Print Matters!, Zurich
Last week we were in the small Swiss village of Chexbres visiting Sérendipité; this week we’ve gone to the biggest city in Switzerland and are visiting newly opened Print Matters!. Run by a group of six friends, the independent magazine shop is still in it’s early days and is on the hunt for a permanent location. We speak with the Zurich mag-gang - made up of Chöying, Florian, Laurin, Matteo, Matthieu and Rico - to hear more about their current pop-up store.
When and why did you set up Print Matters?
We’re a gang of six 24 to 30 year-old friends and we started planning at the beginning of this year over dinners and lots of wine. Print Matters! was really born out of our own frustration of not being able to get our favorite independent magazines at any kiosk in Switzerland. Instead, we've all been buying our magazines abroad for years, dragging them back in overweight suitcases .
When we got the opportunity to run a magazine store in the old town of Zurich during our summer break, we took it. It was clear from the beginning that we had to leave that location at the end of the summer, but during these three months we discovered that we're definitely not the only magazine nerds in Zurich. And so instead of burying it all after a summer, we decided to continue.
We opened at our new location in Sihlcity earlier this month, and we will stay there until the end of January 2016. Since September, we’re also running a tiny shop-in-shop at Qwstion invites, a concept store for young, emerging design talents. We’re now convinced that Zurich needs a store like Print Matters!, so we’re already searching for a permanent location.
How do you lay out the magazines around and how did you decide on that set up?
We played around with different ideas. We're lucky to have an industrial design student and trained carpenter among us, which allowed us to tailor our various interiors to our needs.
But we do think it's really all about the covers. There's really not much you can do wrong as long as you give the covers enough space to be seen. The shelves themselves should be as discrete and in the background as possible, with neutral colors and indirect lighting.
Who are your customers?
At first, we were surprised we had any customers at all, given that print has been declared dead for so long. Now, we're surprised how many different people find the way to our store. There's everyone from the 17-year-old teenager to the 75-year-old granny.
Make-up artists, fashionistas, art directors or graphic designers come in to look for inspiration. Bankers want to exchange Excel spreadsheets for a few printed pages. Programmers want a day off from their screens, and journalism students want a glimpse into what the future of print might look like.
What’s your best-seller this month?
Apartamento has always been at the top of the list, along with titles like Cereal and Kinfolk. We’re challenged when it comes to keeping up with demand for the CR fashion book. Plus we're selling a lot of copies of 38hours - apparently, people in Zurich are keen on getting out of town.
Do you have a favourite local magazine?
Reportagen is a favourite; they’re great people doing a great job, and we already had the pleasure of organizing a reading event with them.
What has the biggest challenge been?
Logistics is certainly among the biggest of time-eaters. Also, space is a challenge: Our store is not that big, and there are a lot of magazines we’d like to offer but can't because of the limited space. And last but not least there's the challenge of getting the word out that there's a great world of independent magazines to discover and that Print Matters! can offer magazines that you can’t get at any traditional kiosk. But we're not complaining: We’ve had a great ride so far, and our experience has exceeded even the boldest dreams we had at the beginning of the summer.
What changes have you seen in the magazines since you opened?
We’ve really only been around for four months and for some titles, we had only had one issue on our shelves so far. So it’s hard to say.
But we’re amazed by the amount of new titles that we’ve discovered since opening, be it through recommendations or our own research. We thought we had a pretty good overview about what's happening in the indie print sector, but we keep discovering new, amazing stuff all the time. Also, we're more hopeful about the future of print than ever before. We expected to mainly have an older generation in our store. Turns out it's as much a thing for young folks as it is for our parents’ generation.