For our weekly Source features we’ve been primarily speaking to magazine shops that have physical locations. Today we’ve got a very different perspective on the world of magazine retail: we’re catching up with Dublin-based Marta and Kuba of online shop KIOZQ, a site where you can find a host of well-known indies as well as hard to find gems. Although they exist largely online, KIOZQ are still an integral part of the local magazine community. Marta fills us in on the Dublin world of independent publishing.
When and why did you set up KIOZQ?
Well, it’s a bit of a short story really. We’ve always had this secret obsession: indie magazines. And since they have become so embarrassingly large collection, we have decided to start KIOZQ, to help assuage our guilt for owning so many. But, to be serious, we thought that there must be other people in Ireland reading these magazines, waiting for weeks for them to arrive and paying horrendous shipping costs.
So one day, after I paid $20 postage for a magazine that costs $20, I emailed a few publishers and asked if they would be interested in working with a small independent online shop in Dublin. They all came back within hours, super enthusiastic about the idea and offered their support! And so KIOZQ was launched on July 1st 2015, on my birthday! The rest is history :)
How do you lay out the magazines on the website?
Ha! Good question. We use Shopify so by default our magazines are laid out alphabetically. However, since indie magazines are still quite new for the Dublin (Irish) audience, to help our clients to browse the site, we categorised them by art/photography, design/graphic design, fashion, food/wine, illustration/kids, lifestyle, sports, travel, writing and outdoor. We also change featured magazines on our homepage and have a page called Staff Picks where we recommend our favourite magazines.
Who are your customers?
Initially we thought that our customers would be people of our age, interested in the arts, gigs and good food, many of them so called hipsters or yuccies (as we are!). We couldn't be more wrong! Our clients come from different backgrounds and are between 15 and 65. Also, when we launched the shop, the majority of orders were from Dublin, but now we send all over Ireland and Europe. Interestingly Spain and Italy order a lot!
What’s your best-seller this month?
This month I think it’s Benji Knewman, which is a Latvian magazine based around an imaginary character who is listed as editor-at-large in the masthead. I believe people buy it because it is difficult to tell whether the 38-year-old is a real person or not. And at the end of the day we all love reading about other people's lives, right?
Do you have a favourite local magazine?
It’s amazing to see that Dublin is finally getting the magazine-scene it deserves! We Are Dublin and Guts are definitely number ones for me. The majority of glossies in Ireland are filled to the brim with rehashed press releases and advertorial nonsense. These independents are an antidote to that: intelligent, curated content that’s designed to inspire and inform. The Franc, a biannual fashion magazine, is one of my top favourite local mags. It’s one to watch out for!
What has the biggest challenge been?
Frankly? Shipping! We operate from Ireland where unfortunately we have very limited options. Since we are still a start-up, even though we do ship a lot per week, we still do not qualify for discount rates, which means our customers pay quite dearly for delivery. We hope that 2016 will bring some changes. In the meantime we offer free collection for all Dublin orders.
What changes have you seen in the magazines since you opened?
Well, if you believe what you read, the print media has been on its deathbed ever since the birth of the Internet. But it certainly feels like someone forgot to mention it to the creatives here in Dublin. Guts, The Blow, We Are Dublin or Franc – just to name a few – are more than just magazines: they are premium products! So I think that would be the biggest change I have noticed since we launched KIOZQ. The Dublin publishing culture is thriving!