Introducing our new Orbasics blog series! In #GIRLPOWER we introduce you to exciting women and fempreneurs who engage themselves for women empowerment. With these interviews, we seek to support these women and let their ideas spread and to inspire you! We believe that we can strengthen each other by reading these great stories and reconsider certain topics! First up Bravery Mag founders Ashley and Elysee who break the stereotypes of male heroes!
About ten years ago, Elyse commented on Ashley’s cute shoes and they’ve been friends ever since. Since that day, they’ve seen each other through motherhood and hard times. The idea for Bravery Mag was born from their frustration at the lack of kid-friendly and interesting tools to help us teach our kids about bravery and strong female role models. With a vision to break the stereotypes of male heros, they portrait brave women of every race & ethnicity, all backgrounds and careers so that every child can find a real female role model. They ran a Kickstarter campaign in September of 2017 and were fully funded in under three days.
The two founders and female role models Ashley and Elyse
Hi Elyse and Ashley! Bravery is a magazine for girls and boys that features strong female role models. How did you come up with this idea?
We both had opposite experiences with our girls that brought us to the same conclusion: we wanted to tell stories of real, brave women to our children to inspire them to be brave and confident.
How do you find female role models and what messages are especially important to you?
There are an endless amount of incredible female role models in the world, past and present. With so many options to choose from, we focus on selecting women from a variety of ethnicities, race, backgrounds, and careers so that all children have the opportunity to recognize themselves in the women we feature.
In love with the design of Bravery Mag!
What can parents and kids find inside your magazine?
Bravery Magazine is a quarterly publication for girls and boys, ages 5-12 (though we’ve heard from readers that younger children and adults love the magazine, too!). In each issue, we feature one woman and a trait that she embodies. There is an illustrated story about her life and contributions to the world, and each issue is full of educational activities, fun DIYs, and beautiful art that explores different facets of the featured woman’s life. You’ll find fun facts, coloring pages, word puzzles, and STEAM experiments that are simple, yet educational and engaging.
Your magazines have a very distinct design. Do you work with designers or do you create everything yourselves?
We hired a designer to help us with our branding and to build some templates for us to use consistently, and that has helped our magazine feel cohesive. We also hire many artists in each issue to help us execute our ideas—their talents have really helped the magazine stand out visually. Along with the artists we work with, our co-founder and art director, Ashley, has amazing vision and natural talent that has really made Bravery Mag the beautiful product that it is.
Can you tell us a bit about your recent magazines? Do you have a favorite one so far?
Our most recently published issue is about Junko Tabei, the first woman to summit Mount Everest. It is full of facts about Japan, Mount Everest, stories about Junko, and fun DIY and word activities. It was a fun issue to put together because we learned so much about an incredible woman that not many people know about. I don’t know if we can pinpoint a favorite issue though. Each of them is like our babies! No one can choose a favorite kid ;).
Do you have any surprising or funny stories to share on how people reacted to Bravery Mag?
In late 2017, we ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund our first issue. We were really nervous to put ourselves out there, but after two days, our campaign was completely funded and still going strong. We were blown away by the response and were so surprised by people’s enthusiasm. It was the first time that we thought, “Hey...maybe we have something special here.”
With Bravery you are breaking the old structures where most role models are men. Why do you think it took so long for this to start changing and would you say feminism is getting bigger in the last years?
Men have written history books for so long. It’s been easy to leave female role models out of the narrative. But now, women have bigger and better platforms they can use to tell their stories. The more women use their voices, the harder they are to ignore, and the more light they shine on their brave predecessors who have paved the way before. Feminism is growing because women are fighting to grow it, just like they always have—now, there’s just more opportunity for people to hear, and more people who are willing to listen.
The more women use their voices, the harder they are to ignore
What was the most difficult moment while running Bravery Mag and how did you overcome it?
One of the hardest things we’ve had to do was get out of our own way. We had to learn to overcome our own fears and shortcomings—push ourselves to accept our imperfections and refuse to let them hold us back. We had to get over the fear that our product wasn’t perfect and get over the fear that we might fail. We just had to take small steps in the right direction and trust our gut, even when it was scary. Turns out to start Bravery Mag, we needed a big dose of bravery ourselves.
What is your dream for Bravery for the next five years?
We have big dreams for Bravery ! Ultimately we’d love to create resources for parents, teachers, and adults in many different avenues—podcasts, YouTube videos, conferences, you name it! If we can dream it up, we want to do it. But sometimes our little ones and the 24-hour days have other ideas.
How do you combine being a mom and running Bravery? Do you have any special tips to share with other mompreneurs? Are there any rituals you follow?
Being parents and entrepreneurs is really hard—we often feel like we are failing at everything we do. As stay-at-home mothers and work-from-home business owners, our work tends to bleed into the rest of our lives, so we had a hard time for a long time separating work from family. We were together almost every day of the week for most of the day. Our kids were together constantly and our husbands were being neglected. We realized we needed a better system. Since then, we’ve come a long way and have found something that works for both of us. We are still pretty new at this whole thing, but after a lot of trial and error in the past year, we’ve found that making a strict distinction between work-focused time and kid-focused time is really important. When we’re working, we work. When we’re done, we do our best to turn it off and be present with our families. It’s a work in progress, but when we nail it, it feels pretty great.
Family time! Elyse and Ashley found that making a strict distinction between work-focused time and family-focused time is really important
What do you especially like about your work and what gives you inspiration and motivation on a daily basis?
It still feels surreal to us both that this idea we had in our brains actually turned into a physical product that we can touch and read and experience. It’s amazing! We also love the little stories that our readers share with us about how the magazine has inspired their own kid to conquer a fear, to try something new, or has sparked important questions and conversations. This type of feedback is so rewarding and motivating for us, because it’s exactly why we created Bravery —to inspire kids to be their own kind of brave!
Please complete the sentence: “Children are wonderful, because...“
...their imaginations are limitless and their confidence is inspiring.
Thank you so much Elyse and Ashley! Your magazine Bravery Mag is very inspiring and gives not only children confidence to believe in themselves. We just love the stories of all the brave women you portraited and are excited about the upcoming ones. Thank you for being truly powerful female role models!
Be your own kind of brave!