Entering the magazine industry is no small task, let alone in fashion. What are some of the problems you have faced since launching Jungle?
“To be honest, if I had the time, I could write a book about all of the barriers that faced us starting this magazine. For me, the hardest was the stigma you face when you decide to go against the flow and start your own business. If we are talking this industry, it’s getting people to buy into your brand. The industry is so fickle, especially fashion, and when you have no experience building and selling a brand you have to educate yourself. The best way to do that is to read, even then that wasn’t easy for me as I’m dyslexic so I never used to read. I knew I had to overcome that so I started listening to audio books, anything which was relevant and honestly, over the past two years it has transformed the way I think and do things.”
We have a copy of Edition 01 here which is your first print edition. After the success you’ve had online, why did you feel the need to go into print?
“I believe in the importance of the sense of touch as one of the key human senses and as an artist/photographer myself I have always preferred print over digital. Not only that but when you ask a print magazine reader, there are two things they talk about one is the feel and the other is the smell, so it’s an experience you don’t get digitally and for me, the goal was always to be a print publication. Obviously, I am not going to disregard our millennial audience who live in a digital world. But for us being digital provided a great starting platform, we could build a brand for relatively no cost and we intend to not only keep that but also build on that platform.”
“Going to print was taking the brand to the next level and a different audience. Those who buy print do so because they love it, they are a specific clientele who perhaps care even more about the content of the magazine. We wanted to tap into that audience not only for ourselves but for our advertisers who are interested in connecting with them. I think what makes us different, is that whilst we call ourselves a magazine we are more of a coffee table book. The whole idea is for our readers to sit and immerse themselves in the content, turn off from the outside world and just enjoy the art within the pages.”
Looking at your list of UK stockists you are in Foyles, Selfridges, Harrods… To name a few, as well as in 15 countries across the globe. How did you go about securing distribution across such a wide audience?
“I think the key for us, to do this effectively (and the way most magazines operate), was to work with a distributing company. We managed to get Conde Naste on board and use their network because we were so niche in our target audience you will see that we are in more select stockists like your Selfridges and Harrods. Between us, the whole distribution side probably aged me about 10 years but it has been so worth it in the long run. Especially in terms of working with advertisers. To see that you are distributed through major London stores as well as having a global readership offers both credibility and respectability to your brand, so it was definitely well worth the time!”
So you have your distribution readership and a beautiful product, where next for Jungle?
“First of all, we want to make the business end fully sustainable, to a degree where we don’t have to be worried too much about the financial end of the business. I know it’s a crazy goal and unrealistic in today’s world but it gives us something to work towards. But the main thing is growing our audience, and by that I don’t mean to diversify but to grow within our target. We are lucky enough to have a real niche audience and I want to grow those in number rather than wider. We learnt a lot from our marketing strategy in Edition 01 which will change the way we market 02…So watch this space.”
“In terms of a longer-term strategy, when I registered Jungle in 2014 it was as Jungle Inc. The reason being that I saw the potential for a cross-platform brand which could stretch into all sorts of different subcategories. For us, that could mean exhibitions, agencies, fashion shows etc. We have plans in the pipeline for each of these and more but from what I’ve learnt from Jungle is that I want to be closer to the end product before we launch and make sure we get them right.”