Shop: Five years of the magCulture Shop

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It only seems like yesterday that we opened our Shop, yet today is its fifth anniversary. Here’s a quick look back to give a sense of what we’ve been doing over those years.

After weeks of preparation, we launched the Shop on 10 December 2015, with a party packed with magazine makers, friends and family. The interior was ready (courtesy of Vitsoe and South London Makers), but we hadn’t replaced the lightbox above the outside of the Shop (top). The next day, Friday 11 December, we opened our doors to the public for the first time.

Early in 2016 we started our series of magCulture Meets evenings at the Shop. The space was designed to expand for events, and Kirsten and Ernst from MacGuffin were the perfect first speakers (listen here), followed by Tom Hodgkinson, editor of The Idler, which had just relaunched (listen here).

In March we welcomed Charlotte and Bertie from Mushpit (above), a favourite mag of ours that has sadly closed since (listen here). We found that each magazine attracted a different crowd of followers; it seems strange now looking back and seeing we expected them to stand for the talks (we had no seats at the time) but perhaps even stranger now is that we were able to host 40 people in the Shop at all.

Our last event, pre-Covid, was February this year and it remains to be seen when/how we might hold a live event again.

Our large main window soon attracted publishers to show off their new issues. Magazine covers look great as repeat patterns and weekly changes keep the window fresh.

Buffalo Zine took the window for their Copy(right) issue nine, showing off their ten covers mimicking other indie mags (above). This was a perfect window for us: showing off a favourite magazine that also had another story behind it. We liked it enough we made this little video.

We work closely with several core distributors, with a broader list of suppliers who provide on or two mags each. Unlike a lot of shops, we also work directly with publishers when they don’t yet have a distribution company. This means we can offer some really specialist, obscure magazines.

One favourite over the years has been Rubbish Famzine, the beautiful zine from Singapore made by the Lim family. Hand-produced in limited runs of 300 copies, we’ve stocked it since issue five and always rapidly sell out of our quota of copies.

We were also excited to host Pann Lim (above, now with seats) at the Shop in May 2017 to present issue six, the food edition (listen here).

That direct relationship with publishers means we often get to meet them as they drop off their magazines. This was an unexpected benefit of opening the Shop: it reall does tie everything else we do together. Some of our visitors from those five years are in the video above.

That’s a very quick precis of the first five years – one of the reasons the five years have rushed by is we’ve been so busy having fun.

What’s next? 2021 is impossible to predict, but one thing is definite: a rebuilt, improved online Shop. Live events? We hope so!

Finally, I’d like to thank everybody who has been part of the success of the Shop over those years: the talented publishers, editors and art directors who make the wonderful magazines we sell; all our customers who follow us in real life and online; and the many people who helped build the success of the Shop as part of the magCulture team.

Thank you for your support!

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