The Capsule Collective: It’s Our Birthday and We’ll Cry (With Happiness) If We Want To

It’s been a whole year since Capsule was launched in the wake of Covid-19’s rampage through the heart of New Zealand media. But instead of wallowing in a rosé-fuelled despair (ok to be fair there was a bit of that) we decided that we’d take matters into our own hands, and this little group of former magazine editors formed our own baby (click here for our first Capsule Collective!).

A year on, here are our musings on what it’s been like to take control of our careers, our lives and our dreams. Cheesy? Yes. Happy? F*** yes.

Alice: What Dreams Are Made Of

Ten years ago I was in my second-most favourite job ever, at teen mag Creme (our days were as candy-filled, glitter-soaked and boy-band obsessed as you might imagine them to be) when I started having vivid, reoccurring dreams.

Every few weeks it was the same deal – Emma (who I was working on the mag with at the time) and I were in a warm, sunny Ponsonby villa (apparently they do exist) working on our own project – a grown-up version of Creme (somehow I knew we were out of teen-land, even though Emma still had a shrine to Twilight by her desk). Each dream was so vivid, from her Robert Pattinson poster, to the conversations we’d have about how many stories on rose quartz crystals was appropriate, to the thick warm socks I’d always be wearing.

A couple of years later we’d both moved on to different magazines, and I was working with Kelly – my work wife at the Weekly. We’d often share daydreams of what an alternative life might possibly look like – but by then I’d stopped having those sunny dreams, and those daytime fantasies we had were a lot simpler – I just wanted to be well. I just wanted to wake up and not have every molecule of my body ache. I imagined what it would be like to not feel constantly stressed and have a pit in my stomach as every deadline neared. What it might be like to actually have some confidence back in myself at work. And then, in a flash it all disappeared over a Zoom call. And then, all I wanted was it all back. The idea of never going back to that job was simply terrifying.

But then, something weird happened. I’m not quite sure when exactly, but that panic subsided and was slowly but surely replaced by a new feeling – excitement. It was time to finally give myself permission to choose my own path forward and follow what I really wanted to do.

This week we had an office day at Emma’s home and, as absolutely cheesy as it is, I was listening to Kelly in hysterics telling a story and I looked over at Emma who was sitting on the other couch with her laptop, sun streaming in behind her.* I looked down and, yes, I had on a ridiculous pair of thick, fleece-lined socks.

Maybe sometimes, what feels like the absolute worst thing that could happen to you is actually the thing that sets you free to live out your dreams.  

Happy birthday Capsule! I’m SO glad we finally found you.  

*Sadly there was no Robert Pattinson poster.

Yes we hired a giant one and no we have no regrets

Emma – Silver Linings Playbook

The other night, at our Capsule birthday party in Auckland, I made a garbled, slightly tipsy speech where I immediately forgot everything I had ever intended to say. However, I did manage to stick the landing (just) when I raised my glass and toasted ‘to silver linings.’

In the past four years, I have had a failed engagement and I’ve lost my job. At various points, during the aftermath of both events, they felt completely overwhelming and sometimes unsurvivable. Now, I’m married to the world’s kindest man and I co-run a business with some of my most favourite people. Here is what I have to tell you about silver linings: They take time.

Our lives mostly make sense in hindsight, drawing together all of the second chances and lucky breaks we got along the way. When we first lost our jobs, I wrote that in a perverse way, it felt like a carte blanche to start again and try something new. What I was yet to learn was how much I loved my day job – talking to people and writing about them – and how willing I was to do it for free for a while, in the hopes that it would lead to good things. Which it has.

When change hits you, it hits you fast and it hits you without warning but in time, you find out that every dumb cliché about resilience is – annoyingly – very true. The night is darkest before the dawn, etc etc etc. SNORE.

But at the time, when you’re in crisis and the sh-t is very much hitting the fan, it’s extremely hard to see a way out. That’s when you need good people around you who can keep the faith when you no longer can.

Being part of the Capsule team meant immediately being part of a home; all of us definitely moving through our own emotional journey when it came to the past year, all of us needing the same support to know that those good things would eventually be possibly.

Right from the second magazine I ever worked on, Creme magazine, where Alice was my editor, I learned very quickly that the product you put out is dependent on the energy and joy of the team that creates it. As we celebrate our one year anniversary, I am so grateful to the people that wrap around us when we need them and the teams we create for ourselves. A job is only as good as the company you keep and I’m in very, very, VERY good company.

Kelly – Finding Success

Well here we are – a whole 365 days of Capsule.

Three hundred and sixty-five days of trying to figure out how to build a website. Trying to figure out how tax works. Trying to figure out to be directors of a business that just a few years ago, we thought we had no business owning.

It’s been a tough year. It’s been a crazy year. It’s been the best year.

And the best thing is that now, I truly understand what success actually is.

It’s not new titles, or pay rises, or proving yourself to people you know deep down don’t give a shit. It’s doing what you love, with who you love, and doing it with the morals and values you care about.

So fuck yeah – success.

After the Capsule birthday party this week, my drunk ass got home, kicked off my heels, made some crumpets and a cuppa and climbed into bed to do the usual mindless Instagram scrolling before passing out.

In a weird universe move, my favourite EVER video popped up – a sassy little number by content creator Rickey Thompson called ‘Success’.

“You cannot defeat a bad bitch. You just cannot do that.”


I’ve posted it here for your viewing pleasure and you’ll get my drift. It reminded me of a few things.

One, when we launched Capsule, we were acutely aware of a few detractors. They were few and far between, but they were there nonetheless – people, women specifically, thinking we had no business launching our own website. ‘Who do these girls think they are?!’ they asked. ‘They have no digital experience!’ they cried. ‘Hmph. Good luck to them. It’ll never last’ they puffed.

I shall refer to you to the aforementioned video.

Then it made me realise something clutch. Instead of wanting to be that confident, that self-assured and that resilient, we now are.

Alice, Emma and I have built our own little empire from scratch. If you’ll pardon the laborious metaphor, it’s built on a foundation of compassion and empathy, of respect and talent. Capsule is everything we’ve ever wanted in a workplace – kindness, flexibility, fun – and the fact it took a pandemic and traumatic redundancy to get here is actually kind of sad.

But now, it’s firmly face forwards. With amazing advertisers on board, great partnerships with the likes of Stuff and most importantly you – you wonderful readers, we’re so excited to continue to grow our little online magazine that could.

Thank you so much to you all, and to Alice, Emma and Nicky, who started this journey with us. Being able to work with your best friends is a rare thing indeed, but it’s been life-changing.

Because, what is the most important thing in the world?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

It is people, it is people, it is people.

And that, my friends, is success.

Thank you to the QT Auckland for hosting our first birthday party, and to Steinlager, Malfy Gin, Villa Maria and Glasshouse Fragrances for supporting us on the night!

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