Our creation story
Konect magazines were set up by the Editor and Manager, Helen-Jane, shortly after she moved into West Lothian with a young family.
“It was 2009, before there was a Facebook group for every community, and there was no local newsletter for our village, printed or otherwise. With no personal network in the area to draw on, it was pretty hard to find activities for the children, find tradespeople to fix things on the house, and so on.”
So, freshly graduated from Heriot-Watt where she’d finished her degree as a mature student, and looking for work, Helen-Jane decided to combine the need for local information with the need for a business she could run from home and fit around her three young children.
Six weeks after knocking on the door of every visible business in Kirknewton, East Calder and Mid Calder with her proposal for a community magazine based on local business advertising, the first Konect magazine was born. The name was a contraction of “Kirknewton and East Calder Today.”
“I’m so grateful to the businesses who put their faith in me and booked into that first issue, when I had very little to show for it other than a firm belief in what I was doing,” says Helen-Jane.
The first issue had 24 pages and 5000 copies were distributed by hand, mostly by Helen-Jane and a good number of them with a toddler in the pushchair at the same time! “The response was almost overwhelming; I had put a big effort into – well, into everything, but especially the articles – and the next issue had 32 pages and the next 40 pages, as businesses contacted me to be included, readers got in touch to say how much they loved it, and the businesses that were in it found their phones ringing with enquiries. “The team grew. The next area we added was Balerno as my children were at school there, and we gradually added areas to cover as our personal and professional networks expanded.”
Today, Konect distributes over 50,000 magazines every month and has directly contributed to the growth and support of many small and medium-sized businesses and community groups who connect with local readers via the magazine. Providing a place for local charities to publicise themselves quickly became one of the mainstays of the editorial too.
The team of writers, graphic designer, account manager, and distributors are all members of the local community. Yes, there is Google, and although it has improved massively since the days of keyword stuffing in websites, it’s still no substitute for local knowledge developed by the local community, nor is it a substitute for a beautifully produced paper magazine popping through the letterbox every month that people love, trust, and take the time to read.
Supporting local businesses and organisations has always been our focus. Putting readers in touch with local facilities is simply vital for keeping healthy functioning communities. It’s never been more important. Here’s to many more years.
Graphic design and layout by Universal Appeal Ltd