Photography by Zoë Grant.

We’re always hoping to make a good first impression, and that first-time readers of The Scout Guide will put the publication down feeling inspired to learn more about the featured businesses—and, if they’re out-of-towners, to seek out (or start) a guide in their own hometown. In this new series, we’ll be talking to our editors about their TSG “firsts,” from their first encounter with The Scout Guide to the first business they approached to be in the guide and more. Read on to learn about how The Scout Guide Tidewater–Virginia Beach & Norfolk editor Mary Kaufman discovered the brand, and her thrilling experience of launching her first volume. 

When did you first discover The Scout Guide?

I discovered The Scout Guide when it was preparing to launch in my hometown of Virginia Beach. I heard about it from a friend, and as a small business owner at the time I fell in love with the concept. Supporting local businesses in our community is so important; these small business owners make up our neighbors, family, and friends, and when we support them we are supporting what makes our city special. I’ve been a huge supporter ever since!

What made you decide to become an editor?

Shortly after The Scout Guide launched in my area, I was brought on to the team as creative director. In that role I was in charge of coming up with the creative concepts for all of the images in the guide and executing them through props, clothing, posing, etc. I’d always loved the product and mission, so being a part of the production of the guide was very exciting. This next step into taking over as the editor was always a dream, and lucky enough for me it came true.

Tell us about the first business you approached to be in the guide.

Once I took over as editor, I first approached my salon, Rumors Salon. It’s owned by identical twin sisters, and their business is like many others here in that it’s become a part of the fabric of Virginia Beach. I knew they had to be in it!

What was it like to launch your first volume?

Launching my first volume was equal parts exciting and scary. It was exciting and rewarding to hold something tangible that was a product of many hours of work.  It was scary to think, “what if I forgot something!” and “how will this be received?” Pouring yourself into anything and then presenting it to the world is never easy, but always worth it.

What’s the first thing you would tell a prospective editor?

Being an editor is all the things you dream it is, plus a whole lot of work. The good news is, when you are truly passionate about what you are doing, you won’t focus on the hard days. “Find what you love and make it your work” couldn’t be more true. 

To learn more about Mary and The Scout Guide in her area, follow The Scout Guide Tidewater on Instagram. Learn more about starting The Scout Guide in your city here.