And Just Like That

- Michael McHugh Editor-in-Chief michael@mindfood.com Instagram@mindfoodmi­ke

It was 14 years ago that we launched MiNDFOOD, smack-bang in the middle of the Global Financial Crisis. Some considered us crazy, with one competing publisher at the time saying, “Well that will never work!” (He is no longer in the industry, I might add.) I do remember that very first day the magazine went on sale, walking around to different newsagents, seeing what in-store displays had been built and what the marketing for the magazine looked like and thinking where is everyone, and why haven’t they bought a copy? That night, we had a party celebratin­g all the hard work and to thank everyone who had been involved in the launch for their support. If you’re a small-business owner you will appreciate this – I also had a feeling in my belly of complete anxiety – if this gamble called MiNDFOOD didn’t quite work out as we’d dreamt, what would we do?

One thing I have learnt about myself over the past 14 years is that once I believe in something I never give up, no matter what gets thrown at me, or how difficult a situation may seem. Hearing ‘Well that will never work!’ was all I needed to quietly think, ‘I’ll show them’.

I also believe that if you’re going to do something, do it to the best of your ability and beyond. I remember I explained to staff how I would like the phone to be answered, i.e. ‘Hello, McHugh Media, how can I help you?’ Explaining to staff how guests and clients should feel after a meeting with us, and what a reader should experience each time they read or viewed anything from the world of MiNDFOOD. These details in my thinking were key to delivering a great experience for anyone who came in contact with MiNDFOOD.

The MiNDFOOD experience wasn’t just about a page in a magazine; I wanted the experience to start before that and for whoever came in contact with us, to think! Hence since launching, our hashtag ‘SmartThink­ing’ has never changed, because our core belief and MiNDFOOD DNA hasn’t changed. Giving someone a range of thought – that was my goal. If someone left thinking about what was discussed, what they read, what visual elements they enjoyed; and that in time promoted some kind of smart thinking, then MiNDFOOD was well and truly adding to the conversati­on and doing its job.

Of course you can plan, budget, dream and lose sight of reality sometimes when you create something. It’s one thing to build and create something, it’s another to then constantly stay fresh and relevant. Every day, our talented staff make sure that what we are creating is of interest and impels that sense of smart thinking. The constant, unwavering creativity, hard work and energy they bring to their roles is inspiring.

I must, however, thank my family for trusting and believing in my idea and letting me run with it, and fulfilling that very simple dream I had as a child growing up in Whangārei of one day owning my own magazine. It seems almost like an impossible dream when I think of it now. No-one in my family was involved in publishing, but in those magazines my mum would buy from the supermarke­t each week, and in the magazines Dad would subscribe to, I would lose myself, devouring the stories and letting my mind wander, experienci­ng new ideas and realising that perhaps there was a world outside of Fairway Drive to discover.

For the last few years, the global pandemic has had a rather uncompromi­sing strangleho­ld on communitie­s around the world, changing the way we live and the way we think about life. MiNDFOOD has been a constant during these moments and no matter what comes along, we are part of your community, continuing to make people think.

On a personal note, I have shared much with you over these 14 years in my monthly editorials. It has been cathartic, at times exhilarati­ng, and sometimes very sad, writing about things that have happened in life. The constant has been to know you are there supporting what we create and for me, each day, continuing to make that dream a reality. I think of the lack of knowledge and know-how I had as a naive kid all those years ago, but to still hold on to that dream and somehow make it happen. So reader, I feel now is your time to dream, believe and achieve that something you’ve always wanted to do.

If there is something you have always wanted to create, start today. No more excuses of why it can’t be done. As soon as you finish reading this, write down how you are going to turn that dream into a reality. Do it. You will be surprised what you can achieve.

Sounds like smart thinking to me.


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