Lou’s Baby Grows Up
Lou Kachigian, TulsaKids' founding publisher, reminisces about her history with the magazine.
When Lou Kachigian, her attorney husband, Mark, and two small children, Grace and Chip, moved to Tulsa from Brooklyn, N.Y., she found Russell Burkhart’s publication “Uptown News,” a local arts and entertainment tabloid for, well, adults. “As a new parent, new to the area,” said Lou, “I thought it would be great to have something like that to show parents what they could do with their kids.”
So, without doing market research and with a background in social work rather than business, Lou began the process of birthing what she calls “her third child,” TulsaKids Magazine.
“Everyone told me I had no business starting it,” Lou said, “yet I believe when you have a passion, and you follow it, you can do it. I really believe that. You just have to surround yourself with good people.”
With grandiose dreams of being on “Oprah,” Lou launched TulsaKids in the Kachigian kitchen. “I was never on Oprah,” she said. “I found out that I wasn’t the only parenting publication in the country.”
Over the years, TulsaKids moved to several locations, including Leon Russell’s old office near 15th and Boston. At the time she sold it, Lou said the office was at 15 East Brady (this was years before the Blue Dome District developed), which is currently the location of Glacier Chocolates. “That is so appropriate,” she laughed, “because I’m a chocoholic.”
Lou said she has great memories of the early years of publishing TulsaKids. “I got to ask questions to experts about kids, so I didn’t need to make a daily trip to the pediatrician,” she said. “We had a lot of laughs. I remember going on sales calls with Grace and Chip, with Grace in a stroller. But people understood because people can relate. My entire family became a part of TulsaKids.”
Another plus to being publisher of TulsaKids was meeting so many people in child advocacy fields. “It was a privilege,” Lou said. “I loved connecting with other people from the community and hearing their stories, and establishing long-term relationships. It was gratifying to establish something you see a need for.”
Lou said that deadlines were the downside of publishing a small magazine. “And waiting for call backs on deadlines. We also used to have to spend the night laying out the publication,” she said, “actually pasting it on cardboard. The other bad part was missing a typo,” Lou added. “One time we had ‘Put the children on the grill’ and it was supposed to be ‘Put the chicken on the grill.’”
Looking back, Lou said that there is nothing like the creativity and joy of starting something new. “It gives you confidence. It’s personal and no one can take that away from you.”
As the publication grew, Lou felt that she had to step back from some of the hands-on, creative aspects in order to focus more on the business side, and it was at that point that she began to think of selling it. “I loved it when it was small,” she said. “But my children were older; my needs were changing, so it was time to let it go. It’s gratifying to know that the values that I put in place for TulsaKids are still going strong – my third child is in good hands. It was a fun ride.”
This article was originally published in TulsaKids’ July 2012 issue.