So I’ve made some decisions over the last few weeks which I feel I should share with you. As most of you know, I started Lila Jean Vintage about a year ago as I felt there was a gap in the market for a publication in Australia that looked at vintage fashion but also at the stories behind it – the nostalgia and amazing anecdotes that make vintage so special. In hindsight, I perhaps jumped in with both feet, at a time when I should have just been dipping my toe in, but I’ve always hated hindsight. I was fortunate that my unbelievably supportive parents allowed me to live at home so as to save money – without them this whole idea would never have happened. The magazine is entirely self-funded and while I have an amazing team of freelancers who take photographs, design and write for me, the day-to-day running and editorial side of things is my responsibility and for the most part I have loved every minute of it. That’s not to say I haven’t had my moments where I’ve cried in the shower and thought I’d made a huge mistake – I have – I don’t think I’d be human if I didn’t doubt myself a little. For the most part though I have been incredibly grateful for the experience, for what I’ve learnt and the people I’ve met and I wouldn’t trade the last year for anything.
Unfortunately things have to change. The bottom line is I just can’t do this by myself anymore and I don’t have the money to pay a team to help me. I made a promise to myself at the start of this journey to see out the year – produce four issues – and then see where I stand and decide on my next move. I’ve given it a lot of thought and decided to move the magazine online. Basically instead of a print magazine that comes out quarterly, it will be a (hopefully) snazzy website that updates far more regularly. By moving the content online it makes it more manageable for me, gives you guys the content you love more often and for free and makes Lila Jean more accessible globally.
I know this seems a bit backwards and some of you are probably thinking I should have gone online first and then moved into print – perhaps you’re right – but that’s hindsight again and we all know how much I hate that! Seriously though, I had a lot of people tell me I was crazy to produce a print magazine that focused on a niche market and I’m sure those people are probably preparing their ‘I told you so’ speech as they read this. And yeah, it’s difficult not to see this change as a failure in some way but at the end of the day we produced four beautiful magazines that can be held, kept, read and re-read and passed on. Had we produced it online it would have cut out an entire demographic of older readers who have been the most enthusiastic and loyal customers. I will never forget the look on Betty’s face when she saw her 20 year old self on the cover of our second issue, or the countless emails people have sent expressing their mother or grandfathers delight at seeing their story in print. To think that something so simple could bring such joy – it makes it all worth it.
While I’m not entirely sure what format the online Lila Jean Vintage will take, it will still contain content such as the fashion shoots, personal narratives, architectural research and interviews. There will still be the opportunity to buy the existing four issues and we’ll still be all over social media. I really want to explore producing some video content – perhaps some interviews – but we’ll just have to see how it pans out.
To anyone who purchased a magazine, I cannot thank you enough for your support – your enthusiasm is the reason we kept going. To all my distributors – especially those who have been with me since the beginning – you’re amazing. To the designers I’ve worked with, my trusty printer and all the fabulous writers and illustrators that have graced our pages – a heartfelt thank you. My photographer Will – nicest and most patient man on the planet – no idea what I’d do without you. To my friends and family who I have involved (whether willing or begrudgingly!) in this process in some way or another over the last year – thank you for not ignoring my calls or punching me in the face when I emailed you for the twenty-sixth time. Perhaps most of all, thank you to every person who sent through a memory or an image and took the time to share a part of your life with us. These are the stories that make the magazine so unique and we feel so privileged to have been able to share them with the world.
Sorry – that totally ended up being like an Oscar’s acceptance speech. Que the music….
So watch this space for more updates on what we have planned – this is in no way the end of Lila Jean Vintage, just the beginning of a new chapter.
Everybody has a story, and we will continue to tell yours.
Love & best wishes
Header image © Aimee Stoddart and should not be reproduced without permission.