In June 2017, we revived The Lily, the very first U.S. newspaper by women. But we made it something all our own. Our mission is two-fold: to empower women with news and information, and to elevate a diverse set of women’s voices. Only two years later, The Lily has become an instantly recognizable brand that informs as much as it delights.
The Lily speaks to millennial women because our visual presence, as much as our editorial one, is defined by who we are: a creative team of editors and designers dedicated to telling stories about women in an unconventional, deliberate way.
We write stories about binge-worthy Netflix shows alongside deep dives into the women leaving sub-Saharan Africa for the promise of Europe. On Instagram, we post swipe-able comics about motherhood alongside the latest political news.
In other words, The Lily proves that millennial women can’t be, and shouldn’t be, confined to just one thing. Some outlets describe millennials as “lazy” and “self-obsessed”; but we’re also “confident,” “self-expressive” and “upbeat.” The Lily is a platform for curious-minded millennial women — a publication to reflect us in our multitudes.
The Lily doesn’t just talk about women — it speaks to them.
Unlike many other “millennial” publishers, The Lily never speaks down to women. Our aim is to be direct, conversational and occasionally whimsical; we make our voice known in our newsletters, which we send twice-weekly, and in recurring series on our site.
Lily Lines is a twice-weekly newsletter about women. While our Monday newsletter rounds up the news-to-know from the previous week, our Thursday edition is highly visual and is typically an in-depth look at one topic.
View the Lily Lines archive here and see some of our favorite issues below.
Thursday newsletter on Oct. 8, 2018: Angry? This one’s for you.
Monday newsletter on Oct. 29, 2018: She was the oldest of the 11 Pittsburgh victims. Her name was Rose.
Our reader-driven series are often some of our most widely read. Through newsletter callouts and posts on social media, we ask real women to contribute their stories to our site. We launched Anxiety Chronicles last year to explore the universalities and nuances of an issue many in our generation deal with daily. We’ve already published 38 women’s stories. Here’s an example:
And in our travel series The Goodbye, a woman says goodbye to a place she’s moving from — and in the process, provides recommendations to others on her favorite spots there. Here’s an example:
The Lily looks good.
We’ve been recognized time and again for our visual branding — we were recently named a finalist for the Society of News Design’s World’s Best Designed award. In a world inundated with the same old Instagram posts, our visuals stretch the bounds of storytelling.
When women scroll through their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or email accounts, we want to tell them something new. That starts with what they see. Every image on our social feeds is one-of-a-kind, created by a Lily designer. Whether that’s a Lily-branded social share image for Facebook or our alternating black-and-white grid on Instagram, followers can expect to be surprised by our design.
That trademark originality, simple and striking, comes in many forms. We want to get people thinking — and talking — about the ways in which visuals tell stories.
We publish comics on our site twice-weekly, then post them to Instagram using the slideshow feature. These posts have consistently high engagement and allow us to share perspectives from a variety of female artists, who write about issues ranging from anorexia to gun violence. You can find all of our comics here and one of our favorites below:
Brianna Gilmartin on work ethic:
We also create visual-first projects to highlight important milestones. For Women’s History Month in 2018, we designed a social campaign called “31 days, 31 firsts.” It focused on women who have been the first of their kind.
We enlisted four female illustrators to depict modern day icons like Rihanna — the first woman to win “Shoe of the Year” — to figures who paved the way long before we were born: Liliʻuokalani, the first queen of the Kingdom of Hawaii, ruled more than a century ago. The campaign was featured on The Washington Post’s Snapchat discover channel.
The Lily cares about connecting with women around the world.
One of our biggest goals is to keep women engaged — while keeping them informed. On Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, we tell women what they need to know, whether that be covering, in real time, the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings or the U.S. Open.
But we do more than just create posts.
Lily Lit Club
We launched Lily Lit Club, our Instagram-only book club, in September. It’s a monthly book club that highlights female authors and lives solely on Instagram.
We share author photos, quotes from books and giveaways — and encourage readers to discuss the monthly pick and interact with each other.
We start conversations in other realms, too. Our video series, which can be streamed on Instagram’s IGTV and Facebook Watch, range from a seven-episode show about contraception — called “When Used Correctly” — to “Unfiltered,” front-to-camera monologues from YouTube stars with stories they’ve never told.
“When Used Correctly” delves into the most commonly asked questions surrounding contraception.
Each episode lasts two to three minutes and features personal stories about contraception from real women along with expert voices. Together, they tackle subjects such as how a woman’s body changes throughout her menstrual cycle to when birth control was first introduced in pop culture.
Answers to 5 common contraception misconceptions:
And “Unfiltered” is a video series that features seven female YouTube stars who tell stories of vulnerability they’ve never shared before — about grappling with online harassment, exploring sexual identity and facing the unknown.
Beauty vlogger Shalom Blac on never being in a relationship:
The series received more than 800,000 views across YouTube, Facebook, IGTV and Apple News – as well as thousands of positive comments.
The Lily extends beyond the digital realm.
We hold events — from trivia nights to zine-making workshops — to bring women together. Here are a few examples:
We were the official media sponsor of Bentzen Ball, a comedy festival held in Washington, D.C., that last year featured an all-female line-up, including Tig Notaro, Phoebe Robinson and Michelle Buteau. We ran texting interviews and traditional Q&As with the comedians ahead of the event, as well as activated the event’s main theater with Lily-branded signage and giveaways.
We also produced a video with the comedians.
While other outlets were simply posting stories on election night, The Lily live-painted a mural of an eagle with 184 feathers, one for each of the 184 women who were first-time candidates for congressional or gubernatorial seats, or sought a higher office in Congress. Each time a female candidate won her seat, a feather was colored in. The final product conveyed how many non-incumbent women were elected to office.
We recorded Facebook and IG live video on election night, so our followers could see each feather being filled in. We also interspersed progress photos of the project with our female-focused coverage of the midterms.
We wanted people to see The Lily’s message in the wild, so we created a mural, plus corresponding video and social content, for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. The theme? “We’re getting louder.”
The Lily knows no bounds. We are excited to keep creating, innovating and, most of all, elevating women’s stories.