As 2022 comes to an end, magCulture Shop manager Danielle Mustarde shares her working week.
Danielle joined magCulture during the OG Covid summer of 2020. Coming straight out of a senior role at long-standing queer magazine, Diva, Danielle has first-hand experience of life at a monthly publication, as well as an (arguably overpriced) MA in Magazine Journalism. She’s been writing for newspapers and magazines since the ripe old age of 16.
What are you up to this morning?
This soggy December morning, I’m opening up the magCulture shop ready for our last week before we close for the Christmas break. I cycle in from north London. Cycling, in my humble opinion, is the best way to get around London—rainy days aside. Whizzing by the queues of traffic heading towards the city centre is always satisfying (though it'd be even more satisfying if those queues didn't exist at all). Once I'm inside the shop, I flick on the lights in the studio space behind the shopfront, put on BBC Radio 6 or an early Bonobo album, and fire up a fresh pot of coffee. Perfect!
Describe your desk and your work space
I share a (sprawling!) desk space with Jeremy in the studio. Though, at the moment, my time is equally divided between being out on the shop front and tucked away in the studio while one of our part-timers takes care of the shop. Our shared desk space is usually stacked with magazines—samples mostly which people have sent in the post or dropped in during the week.
We receive new magazines all the time which is great fun, though they also pile up quickly (our condolences to anyone who’s still waiting for feedback on a submission—nudge us!) That, and there’s always music. Always. Always. Thankfully, mine and Jeremy’s music tastes crossover for the most part. Bob Dylan being an exception. (I’m the fan).
Which magazine do you first remember?
I’m certainly not the first to say National Geographic... My Grandad Jim collected them. He was a grumpy old Glaswegian who didn’t have much time for kids, but what I do remember is delighting in flicking through his yellow-spined collection. I remember him genuinely enjoying them and I’m sure a small part of my love for travel, learning about different cultures and documentaries was inherited here.
Which magazine matters to you the most this morning?
Motor Dance Journal. To be totally honest, I’ve only flicked through it so far, but it pulled me in instantly. It’s a brand new magazine and one we've only just added to our shelves. I’m ‘not a dancer’ in any formal sense, but I quietly love to dance and I think this magazine might just speak to that small corner of my soul. I’ll let you know...
Tell us who the customers at magCulture are.
Our customers are a genuinely lovely bunch. Why wouldn’t they be? They’re spending a part of their day excitedly digging into stacks of indie magazines. In terms of who they are? They come in all shapes and sizes. Students and creative types, models and photographers, stumbler-inners and issue-specific seekers. The question I get asked the most is: What’s your favourite magazine?
We mentioned the music already; what (whose?) music would we NOT hear when visiting magCulture?
Well, contrary to my words above Bob Dylan does get a little airtime in the shop now and then. Who wouldn’t we hear... we all have an eclectic taste in music, but something would be very wrong if you walked into the shop and there were musical theatre soundtracks coming out of the speakers. Eject! Eject! In terms of who you're most likely to hear at the moment, that’d be Little Simz, Katy J Pearson, Dry Cleaning (still) and Bonobo or Four Tet if we’re still on our first coffee.
You’re not at the Shop on Wednesdays. What are you up to?
Wednesday are my freelance days when I generally write bits and pieces for magazines, I'm also studying a module on Philosophy through the Open University (for fun?!) Right now though, I’m spending them working on an LGBTQ+ friendly guide to Europe—a coffee table book due out in 2023. And with that, I'm just back from a weekend-long stay in Copenhagen. Can’t complain, eh?
Any tips for a wannabe publisher to help their magazine stand out on the shelf?
I've said it before and I'll say it again... unless you’re incredibly confident in your marketing/existing audience/physical design, avoid black or monochrome covers. They all too easily disappear into our black Vitsoe (💅🏼) shelves.
That, and try not to load your magazine up with postcards or stickers and the like. If stuff falls out when the customer picks a magazine off the shelf, often they'll awkwardly poke it back in, put the magazine back and move onto the next title...
What are you most looking forward to this coming week?
I am most looking forward to finally playing my carefully curated magCulture Christmas playlist, talking Jeremy into getting some mince pies in for the front desk and enjoying some well-earned rest come Friday EOP. (I hope you'll all be resting your souls some too).