Local designers face a mountain of challenges to make their dreams become a reality whether that be to someday make into the international spotlight, or running a thriving business catering to handful of dedicated clients. One of the biggest hurdles they may face is simply getting their product in front of the right people at the right time. That's where regional magazines can play a vital role in their success. These can be the unsung heroes in a designer's first steps to stardom. Local magazines have a vested interest in keeping their readers on top of all that's hot in the area; their readers are counting on them to keep them in the know of the next up-and-coming or the city's best kept secrets. Also, they also often have contacts with the local chamber of commerce, area businesses, and many other resources that could make an indie designer's business run so much more smoothly.
Recently we sat down with Jackie Zuk who runs her own local magazine and PR firm Boston area to get her take on the vital role local publications play and to hear how she got her start.
Jackie is hosting a fashion show in Boston on April 1st which will be showcasing some of the best talent the area has to offer. To learn more about the show and reserve your space, check it out here.
Thea: what you do, and where you are located?
Jackie: I currently work 3 jobs while trying to build my business! By day I work at the Everett Chamber of Commerce help assist planning events and do their social media. I also work for a law firm running to registries recording documents. By night, I am Editor in Chief of NEXTonSCENE Magazine™ in addition to running a PR /Entertainment Business JZ Social Enterprises, LLC. We help promote small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups through events, social media marketing and placements!
Thea: what inspired you to start this venture?
Jackie: I went to school originally at the University of Rhode Island for Fashion Merchandising. I realized you had to learn all about chemistry and how to make fabrics and knew that this was NOT for me - LOL. So I transferred to IONA College graduated there in 2011 and got a degree in Communications, Minor:Public Relations.
Thea: how did you start NEXTonSCENE?
Jackie: I originally decided I wanted to start a magazine because in the PR world, unless you know editors or have contacts, it is VERY hard to just to get placement in a Cosmo or Vogue. That is why I always wanted to support the new small magazines and start up ones. When I decided to support the "small/start-up" magazines I found often their quality was terrible and never on time. That reflected poorly on me as a business because I was referring my clients to them. After about a few months, I said SCREW IT. I watched some videos on youtube to learn how to make my own; that's how it happened! I wanted to create a reliable good quality product for my clients and one thing led to another - in February 2016 we announced our first issue would be live April 2016!
Thea: talk a bit about the self-publishing world.
Jackie: Self publishing is fabulous, but there are a lot of things one needs to learn to protect themselves: Copyright laws, trademark laws etc. It is expensive up front but, once you protect yourself (especially with trademark), you are good for LIFE!
Thea: what were some unanticipated challenges?
Jackie: Success can bring out the BEST and WORST of people. You really get to know who are your loyal fans and friends. DON'T give up despite criticism, take it in stride and KEEP GOING!
Thea: what is your mission for NEXTonSCENE - magazine and community?
Jackie: I love showcasing who, what & where is up and coming. Musicians, products, designers, travel locations, and behind the scenes celebrities that aren't getting enough attention. Also celebrity make up artists, chefs, etc. - we showcase ALL of the above! We also get some talented entrepreneurs and celebrities who support our cause, and of course we love showcasing them too!
Thea: why do you think small fashion/lifestyle magazines are vital to a local fashion scene?
Jackie: Everything is visual. It is one thing to take a picture at a fashion show or a clothing store, but it is another thing to go home and read about the designers and their stories of inspiration. If you like their designs, it is cool to learn more about what they came from to get to where they are, and of course where to find them to be able to purchase their products.
Thea: how can a magazine help build a local community and bolster business, etc?
Jackie: I think they help unite the local communities. They let you know who, what and where is in the know, as well as tuning into what is valuable and unique in that community rather than having you searching via google for hours when you are not always sure what to search - LOL! Publications also give an endorsement of the best picks of scene in that community, so they eliminate the guesswork for you as to what's worth looking into.
Thea: what can a reader get from these magazines that may be lacking at larger national or international publications?
Jackie: A reader can get some real inspiration and insight on what people are wearing, who is designing and defining style regionally, and info as to where to shop the latest trends locally. Regional magazines are definitely much more niche marketed for people who are local which is great! #SHOPSMALL !
Thea: what are some of your favorite small/ regional magazines or fanzines for fashion/lifestyle?
Jackie: 01907 Lynn, Swampscott is really cute niche marketed magazine. I really like North Shore Magazine as well, and always enjoy Boston Magazine. I like publications that have more unique content.
Thea: hard copy or online only? What are your thoughts? IS there a reason for both?
Jackie: I am old school: I love having a physical magazine in my hands which is why I did print. To me, it makes it seem more "real". Don't get me wrong, magazines online are GREAT - they are fabulous for readership and easier and more cost effective, but magazines started in print so why not keep it that way? At least if you can afford it!
Thea: how important are fashion bloggers to Next on Scene?
Jackie: VERY. We looove working with fashion bloggers; they always help us expand our reach, help with photoshoots and promote stylists, designer clients etc.
Thea: Some advice you would give to someone wanting to start their own? what do you wish you knew BEFORE you started?
Jackie: Utilize free graphic design apps, social media and youtube, it is amazing what you can learn.
Thea: How about some tips on getting sponsorship / advertising?
Jackie: It is all about them NOT you. Even though you are selling for your product, you need to let your clients know how good it will be for THEM to showcase and why.
Thea: what's your big, lofty goal for NoS and what are you planning in the next year to help achieve that dream?
Jackie: My long term goal is to become national and create NEXTonSCENE in individual states. I also would love to create a TV segment for NEXTonSCENE to get these featured guests and businesses and celebrities not only readable but on camera. EVERYTHING is visual and people respond so well to TV, so I would love to one day be an Andy Cohen/Oprah Winfrey combo type of talk show host and take my magazine and business main stream to TV!
Thank you so much, Jackie, for taking the time to talk to us about Next on Scene and what you have been up to promoting local designers!
Want to keep up with Jackie and NEXT on SCENE?
JZ Social Ent. | NEXTon SCENE | twitter | Instagram: @jzsocialenterprises and @nextonscene
* All images Jackie Zuk Social Enterprises / Next On Scene media