The What was created by Gina Pell + Amy Parker. It started as a weekly newsletter and has since grown into active an active, private community of 20,000+ women and a subscriber base of 80,000 Perennial readers from around the globe. We’ve spent more than a decade researching and evangelizing our discoveries for Splendora (1999-2011) so at this point it’s a reflex. We are both natural curators and enthusiasts who are curious and eager to share our discoveries--what works, what’s good, what’s worth the time and money. While we vet everything on The What List together, Gina gravitates towards art, culture, and literature and Amy unearths the best in food, health, beauty, and lifestyle. Whenever we survey our audience, the data shows a high percentage of reader trust and purchase behavior based on their picks. But for us it’s not about authority … it’s about sharing things we love and helping women live a better life.
Our process involves combing through dozens of websites, magazines, trade pubs, product shows, and other source material. We also go on weekly boutique and restaurant crawls to stay current on what’s out there. Some of our best tips come from savvy friends and fellow editors–which we then test-drive ourselves for quality assurance. We also receive great tips from readers. The real challenge is in the editing. We spend more time editing down The What List than we do trying to build it.
Every person we feature is someone we admire and who exhibits grit, wit, talent, drive, sparkle, passion, and compassion. We were tired of reading celebrity-driven stories and thought it would be a breath of fresh air to feature real, everyday people who march to the beat of their own drum and who are fun to hang out with.
The What is our third venture together. We are business partners who just can’t quit each other. And while our first company was a multi-pronged publishing entity, this time around we want to produce one simple product: an email newsletter of What’s worth your time and money–whether it’s a good bottle of wine, a great book, a cool gadget, or a good laugh. And then, create a loving community around that product. So far so good but we could always use more intelligent, generous readers so please add friends who fit that bill.
When we launched The What we were adamant that we would focus on creating strong content and craft sponsorship opportunities that feel collaborative to your reader experience–not disruptive or annoying. Another way we make money is through affiliate revenue. Only after we find something great, we will check if there’s an affiliate program attached, but never the other way around.
We still believe what we believed back in 1999: make something good for yourself and others will want some too.