Four Newcastle friends have launched an online community and publication, Vida, aimed at inspiring women through the power of personal stories and providing tools to help navigate through life’s ups and downs.
Lauren Jones, 31, of New Lambton, and Carla Stitt, 33, of Tighes Hill, and sisters Kate, 32, and Abbie, 20, Carragher from Lake Munmorah, joined forces with a friend from Adelaide to create Vida after realising the need for women to hear from people they could relate to and be inspired by.
Originally starting as a ‘passion project’ for her five year-old daughter, Amelia, Lauren said the vision has now grown after the small print run for the pilot edition sold out.
“Named after my grandmother, Vida also means life and dearly beloved in Spanish. It symbolises the wisdom of sharing our stories with each other about the events and the lessons that happen along the roads of human existence,” Lauren said.
“The pilot edition features messages from friends of mine who I felt would inspire Amelia when she was growing up and also inspire other women, to ensure they never feel alone and to never give up. This included a female RAAF pilot based in Willliamtown and local fitness business owner, Lissome founder, Nerida Bint.”
“We are now aiming to launch the first national print publication through a crowd-funded campaign on Kickstarter, that if successful, will be available in late May.”
Aimed at women aged 18 – 45, the first edition is set to feature voices as diverse as a woman who sailed the Mediterranean with two toddlers, a new mother who discovered her husband had an ice addiction and a local zoologist who has written about her personal fight to save our oceans.
Kate Carragher was one of the first women invited to write and who, together with her sister, Abbie, ended up contributing art and photography too and becoming founding directors of Vida.
While writing a letter to her younger self for the publication about navigating her way through post-traumatic stress disorder to end up living in the South Pacific as a whale swim guide, Kate said that the importance of Vida was apparent.
“As a writer, I have read thousands of magazines. About four years ago, during some of the hardest days of my life, I remember staring at the stand in the news agency, and thinking ‘there is nothing here for me’,” Kate said.
“For all different occasions and interests, like weddings and surfing, but nothing for those times searching for comfort, inspiration or answers – times like death, divorce, moving, injury, chasing big dreams and wanting to make change. Which is kind of ironic, isn’t it? No guides for when you most need a guide,” she continued.
“The antidote to hard times did not lie in celebrity advice but lay in the stories of the people around me and people I met on the road. Ordinary people who had experienced extraordinary moments and had a range of unique insights that I could learn and grow from.”
“That’s why Vida is important for all women and why we are all so passionate about it. We hope Vida can show how we all have different pathways and that there is no ‘right way’ to do life, but that we can help each other through.”
With two University of Newcastle communications and visual communication graduates and a current UON student on the Board of Directors, Vida also has a strong design, art and photography focus in the publication, and also features ‘tools for women for life’ like affirmation cards and goal maps.
To help launch the first issue, there are a range of Kickstarter packages available including pre-ordering the publication, yearly subscriptions, 15 spaces for a creative workshop weekend where participants can learn watercolour and design, a limited edition print from Studio Carragher, photography and styling packages, and tickets to the launch party.
Image | Carla Stitt, Kate Carragher, Lauren Jones and Abbie Carragher