After an idyllic childhood on a Central Queensland cattle station, Claire Dunne has travelled far and wide. Attending boarding school, going to University in Brisbane, touring Canada and New Zealand – all the while spending as much time on the family farm as possible.
Something always stood out to Claire in her adventures and that was the story of women in agriculture. In 2015, while helping out on the property, she started writing for agricultural publications. From a blog to a fully-fledged magazine – Graziher was born.
Ever since, Claire has been putting her love of country life onto paper. Graziher is a quarterly print magazine celebrating the stories of regional and rural women. To understand what a huge feat launching this publication was, it’s worth noting Claire was in her early 20s when she self-published the original issue.
A young entrepreneur
“I know it’s crazy. What was I thinking?” exclaims Claire. “I was 23 when I published my first one. When I say we, it was just me,” she laughs.
The idea came to Claire from her own experience of missing stories of the women who live in remote areas.
It was really important for me to record their stories to make sure that they had been seen as well.”
“As a young woman, it was, you can’t be what you can’t see. You can’t be all these amazing women without seeing them. It was really important for me to record their stories to make sure that they had been seen as well,” Claire explains.
Claire remembers a turning point in her life when she was trying to forge a career path and she came across a book called The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. It inspired her to deviate from a graphic design degree to take an entrepreneurial direction. To gauge interest, Claire started with a blog.
“That was a twofold thing. To see if there was a following but also to start having conversations with these amazing women. Because back then on Instagram and Facebook there weren’t as many amazing rural women. There’s such an incredible audience these days,” Claire explains.
Learning on the job
Claire looks back on that first issue now thinking it was so naïve to rely on crowdsourced funding to go to print and also having to invest her own money.
“I really just didn’t know. I didn’t even have a cover image until a few weeks before sending the magazine off to print,” recalls Claire.
It was all a massive learning curve. I didn’t necessarily do it amazingly. We’ve come a long way.”
She had no experience in the publishing industry and learnt everything on the job. It came down her mum and siblings proof-reading the magazine before it was sent off to print. However, from that starting point, Claire managed to print 3000 copies and sell most of them.
Claire says the hardest part was yet to come. “After sending the first one off to print, realising I had to do it again because I’d sold subscriptions. It was a beast, compiling it. But it was all a massive learning curve. I didn’t necessarily do it amazingly. We’ve come a long way.”
Building a community
These days, Claire has a team of five behind her. She’s been able to step back a little to go on maternity leave and is currently working from home, which happens to be her partner’s farm in New Zealand. Claire’s role is big picture – organising social media content plans, planning photography shoots and hosting meetings. Her work has shared hundreds of otherwise unknown stories with her readers.
“The magazine has always had amazing support from women. It definitely hasn’t been getting here by myself,” she says proudly.
So, what’s next for Graziher? Subscribers will be happy to learn, instead of quarterly, the magazine is about to be released bi-monthly. The team is also working on a digital subscription platform to access an even wider audience.
I think we managed to tap into a community of women to give them a space to say, we see you, we see your stories.”
“I think the most powerful thing about Graziher and the most wonderful thing is the community. I think we managed to tap into a community of women to give them a space to say, we see you, we see your stories,” says Claire.
After sharing countless stories about other women, it’s a privilege to share a little bit about the woman behind the cover.