Looking Back at the Origin Story of The Bend Magazine

Looking Back at The Bend’s Origin Story

Owners and Founders, Jordan and Kaley Regas reflect on the start of The Bend Magazine.

photo of the founders and owners of The Bend Magazine, Jordan and Kaley Regas

Kaley and Jordan Regas photographed for The Bend 10 Year Anniversary issue. | Photo by Charlie Neuenschwander

In honor of The Bend’s 10th anniversary, founders and owners Kaley and Jordan Regas look back at the publication’s beginnings, the challenges of starting a small print publication business and how they knew betting on The Bend Magazine was worth a shot. 

How did you initially come up with the idea for The Bend?

Jordan Regas: I worked for a small, local magazine while I was still in college. I was an English major with an emphasis on Creative Writing and that experience showed me the positive impact a local lifestyle publication could have on a community. When we moved to Corpus Christi in 2013, it was obvious there was a need to highlight the amazing businesses, places and people. I wanted to bring the kind of city magazines Dallas, Austin and Houston had to Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend. 

Kaley had grown up here, but I was a very new resident, and I wanted readers to see and experience all of the great things I was realizing about this region. One of the first people I pitched my vision to was Kaley’s aunt, Sharon Kollaja. Sharon had been a lifetime resident of the region and a longtime entrepreneur. Once I had her on board and willing to help with the first issue, I knew we had a shot.

The Bend owners Jordan and Kaley Regas pose for a photo with their daughter in 2014.
The Bend owners Jordan and Kaley Regas pose for a photo with their daughter Gemma in 2014.

How did you ultimately decide on the name of the publication? 

JR: It truly came down to wanting a name that sounded unique. I didn’t want people to search for it online and our website ending up at the bottom of the page. I had bounced around a lot of names in my head — some were really bad and cheesy. I sketched dozens of logos with different names that I felt encompassed our beautiful region. For a while, I was sold on starting small and focusing strictly on the South Side of Corpus. Thankfully, Kaley pushed for something broader, and The Bend felt like a name our entire community could be proud of.

Take us back to 2014. What did your life look like at the time? 

Kaley Regas: January 2014 was as thrilling as it was terrifying. At the time, I was only 21 and Jordan was 26. We were absolutely, blissfully ignorant of the challenges that lay ahead. We had a precious three-month-old, Gemma, at home when Jordan left his job and together we decided to create The Bend

I think being so young was actually an advantage for us, though. We were determined to build something that would create an engaged audience and a thriving advertising base, and also sustain our family. We packed our calendar that year with every community event we could, and told everyone who would listen about the magazine. The feedback from our first issue was amazing. People could not believe that such a beautiful magazine about the Coastal Bend was showing up in their mailbox. I can’t tell you how many times we were warned that we would quickly run out of things to talk about — 10 years and 120 issues later, that could not be further from the truth. 

I can’t tell you how many times we were warned that we would quickly run out of things to talk about — 10 years and 120 issues later, that could not be further from the truth.”

Paint a picture of those first few months in business. What did the office look like? How many people were on the team? How many different hats were you both wearing?

KR: Believe it or not, The Bend began in a tiny, windowless office at 5262 S. Staples St. Jordan and I shared a desk, and I can’t tell you how excited we were the day we were able to afford an office with a window. At that point, Jordan and I were both working in tandem on almost every role. We were both selling, creating editorial content, attending photoshoots and working as A/R A/P [accounting] support. 

While at times it felt like we were at it all alone, that was far from the truth. We quickly built a band of incredible freelancers. One thing our audience has always marveled at is the photos. Jordan was at Coffee Waves one day and randomly picked up a business card off a table; that business card belonged to none other than Rachel Benavides. Rachel has been pivotal to the gorgeous aesthetics of the magazine since day one. Around the same time, I was searching for the right fit for a monthly recipe. I can still remember the first conversation I had with Kayla and Justin Butts. I had no idea at the time how important their family would be to me and The Bend

Other major players in all of this would be our parents. Not only were they a rock-solid support system, but they all had a hand in making The Bend. My mom served as my target audience filter, helped with content ideas and introduced us to people in town who would allow us to tell their stories. She and my dad still hand out magazines to anyone they meet and are always trying to steer business our way. Jordan’s dad played an integral part in the logistics of the business. From helping us establish our LLC to filing our taxes, we could always count on him to step in and help. Jordan’s mom edited every page of the magazine for years. We truly wouldn’t be where we are today without each one of them. 

In January 2019, Jordan and Kaley’s first two children, Gemma and Tatum, ages 5 and 1, were featured on the cover of “50 Local Must Do’s” making for a sweet, forever memory for the magazine owners.

What were the challenges you faced in starting this business from the ground up?

KR: So many; but I would say the greatest opposition was selling ads in something that the community had never before seen. The doubt already seeded in most minds combined with the fact that what Jordan and I wanted to bring was a certain caliber of magazine that hadn’t yet been produced in Corpus Christi — we ran into many walls. I still remember my first sale. I was dropping my daughter off for the day at my parents so I could go to work, and that’s when destiny stepped in. She was scheduled to have motorized blinds installed in their new home by none other than Pam Morin, owner of Budget Blinds. In between supervising the installation, she took the time to review our media kit and hear my pitch. She signed an annual contract on the spot. I cried tears of joy as I drove across the causeway to our office. Our first ad! 

How has creating/working for The Bend affected you? 

JR: Wow! This could probably be an entire magazine feature by itself. I could go on and on about so many things, like the lessons I have learned and the relationships that I have built over the years, but at the end of the day it comes down to realizing what God can do when you step out in faith. 

KR: Working for The Bend has changed the way I view where we live entirely. The whole purpose of our job is to find the good in our city. My grandmother always encouraged me to look at the world with rose-tinted glasses. Working for The Bend forces you to do just that. There is so much magic in the Coastal Bend. Thank you, everyone, for providing the opportunity for us to share it with you month after month.  

Interested in reminiscing more about the beginning of The Bend? Check out this look back at Volume 01 Issue 01 and an update on where those featured subjects are today.