Qween City founder Kristy Mangel
(photo by AlanAdetolArts Photography)
Spend any amount of time in Buffalo and you’ll find a community of people who are passionate about this city with many nicknames: “City of Good Neighbors,” “Nickel City,” and “Queen City,” among them.
Kristy Mangel -- writer, editor, and founder of the digital magazine Qween City, which showcases the accomplishments of local women entrepreneurs -- is one of those people.
“The idea of Qween City came about in the summer of 2016. I had recently resigned from covering comedy in Buffalo, but still wanted an outlet for writing about people I found interesting in my hometown. I wasn't sure who I would write about if I wasn't writing about comedians, as I had been doing for 10 years in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Buffalo,” she said. “At the same time, I had been reveling in the sheer number of amazing women I had met and worked with since moving back to Western New York in 2012, after having been gone for 11 years. I soon connected those two dots with an AH HA moment: ‘Of course! I'll write about these women!’"
Mangel looked around at the local blogosphere, to see if anyone were concentrating media content on the women of Buffalo (she assumed so). “After some hunting, I did not find anything that fit the purview I had in my head,” she said. “I then put on my editorial hat and began the process of creating a media outlet.”
After pooling the talents and advice of six women she knew from different corners of her life, including a burgeoning website builder and designer, Qween City is now celebrating its two year anniversary, with its mission focused on women doing extraordinary work in Buffalo.
“Most of the profiles are on people we've had our eye on in the restaurant, small business, art, and music communities, with several profiles originating from pitches from the community to us. Honestly, it really is a vehicle we've been able to use to reach out to pretty much anyone in the city that we have interest in knowing more about; one look at the project, and it's plain to see that we are credible media professionals doing excellent work for our city. Not to blow the horn TOO, too loudly, haha,” she said.
The name is a play on Buffalo’s “Queen City” nickname, with an alternative twist that’s a nod to pop culture (“Yass Qween”). From food and culture, to relationships and business, Mangel sees Qween City as a platform to showcase emerging and established powerhouses in her community that just happens to have been founded, designed, and built by women, with women as the primary focus. “However, we want to highlight ALL people that are making Buffalo a great place to live and thrive, people who have a story to tell that offers perspective, insight, and inspiration to others,” she adds.
Screen-grab from QweenCity.com
In the past two years, Mangel and team have built up an impressive amount of content. The long-form community profiles now number almost 70; the love and relationship column “Smash Talks” now numbers almost 60; the food culture section “NOMaste” now numbers 50; and there are several ancillary sections focused on music, fitness, original literary works, event previews and reviews, and even a brand new talk show focused on Wiccan philosophies, hosted on YouTube in conjunction with Afura Nefertiti of OddSoul Designs. “We currently have a stable of 30 contributors, which includes writers, photographers, and filmmakers. Since the inception of Qween City, we've seen a proliferation of other women-centric media outfits in town, including Buffalo Boss Babes, Womankind Podcast, and She's From Buffalo,” she said.
Mangel’s New York State of Mind: “New York State is my home, and there was never a day when I was gone that I didn't miss it. I attempted to stay abreast of the renaissance of Buffalo and Western New York generally, while learning and working in Illinois for more than a decade. There is something a bit ethereal about this corner of the country, something that comes off the Great Lakes and sweeps through the mountains of the Adirondacks and rolling agricultural countryside. I haven't a great way to explain why I know I'm home, but I do. Also: have you seen the wine we got?”