Cover Story: Under New Management

Under New Management

After working as the graphic design team for the Pitt County Women’s Journal for the past two years, Emerson Designs owners Aron, 35, and Amy Daniels, 33, have purchased full ownership of the publication. The duo will be expanding the monthly magazine—a leading source of health information for women in the greater Greenville area for more than 10 years —into a premiere resource with information about local events, stories about blossoming local businesses, and profiles on stand-out women and fellow entrepreneurs in the community.

A New Vision for the Women’s Journal

Aron brings nearly 10 years of magazine design and publishing experience to the Journal. Building on the success he garnered while developing another North Carolina women’s monthly, Aron and Amy together are giving the magazine a complete overhaul. “We are shifting the focus of the Women’s Journal to include the amazing things women are doing in our area—from raising children to running businesses, and everything in between. We have seen first-hand how much a women-centered magazine can create a community,” Amy explains.

A new and recurring section in the publication, ‘Women to Watch,’ will showcase local women nominated by friends and family for their outstanding accomplishments. “As women, so many of us fundamentally have a hard time taking ownership of our successes, so to be publicly recognized for accomplishing goals reminds us that our hard work really is worth something,” Amy says. “We want to celebrate women who are making changes in their lives, be that through working their way up the ladder at work, going above-and-beyond to serve others, or overcoming obstacles to reach personal goals.”

As small business owners themselves, the Daniels’ top priority as new magazine owners is to support local businesses. “We really want the Women’s Journal to provide a platform for locally-owned businesses to showcase their products and services,” says Amy. “We want to introduce our readers to the people who are defining what it means to live and work in and around Greenville. There are so many independent business owners who make Pitt County a great place to live.”

“You’ll see your dentist featured—your neighbor, your friend—and you’ll be proud and excited to be a part of the things that are happening in Pitt County,” Aron states. “This magazine is about people in the community. If you don’t already know them, you will want to.” 

With their focus on supporting and building community connections, the Daniels are looking forward to making new friends, both professionally and personally. “We want people to want to be involved,” says Aron. “We will be sponsoring events at local restaurants, offering prize giveaways from local businesses on our Facebook page, and partnering with people of interest for guest blog spots on our website.”

With community engagement in mind, the Daniels also will introduce to the Women’s Journal a local events calendar. Select events will be announced each month, with a more comprehensive listing published on the Journal’s online events calendar. “I really want this magazine to be a catalyst for new connections between community members. I want to see the Women’s Journal become part of the everyday experience of living in Greenville,” Aron asserts.

Greenville Transplants 

Prior to moving to Greenville in 2014, the Daniels called the Piedmont area of North Carolina home. Amy was a middle school science teacher, and Aron, a graphic designer, worked for a design firm creating Forsyth Woman, a magazine based in Winston-Salem, NC. When their first child, Elijah, was born in 2013, the Daniels realized how much their world needed to change. By Elijah’s first birthday, the couple decided to uproot and relocate to Greenville to raise their son closer to family.

“We were completely unprepared for how much parenthood would change things,” Amy explains. “We both were working full-time jobs. We didn’t have childcare. Aron worked at night and kept the baby during the day; I worked during the day and kept the baby at night. Neither of us slept more than a couple of hours at a time for the whole first year. So, we quit our jobs, sold our house, and moved.”

With family in Greenville, Kinston, and Swansboro, the Daniels decided that Greenville held the best opportunities for their family. Amy began working at a local plant nursery, and Aron launched his own design firm, Emerson Designs. Aron’s new business began to grow after he joined a local networking group and started getting to know other entrepreneurs.

“We can trace most of our connections in Greenville back to networking events we attended,” Aron says. “Those were the people who sent us our first jobs, and then introduced us to people who would become our friends. Making it a priority to connect with people outside of a weekly meeting changed things. Getting to know people as people instead of just as business owners connected us to them, and you tend to do business with people you have a relationship with.”

After their second son, Malcolm, was born in 2016, Amy joined her husband as a graphic designer. “I loved working at the nursery,” Amy remembers, “but after having another baby, I couldn’t handle a manual labor job. Emerson Designs had more work coming in than Aron could handle on his own, so it made sense for me to change jobs, again, and learn some graphic design skills. I never expected to find myself as a graphic designer, and now I’m also a magazine publisher, an ad sales manager, a writer, and a web developer. Who knows what I’ll be next week!” Amy jokes of her many different responsibilities. 

The Daniels have found themselves feeling more and more at home in Pitt County. With a unique mixture of ENC born-and-raised residents, ECU-affiliated populations, and out-of-state transplants, the area offers a perfectly diverse environment for developing local businesses and partnerships. 

“It is a great time to be in Greenville,” Aron says. “With so much growth on the horizon, it’s exciting that we get to be part of cultivating a sense of community for everyone in the area. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived here your entire life, or if you just moved here last year. Pitt County has a place for you to connect.”  

Be a part of our online community and win prizes from local businesses by connecting with the Women’s Journal on Facebook!  Find more updates on the newly re-launched Pitt County Women’s Journal website at www.PittCountyWomen.com. The new site features a business directory of local advertisers, community events calendar, Women to Watch nomination form, guest blog, and much more! Interested in advertising in the Women’s Journal? Visit www.PittCountyWomen.com/advertise for more information.

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