Thursday 24 May 2012

12 Women in 12: Genny Stevens

I love indy types and I've made no secret about that fact. I love anyone with a vision to do things differently, represent alternative voices to the mainstream and offer a fresh look at something. It's why when I heard about 'Entangled Magazine' for the first time, my ears pricked. It wasn't just another publication focusing on patterns, models and trends but all things fibre, with stories and indepth features about specific aspects of the crafting world. I was hooked, so for this month's  12 Women in 12 I caught up with Genny Stevens, the creator and editor of Entangled magazine.

(c) Genny Stevens
Genny started out as a podcast host, recording 'Crafternoon Tea with Grannyg' which introduced her to interesting and inspiring fibrecrafters. For Genny, telling fibrecrafter's stories and connecting with people around the world was the part she loved the most and when she travelled to the US to attend Rhinebeck in 2010, things got even more serious. After this trip, Genny knew the global fibrecraft community was where she belonged and so decided to somehow make this her world.

Like many of us, Genny was in a job she really hated which compelled her to look at what she was going to do from a point of viability. Looking at her options, Genny knew that things such as dyeing or designing wouldn't work for her because in her own words she either didn't love the process enough for it to be a profession or it lacked scalability, relying on output vs hourly input i.e indie dying. On January 19th 2011, Genny suddenly realized that her true love was magazines as she loves to tell stories and it built on her previous skill set. Genny then identified a friend who was a magazine editor in her circle who would mentor her and set about the hard work it takes to set up your own magazine.

Building on the contacts that she'd made during her podcasting days, Genny was quickly able to attract talented writers to contribute to her publication. Once the first preview launched however, Genny had writers contacting her directly, attracted by the quality and focus of the magazine. And how did she keep them? Well, in Genny's words:

"I think they continue to be involved because I give writers a lot of free reign with content - I want them to write about stuff they're interested in, and to write the story how they see it."
(c) Entangled magazine

That's not to say Entangled has been an easy ride, with all of these writers flocking in and the international respect that it has quickly earned. Like any publisher, bills have to be paid and when you are a one woman show, finding time to dedicate to advertising, promotion and all the things that help you keep up with magazines produced by big publishing houses is tricky to say the least. Entangled is presented digitally in the hope to level the playing field, it provides content at the same cost at the same time around the world. When Genny has an issue to go, there is no delay with distribution and people get it immediately into their inboxes. It was one of the ways Genny could establish Entangled magazine on an international level and large scale.

What's more, Genny shares her vision for a good craft story with readers and has launched an indiegogo crowdfunder that will allow Entangled to grow and compete in an international market. Like so many crowdfunders, it presents supporters with the opportunity to be part of a community whice goes hand in hand with Genny's philosophy. When I asked her what advice she would give those who wished to try something similar, her advice was clear,

"Surround yourself with awesome people, find your cheerleaders - you might be surprised by who they are and who they are not, and don't be afraid. Having a good community is key and be open to where you find that. Be open to all possibilities, take every opportunity, and don't be afraid to change your life."

Genny remains pragmatic however, insisting that you need to be honest with the hard work and type of skills you need to use in order to make such a venture a success.  She admits that she loves editing and publishing Entangled and looks forward to working on it every day. It's not just a hobby, it's a work commitment and Genny strongly advises that people keep that in mind and know where their exit strategy is if it becomes too much.  Genny believes that starting your own venture is a huge sacrifice and how far you will go to make this vision a reality is all about preparation, dedication and support.

The view from Genny's home office keeps her sane!
A huge thank you to Genny for sharing her words, her advice and her vision with the playful readers. I wish her every success with her quest for craft stories.

Stay tuned for more 12 women in 12 and please do join in to show your appreciation for great business stories by either tweeting along on twitter (#12womenin12) or sharing your feelings on your own blog. Be sure to let me know/ link us in, I'd love to know what you think!

1 comment:

Truly Myrtle said...

I saw that view and thought - she's in New Zealand?! Then I scrolled back to her photo and thought - yip, she looks like a Kiwi. But to double check I popped over to the magazine site and saw the tiki pattern... Seems more and more likely. And there it was, Wellington. I'm feeling really proud that this awesome publication is kiwi-grown :)
Now, to subscribe...
Thanks for the post! I love your podcast by the way!