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Editor intertwines passions for home design, magazines

Zim Loy is the editor of Kansas City Spaces. (Photo courtesy of Zim Loy)

Zim Loy is the editor of Kansas City Spaces magazine.
(Photo courtesy of Zim Loy)

By Sarah Berger

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

As the editor of Kansas City Spaces magazine, Zim Loy’s job is an optimal blend of two of her favorite things: interior design and magazines.

However, the publishing industry was not always her main career path.

Loy started her career as an art director for a television station after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in art. In addition to art direction, Loy also worked as an advertising manager before switching to the editorial side of the business.

“Although I liked being an art director, I also loved magazines, and they always say do what you’re passionate about and then you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” Loy said during a phone interview in April. “That’s really true. So I basically just forced myself into the magazine world.”

After Loy decided she wanted to start a magazine, she started exploring different options. Ultimately, Loy settled into the shelter magazine niche. A shelter magazine is a publication that focuses on interior design, architecture and any other aspect of homes.

After searching for several publishers, Loy started her first magazine in 1995, Kansas City Home Design. After working on Kansas City Home Design for eight years, Loy continued in the shelter magazine niche, and worked on starting a national magazine, 2nd Home Living.

Loy worked on 2nd Home Living for two years and published one issue. During that time, she was approached by the Kansas City Star about starting Kansas City Spaces. Loy has been working as the editor of Kansas City Spaces ever since its inception in 2005.

Now, Loy gets to explore and enjoy Kansas City’s most beautiful homes while producing a 150-200 page magazine every month. Loy works with a small team including an associate editor, an art director and two staff photographers. She also supervises the freelance writers.

No two days at work are the same for Loy.

“That’s the best part about being a magazine editor is that there really isn’t a normal day,” Loy said. “You’re doing something different everyday.”

Every issue of Kansas City Spaces runs on a four-week cycle to meet its monthly deadlines. In the beginning stages of each issue, Loy chooses what content Kansas City Spaces is going to publish that month and assigns stories to writers. During this stage, she travels around Kansas City pulling the latest trends from boutiques or searching for a newly-renovated home to feature.

She then works with the photographers during each photo shoot to make sure all the images will turn out how she planned. Toward the end of a deadline cycle, Loy sits in her office searching through all the month’s proofs carefully making copy edits to ensure no mistakes slip into the issue.

“You have to be really organized,” Loy said. “I think that’s really important because if you’re not it can get away from you.”

The publication exclusively features content from the Kansas City area. Every home shown in the magazine can be found during a drive through Kansas City and its surrounding area. Every shoe, purse or dress photographed can be purchased from a locally-owned boutique. Loy said this hyper-local attitude keeps the magazine successful.

“Everything in the magazine is shot here,” Loy said. “We don’t run anything that’s from another magazine or from another city. We are about Kansas City. So, it’s really important for us to be that way and the advertisers appreciate that because the readers appreciate that and they support our advertisers.”

Another aspect that keeps Kansas City Spaces in business is the experience of reading a magazine. Spaces has a website, but each issue is also printed. Loy wants to give readers the experience of reading a magazine, and it’s impossible for readers to flip through glossy magazine pages on their laptop or iPad, Loy said.

The monthly publishing schedule of Spaces keeps readers and advertisers engaged. Exclusively online shelter magazines such as Rue magazine and Lonny magazine don’t have the consistency that Kansas City Spaces has, Loy said.

Deadlines are not the only driving force behind the magazine’s operations. Loy’s passion for the magazine’s content also keeps her motivated to publish a quality issue each month.

Before she started working for a shelter magazine, Loy was already interested in interior design. Loy has renovated and redecorated eight homes, and her interior design work has been featured in national magazines three times. She and her husband are building their own home.

“Even if I weren’t doing a magazine I would still be doing what I do as far as home design and trying to get [my homes] published nationally,” Loy said.

As deadlines get closer and the stress levels of the office grow higher, Loy stays calm by focusing on the trendy interiors of the homes featured in the month’s issue.

“I’m pretty laid back,” Loy said. “So I don’t let it get to me.”

While her job is a combination of two things she loves, it’s not the only reason she continues to do it. At the end of each month when Loy holds the first copy of each issue, all the work and stress is justified. Flipping through the pages of the freshly printed magazine, Loy gets to see all the month’s work turn into a finished product.

“It’s just nice to see it finished and to see it look the way you thought it was going to look,” Loy said. “Sometimes it doesn’t look the way you thought it would look, so sometimes you’re disappointed. And sometimes it’s exactly how you imagined and that’s perfect.”

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