Tricia English's day job is that of interior designer, but her true passion project is Unum Magazine (unummagazine.com), an online and limited edition print product that highlights the artistic and cultural work of women around the world. English cooked up the idea while working in fashion, attending the Melbourne School of Design in Australia and otherwise hoping to discover what would happen if a media product focused on uniting and celebrating women. The next big issue drops March 9 alongside an Unum party at downtown restaurant Paloma, but we couldn't wait that long to ask English a few questions.
Give us the elevator pitch. What is Unum, exactly?
It's a magazine that highlights the contributions and achievements of women all over the world. We basically curate an issue based on a specific theme, and we've done anything from science to art to agriculture. We bring women together from different parts of the world to show different ways we could be united, know each other and connect. They open up their lives, and the magazine is written in first person—we make it completely in their voice, so it's like reading their own story.
You've been traveling a lot for Unum, most recently to Mexico. Was an international angle always part of the idea, and do you have countries in mind for the future?
Yes. When I started it I had a dream of doing four issues a year in four different countries. It's the same kind of idea, but instead of being a theme based on art, we'd make it about the country. It is a hybrid magazine, so it's an LLC, but it has a nonprofit umbrella [Littleglobe]; it's under that 501c3. So, someone generously donated money last year, and I went to them and said instead of hiring more writers or photographers, how would they feel about traveling and highlighting other countries? They were thrilled that's what I wanted to do. We're thinking Colombia next. We're starting closer [to home], but ideally, there are countries we're looking at in Southeast Asia and Africa. We want to highlight countries that don't get enough recognition, and honestly, the work there doesn't get enough recognition. Because of what I've done in the last two-and-a-half years, I've met a ton of people who drive me to want to travel internationally.
I hear you'll have some kind of physical space in the works. What'll that look like?
There's not a physical space in the works. We don't have a place in mind yet, but we're branching Unum out into its own 501c3 entity, so it will not just be a magazine at that point. Ideally, because of the outpour of enthusiasm, we want to keep [the magazine] for sure. The main thing I'm adamant about doing is…people who've never written for a magazine, people who haven't been in a magazine, I want to give them a shot. I have writers in different countries who love writing, and I give them the platform to do that. Ideally, I'm working on getting board members from different countries, so we can make it very international, the opportunity to do more events—I'd want all the funding to go into the foundation which would then feed into projects by women here and in different parts of the country and different parts of the world instead of it just being an opportunity for media. Unum didn't start out as in print, now it's in print—a limited edition print—but I'm very open to whatever comes next. It's supporting women, but you don't have to woman to be a part of it.