What inspired you to create your own magazine? I am constantly intrigued by creative discoveries and wanted an outlet where I could tell others about the best things I found. Starting my own magazine was the best way to encapsulate my creative vision in a beautiful collectable item.
When you first started Amelia’s Magazine—were you primarily focused on art, music and fashion? Was having content on the earth and environment always a part of your vision? From 2004 when Amelia’s Magazine was in print the majority of my coverage was fashion, music, illustration, photography and art based, but over the years I became more involved with the environmental movement and parts of that began to inform the content more and more. When Amelia’s Magazine moved online in 2007 it made sense to include a section where I could talk more freely about creative ideas that are based on living sustainably, although all sections of the magazine have always reflected my belief in the importance of small scale independent design, ethical design and community collaboration.
Can you tell us a bit about your unconventional covers? Even when I began to make Amelia’s Magazine in print I knew that the internet would become a very important place to share ideas, so it was always possible to buy the magazine online and in the early pre-Myspace days I streamed featured music on the website and included links to contributors’ web pages. So I knew that in making a tangible magazine in print I had to do something special to make it desirable right from the very start, and I did this by experimenting with interesting print production techniques. I produced laser cut, scratch ‘n’ sniff, glow-in-the-dark, crystal encrusted, holographic, metallic and flittered covers to name but a few, and don’t even get me started on the additional extras that came with each magazine (stickers, smelly pens, usb sticks, a pop-up cardboard carousel, make your own fair-trade bags…).
Amelia’s Magazine stayed in print for 5 years before switching over to the internet. In today’s increasingly digital world, would you advise someone to try their hand at the publishing world or stick to an online endeavour? I think this is a really tough question because actually it’s extremely hard to make an online magazine work as well… you are competing with a vast ocean of web data, and many websites don’t have a huge amount of readers at all. I was lucky in that I had a solid fan base before I moved entirely online, and I took many of those readers with me. I have also gained a whole lot more over the past 4 years because the bonus of being online is the ability to reach a much wider readership: currently I have about 65,000 readers per month across the world. Distribution of printed media is really hard and you could never expect to reach so many people in today’s market. Having said that, I do utterly believe in the power of print—articles that appear on paper still hold much more weight even though they may not reach as many people. I think this is because we really value the tangibility of print—even though something is purportedly there for ever online it can seem more ephemeral which is why I think many magazines today try to do a combination of both, and I think that if you have the resources that that is the best way forward.