Publisher - April 2022

There are so many wonderful things about April—the weather, Easter, The Heritage, festivals, flowers and garden tours, but one of the best things is it’s Pink Magazine's birthday! Pink turned 18-years-old on April 1, and I am somewhat awe struck.

When I started Pink in a small room in my home, I never looked ahead five, ten or 18 years. I merely took it one day at a time, and most of those days wore me out. My children were young—kindergarten and fourth grade. I was in full wife and mom mode and had always had a career in sales or marketing. The new job of creating Pink was hard, especially since I started with limited resources: A used Mac and $2,800. The other difficult part was the pressure to succeed. My family needed the income I left behind to live, and my dad had threatened me not to quit my job. Well, of course, I quit my job, even though he thought I was stupid.

However, I never focused on the money, though I wish I had a little more. The two things important to me were making sure the magazine worked for my advertisers, and making sure that readers enjoyed and connected with each and every monthly issue. I’m proud to say, these are still my main two goals.

Times have certainly changed since Pink was born in 2004. Back then, I had to overnight a CD loaded with designed pages to the printer. Now, we just upload it to our printer’s website and can printer proof it within minutes. There were times back in the day when I was actually sent a blue line proof. Looking back, I’m not sure how we did it because monthly deadlines roll around lightning fast.

Another huge change is customers were not emailed their ad proof. Every proof was printed and taken to the customer’s business for approval. If they made changes three times, we took them a proof three times until everything was perfect. We didn’t launch Pink’s website until 2007. That means we operated three years without anyone being able to check us out online…and believe it or not, we thrived! Now, you can read both magazines in their entirety online, though I always recommend picking up a copy. It’s just so much bigger, better and more beautiful. It’s more personal, too, which is what I want you to feel because this magazine is put together for you, and with you in mind, every single month.

In 2008, I launched Paisley Magazine, which is similar to Pink but distributed throughout the Golden Isles in Coastal Georgia. It is local to that area, just as Pink is local to Beaufort County. Paisley will be 14-years-old in June! What I love most about both of these publications is all the people I have gotten to interact with and know over the years. Thousands, possibly millions, of women have opened their hearts and minds to Pink and Paisley, and I can’t express how much of an honor that is.

Usually, you can hear my voice throughout the magazine, but I have had the great fortune to work with and represent so many incredible people. Of course, I have had encounters with celebrities throughout the years, as well as incredible invitations and opportunities. For instance, one day the manager at the Hilton Head Belk, back when the mall was still there, called my office and told me Sarah McLaughlin (the singer) was in and she loved Pink Magazine. I’ll never forget it. It was thrilling, but the beauty of Pink and Paisley is focusing on real women. I’m not saying Sarah McLaughlin isn’t a real women, I’m advocating that women who aren’t famous singers, actresses, politicians, CEOs or heiresses also have just as much to say and just as much to teach. I truly believe all women have a story. These magazines have taught me that we are all connected, and if we listen close enough, we can all learn and be supported by one another.

Though I’m not one to dwell on my accomplishments, I am beyond grateful to God, my family, my staff, our readers and our advertisers for believing in what we do. I worked 17 years in marketing, marching to the beat of the corporate American drum—pouring my heart, skills and intelligence into someone else’s dream. I was down-sized and restructured out of a job three times—even though I showed up early and worked late. At age 38, I released myself from the grind to wake up and start working my own dream. Since then, I have had the great pleasure of utilizing every talent I have—creativity, writing, leadership, editing, copywriting, strategy, critical thinking, sales, people skills—and then some. It has been both grueling and rewarding. There have been tears of joy and pain. To live by monthly deadlines for 18 years is restrictive. My staff and I have sacrificed many hours of sleep for these magazines to get to press on time, and we’ve never missed an issue. Never! (There have been 216 issues of Pink and 166 issues of Paisley.)

I’m not complaining, though. Publishing these magazines is a labor of love that loves back. The excitement of women when I call and tell them we want them as one of our featured women is a gift—every time. To be able to write from the heart and put it in a magazine where it actually gets read is an honor and a privilege. People stop me in stores and tell me how much they enjoyed an article or the magazine as a whole. (Thank you for this. It means the world to me!) Women tell me they sent an article to a friend or family member because it meant so much to them. I had one reader tell me she cut an article out for her daughter, who was going through divorce. She said her daughter keeps that article in her Bible and reads it daily. It has comforted her through her misery. That is what makes these two magazines worth it all. That is a gift to me and my staff because that is what counts to us—making a difference.

Everyone asks children what they want to do when they grow up. I was pretty typical in that aspect, I wanted to be a teacher and started college in Biology to be a doctor. I was even accepted to law school but changed my mind. Honestly, I was lost and unfulfilled for a long time. I had amazing jobs—wine sales, pharmaceutical sales, NASCAR, daily news—but none of them loved me back. Pink and Paisley has given me a forum through good times and bad. Every issue has met me right where I’m at. And, in being able to share that, it has helped others right where they are at, too. So in looking back on what I want to do when I grow up: I want to make a difference.

Thank you for reading this magazine and being part of the reason my life is fulfilled. I have been blessed to make a difference during my time here on earth, and I pray you feel that, and perhaps these magazines have inspired you to make a difference, too. I have had moments I wanted to quit, but these truly are the most precious days of my life. Happy Birthday, Pink. You’re quite a gal!

Think Pink,
Elizabeth Millen