The Alabama Chanin Journal was unofficially launched back in 2006. In those early days, there was no editorial staff (or much staff at all). There was just Natalie and a couple of friends who pitched in here and there. The early blog posts had little in the way of structured format or consistent subject matter. There was no set schedule for posting, though we did like to post something at least once per month. Mostly, the posts focused on things Natalie found interesting: photography, books, cooking, recipes, and friends. We were trying to find new ways to express our creativity outside the bounds of traditional methods.
Initially, we were not sure if anyone even read what we were writing. But gradually, friends and followers began to email us or speak to us at events—mentioning things they’d read on our Journal. And so, we began to consider making our online Journal a true part of the Alabama Chanin way of life—and a reflection of our brand. Our Journal had become part of our authentic “voice”.
Over the years, we have been blessed with dozens of talented contributors and had the opportunity to address issues across all spectrums. For instance, we have reviewed hundreds of books, enjoyed a plethora of recipes, talked about personal moments in our individual lives, spoken passionately about our social and political beliefs, and shared with you some of who we are as individuals. Our somewhat disorganized publishing schedule was given a true format and structure. In addition to a schedule of weekly events and a Factory café menu, Journal readers can now look for weekly content under the categories of: Design + Fashion, The School of Making, Inspiration, In the Kitchen, and Travel + The Journey.
Our online Journal has helped the company to define our path and values and allowed us the opportunity to communicate those ideas to so many people. It has also been a way to keep in frequent contact with our followers. As the Journal grows, all of Alabama Chanin grows.
Our company’s mission statement includes being an active part of our community—and while this refers to The Shoals and the greater north Alabama region, we realize that we have a growing online community whose voice is as important. The relationships we build here mean just as much.
What was once a project that Natalie undertook during the hours she should have been sleeping has now become a point of company pride and company identity. The Journal now has a small staff that is overseen by Natalie, and we work together to write posts that stimulate our audience, challenge them, and encourage community building. As we launch this new, updated version of the Alabama Chanin Journal, let us know what you find inspiring by commenting and spread the word by sharing favorite posts in your own community.