What is innovation to you?

Welcome to BLK Innovators. A platform for conversations with the most innovative minds in the black community!

Brandie Gilliam, Founder/Creative Director, Thoughtfully Magazine

Brandie Gilliam, Founder/Creative Director, Thoughtfully Magazine

Terrence Nelson: Can you briefly explain what Thoughtfully is as a brand and what it represents?
Brandie Gilliam: Thoughtfully is a lifestyle brand with an emphasis on health, wellness, self-care and sustainability. Our signature product is a coffee-table style print magazine that's available at Whole Foods Market, Natural Grocers, Sprouts, Barnes & Noble and other thoughtful Stockists in the U.S. and Canada that share our values.

Nelson: In what way is Thoughtfully being innovative and bringing something to its readers that no other publication does?
Gilliam: Thoughtfully is helping to redefine media at the newsstands. We're intentional about authenticity, sustainability and diversity and doing it in a very real way because these are the values we live. Our primary audience is women and we're here to empower them with information and inspiration that aligns with their personal goals and needs. Women are the future as much as they are the past and the present. If we can create healthier women in mind, body and spirit, I believe our children and men (and ultimately society as a whole) will only be better.

Nelson: As a creative director, what is your approach to creating a publication that competes with digital outlets and social media for reader attention?
Gilliam: My approach is to create a publication from the heart that comes alongside people in their wellness journey. I'm a firm believer that when you focus on creating a great product, the rest takes care of itself.

Nelson: As founder and creative director, how do you position Thoughtfully in a way that readers adapt it into their health and wellness lifestyle?
Gilliam: Our motto at Thoughtfully is "live passionately, beautifully and thoughtfully every day." We come from the premise that you only get one life and it goes by really fast, so live it on purpose and with intention. We also come from the vantage point that we as individuals hold the keys to unlocking the fullness of our health and wellness by the thoughts we think which lead to the decisions we make. If we see ourselves as valuable and more than enough, then it changes our perspective and how we engage with the world around us. If we see our bodies as incredible walking miracles and our minds as limitless, then it it changes what we feed our bodies for optimum performance and what we consume to nourish ourselves. With that being said, we encourage readers to start where they are, use what they have and do what they can. Health and wellness is a process and journey so it's important that you give yourself permission to have fun, grow, make mistakes and learn.

                                                    Courtesy: Wild Light Films

Nelson: What is your full vision for Thoughtfully?
Gilliam: To be a brand that's always creating and innovating from an authentic and genuine place and that leaves our audience better and more confident about themselves and their choices. If we always keep that goal at the forefront every step of the way, then the vision will always be realized.

Nelson: How do you see tech furthering engagement between publications and readers?
Gilliam: Technology allows for accessibility. We love that technology allows for us to connect and collaborate with people all over the world. Technology has been and will continue to be paramount for us as a publication.

Nelson: What does innovation mean to you?
Gilliam: Innovation is continuing to make processes, ideas and products better so people's lives are enhanced. The moment that "innovation" starts to negatively impact people, the environment and animals is when we miss the mark. Take for example the world of fast fashion or the food industry. We've innovated to the point where we can have the latest and greatest styles or just about any food we can think of whenever we want here in the U.S. But at what cost? Do we know how those clothes are being made and who makes them? Do we know how our food is being produced, what chemicals are being used in the process and how it's affecting our health? Do we even know to ask these questions? Better yet, do we care? Most of us are blindly trusting companies that are more concerned about their bottom line than our well-being. It's important that we continue to innovate but do so thoughtfully.



Terrence Nelson is a content producer and editor-in-chief of BLK Innovators.  

Twitter:  @TM_Nelson   

Instagram: Terrence_Media

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