Katharina Geissler-Evans; Heiter magazine

Welcome to the fourth interview in my Wholehearted Living Series where I talk to inspiring people about living a more authentic, creative and connected life inspired by nature, the seasons and what they’re most passionate about.

I’m really happy to introduce you to the wonderfully talented Katharina Geissler-Evans. Katharina (or Kiki) is the founder and editor of Heiter magazine which focuses on mindful living and style. Katharina is also a writer, stylist and online presence consultant for small fashion & lifestyle brands. 

I first discovered Katharina and Heiter magazine a few years back on Instagram and instantly fell in love with her beautiful photographs which portrayed a sense of groundedness and authenticity. Filled with images of her home life, motherhood and nature, I felt I’d found a kindred spirit.

More recently I booked a ‘Joyful Instagram audit’ session with Katharina, where she helped me to look at what brings me joy and how to share that through Instagram and my blog. It was a very insightful session, one I’d recommend to any small business looking for some direction with their online presence.

I’ve bought several copies of Heiter magazine and am so excited about Katharina’s plans to make it a print publication which you can read about below. It’s the most beautiful magazine, thoughtfully curated with stunning photography and a myriad of interesting features. From articles about seasonal and conscious living and sustainable fashion to those which celebrate joyful moments in everyday life.

If you’re looking to bring more joy into your life, look no further. Over to you Katharina…

Please tell us a bit about you and your business, and background

I am the founder and editor-in-chief of Heiter magazine. Heiter is a life & style publication about finding and celebrating joy, community and living a mindful life. Since my background is in fashion, there is a strong focus on conscious (but stylish) clothing and highlighting fashion brands that make a positive difference too. From 2016 (when I founded Heiter) until recently, Heiter was a primarily online journal & community. As of this year however, there are plans to bring out a print publication. If everything works out, the first issue will come out in spring, followed by a second in autumn. This year we’d also like to strengthen the feeling of connection for our readers and the brands we work with so we will introduce The Heiter Society, an exclusive membership with brilliant guest workshops, networking events, advertising opportunities (for business owners) as well as a few more benefits.

You mention on your website that “Heiter is a magazine that is all about helping you find and celebrate joyful moments in daily life. The changing seasons, community, sustainable fashion and conscious living are just a few of the things that make me heiter (that’s German for cheerful)”.

What inspired you to start Heiter magazine?

In 2015 I found myself in a situation of severe stress. I worked for one of the biggest fashion retailers in the world and was also trying to finish my university degree (I studied part-time at London College of Fashion at this point). I was really overworked and didn’t look after myself. Long story short, I ended up with health issues that forced me to stop working. Following that, I was close to losing my pay and failing my university course. Due to my busy schedule, my friendships had suffered too and apart from my husband, I felt like there was nobody I could turn to. I felt like my life was collapsing. Eventually, I realised that I was the only one who could get myself out of the situation. I realised that I had to be kind to myself and make sure that I was getting better. I started to do that by planning small activities that brought me joy like having coffee, buying myself flowers, going for walks etc. Little by little I got better and I was amazed that adding joy to my everyday life had such a positive impact. I wanted to share that newly found knowledge and that is how heiter magazine came about.

Whereabouts are you based?

I am currently based in Austria (my home country). My husband and I moved here two years ago (just a few weeks prior to becoming parents for the first time and the beginning of the pandemic). Before living in Austria we spent nearly four years in Germany and six years in England.

Where do you get your creative inspiration from?

Creativity has always been a big part of me and my life. Sometimes it is just everyday happenings that inspire me and lead me to come up with new ideas. I additionally draw inspiration from reading, movies, nature but also discovering new places, museum visits (which is one of my favourite things to do) and watching people e.g. when sitting in a cafe. One of my ways to express my creativity is dressing & styling myself. I enjoy wearing unique pieces that not everyone might wear and I love adding a bit of colour. I tend to get inspired by the looks of the 1960s, -70s and -80s.

What advice do you have for living a more connected and creative life?

Allow yourself to be authentic and continuously remind yourself that YOU are enough. Also, regularly take time to listen to yourself. Make an effort to check in with your feelings and reflect: there’s always a chance that things that might have worked for you in the past don’t feel right anymore. Don’t be scared to say goodbye to them. Last but not least, be open to experiencing joy. Even a few minutes of doing something joyful like mindfully enjoying a hot drink or dancing to a song you love can make such a difference to how you feel. It also teaches you a lot about yourself and the life you want to lead.

Describe your typical day

A typical (working) day, that means Monday to Thursday, starts around 6am. My husband Ben and our son J leave for work & daycare before 7am and leading up to that, we (as in the parents) spent the time having our first coffee together, chatting about our plans for the day and then getting our son ready. It tends to be a bit hectic but overall, it’s a lovely start to the day for us as a family.

Once the boys have left the house, I might meditate for a few minutes and then get ready for work. Even though I work from home, I’ve made it my routine to dress “office appropriately”. It helps me to get into work mode, and I just have fun with my outfits so it definitely swings me into a positive mood for the day too. I might have another coffee and listen to an audio book or podcast whilst doing that. I usually sit at my desk from around 8am and begin work by looking at and prioritising my to-do list. After that I quickly reply to a few emails. I have themed working days. On Mondays I spend most of my day with content creation for my social media pages and blog, on Tuesdays I might have a few consulting calls (for the online presence consulting business I run alongside the magazine). Wednesdays and Thursdays are usually all about heiter. I speak to contributors and business partners, plan projects, write and brainstorm ideas. Now and then, I might leave the house for an in-person meeting, on other days I might do something for my own development e.g. catch up with an online class. I try to take lunch breaks from 12.30 to 1pm and drink a lot of water and tea throughout the day to keep my energy levels up. If I feel very tired or just need a break, I might go outside for a few minutes. My working days end at 3pm at the latest. That is when I head out to pick up our son from daycare.

The late afternoons and evenings are mostly dedicated to my family and the odd household chores. The three of us always have dinner together and afterwards, start J’s bedtime routine. The routine involves reading a book (I am in charge of all German-speaking children’s books, my husband who is from the UK, of all English-speaking ones) and a simple gratitude practice. J tends to fall asleep around 8pm. If Ben and I are not too tired we watch a movie or series together. Sometimes we just sit in the kitchen, chat and have a last cup of tea before we also head to bed.

What do you think nature can teach us?

That nothing is certain. Also, that beauty is actually something very simple and authentic.

Do you have a favourite season?  If so, why?

I love all seasons for different reasons. I love how they make me feel and thus, the memories they evoke in me. I do think that autumn is my favourite though. I adore the rich colours, those first cosy nights in front of the fire, misty mornings and all the lovely fruit and vegetables that are around at that time of the year.

What advice would you give for making the most of the current season?

Take things slowly. Winter is the best time to embrace gentle activities. It is ideal to reflect, (if necessary) adapt and prepare yourself for new beginnings.

What is your favourite ‘little piece of wonder’?

My son. Seeing him growing up and becoming the curious, happy and determined little person he is as well as rediscovering the world through his eyes has been an unexpected, not always easy but joyous and most wondrous experience. I feel so very grateful for him and how he’s shaped my life.

What is your favourite aspect of heiter (Heiterkeit)?

That Heiterkeit comes with little expectations, especially if compared to happiness. One doesn’t need a lot to invite joy in. It’s very accessible.

What book has influenced you most in your life, or do you love most?

I think The Artist Way has had the biggest impact on my life. It helped me turn things around for myself in my early 20s. I was in a teaching job at that point and felt very unhappy. When doing The Artist Way it became clear that I wanted something else. One thing led to another: I ended up quitting my job, leaving the country and starting a fashion internship in New York City which was a huge and brave step for me.

I think my current favourite is Untamed by Glennon Doyle. It just really resonates with me. My personal life and career have gone through a massive shift over the past two years. I’ve had to learn a lot about myself, shutting out the noise around me and creating boundaries. I am actually still figuring out how to put my own needs over the expectations of others but I am so much better than I was a while ago.

Is there anything else you’d like to share, and where can readers find out about Heiter magazine and the other services you offer?

The best places to stay up to date with all things heiter are the heiter newsletter and Instagram account. All our services and more about how Heiter started is on our website, and if you’re someone who is mainly interested in new blog content, our Facebook page is the right platform for you to follow along. If you’re new to the heiter concept and you’d like to discover more of it for yourself, feel free to download our free “Heiter Guide to Daily Joy”. Last but not least, I’d like to mention the Kickstarter campaign that I will run in February so that we can fund our first print publication. Whoever supports the campaign will have the chance to get rewards e.g. a mention in the magazine, the magazine itself or becoming a founding member of The Heiter Society. If you’re interested in hearing more about it, I would also suggest signing up to our newsletter via the website.

Many thanks to Katharina for her time in contributing to Little Piece of Wonder. I do hope you’ll check out Heiter magazine and support the Kickstarter campaign. I’m sure it will bring you much inspiration to find and celebrate joy in your own life.

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