Earlier this week, I attended a public lecture/conference at Antenna Nottingham. Raw Print Live is a series of monthly talks that celebrate the dynamic nature of modern magazine making in the 21st century and is a collaborative venture in partnership with Ideas on Paper who I have mentioned on my blog previously. I decided to go along to the first of many seminars as I wanted the opportunity to be educated and inspired by industry experts. I also wanted to be a part of an environment surrounded by creatives, designers and print media enthusiasts.
Each month two different magazines makers and industry experts speak on key issues close to their heart, sharing their insights and experiences. This time, to celebrate independent publishing, the special guests were Caboodle’s Kayti Peschke and Sideburn’s Gary Inman.
Kayti Peschke co-founded Caboodle Magazine in 2015 and is now the sole Editor. Before this, she was a fashion-photographer, travelling to different places; however this came to an end due to an illness. Therefore, she found a way to express her love of creating and having the opportunity to showcase all the amazing creatives and contributors involved. Caboodle is a self-published bi-annual print magazine that can be found in over 200 stockists all around the world. She not only does all of the design layouts and most of the photography, but also contributes to the writing features, interviews and thinking up fun themes for the crafts and recipe pages. I would describe the magazine as a vintage, craft and design, bright and fun magazine. I love the eye-catching colour schemes, block shapes and simple imagery that are used throughout the magazine.
The themes throughout all of the issues are fun, colourful and show optimism, Kayti wanted to produce something that readers could use as an escape. She self-funded her first issue, printed 100 copies and was guilty of producing a magazine she wanted to read. However, this technique seems to be working as the magazine’s followers have grown massively over the years. Kayti stated that without Instagram, the magazine wouldn’t exist! On it people share their images of the magazine, give feedback and is a way of creating a community, discovering new creators to feature as well as an inexpensive marketing tool.
I found it really warming the fact that although the magazine is growing, Kayti still hand writes thank you postcards to every mail-order customer! She thrives on showcasing creators and independents who would otherwise not have a voice. For example, most of her covers are shot in her office and one in particular featured a local designer who produced the outfit for the photograph. She wants to keep adding a personal touch to have a greater connection. Overall, she uses the magazine as a platform to show her work and talent and through this she secures photography and zine work. She concluded her speech with her message: ‘No one is you, that’s your super power!’
These are some of the Caboodle front covers that caught my eye the most:
Gary Inman is the editor of Sideburn magazine that was launched in 2008 so has been around for almost 10 years. He was a journalist before. The independent motorcycle magazine was designed to differ from mainstream and quickly gained a following. Four issues of the magazine are released per year and the magazine grew from Gary’s love of track racing. However, other topics are also included in the print, such as movies, road trips, off-road adventures and art, photography and illustration. I have never been interested in the sport of motor racing, but I was very intrigued listening to him speak about his experience and journey. The magazine has a retro, unpolished feel which in my option adds interest; the prints always come with the bold Sideburn logo on the cover: the publications definitely stand out from other in the market. This magazine has similarities to Caboodle since they both opt for the bold colours, yet simplistic photography and illustrations.
When the magazine first started, Gary had no idea of the direction and had no social media or website to help with promotion. It was the feedback from the first edition that prompted issue two. Like Kayti, he produced a magazine that he wanted to read, something he would enjoy. I found it interesting how the growth in blogs and Instagram help the motorcycle movement and therefore the magazine. This rise in social platforms was an advantage in terms of advertising but a drawback in the form of increased competition.
Gary admitted to three specific mistakes that he made along the way.
1) Not thinking enough in advance! On the first issue, he did not date the magazine as he wanted it to be timeless and have no shelf-life.
2) Partnerships! Although having a partner can have many advantages in terms of greater ideas, he found that he lost control of the magazine and the partner was just focused on the money-side. Gary now Freelances for a third of the price and time; he finds this way of working a lot easier to deal with!
3) Being too niche! His first issue was very specific as he believed that this would resulting in less competition. However, broadening the magazine brought a wider customer base and therefore more sales.
I found the three hour lecture very interesting and I will definitely try to attend the others if I can. I enjoyed hearing each of the guest’s journeys and listening to their experience and advice. Do you have a favourite independent magazine and/or print?