It’s been unusually quiet here at magCulture over the holiday break. After a busy year we closed down for the week; no best-ofs or end- of- year wrap-ups for us (yet…). Instead, here’s a look back at the magCulture year and a quick look forward to 2016.
The big project this year was to bring the various strands of magCulture together; this meant sorting out the different parts into a more coherent whole both online and in real life.
Earlier in the year the magCulture website was redesigned to bring the elements – writing, design, events and shop – together. The Blog was redesigned to move away from a blogroll format and present multiple stories at the same time; so many stories disappeared below the fold too quickly, and as we introduced more regular strands we wanted the weekly output to be more clearly represented. We renamed it the Journal to mark this shift in emphasis, and there are further design tweaks to come. We’re still experimenting.
The other big change was the introduction of Madeleine Morley as a regular contributor to the Journal. This has spread the breadth of our coverage and broadened the site’s voice. It’s also been a pleasure to have monthly posts from Rob Alderson. Both are fellow magaholics, passionate about the medium but with eyes wide open in terms of what’s good and bad in our industry. I hope you’ve enjoyed their writing as much as I have.
Alongside the Journal, the new Events page brought together all the magazine talks and conferences we organise/contribute to, and the Studio section was improved to show off our design work. The online shop was also brought into design line, and kept ticking over in anticipation of our next step in selling magazines.
That next step, the magCulture Shop, opened in London on 11 December. This was the ‘real life’ part of the project. We converted a tired old newsagents into a proper showcase for magazines in just five weeks – thanks to George and our building team, to Mark, Rupert and Robin at Vitsoe, to David at South London Makers and all the other specialists involved for turning it round so fast. The shop is the public-facing part of the building; the space is also a hub for all magCulture activity: the magCulture Studio is based at the same address, and we can run public and client events there too.
It’s been a busy first couple of weeks at the shop. We’re still working out the details of stock control, learning what sells and what doesn’t (we currently stock over 200 titles), and what hours we will open. The day-to-day process of working with magazine distributors, the middlemen between publishers and shops, has already provided terrifying new insight into our industry. More of that another time.
Christmas kicked in just as we were getting into the swing of things but all of us needed some time off; the Shop reopens on 6 January in the capable hands of manager Jamie.
Next week should also see our online shop relaunch. Instead of the small range of titles we’ve previously stocked, you’ll be able to buy any of our shop stock online. We’ve had a great working relationship with our fullfillment partner Newsstand over the past few years – they handled packing and posting for us and are the best in the business at that – but we’ll be running just one inventory from the shop and dealing with all orders direct. Look out for news of the online shop launch early next week.
We’re planning a monthly programme of events for early 2016, building on the success of the magCulture Live series at last year’s Pick Me Up festival (the basis for my book ‘Independence’). The first event will be announced next week, and we’ll be confirming the date for ModMag16 soon too. And there’s another Printout due too.
Finally, huge thanks to everyone who keeps this site alive: the writers, the magazine makers who keep us busy with new issues and stories; Kenny and Keir who keep the tech working; other key team members Stephanie, Kelsey and Jese; our design and consultancy clients; and to you dear readers for paying attention.
Email us on info@magCulture.com with any thoughts or suggestions, and follow us on twitter and instagram for updates:
@magCulture and @magCultureShop
I’m really excited about 2016. Happy new year!