About Inspire(d)

Just who do these kids think they are?

Inspire(d) Media is a very small, very independent media company based in Decorah, Iowa. We print Inspire(d) Magazine and also offer a variety of freelance services through our company. Aryn and Benji Nichols founded Inspire(d) in September of 2007 – shortly after they got married (!) and now have grown to print roughly 15,000 magazines every quarter – spring, summer, fall, winter. It’s a two-person show at Inspire(d) Headquarters: Aryn is the editor and graphic designer and Benji heads up the ad sales department, but we’d be nothing without our fabulous contributors who come from different areas across the Driftless Region and occasionally beyond.

We launched iloveinspired.com June 2014. Lindsey over at Creens has been a true gem – working her tail off and staying up late at night answering our questions and dealing with Aryn’s nitpicky design ideas – and we can’t wait for you to become a regular online reader of our positive news, inspiring ideas, and – sometimes silly – photos and updates. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

So what’s with the name? 

Inspire(d) – pronounced in-spy-erd…you know: inspired – stands for both inspire and inspired. The idea is that person one inspires person two. That person is now inspired. Then that person inspires person three (or person one again), who is now inspired. Then the cycle continues! That’s what those arrows around the (d) are about! Inspire. Be Inspired. Our mission is, ultimately, to change the world… starting with our own community!

Simply said, Inspire(d) in every form is an experiment in the positive. We focus on the good in life because, really, what’s the point in dwelling on the bad? Do you have an idea for a story? Interested in contributing? Think we should be doing something differently? Drop us a line….

aryn@iloveinspired.com or benji@iloveinspired.com

Aryn Henning Nichols grew up in the woods. Not literally – she had a house and a bed and lots of books – but it was still pretty rural. The nearest town – Frankville, Iowa – had less than 100 people living in it and her high school graduating class – one town over in Postville – had only 52 students. She left Northeast Iowa in 1999 to join the world of anonymity… to be “just a number” at the University of Iowa. 30,000 students felt just right at the time. After graduating with a degree in English and journalism in 2003 and post-design magazine internship in Toronto (Applied Arts Magazine), she sought an even denser population: China. She lived there for just over a year, winging it as an English teacher to nearly 800 middle school students and traveling as much and as often as possible. She now believes international travel should be a prerequisite to college graduation.

Aryn returned to Northeast Iowa late 2005 doing the typical liberal arts degree thing – living with her parents, waitressing, and applying for jobs. Her parents had moved from the woods to Decorah so she began to re-explore (and adore) this corner of the world – finding that community and a slower pace of life had new appeal. She worked briefly at the local newspaper where she, in a very convoluted manner, met her now husband, Benji. He lived in California at the time but it was still love at first phone conversation. They met in person June of 2006, got married August of 2007, and started Inspire(d) Media that October, just one month after returning from their honeymoon. She might be a little crazy, but she’s having loads of fun.

Benji Nichols was born and raised in Decorah, Iowa – home to a ridiculous amount of Norwegian American stuff, and a lot of great people. After graduating high school in 1996 he left for music school in Boston (Berklee), and promptly returned 10 years later – with a six-year hiatus in the San Francisco Bay Area. From playing music to baking bread, touring and traveling through 49 states, and working with some of the best in the concert industry, it was a decade well spent. These days you’ll find him working at or on Inspire(d) HQ, out making something noisy, or beating down the single-track just minutes from home.

Roxie was born August 11, 2012, and is making our lives even more exciting (crazy, wild, tiring) every day! We’ll keep you posted on all things Inspire(d) here at iloveinspired.com. Thanks for joining us!