DJ Carey and I connected last November for The Art Issue of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens. She was gracious enough to give me some insight into the ups and downs of being the editorial director of a top design magazine.
Gary Komarin: How did you arrive at Connecticut Cottages & Gardens?
DJ Carey: In 2004 I was a field scout for Meredith and a stylist working in Connecticut and knew many CT architects who recommended me to Newel Turner, Editorial Director at Cottages & Gardens, for the position of Editor in chief for the soon to be launched Connecticut Cottages & Gardens.
Gary Komarin: Were you born with an editorial state of mind? In other words, do you have the organizational gene? Do you need that as editorial director?
DJ Carey: I didn’t ever dream or think about being in publishing I literally fell into it! After college, with a degree in anthropology and geography and looking for a job, there was nothing in my field. So my mother, a college professor, suggested I go to Katherine Gibbs and learn how to type and get my foot in the door. After a two-month course at Katherine Gibbs I was sent on an interview at Condé Nast for an entry-level job and the rest is history! I am very organized, which comes in handy when I am putting together an issue or a photo shoot, but I do have to thank both of my parents who gave me skills that I use every day in my position – my mother being the anthropologist taught me to pull back and observe and really take in all that is around me and my dad who put a camera in my hands and showed me the art of framing up a photo.
Gary Komarin: What is the very best part about being editorial director of a very well respected magazine?
DJ Carey: First, thank you for the compliment, because being well respected is so important in business today. The best part of being an editor is to see the completion of my vision every month. Sometimes an issue is even better than I hoped and that is the most fabulous feeling: to see something you toiled with go through all the editing process and then it’s complete – wonderful and scary at the same time.
Gary Komarin: What is the worst thing about being editorial director of a very well respected magazine?
DJ Carey: Expectations – mine and the readers. In this business you are only as good as your last issue and an editor is always cursed with the constant urge to edit! You have to sometimes just let go.
Gary Komarin: If you could do a ‘dream’ piece, IE – anything goes…who or what would it be on?
DJ Carey: I have lots of dream photo shoots. Many involve designers who are no longer alive, hence the dream. My favorite types of features are those in which I meet artists and artisans who allow me in to watch their process I LOVE THAT! That is why I love my art issue last November and my upcoming November issue which focuses on the connection of the heart and hand. I have had the pleasure of observing very talented people create; it connects with me in a very profound way.
DJ Carey is the Editorial Director and Editor of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens. The Cottages & Gardens publications – including New York, The Hamptons and San Francisco in addition to Connecticut – deliver the finest in regional luxury design coverage to residents of America’s most affluent communities, creating a unique sense of place. The award-winning publications inform and inspire readers with beautifully photographed features on architecture, interior and landscape design, plus insider views of real estate, entertaining and art. Carey’s previous experience includes: House & Garden, Bride’s, Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook, 1001 Home Ideas, Country Home, and This Old House.