After the launch of her own magazine the Sunday Girl, Editor Abby Dennison tells us all about what made her new fashion and lifestyle magazine so successful. Also giving you top tips on how to get into the magazine industry and what to expect in the fashion world.
Tell me about the Sunday Girl? It’s an empowering female magazine but what does it have to offer that’s different to other fashion life style mags?
“I think Sunday Girl gives girls the option. We don’t push any reality stars or diet tips in their face, we offer up something a little different and give them the opportunity to read about topics and people they may not have come across whilst reading other publications. We focus a lot on the aesthetic of the magazine, we want it to feel refreshing and give girls a break from the loud, bright, ‘shouty’ slogan magazines that are on the newsstand. The power of white space is so essential as our brains can only take in so much as a time, I didn’t want to overload it and fill every square millimetre with content.
“We also don’t photoshop any of the models or images, the target audience are girls who are still growing and learning and the last thing they need is to be hit with a message that says ‘you need to look like this to be beautiful or happy’. Nearly all of the models from issue one were my friends or girls I grabbed from around university or the street, therefore they are first and foremost normal girls.”
How did the idea come about of the Sunday Girl? And why did you decide to do it?
“It was for my final major project at university however I’d had the idea for an intellectual girls magazine with a difference for a year or so prior.
“It all started with taking inspiration and ideas from each of my favourite magazines, Pinterest boards and social media, putting them all together and seeing what I felt was missing that I needed and what really spoke to me. I feel that was the foundations of the magazine. There isn’t a magazine out there for intelligent and ambitious young girls who want to read something with a bit of a bite but also love fashion and beautiful images.”
When did you decide this was the career path you wanted to take?
“Ever since I was a pre-teen I’ve wanted to be the editor of a magazine. I read Vogue, Cosmo and Glamour religiously and didn’t even realise that there was such a thing as creating my own. I met the editor of Betty magazine a year ago and she talked about how Betty was her FMP at uni, which was the same uni that I went to. That was the first time I realised it was possible and that was what I wanted to do.”
Have other jobs prepared you for being an editor and creating the magazine?
“All of my work experience at magazines helped me so much; throughout university I interned at Vogue, Cosmo, Look and Company and I’ve taken skills from each one of those experiences. University prepared me so well. I hadn’t even heard of ID magazine or Dazed and Confused before uni and I was introduced to so many independent magazines that battle against the huge commercial magazines.”
What’s been the hardest part of the whole process?
“Keeping the momentum has definitely been hard. I don’t want the magazine to be a one issue wonder, every single issue needs to be amazing. Also as I’m running the magazine single handedly, I’ve got a lot of plates to spin; issue 2, the website, girls club, social media, communicating with stockists and the distributor, sending out orders, meetings, affiliation and sponsors as well as answering all the emails and looking through work that is submitted! It’s tough but these first few years are crucial to creating a strong launch pad for the magazine, and I can’t say I don’t love waking up everyday to do it, as I totally do.”
Do you need certain qualification to be able to create a magazine like you have?
“I don’t think it’s essential but I can’t see myself being in the same situation if I’d done any other degree. I wouldn’t have even thought about creating a magazine if it wasn’t part of my course, so in that sense I think maybe it’s important; however if you know that’s what you want to do, no matter what you study, no one will stop you from doing it!”
What does it take to start a magazine?
“It’s essentially a full time job without the definite pay check at the end of the day. You’ve just got to keep going and not get sidetracked. I’ve been offered lots of other jobs over the past few months and so close to taking them and juggling Sunday Girl in my spare time, but realistically it needs every inch of my efforts.”
If you could change anything about it would you and why?
“I wouldn’t change anything about the magazine at the moment, I love the pace it’s going! I would love to have a proper office premises and a Sunday Girl team however I know that will all happen in good time.”
The first edition is out… How do you think that went? And what can we expect from future issues?
“Issue one went really well, I can’t believe the feedback it’s received, it’s overwhelming that people actually want to sell it in their stores or feature it on their coffee table.
“For the next issue I’ve still kept to the core values and it’s still very personal and fresh however, with issue one I did everything myself, with issue 2 I’ve worked with some amazing photographers, stylists, illustrators and writers who all see my vision which is amazing. So hopefully issue 2 is going to be 10 times better!”
Did you expect it to be as successful, what were your thoughts when you saw your first issue?
“Not at all! I was so surprised when people were saying that it was good and they wanted to sell it or buy it. I’d looked at the magazine everyday for about four months whilst I was making it so I’d analysed every inch and it wasn’t new to me anymore. So when people who hadn’t seen it before liked it, it was a real boost!”
What should people expect who are going into the magazine/journalism industry?
“I think they need to know that it’s hard work and not very glamorous, however, very rewarding! You have to work your way up from the bottom if you want to work at a big magazine but that’s the same in almost every industry. You also have to keep your creative mind in gear, there’s a lot of admin, emailing and organising before you get to do the exciting stuff!”
What advice would you give people wanting to achieve the same thing?
“If anyone wanted to publish their own magazine, my advice is just to stick to your guns and your vision. Don’t take the magazine/shoot/editorial down any route that you’re doubting.
“Someone told me to put something in the first edit of issue 1 that I didn’t feel was right, I listened as they knew what they were talking about; then when it was printed I wished it wasn’t there. Thankfully I only printed 100 of that batch! But yes, just believe in yourself and your ideas!”
Treat your self to a copy of Sunday Girl magazine here!