Photography by Chad Riley.
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 series, we talk 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 Mobile Bay co-editors and sisters Katie McNeil and Jamie Conger discovered the brand, and what it was like to launch their first volume.
When did you first discover The Scout Guide?
Katie McNeil: When I was living in New Orleans in 2010-2015, I absolutely fell in love with the print guide. I saw The Scout Guide New Orleans everywhere and could not stop touching and feeling it. Also, during that time social media was just getting started so I watched it evolve digitally as well.
Jamie Conger: I lived in San Antonio from 2014 to 2015 and worked for interior designer Bonnie Chumbley, who owns the lovely shop Svelte Veldt. She was a member of The Scout Guide San Antonio and one of her dearest friends, Francie Mannix, is the editor. I got to see how Francie worked as an editor, as well as seeing how Bonnie benefitted from being in the guide. Also, not being from San Antonio, I loved following along and getting insights on the best of local there.
What made you decide to become an editor?
KM: When I moved back to Mobile Bay in 2016 and was between jobs, I couldn’t stop thinking about how well TSG would do in a city our size. After talking to The Scout Guide Headquarters, gaining family support, and bringing my sister on board, we took the huge (to us) leap of faith.
JC: When my family and I moved back to Mobile, I thought The Scout Guide would be a wonderful thing to bring to our area. Unbeknownst to me, my sister Katie, who had just moved back from New Orleans, had already been in touch with The Scout Guide Headquarters. It seemed like such a perfect opportunity for something new and exciting to do for our area and I loved the idea of working alongside my sister.
Tell us about the first business you approached to be in the guide.
KM: Atchison Home was the first business on our “hit list” and I believe the first business we signed. They are an icon for small businesses in our area, not to mention some of the most creative and kindest people I know. I admire their business model so much and through all the ups and downs of owning a business they have continued to grow and be strong competitors in their industry.
The first thing I would tell a prospective TSG editor is how wonderful it is to get to know so many smart and talented business owners and their teams.
What was it like to launch your first volume?
KM: It was the best and also scariest feeling in the world!
JC: Launching our first volume was definitely one of my proudest moments and accomplishments. It was so exciting to finally have the guide in our hands after a year of trying to explain to friends and family what we were doing and signing on businesses with nothing tangible to show them, except what other editors had done. It felt great.
What’s the first thing you would tell a prospective editor?
KM: Quality over quantity. Patience and persistence.
JC: How wonderful it is to get to know so many smart and talented business owners and their teams.
To learn more about Katie McNeil and Jamie Conger and The Scout Guide in their area, follow The Scout Guide Mobile Bay on Instagram and visit mobilebay.thescoutguide.com. Learn more about starting The Scout Guide in your city here.