The magazine world is abuzz with the news that Associated Magazines has taken the decision to publish Hearst Magazines’ venerable, 126-year-old title, Good Housekeeping. Not only that, but they’re doing it in Afrikaans too. While much speculation is taking place over who will jump ship from various titles around the magazine world to be in on one of the most anticipated publishing events of the year, one such rumour has been put to rest: Sally Emery is to edit English and Afrikaans versions of the magazine.
Currently based in the United Arab Emirates, where she has been editing Aquarius magazine, Emery will soon be returning to South Africa to take charge of Good Housekeeping / Goeie Huishouding. “I am delighted to be returning to South Africa. I have been in Dubai for the last seven years, and it has been a good and positive experience for me and my family. But South Africa is home, and I am looking forward to being close to family and friends again and living in a familiar environment. I want my children to know, understand and appreciate their South African roots,” she told TheMediaOnline.
“The magazine publishing industry has grown and developed tremendously in the time that I have been in the UAE. There has been a big increase in the number international titles with Middle Eastern editions, and this has had a positive effect on the industry as a whole. Because the UAE is home to a very diverse pool of people from all over the world, you need to create a product that appeals to people from a variety of different countries and cultures. That is both challenging and rewarding.
“This is one of the aspects of living in the UAE that I have enjoyed the most – interacting with and learning from such a wide variety of cultures and nationalities,” she said. The same could be said of the (new) readership of Good Housekeeping. Juggling home, family and career is not limited to a particular group in society.
Emery said she does “try to create a warm, happy home environment for my family, and balancing that with a full time job does require a lot of juggling”.
“Soon after I had children I learnt that the best way to maintain a less stressful and more enjoyable home life and work life is to be as organised as possible – I’m addicted to lists. But I don’t strive to be superwoman – I also know that sometimes it is perfectly fine for my family to have Bovril toast for dinner,” she said. “That said, I, like millions of other women who are in the same position as me, am always looking for information, advice and inspiration that can make my life simpler, easier – and more fun. And that is what Good Housekeeping is all about – it is totally focused on offering women like myself smart solutions to all aspects of their life.”
Besides understanding the women who will hopefully find Good Housekeeping invaluable in maintaining their balance, Emery certainly understand the demands of the job too. “I have been working in media for the past 20 years, and I have been editor of various lifestyle titles for the past nine years – so professionally, I feel very well equipped to launch and grow Good Housekeeping in the South African market.
“On a personal level, Good Housekeeping is a brand I completely relate to and understand. It is targeted at women like myself who are living, full busy lives – and who love their home, their family and their career.”
While she is English-speaking, she speaks fluent Afrikaans, and doesn’t see problems ahead in editing a dual medium magazine. “The Good Housekeeping team we are currently building will have strong English and Afrikaans speakers. The Afrikaans edition will be a direct translation of the English edition – so I anticipate that the initial challenges will lie in developing a smooth production process,” she said.
And of course, building the magazine’s digital presence in South Africa. “We will have a very strong digital offering, including a presence on the major social networks.”
Is she concerned that the magazine sounds old-fashioned in the 21 Century? After all, it was launched in 1885, the century before last! “The words ‘Good Housekeeping’ on their own do sound old fashioned, but anyone familiar with the Good Housekeeping brand knows that it is fresh, contemporary and aimed at today’s women, who, while they might be proud of their home and enjoy welcoming family and friends into it, certainly aren’t striving for unattainable perfection,” she explained.
“Ultimately your home is the place you come back to at the end of each day. It’s where you connect with your family and create your unique, personal sanctuary – this is the essence of Good Housekeeping. It is gives you the tools, insight and inspiration to do this – we’re not talking about pulling on white gloves and checking for dust on the top of your mantel piece! What we are talking about, though, is easy family dinners, fun ideas for entertaining friends at home, simple ways to make your living area more functional – stuff that makes managing your home life a little more pleasurable and hassle free.”