By Morgan Noseworthy
The Edmonton Muse is a magazine dedicated to showcasing local events and lifestyle. Founded by Jessi Toms in 2016, the publication is the definition of a do-it-yourself endeavour.
“I got a few people in my kitchen to sit around and was like ‘I have this idea… what do you think?’ Originally it was supposed to just be event listings because I was sick and tired of people saying there was nothing to do in Edmonton,” said Toms.
In the past year, however, the magazine has expanded its focus.
“The Edmonton Muse was an entertainment-based magazine that kind of expanded into more of Edmonton lifestyle over the last year. We started with music and art, and we went into a broad range of things. So now we’re in lifestyle, and we’re going to be doing health and wellness, mental health and pets,” Toms said.
Making the decision to keep the magazine online-only was easy for Toms.
“Print is drowning people in costs. Just look at The Vue. The Vue was an excellent magazine, and I think print is what killed them,” Toms said.
Media is shifting to online mediums to meet the demands of the consumer.
“My audience is concentrated in Edmonton and surrounding areas, but we reach people in Australia and Europe and I have a few in Japan that are constant readers. It’s kinda cool that we’re able to engage readers overseas so that people here also get that exposure over there,” said Toms.
“There’s a lot of hours that go into each magazine and keeping up the content. I have an amazing team, but I work from the time I drop my kid off at school and pick him up at 5:30. When he goes to bed at eight, I’m working until two in the morning.”
It’s hard work, but Toms isn’t worried about competition.
“There’s more than enough room for thirty entertainment-based magazines in this city alone.”
She even offers to help with aspiring Edmonton writers.
“Come talk to me. If you’re going to start your own thing, you are going to have to dedicate a lot of time to building it. The content is the most important thing. Make it your own. Don’t follow what CBC is doing and CTV. They’re established,” said Toms.
“Offer something unique. If you are wanting to start something new – I believe in ‘co-opetiton,’ not competition. I think that by building each other up we get so much further ahead.”
Being online also has the advantage of being available anywhere, any time.
“People ask ‘Well, where can I find you?’ and I say ‘Well, do you have a cell phone?’”
The Edmonton Muse can be viewed for free online at theedmontonmuse.ca.