After her father died from an opioid overdose in October 2016, Bria Kiara Williams knew she had to follow her passion and start Daydreamers Magazine.
“When my dad died that was the first time I experienced death,” said Williams, a web content writer for Temple University’s strategic marketing and communications department. “It was so close to me, and it hit hard. It shook my whole world up, and it made me realize to stop wasting my time.”
The magazine is a quarterly publication that features creatives like designers, poets and local musicians.
A month after her father died, Williams began laying down the groundwork for the publication.
“I knew I could write and I knew I could edit, so I figured it wouldn’t be that hard,” said Williams, a 2016 Pennsylvania State University journalism alumna.
She had relentlessly applied for jobs at her favorite magazines like Vogue, Elle and The FADER after graduation, but kept getting rejected. Months after her father’s death, Williams decided to enter the magazine industry another way.
She researched media startups and discovered women her age and younger were creating their own magazines.
In December 2016, Williams quit her copywriting job at a kitchenware supplier. Daydreaming at the “soul-sucking” job she hated gave Williams the idea for her magazine’s name, she said. Williams came to work at Temple in July.
“I always thought of myself as a daydreamer,” Williams added. “I space out time in my day to daydream.”
The first issue of Daydreamers Magazine published in November 2017, with a “dream issue” theme that introduced the magazine and its daydreaming concept.
“I really want Daydreamers to be a place for people like me who feel like there is no place for them, who feel like they’re too weird for weird people and not cool enough for cool people,” Williams said. “I want it to be a place where people can feel safe to be their whole selves.”
Contributors send submissions, like poems or photos, to the magazine via email. The work selected to appear in the magazine is chosen based on how well it fits the upcoming issue’s theme.
The second issue, which was published in March, had a “For Lovers and Writers Only” theme that Williams described as “a haven for lovers and writers to divulge their innermost sacred thoughts on love.”
In addition to submitted work, Daydreamers Magazine publishes profiles on artistic people in Philly and around the country.
The second issue featured San Antonio-based R&B singer Xavier Omär and Annon Merritt, a junior graphic design major.
Omär’s claim to fame is his EP “The Everlasting Wave,” which was released in October 2016. “If This is Love,” the second-to-last track on the EP, has been streamed more than 5 million times on Spotify.
Merritt, also known by his stage name AnnonXL, was interviewed about his June 2017 EP “Jump.”
“It meant a lot,” Merritt said. “I didn’t realize I’d have a few spreads. … And to be featured in the same magazine as Xavier Omär was really dope.”
Philadelphia-based fashion designer Mariah Lynn was featured in the first issue of Daydreamers. She said the similar creative ideas shared by the publication and her company Mariah Lynn Designs made it easy to collaborate.
“It’s very artistic, and I like the whimsical theme,” Lynn said. “[Williams] has all types of people featured, which incorporates different design styles on one platform.”
The magazine is available in print and can be ordered online for $16.40 on MagCloud, an online publishing service. Readers receive a digital copy of the magazine with their purchase, but anyone can read the issues online for free.
“I fell so much in love with the content I was creating and that other people were creating that I wanted to have it in my hands,” Williams said.
To one day get the magazine in coffee shops and independent bookstores, Williams is trying to assemble a full-time team of photographers, stylists and social media specialists.
The magazine’s third issue, which has a “revolt” theme, is meant to highlight when people have wanted to fight back against a problem in their lives.
Williams said the theme was inspired by President Donald Trump’s administration because she has noticed more people standing up against social issues like racism. The third issue will be published in late September.
“Sometimes things happen in life when you get backed into a corner,” Williams said. “I wanted people who’ve felt that before to express themselves through their art.”