About Breakwall Publishing

Publisher & Creative Director
Executive Editorial Director & Conference Director

Breakwall Publishing was founded in 2019 by Karen Carr and Kristin Ely. The two have a longtime friendship that began when they were working for a magazine publishing company in Cleveland, over a decade ago. Karen has more than 25 years’ experience in publishing and graphic design, and over the last 20 years, Kristin has led the editorial direction of industry-leading magazines. The two have always had a great synergy when it comes to making words come to life with design. 

Both have been recognized for their outstanding contributions in editorial and design with dozens of awards from media associations, including ASBPE, Folio and the Press Club of Cleveland.

Karen and Kristin had always dreamed of one day launching a magazine together, but it wasn’t until Kristin relocated to San Diego that their vision became reality. They combined their passion for creating niche magazines with their love for coastal towns. Recognizing that beach, coastal and nautical retailers were underserved by media, Karen and Kristin determined this niche market would benefit from a dedicated publication. 

Seaside Retailer made its debut as a quarterly publication in 2020, providing articles on product and style trends, retailer profiles, store presentation and other relevant topics. The magazine was well received by retailers and wholesalers alike and it continued to grow. The magazine expended to a bimonthly frequency in 2021.

In 2022, the company expanded into the face-to-face events space with the launch of the Coastal Connections Conference, a retail conference for coastal retailers, set in a relaxed atmosphere designed for increasing knowledge and making connections with other retailers and relevant wholesalers. The conference also includes a buying event called The Boardwalk, featuring top beach, coastal and nautical wholesalers. Set to debut in October 2022, the inaugural event was postponed to January 2023 due to Hurricane Ian’s impact on Florida.

Also in January 2023, Breakwall Publishing, purchased the assets of Souvenirs, Gifts and Novelties magazine from Kane Communications. SGN was founded in 1962 and from 1977 to 2022 was led by Scott Borowsky, who served as SGN’s president and executive editor.

Expanding Breawalls offerings to include other gift and souvenir stores throughout the U.S. is a perfect fit, and Karen and Kristin look forward to providing the same award-winning editorial content and design that readers have come to expect from their publications.

For 2023, SGN will publish five issues: March/April; May/June; July/August; September/October and November/December. Beginning in 2024, SGN will be published on a bimonthly basis.