Thursday, 9 January 2014

A very Vintage Life indeed - An interview with the creator of Vintage Life Magazine Rachel Egglestone-Evans

This week we have something a bit different for you... Ever fancied yourself as a bit of  media mogul? Ever watched Citizen Kane and thought "Hey, I could do that"? Well this week Retro LadyLand visits the office of a woman who did, the woman behind the magazine that has become a phenomenon among the British vintage community and is, with its worldwide release, about to take over the vintage world! 

When did you first have the idea for the magazine?
"When I was in the 4th year at school, I had an English project to create. Instead of writing an essay, I wrote a magazine! I called it Sweet 16 (I know, right). I designed it too and handed it in. My teacher was so shocked, she gave me a fabulous grade… but believe it or not, I forgot all about magazines! It wasn't until I was doing an MA in Military History, that I had an opportunity to work for another magazine and I later took it on. Although I loved it, it was heavy military history, and while at a re-enactment show, I turned to my cousin Lisa (my Deputy Editor) and said, "That's  it - I need a magazine to fulfil my vintage obsession."  I did my homework, and ta–da!"


And who helped you get started?
"My fabulous team! I work with my family; we are a family run business. It keeps our feet on the ground and ensures we work hard. They are my backbone and we have been through thick and thin… just don't mention deadlines to anyone! The team also extends to my team of writers… many of which still write for us today. They believed in me and I in them! Of course the readers – they jumped on board from issue one!"
So, we know that these things don't happen over night, how long did it take you to start Vintage Life?
"Already being set up as a publisher, and with a good few years of experience under my belt, I was in a good position. Starting a magazine from scratch is not easy. I would say it took 6 months to get things rolling."

And how did you finance the project?
"Hard work! I was publishing other magazines at the time too, so they provided some income, but we had to make the project stand on its own two feet. Long hours, lots of hard work and persistence… We're talking 7 day weeks, starting at 7 finishing… well when you finish! It's not a 9 to 5 ;)"

Where you ever scared that it would fail?
"No, never. That's not meant to sound over confident or cocky, but what's the point in starting a project, if you don't mean to make it work?"

Did you realise that there was going to be such a boom in the vintage market when you started the magazine?
"I hoped there would be, and my instincts said there would be, but no amount of market research could have prepared us for such a boom. It makes me very happy!"
Why do you think there has been?
"Easy – simple classics rock. In times of social and economic depressions – people become nostalgic!"

Now you've had so many great people in your mag, but who’s your favourite person that you’ve ever featured?
"Ooooh, that's a hard one. I loved meeting Caro Emerald, she is a beautiful and friendly lady. As a fitness freak, I loved having Diana Moran (the Green Godess), but I think interviewing Henry Winkler was a highlight… I mean, who wouldn't want to talk with The Fonz?!"


OK, but who would you most like to interview, dead or alive?
"Napoleon – but I guess that's not the answer you're looking for right? All of the Veterans from Easy Company (Band of Brothers) – I met a few of them, luckily. Those guys, have stories to tell. I think I would have most liked to interview Karen Carpenter and Judy Garland. "

What are your aspirations for the magazine?
"I keep coming up with new ones, which is great, as it means I met the previous ones. I think to include even more pages and to reach every one who feels they are cut off from the scene – and make them feel part of a great movement!"

You have recently brought out Vintage Life for boys, how is that going?
"It was going great. But to be completely honest, we couldn't manage both, as Her Vintage Life had a huge spike in popularity and we had to concentrate on one and make it stronger. I didn't want to water them down, by spreading the team too thinly. It was fabulous while it lasted, but I'm a business woman – I have to make sensible decisions."


You’ve obviously had loads of letters and tweets, have you had any that stand out? 
"Gosh, there have been a lot! I think a few stand out…Dita Von Teese, Paloma Faith, The British Bake Off, Downton Abbey  – but I think my favourite was from a lady who said she was previously a man, and we had given her the style confidence to go out and be herself. That's life changing! "


So, what about you, How long have you been into vintage?
"I've been a re-enactor all my life. That set me up to appreciate history. I can honestly and proudly say, I have always been into it – my parents and grandparents are to thank for that. "


And who is your style inspiration?
"I get asked this a lot. There isn't really one answer. As a designer, I like to take ideas from here, there and everywhere. But if I had to pick one – my mum. " 

And can I  finally, I love Vintage life, it is my personal magazine of choice, but what is yours? 
"I guess I can't say Vintage Life? Ha! I love Coast Magazine."

So, do you still fancy starting a magazine... I'm thinking about it too...

For more info on the fabulous magazine go to http://www.vintagelifemagazine.com/ or pick one up at WHSmiths or any vintage shop worth their salt... You may like some of the features writers... espcially one who goes by the name Charlotte Cooper..

3 comments:

  1. At Eddie Rockets...just doesn't get any more vintage ^^

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  2. Luv this.....xxangixxx

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  3. Fantastic Rachel, your Mum will be proud ;) xxx

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