Whistles Women: Rosa Park
At Whistles, we love to travel and we’re constantly searching for new platforms to recommend to one another and source inspiration from. If you haven’t already discovered Cereal – the UK based travel and style magazine that handpicks destinations to explore, alongside high-quality art, fashion and design stories – they’re worth turning to ahead of your next travel plans.
Cereal’s founder Rosa Park has impeccable taste and enviable style, as well as being incredibly inspiring, so we couldn’t wait for the chance to pick her brains. Here she talks to us about how she started the magazine alongside her husband Rich, her advice for travelling and some of her favourite cities at the moment.
What inspired you to start Cereal and how did it begin?
My husband Rich and I have been travelling and moving from country-to-country for most of our lives and the impulse to create a travel title felt natural. Friends and family have been coming to me for years, asking for tips and insights before they embark on a trip, and Cereal was an opportunity to turn that into something substantial and meaningful.
“My husband Rich and I have been travelling and moving from country-to-country for most of our lives and the impulse to create a travel title felt natural.”
Where did your love for travel stem from?
My passion for travelling was inherited from my parents. I used to hate it when I was in school. I just wanted to have sleepovers and parties with friends over the holidays but without fail, my family and I would spend school breaks abroad. Looking back, those experiences were invaluable and my curiosity and adaptability are rooted in that upbringing.
You work on the magazine alongside your partner, Rich. How would you say you combine your skill sets and how do you inspire each other?
Rich is the Creative Director and I’m the Editor in Chief, so our roles are dissimilar while complimentary to one another. He takes the lead on visual decisions, as I do with the narrative and the editorial. Because we operate on almost opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of our creative process – he starts with imagery and I start with words – there is a constant creative tension between us. This is what facilitates our ability to push each other out of our comfort zone and on to a new plane, which is necessary when you are bringing out a new issues regularly. As a brand, you want to have a consistent look and voice but not come across as stagnant.
“Because we operate on almost opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of our creative process – he starts with imagery and I start with words – there is a constant creative tension between us.”
How do you decide what to feature in Cereal?
Cereal is based on what we love. That is a layered statement because one, Rich and I love different things, and two, what we love is constantly evolving.
It is safe to say that Cereal is the culmination of places, people, things that both Rich and I are genuinely interested in. Cereal also moves with our own developing tastes and curiosities.
“It is safe to say that Cereal is the culmination of places, people, things that both Rich and I are genuinely interested in.”
How important has your presence on social media and online been in Cereal’s growth?
Our social media presence is something that always makes us laugh because when we imagine our 1M followers on Instagram in one space, that image is just bonkers. Like most media companies, we care about social media and have always had policies for the standard of what we share – which I believe has contributed to our progress – but at the end of the day, it is one of the means to an end.
Our strongest asset to this day is our printed products, be it the magazine, our guidebooks, or our coffee table books. Our readers come to us first and foremost for our printed offering and this is what has allowed us to grow over the years.
How would you describe your personal style?
Comfortable. Comfort is the ultimate luxury, and being comfortable is when I feel like the best version of myself.
You also produce city guide books. Can you tell us a little bit about these and why you decided to create them in addition to the magazine?
Our city guides came about because we avoid doing more than a few hotel or shop related stories per issue – as we are striving for more timeless, unconventional travel content – but our readers still wanted to know where we stayed, shopped and dined when we travel. So the city guides were a logical next step for us after the launch of the magazine.
One thing that I am very proud to share is that Rich and I still personally vet every venue in all of our printed guidebooks. We know this approach is not sustainable long term as we expand the series, but we have been able to do it thus far and that brings me a lot of joy. Each recommendation comes from one of us.
“One thing that I am very proud to share is that Rich and I still personally vet every venue in all of our printed guidebooks.”
Do you have any favourite cities and if so, can you tell us why you love them?
Antwerp for design, Vienna for classic grandeur, Sydney for lifestyle, Seoul for food, and Los Angeles for its energy.
What is your favourite aspect of your job?
Meeting people I have long admired and respected.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading three books at once at the moment. Less by Andrew Sean Geer, Walden by Henry David Thoreau, and The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.
Do you have any tips for researching ahead of travelling?
Consult friends and resources that share your values and preferences, then google recommended places in order to read reviews for each spot. Use that research material to whittle your itinerary down to a manageable size and add pins on google maps for everything you really want to do. You can then group all the activities by neighbourhood and proximity in a logical sense, giving your itinerary an effortless flow. I also create an itinerary on google sheets for each day – with an estimated time of travel between each location – so I can relax and enjoy the day without stressing about timings.
What are your travel plans this summer?
I’ve been to eight countries already so far this summer – all for work – and I have trips to Spain, Scotland and Morocco coming up.
We’re offering you and a friend the chance to win a two-night stay in Paris – travel and hotel included – as well as a £500 Whistles shopping spree at our St Pancras store, a full set of Cereal City Guide books and an annual subscription to Cereal Magazine.