Paradiso is an independently produced street press magazine that celebrates the creative community of Northern NSW and the inspiration that feeds them. Launched in 2017, Paradiso features local and international creatives doing what they do best. They partner with mindful businesses who lead their industry in innovation, creativity and sustainability and collaborate with a team of talented local contributors – writers, photographers, artists, makers. The high quality editorial explores the arts, food, travel, fashion, wellbeing and, of course, community.
Formally a print only magazine, Paradiso is adapting to our new world and experimenting with the art of the digital publishing experience. We caught up with Lila Theodoros, Founder and Creative Director of Paradiso to discuss this process.
For those still craving a print experience, past issues of Paradiso can be purchased on their website, with postage available both nationally and internationally. In addition to making a magazine, Paradiso is committed to growing community through their event series Breakfast Club. In partnership with co-working space The Corner Palm, Paradiso hosts regular Breakfast Club events featuring diverse speakers, connection and whole lot of inspiration.
Can you tell us about your experience over the past weeks and how this has impacted the Paradiso staff?
These past few weeks have had an incredible impact on our Paradiso team. The anxiety, fear and worry have been an awful thing for us all to process. But we are beyond fortunate to be a team of strong, passionate, compassionate women who support each other and are equally dedicated to the Paradiso community we have built together. Paradiso has always primarily been a passion project, one that is fuelled by love and creativity. So the decision to keep on going was made out of love, not fear. We are an advertising revenue based publication and when the world paused, businesses closed, people lost their jobs, it felt impossible to ask our community for money. But we came together as a team, took a breath, and re-aligned to what the new flow of life is now. We asked our major partners if they were still in a position to support our publication and they answered with a compassionate and loving hand, held out to continue to support creativity and community. There have been so many tears this past month, ranging from sadness to loss to grief to gratitude to love. All the emotions! So, now we work from home, we zoom, we connect – we are together, for each other and our community.
What digital programming changes are currently taking place within your initiatives?
We have such an incredible opportunity for creative experimentation – we choose to see this whole-world-change as a positive, a chance for creativity to really shine. Creativity is about problem solving and we are solving a problem we have never faced before. We were a print magazine, but we can’t distribute to cafes, retailers, boutique accommodation anymore. We were advertising revenue reliant, but we can’t ask the same businesses to support us as they once could. So we problem solve. Our strengths are community, creativity and beauty. We are excited at the challenge to continue to offer Paradiso in a new way that still engages our reader, and celebrates our creative community. Paradiso Issue 14 will be a digital read – same inspiring content, same beautiful aesthetics, just delivered in a new way. Our community event Breakfast Club went digital – we recently hosted an event with more than 60 people via zoom. We still had two incredible speakers – Lauren L. Hill and Vanessa Marian. Lauren gave us calm and reassuring wisdom and Vanessa got us all to dance! We were also able to continue community connection with break out rooms where we got to meet and chat with new people. It was a beautiful experience and we were all flying with joy for the rest of the day. We are creative problem solvers and passionate community builders. We are also excited to be publishing a digital directory that features our local makers, producers, businesses and creatives and how you can continue to support them in this new world. Take Away is our sister publication (first issue was released in 2019) and will host this digital directory.
The unprecedented global changes we are experiencing will have long-term effects on our creative community. What challenges and opportunities do you hope to see emerging when life returns to some what normal (whenever that may be)?
We are in a very privileged position to be able to adjust and adapt our business in such quick reaction to our changed world. We are so grateful to be able to continue to deliver creativity and inspiration in celebration of our community. Our digital publication is an exciting creative problem we are solving; a digital Breakfast Club made us more accessible to a wider community; but looking to the future, we still crave face to face interaction, hugs with our local community members at a Breakfast Club, and the simple and profound experience of opening up a new issue of Paradiso found at a local cafe, touching and smelling the paper, and slowly reading it from cover to cover. We have adjusted to and embraced our new world with positivity and creativity. But, given the chance to be closer than 1.5m, we can’t wait to return to our roots.
Who are some your favourite creatives working in the region right now?
There are too many to list! Basically anyone who has ever contributed something special to an issue of Paradiso is our favourite. Check out the Contributors page on our website (coming very soon!).