“I want people to feel like we’re worthy of having that kind of quality here,” said Julia Huisman, founder of HERE magazine, “For so long we’ve been told otherwise.”
“I think we’re often portrayed as the negative space between Chicago and Michigan, and I’m here witnessing the great things that are happening. So much development and innovation. I’m proud of what we have to offer.”
“My main reason for starting the magazine was because I wanted other people to see what I see: we are worthy of being recognized for the beauty that’s coming from this area.”
Having worked in magazine media for 15 years, primarily for The Times, she was eventually tapped as Editor in Chief for a new women’s lifestyle magazine called Inspired Living.
“It was a great experience to get to dream up the stories that I wanted to tell, and I met a lot of great people in the process,” Julia said, “I learned that creative entrepreneurs were starting to come on the scene in Northwest Indiana. It was everywhere I looked.”
When Inspired Living folded two years later, Julia found herself in an interesting place: without a job but with a solid vision.
Having been laid off, Julia found lots of support from friends and colleagues who would send her job openings, and she was very grateful. But during this time, she started thinking about what her magazine would look like.
She wanted her magazine, now HERE magazine, to feature the creative community and feature high quality design.
“There was never going to be a better time,” Julia said, “I’m not the kind of person who’d leave a well-paying job to start my own business.”
From her experience in the industry, Julia already had a network of writers and photographers. She knew the local printers, and she had the know-how to produce her own magazine.
“There are a lot of things I’ve learned being a business owner,” Julia said about her first year in independent publication, “it’s a big learning curve still.”
“I noticed that downtown spaces were building up, lending themselves to these great small businesses,” Julia said of the content for HERE, “more people have been starting to explore their creative side.”
Having grown up in La Porte, Julia now lives in Crown Point with her husband, Justin, a baseball coach at Trinity Christian College, her 15-year-old daughter Bella and her 6-year-old daughter Summer. They look forward to another baby on the way.
“We love Crown Point,” Julia said, “It’s big enough so there’s variety, but it has a small-town feel. It feels intimate and there’s always something to do on the square. It’s a town that I’m proud to be a part of because they’re doing such good things.”
Obviously, both Crown Point and La Porte are places Julia can look to for inspiration, as their downtowns develop and flourish.
Julia’s own creative side emerged when she was only four years old.
“I’ve always loved reading and writing,” Julia said of writing short stories even as a young child, “I consider it an incredible blessing that I get to do work that I love. I know how rare that is and it’s not something that I take for granted.”