Letter from the Editor: Important Updates, Please Read!

To our loyal readers: Stephanie and I are aware that we’ve had some radio silence on our end, and we’ve certainly got a bit of explaining to do.

Our Indiegogo campaign ended just shy of a month ago, and unfortunately, we only made 33% of our overall goal. Furthermore, after Indiegogo and payment processing fees were accounted for, we only cleared $2,750 of the $8,500 goal needed to cover expenses for our first issue.

In an effort to be scrupulous about how the $8,500 was allotted, I’ve broken down our budget accordingly: $4,500 to print 750 units of the magazine in the U.S.A. and shipped to our location (approx. $6 per issue plus shipping); $1,000 per issue for graphic design; a minimum of $500 to cover order fulfillment supplies; a minimum of $100 needed per contract to be reviewed by an attorney (specifically for release forms and event partnerships); a minimum of $100 per quarter to cover accounting fees; $250 for digital advertising in order to promote our brand; $150 a year for hosting; $100 for a website theme plus additional web development expenses; $500 minimum for a launch event; $110 for business registration; $25 for copyright registration per issue; $50 for barcode purchase; $150 for ISBN registration per issue; other graphic design services at an hourly rate, ranging from $50 to $200 or more per project. Mind you, this figure does not include any payment for either of us, the cost of equipment, any warehousing fees, payments for contributors, or other expenses that might crop up, which we will bear the financial burden of out of pocket. Ouch.

Now I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take a few weeks to absorb this magnificent defeat, aka spend every second of every day questioning my skills and my ideas and spiraling into a severe bout of depression. Stephanie and I have had these plans in motion since January. We shot our cover editorial in June with other shoots following in July. We’ve made the budgets, we’ve registered the paperwork, we’ve worked with designers and advertisers and makeup artists and hair stylists and models, we’ve had events, we’ve talked to people about this publication nonstop. We put in so much fucking effort, and still, we failed.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been taught to see failure as a dirty word. To me, failure was a damning concept leading to shame and isolation, so I did my best to be impervious to the notion by becoming an overachiever in nearly every regard of my life. It’s affected me so much as an adult that I have a tendency to gravitate away from projects that I deem challenging, which sadly has led to a lot of missed opportunities. This particular experience of failure triggered those feelings of being an outsider, like I was just some naive little white girl trying to make waves in an area where I didn’t belong.

And it was after this reflection that I realized–that’s the entire point of what we’re trying to achieve. We want to create a place in fashion where all of us “weirdos” feel like we belong. I’d become so obsessed with failing that I lost track of why we launched this project in the first place: Representation.

The most important takeaway from this post is that no matter what, we are moving forward with our magazine. End of story.

Any project is a learning process, so instead of throwing in the towel, we’ve decided to use our failure as a growth opportunity to analyze our business plan: What’s working? Most importantly, what’s NOT working? How do we want this business to grow in one year, five years, ten years? What are some changes we can make to ensure we build a viable and sustaining product? What does the community need from us?

Here’s what we’ve come up with:

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We are switching to a bi-annual print format and a monthly digital (website) format.

This is a pretty significant change but still a necessary one. It became apparent very quickly that we 1) won’t have enough money to print and hire a designer every three months and 2) we won’t have enough submitted content. As opposed to sacrificing quality, we figured that publishing print twice a year in March and September was a better alternative, and I’m extremely pleased with this change. Still, we were worried that having six months between issues would alienate both readers and sponsors, so we’ve elected to have monthly issues published on our website, similar to Rookie Mag’s digital format. We will announce the theme the month before, and we welcome all photographers, artists, and writers to take part. We will be updating our submissions guidelines and online prompts accordingly and hope to have changes in place by October 1.  For the time being, our theme for October is “Haunted” (prompt coming later this week!)

We will be bringing on regular contributors.

Again, another no-brainer. Stephanie and I have realized that we can’t do it all, so we are on the hunt for some regular contributors to be a part of the Monachopsis staff on a contract basis. This solution will allow us to produce more consistent content on a weekly basis. We hope to have these members on staff as early as November.

We want to position ourselves as an international magazine AND a creative agency.

As such, we’ve added on creative services to our media kit in order to work with a variety of businesses and creators. The most important piece of business advice I ever heard was to diversify your income, and we discovered that by simply relying on advertisers and local stockists, we weren’t really maximizing our revenue potential. If we want to be self-sustaining with the ability to pay our contributors, we need to think about the bigger picture financially, so these creative services allow us to approach a wider range of clientele. Those interested can review our media kit.

We are launching a Patreon page.

The fact is, we don’t have consistent advertisers…yet. Similar to our Indiegogo, we’ll be offering incentives for those who pledge monthly. Our overarching goal for Patreon is to secure enough money to pay ALL contributors, because we recognize how important it is that people are paid for their work. Once we begin securing enough money through advertisers and clients, we will then slowly phase out Patreon.

We will be updating the website to be more user-friendly.

Our readers have spoken, and we have listened: the website is just too damn difficult to navigate, especially on a mobile device. We feel you. We’re in the process of exploring themes that are more mobile responsive and better suited to an online magazine format. We hope to have all of these changes live by October 1.

We want to actively find ways to give back to the community.

We know that for a loooong time, if ever, this magazine won’t provide us with any kind of livable wage–but us making this a full-time or even paying gig isn’t necessarily the priority. First and foremost, this magazine is about us leveraging our white privilege to highlight marginalized groups in an effort to promote equal representation in the fashion industry. As such, we had to ask ourselves, what are some ways we can give back? For starters, we want to host workshops seasonally to connect creatives with each other and to teach essential skills. More details will follow in the coming months. Secondly, we want to align ourselves with charities and organizations that are working with marginalized communities by donating a portion of our profits on a monthly basis as we can. More details will follow on these efforts as well (we have SO MANY IDEAS), and we intend on announcing our sponsor charity at the beginning of each month.

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That sums up all of the major changes we’ll be making over the next several months, but I’m sure that you have some lingering questions which I’ve answered below:

When will I receive my magazine?

We’re aiming to produce a digital mini-issue for those who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign, available in the fall. Indiegogo contributors will receive their first magazine in March 2018 with subsequent issues to arrive in September 2018, March 2019, and so on, depending on the perks claimed.

I’m an advertiser; when will my ad be printed?

All advertisers who have purchased ads as well as those who receive ads as part of their Indiegogo perk will have their ads featured in the March issue. We are also willing to supplement advertisers with digital ad options, which will be rolled out in October. For additional questions, please send us an email.

Do you pay contributors?

Believe me when I say that we are working our way up to that point (and the Patreon/advertiser dollars should help), but sadly we are only doing trade-for-portfolio (TFP) work until our budget allows us to pay contributors. Trade value can be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. For those whose work is featured in print, we are able to provide you with a free copy of the print issue.

Is this magazine specific to Charleston?

Nope! Although we’re both currently based in Charleston and want to collaborate with creatives here, we want to work with creatives from all over the world! This goes for not only contributors but stockists, too! If you’re interested in being a stockist, please send us an email for wholesale rates.

Are you still accepting submissions?

We actually got a lot of negative feedback about our “Mood Swings” issue, where individuals didn’t feel comfortable submitting or talking about such a sensitive subject. We totally understand that. Stephanie and I have selected a new theme for the month of October, “Haunted,” which will be officially announced later this week. Outside of that, believe me, we are ALWAYS accepting submissions! For those who previously sent submissions for review, we will get back to you ASAP and we want to thank you for your patience!

What kind of content are you looking for?

Outside of the monthly themes online, we plan on having recurring segments like op-eds, Q&A, interviews, event coverage, album reviews, playlist, tutorials, DIYs, shopping guides, fashion industry coverage, and more, so don’t be afraid to reach out to us about your story ideas. We’re accepting all forms of writing, artwork, and other creative media. For print issues, we are primarily looking for op-eds and fashion spreads featuring high-quality photography with designer pieces, although we may occasionally reach out to writers, artists, and photographers to request specific projects or stories to align with the print theme. Deadlines for print issues and online content will be posted on the website no later than October 1. For additional questions, don’t hesitate to send us an email.

I donated, but I don’t want to wait that long for my perks. Can I get a refund?

ABSOLUTELY! We understand that a lot of unexpected changes were just thrown your way, so we’re happy to offer anyone a full refund at their request. Please send us an email for further details.

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The fact of the matter is that we’re asking people to take a chance on an idea, a vision, but we know that we can and WILL fill a gaping void in the fashion industry with Monachopsis. We’re so happy to have you on this journey with us, and thank you all SOOO much for your support. We are open to any and all feedback, so please don’t hesitate to send us an email with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. We love you and hope to make you proud. <3