mission, and Scars of Survival has since grown into a global publication with a loyal readership.
Finding Compelling Content
The stories featured in Scars of Survival are often deeply personal and emotional, and the founder places great importance on curating content that resonates with readers. Each issue is carefully crafted to reflect the magazine’s core values of healing, empowerment, and community.
PRINT INSIDER ASKS: What is your approach to content creation, and how do you decide what topics to cover in each issue?
Sathya shares, “Our approach is to deliver content in a creative and educational way. We make sure to deliver the content our audience is looking for. We love for our readers to engage so we make sure to remain consistent and clear. We decide on our topics based on the cause during a month, what’s trending globally, happenings that need to be talked about or we sometimes allow our journalist(s) to choose.”
The founder has developed a network of contributors from around the world, and works closely with them to ensure that each piece of content is authentic, compelling, and meaningful.
Building a Loyal Readership
One of the keys to Scars of Survival’s success has been its strong connection with its readers. The founder has worked tirelessly to build a community around the magazine, utilizing social media, email newsletters, blogging, and events all which play a role in engaging and retaining subscribers.
PRINT INSIDER ASKS: Can you share some insights into your distribution and marketing strategies, and how you built your audience?
Sathya shares, “I originally started distributing magazines at one of the largest online book stores, Issuu and our website. We market mostly online via our social media handles, through partner websites, vehicle decals, hiring ambassadors to market, and attending events as a vendor.”
How did you initially obtain your subscribers and how long did it take before you started charging for subscriptions?
“We initially obtained our subscribers by the customers who placed orders for our magazine. It took me 6 months before I started charging for subscriptions.”
What methods have worked best for you to build your audience?
“The method that works best for me in building my audience is by individuals and businesses sharing about the publication and creating content on social media.”
Through these efforts, Scars of Survival has built a loyal readership of survivors, advocates, and allies who look to the magazine for inspiration, connection, and healing.
Advertising and Monetization
While Scars of Survival is rooted in a deeply personal mission, it is also a business, and the founder has had to navigate the world of advertising and monetization to ensure the magazine’s sustainability.
PRINT INSIDER ASKS: What is your approach to advertising in your magazine and on your website?
Sathya shares, “We hired a special manager who handles advertisements and sponsorships.”
How do you obtain your advertisers, partners and sponsors?
“We obtain advertisers by sharing advertisement availability via social media and emailing previous advertisers. We obtain partners and sponsors by searching potential businesses and contacting them via phone or email, sending an EPK about the business.”
How does the magazine generate revenue?
“The magazine generates revenue by advertisement.”
The founder has taken a thoughtful approach to advertising, partnering with brands and organizations that align with Scars of Survival’s values and mission.
The Importance of High-Quality Printing
For the founder of Scars of Survival, high-quality printing has been a crucial part of the magazine’s success. From the glossy pages to the vibrant colors, every aspect of the magazine’s design is a reflection of the founder’s commitment to excellence.
That’s why the founder has partnered with PrintingCenterUSA for the past three years to bring Scars of Survival to life. With their expertise in printing and commitment to quality, the team at PrintingCenterUSA has been an invaluable partner in the magazine’s growth.
PRINT INSIDER ASKS: Can you share how you discovered PrintingCenterUSA and how your business has benefitted by using their services and products?
Sathya shares, “We found PrintingCenterUSA by doing a Google search and chose them because of several reasons. One being they are a legitimate company, the prices are affordable, the customer service is amazing, and the quality is superb.”
“PrintingCenterUSA has allowed us to meet our supply and demand and allows us to provide quality and quantity to our readers in a timely manner. We can allocate more funds toward something else and not spend a lot in production which helps us within the business as a whole.”
What’s the biggest reason you would recommend PrintingCenterUSA?
“Save time, save money, provide quality.”
Through her vision, dedication, and partnership with PrintingCenterUSA, the founder of Scars of Survival has created a powerful and inspiring publication that is changing lives around the world.
HEAL SO YOU CAN WALK IN YOUR PURPOSE
Scars of Survival Magazine cultivates a safe space for healing and provides content that the community can be proud to be a part of.
We’re committed to inspiring men, women, and children around the world to share their story in an aid to survive, heal and thrive. We produce and deliver content via digital, print, and events that remind individuals that they can and will overcome the perils of those experiences regardless of their background, race, past or other issues, and believe that with God, all things are possible. We embrace the desire to connect with other survivors and empower them on their journey as they venture into healing, surviving and thriving into exciting new projects that will support the growth of our emerging community.
Scars of Survival has come a long way since its inception, but the founder is not content to rest on her success. With two new magazines launching this year, the founder is excited to expand the reach and impact of her mission even further.
Plans for future expansion and growth include new editions to be printed by PrintingCenterUSA. The two new editions being Scars of Survival Magazine International, and Scars of Survival Magazine Fashion & Beauty all to launch by the end of the year.
Whatever the future brings, Sathya is adamant that God has to show her what she needs to be doing, whether it is starting a scholarship fund; putting magazines in stores, schools, hospitals, and businesses; or offering employment across the United States. Steps have already been taken to make Scars of Survival a company.
The journey to triumph continues as Sathya married the love of her life, Tony Wilson, on January 12, 2023. She shares, “I had given up on dating and that’s when we met. He’s everything I prayed for if it was God’s desire for me to be married.”
Congratulations Sathya and Tony!
PRINT INSIDER ASKS: Looking back on your journey to success, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in the media industry?
Sathya shares, “The advice I would give is to first write your vision plan down. Don’t be afraid to fail, learn from the mistakes you make. Remove what doesn’t work and keep what does. Know that it’s ok to say “No”, especially when it doesn’t align with your business. Know your worth! Be consistent and NEVER give up despite what it looks like. Patience is a virtue and become familiar with the industry.
What are some of your proudest moments of your career as a global magazine founder?
“Some of my proudest moments as a global magazine founder is receiving proclamation that every December 1st is Scars of Survival Magazine appreciation day! Knowing that we’ve impacted so many lives globally and watching those individuals continuously grow on their journey.”
The journey of this global magazine founder is a testament to the transformative power of healing, community, and storytelling. Through her work, she has proven that it is possible to turn personal pain into a worldwide movement, and that even the darkest experiences can be transformed into sources of strength and resilience. As we reflect on her inspiring story, we are reminded of the incredible potential of the human spirit, and the ways in which we can all make a difference in the world.
Behind The Pages interview from Jessica Sanchez, Creative Director, PrintingCenterUSA