Saluting a female business owner who inspired others, enriching the lives of many.
Phyliss Hoffman DePiano recently and unexpectedly passed away. It was a shock to me and so many others.
For those of you who didn’t know her, Phyllis Hoffman DePiano was the founder of Hoffman Media Publishing. She entered the world of publishing 40 years ago, in 1983, and built the Hoffman Media empire that now boasts eleven magazines, including Southern Lady, Tea Time, Victoria, and Southern Home.
Even though I never formally met Phyllis, she played a huge role in my career, giving me both confidence and inspiration.
In my personal life, her magazines always brought me joy and provided an escape. The world can be a dark and depressing place, especially when you tune in to the news. I can always count on magazines like, Tea Time, Southern Lady, and Victoria to lift my mood. In fact, these publications are staples on my coffee table for this very reason.
When I started designing hats in 1993, I was inspired by the hats and fashions in Victoria Magazine, and I would often dream of being featured in Victoria. You could even say Victoria gave me the “hat bug,” and I still love to thumb through my collection of vintage Victoria Magazines that I’ve collected since the 1980s.
As a young designer in 2008, my dream came true when my hats were featured in the Fall issue of Victoria Magazine.
I felt as if I‘d won the lottery, and my friend Caroline knew this and threw a party! We were all so excited to celebrate the moment!
As a business owner, I appreciate the spotlight that Hoffman Media always shines on small, mostly women owned, businesses. There’s a confidence and camaraderie that comes with knowing you are not alone in this arena.
Along with numerous new friends, I have to give Phyllis credit for connecting me with no less than four amazing ladies with whom I’ve collaborated over this past year! Had it not been for Southern Lady and Tea Time magazines, I probably would not have met these women. The events we did together have literally changed the trajectory of my business.
Phyllis’ magazines became a force to help and empower women while creating a lovely atmosphere. The magazines that Phyllis helped create and publish focus on joy, friendship, gentleness, creating memories with loved ones, and holding community. The mother of twin boys, she valued family and faith.
When I started my tea line, I was excited but nervous, so when both Tea Time and Southern Lady magazines, featured my teas it felt like an affirming confirmation that I was on the right path.
This is my way of honoring the memory of Phyllis Hoffman DePiano.
The courage, persistence, and tenacity she put forth as she embarked on a career in the publishing world, a male dominated field, has and will continue to blaze the paths of many women, and I am one.
The ripples of her positive influence over business owners, artists, and readers of her publications will be felt for years and years to come.
Thank you, Phyllis.