This week we’re in Sydney visiting Aussie mag-haven, Beautiful Pages. Opened by graphic designer Tiana Vasiljev, the shop stocks independent favourites like Apartamento, The Plant and Offscreen as well as a host of Australian titles. We caught up with Tiana to hear more about running a mag-shop down under.
When and why did you set up Beautiful Pages?
Beautiful Pages was founded in 2011 as an online store for designers and creatives in Australia. In August 2012 we opened a shop front and we now carry a range of over 3000 design related books, magazines, posters, DVDs and gifts.
Like many creatives, I have always had an out of control obsession with books. A substantial amount of my annual salary over the years was dedicated to purchasing new books and magazines. Beautiful Pages was initially a selection of 50 design books that had inspired me as a graphic designer over the years. They all had a positive and inspiring impact on my work, attitudes and design knowledge. They were books I felt every designer could benefit from having in their design library.
Through Beautiful Pages I wanted to create a design store where Australian designers (and designers all over the world) could go to be inspired. A creative space – both online and offline – that both students and professionals could visit and easily purchase products that would fuel their imagination. Beautiful Pages serves as a reminder to designers about the beauty of real ink on paper, the importance of the printed page and the pleasures and benefits of owning these beautiful books, magazines and printed pieces.
How do you lay out the magazines around the shop and how did you decide on that set up?
In addition to a large selection of books, we have devoted a substantial amount of space for magazines. These have a dedicated shelf space on a wall next to our counter. They are arranged so that the covers face forward and are easily viewed by our customers. We also carry a selection of back issues, which we store underneath this shelf. Some of our best-sellers are also arranged in piles on a table at the centre of the shop. We have new magazines coming in every week so it’s a matter of constantly rearranging the shop to accommodate for new stock.
Who are your customers?
Our primary market includes graphic designers and creatives. The store currently offers a very carefully curated selection of graphic design, typography, architecture, interior design, fashion design and art-related products. Students and professionals working within these fields are our primary customers. Book-lovers and people looking for inspiration are also regular visitors to our store. We also carry a large selection of gifts that many of our customers purchase for special occasions.
Do you have a favourite local magazine?
I really enjoyed the first issue of Alphabet Family Journal. It’s a magazine for people who make a home together, a celebration of family. A family journal about the way we all live, grow and learn together. Their second issue should be released later this year, so I’m really looking forward to that.
What has the biggest challenge been?
The biggest challenges occurred when I was launching the business. These included setting up accounts with all our distributors and managing the finances and cashflow. My education is in graphic design so it was a little hard in the beginning juggling all the other aspects of the business. But I’ve been lucky enough to have some wonderful help along the way and all the sales, orders and emails that keep coming through from customers have been amazing and very motivating.
Ordering the accurate number of each magazine on a monthly basis was another challenge I faced. Some magazines would sell out sooner than others, and in some cases we had an over-supply of particular issues. However, after a little time in the industry you learn what quantities work well for each magazine. Everything in business can be learnt. Experience is the best teacher when it comes to running a business. The longer you do it, the easier it becomes.
What changes have you seen in the magazines since you opened?
We have been trading for over three years now and have seen a strong shift in magazine sales. Niche publications that merge quality content with beautiful design have become our best-sellers. These magazines appeal to a specific audience – offering something that deepens the connection with their readers. They are a lot more personal. Magazines now also have to have a strong digital strategy to build this relationship. It’s no longer just about printing and selling a magazine. It’s about creating communities both online and in print.