Interview with Shelly Lynn Hughes - Founder/Publisher of Fresh Magazine and Pursuit 365

Please share something about yourself both personally and professionally? What was the path that led to your current work as founder/publisher of Fresh Magazine?

I am a multi-business owner and a single mom to my two amazing daughters. With each business venture, it is always top of mind to set an example for them, to inspire them. I want my girls to see what a successful mom can look like and feel empowered to accomplish anything they want in their own lives.

I had worked in publishing for a number of years, and Fresh Magazine was my own way of sharing information and entertainment to people that I felt they could benefit from. My knowledge and experience in the health and wellness industry, anti-aging, fitness, and what it means to be beautiful inside and out all came together in Fresh Magazine. It has evolved over time as we work with some amazing partners and inspired women all across Canada. We’ve been around just over a decade, and I can only say that the next decade looks even brighter!

What is Fresh Magazine all about? Who is your target audience and what do you hope they take away from reading it?

Fresh Magazine is for the woman who wants to feel beautiful inside and out. Our focus is the healthy, happy, beautiful woman who is open to new ideas, beauty treatments, empowering stories, and all that can make someone feel beautiful. On the cover of each print issue, you will find a prominent woman, someone who has influenced us all in a specific way. We have media icons, philanthropists, musicians, actors, political figures, business owners, and more. When readers pick up Fresh Magazine or head over to freshmag.ca, they can anticipate an abundance of enjoyable content and new approaches to looking and feeling your absolute best at any stage in life.

March 8, 2021 is a very special date. You are launching Pursuit 365, a coffee table book featuring 365 Canadian Women. When did the idea for this book first arise and what is the its purpose?

March 8th, 2021 is International Women’s Day. I believe in celebrating women every day, so when putting this book concept together, that’s exactly what we decided to do – 365 represents each day of the year. The year 2020 was a challenge for everyone – literally everyone, everywhere. We had big plans for Fresh Magazine and my other companies, but when March 2020 came around, those plans were forced to pivot. The essence of each of my companies is empowerment, so when I couldn’t support our goals with in-person activities, I began to think about how else I could achieve these same goals without any in-person events.

It wasn’t easy. I was juggling multiple businesses that all needed to pivot in one way or another, two daughters and their new schooling situation, as a single mom it seemed like I had to be in six places at once to make it work. I’m confident I’m not the only person who felt this throughout the past year. Reminding myself of what I stand for – feeling beautiful, healthy, and happy – the idea came to me that we don’t have to have a speaker series to get these women’s stories out. With a platform like Fresh Magazine, my team and I could put together something right now that keeps everyone safe, but still gets the content we want to share out into the world. As you can imagine, that escalated quickly as these things do, and within the next few hours, I had a preliminary team, project manager, and five people signed up for this unnamed book we were going to use to empower women, share stories, and make everyone feel inspired in a crazy time.

And that is exactly what I hope everyone feels when reading this book. These stories are diverse, intense, funny, serious, personal, professional, and everything in between. We laughed, cried, felt second-hand-anger, and mostly were inspired by the bravery, solidarity, and kindness of the women in this book. I know you will feel the same and I can’t wait for readers to experience what these amazing women have helped us put together.


What did you look for when deciding which women to include. Also, I know you have several very well-known Canadian women who have agreed to be a part. Can you share a few names?

There are millions of women in Canada that have a story worth telling. All of us have something to share. This book serves as a way to take one day out of the year, every day of the year, to celebrate one of these women and her story. When we first set out to fill this book, it was significantly more ambitious than I realized at the time. I also didn’t anticipate the overwhelming response and the immense positivity the community of women we cultivated would provide. Each woman in this book was referred to us by someone affiliated with the project or someone already in the book. We did not advertise participation for this inaugural project because we wanted it to feel like a network. As a result, everyone in this book is just a few degrees of separation from everyone else in the book. This is what a diverse network can look like.

A few names you might recognize include:
  • Jann Arden - multi-platinum award-winning singer, songwriter, broadcaster, author, and actor.
  • Bif Naked – Platinum and Gold album international recording artist and activist.
  • Senator Mobina Jaffer – first Canadian Muslim senator, ranked one of Canada’s top one hundred most powerful women, and served as Canada’s Special Envoy for Peace in Sudan from 2002 to 2006.
  • Lorna Vanderhaeghe – Canadian Hall of Fame recipient, natural health expert, and one of Canada’s top one hundred female entrepreneurs.
  • Leslie Diamond – Director of the Diamond Foundation, founding member of the United Way’s Women in Philanthropy, and a recipient of the Order of BC.

4 of the 365 amazing women who are co-authors in Pursuit 365!

Each woman is featured on her own page. What will readers see there? 

On each page of the book, you will find one featured woman: her photo, introduction, and her story. Each of our 365 stories is approximately 365 words so you will get a bite-sized glimpse into each Co-Author’s world. These stories are real. We asked for uncensored, raw, real glimpses into their pursuit of fulfillment, happiness, and success – and they delivered.

This book showcases encouraging words of wisdom, motivating success stories, and inspiring initiatives to applaud. Women are drivers for progress and when we celebrate the successes of one another, we are all elevated. This phenomenal group of women are beacons for us to learn from, aspire to, and celebrate every day of the year. Here’s to the pursuit of inspiration, motivation, perspiration, and celebration!


This had to be a HUGE project - deciding on the 365 women to be included, keeping track of written submission and photos, editing, laying out the pages, coordinating a launch day and distribution, and more - and that requires a team. Who all has been involved behind the scenes to make this book a reality?

This was absolutely a huge project. I didn’t realize how huge when I decided to take it on with such a short timeline. Our process was definitely refined over time as my team and I better understood all of the details that went into this kind of project. Luckily, my amazing team is resilient and dedicated – they had a one-track mind to match mine with regards to making this project a success and giving each participant the best experience they could have.

Having Andreia McLean as an editor was like having an extension of my brain but with better grammar. She worked like a machine from the very start before the book had a name, right till the last second this went to press and NEVER complained, not once You know those kind of team players that get the job done no matter the circumstances... this is Andreia. And she did it with a smile and calm energy to her.

Jennifer Daerendinger has been like an all-hands-on-deck, sounding board, connector, and we couldn’t have done this project without her. Through deadlines, late evenings, even after everything was “done.” With a phone call every morning to ask, "What can I do today Shelly to help YOU?" with no expectations but to just help. Jen was more than a team player and went above and beyond to help with every part of this project possible.

Donna West is my business partner several times over, and it was her idea to put all of the names on the cover – and wow, what an impact! Donna has seen me in my highs and lows in my personal life and business life and is another you want on your team. Donna is always there to give a helping hand in any situation in my life and a true friend i trust 100%.

Our designer, Justin Lloyd pulled off an immense feat in such a short time, working his butt off to reach our deadline and encouraging me right up until our deadline.

Devon Adamson, who stepped in at the last minute to help pull the design together and worked late into the night even with her one- and three-year-old kids waking her up, she was a trooper and got it done for us!


Nicole O’Keefe is responsible for the gorgeous cover and media kit. Nicole took our repeated changes to the cover as names shifted last minute, and never complained – another team player.

Finally, Colleen Kirk and Jennifer Utley pulled together the content for the media kit – amazing women who stepped up to make this project shine. They are so professional and again, team players.

Of course, this book wouldn’t have been at all possible without all our amazing Co-Authors. I can’t wait to get to know all of you better throughout the year as we continue to interact and share stories online and offline. You’re the stars of this project. Thank you for trusting me.

Just a few of the 365 Co-authors in Pursuit 365

What has flowed easily with this project? What has proved the biggest challenge?

It could be a complicated answer here, but really the biggest challenge was just the amount of things we didn’t know we didn’t know. Elements of this project morphed as we honed the process and the product. What flowed easily was the collaboration. Between my team and this inaugural group of Co-Authors, the collaborative energy was off the charts. We had authors sending words of encouragement daily, my team suggesting process tweaks throughout, and by the end it felt like a well-oiled machine. There were hiccups and setbacks along the way, absolutely, but with the consideration and collaboration of all the people involved, I would definitely say that it “flowed.” I can’t wait to repeat the project for 2022 with all that we know now.
 
Where can readers buy the book?

Pursuit:365 will be launching on Amazon.ca on March 8th. To find it easily, follow @pursuit_365 on Instagram or head over to freshmag.ca or any of Fresh Magazine’s social medias – we’ll be posting the link there! The book will also be available in select Chapters / Indigo later on in April.

What would you like to share in closing?

I am so proud of this book. Pursuit:365 represents everything I stand for and everything I hope to accomplish. Elevating the stories of Canadian women, inspiring and supporting their businesses, and creating a platform as a focal point for positivity – it still amazes me that we pulled it off. The success of this project, even ahead of launch day, has been overwhelming. I have a waiting list already for our 2022 edition that we are starting work on right away. If this project is exciting to you, or you know someone who would find it interesting, I have two steps for you:

1. Go to Instagram and follow @pursuit_365 for updates and to see each of our 2021 cohort featured every day. We’ll be posting about our 2022 opportunities here too!

2. Buy the book on Amazon on March 8th – it’s a great way to support Canadian women, celebrate International Women’s Day, and honestly, it’s just a great read!



Links -
To All Media - To receive a Pursuit 365 media kit contact Jennifer Utley & Colleen Kirk of Kirk Group Media at info@kirkgroupmedia.com.

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