You’ve heard of them, the new independent mag on the market and a great one at that,  The Donut Shop. We reached out to them about their process, what they are hoping to achieve, if it was scary when they launched (it was for us), etc. Turns out they wanted to know about our way of doing things too. We interviewed the two fine ladies who run The Donut Shop, Audrey Kelly and Mara Hasenstaub, and they asked us about our setup, which you can find here.

Don’t forget to follow them on social (FB, Twitter, and Insta).

Here goes it..



AK: Hey! My name is Audrey and I am the Chief Creative Officer (and co-founder) of The Donut Shop. I live in Seattle where I work a myriad of freelance photo-related jobs, sling espresso at a coffee shop, and work to help maintain the site every free moment I have. I spend my weekends exploring the Pacific Northwest with my boyfriend and trying to spend as much time around dogs as humanly possible.  I am an OU alum (class of 2014) wooo! I majored in Commercial Photography and minored in History, Business and The Union.


MH: Hello! I’m Mara (pronounced like Sarah) and I am the Chief Operations Officer (and co-founder of The Donut Shop). I live in beautiful Boulder, Colorado where I have recently accepted a new position as a Marketing Coordinator! When I’m not working (at my job and on The Donut Shop) I can usually be found adventuring or snowboarding in the mountains, playing rugby, running, or eating tacos. I graduated from OU in 2013 with a degree in Recreation Management, Communications, and the Global Leadership Center.

Illustration by Audrey Kelly for the submission, "Calluses".

Illustration by Audrey Kelly for the submission, “Calluses”.

Where did the name come from?

AK: Mara and I were definitely struggling trying to come up with a name for the site. We wanted it to be short and quippy but fun too. After some frustration we were like, let’s just name it the freaking pizza shop or donut shop or something. I think we always have had donuts on the mind.


MH: I do love donuts. I also want to give a quick nod to the song “Modern Girl” by Sleater-Kinney – thanks for the donut lyric grrrls, it is somewhat our namesake song.


What are some of the hardest things you have had to deal with? i.e. trolling, ethics, etc.

AK: I think one of the hardest obstacles for us is distance. We are both incredibly busy and live in two different time zones. Finding a few minutes to chat about life is hard enough let alone scheduling time to really get things done. Despite these logistical snafus we make a great team.


MH: DISTANCE. We are essentially in a work LDR and it makes things quite complicated. I think that I can say for both of us that we are incredibly thankful that we are both type A, hyper-organized, and rely on Google Drive.


What are you going for with this mag, what do you want out of it? what do you want other people to get out of it?

AK: First and foremost we did this project for ourselves – we needed an outlet that we weren’t getting from our lives at the time. I think it has blossomed into a little baby flower bud and has a lot of growing to do. I would love to see the readership extend beyond our Ohio/OU roots and expand our marketing. A lot of our content is relatable across many ages and experiences we just need more people to read it!


MH: We also wanted to create a space for people to get in touch with their creative sides. After graduating it is pretty easy to get swept away in whatever occupies the majority of your day (be that a 9-5, internship, etc). We wanted people to reconnect with their innovative roots and make a space for them to share those creations.


What is your process for running the site? How many people do you have working on your team?

AK: Right now we have 4-5 people working on the site. Mara and myself (we oversee the entire ins and outs of submissions, marketing, social media, web design, art, etc), two copy editors, and a weekly columnist. We have some other columns too but they are less frequent. We have a workflow that works for us using Google Docs, Gmail, skype calls, etc.


Where do you see Donut Shop in the next year?

AK: I would love to see the site have more weekly content – more columns and more editorial and essay pieces. I would also like to see more music and pop culture writing on the site – review, interviews, etc.


MH: Personally, I would love to see more ‘project-based’ work (photo series, video series, etc). I would also love to see some global content come in!


What are some things that you want to do but haven’t gotten the chance with the mag?

AK: I would love to have other forms of media be a part of The Donut Shop – specifically podcasts or other audio, and video.


Ethos, pathos, logos…?

AK: Pathos here!


MH: Pathos as well. I have feelings about my feelings.



What sites are inspirational to you?

AK: I really love Rookie’s aesthetic and inclusivity. They market to a younger, more feminine crowd than we do but their branding and content push the envelope and I love it. I wish it was around when I was a teen.


MH: I second Audrey’s inspiration; I adore Rookie Mag. I also love the Financial Diet, they are a much more focused site but I think that they produce worthy content that all millennials should be checking out.


Do you think the magazine has an overarching political view?

AK: We try to be inclusive to all viewpoints, but I think as a magazine we definitely holdfast the values of inclusivity and feminism. Since we are a submission-based magazine, our content comes from a variety of voices. We want everyone’s views to be seen and heard as long as they are constructive and don’t promote negativity or pain towards anyone else.


MH: Based on the submissions that we receive, I would say that we are a pretty liberal magazine. We want to be inclusive and safe while allowing opinions and strong views to shine through.


What was it like when you first launched the site? Were you nervous?

AK: *laughs* so nervous! We were like, is anyone going to even care? Will our friends think we are crazy? What if no one submits??


MH: Definitely nervous. I remember editing my personal social media blast nearly 10 times. This site is our baby and sharing it was an incredibly vulnerable thing for me to do.


Do you ever feel like you are bugging people for submissions or views? How do you deal with that?

AK: I definitely feel like sometimes it can be hard to muster up submissions. I am so lucky to have an incredibly talented pool of friends to bother for submissions. That being said, many haven’t submitted or have said that they don’t want to – and that it is totally fine! I only want to showcase work that wants to be seen and not make anyone feel like they *have* to submit to my site. We are grateful for any support even if that’s a “like” or a follow.


MH: Yes, yes, yes. (So if you are reading this interview, you should definitely submit! Hehehe). We try to garner more submissions through planned social media posts – we also have some upcoming business plans focused on how to generate more submissions…


The absolute worst question to ask but, anything you were wanting to say that my questions didn’t facilitate.

Maybe we could share our favorite Donut Shop posts??

AK: Calluses, by Mel Johnston 

MH: Oh this is a tie. Sienna by Zoey Miller  and When I Felt Too Much by Ally Ayotte