A lot can happen in a year, which really puts things into perspective as a business owner.
August marks the one-year anniversary of Monachopsis‘ fundraising campaign ending…and failure. A spectacular failure, really, a magnitude of which I’d never before experienced in my life. Of the $9K my former business partner and I were hoping to secure to kickstart our business and launch our first print issue, we saw less than $3K roll in, a large portion of which was eaten up by Indiegogo. In total, we barely cleared over $2K, which didn’t even cover printing costs and certainly didn’t give us enough funds to send out the rewards we promised our loyal backers (in fact, we had to issue several refunds to patrons for this reason.) To say this was a humbling experience is truly the understatement of the century.
At the time, I remember staring blankly at the computer screen, wondering what in the hell we were going to do since the project we’d been excitedly planning for six months ultimately fell through. We had content we needed to shoot, bills we needed to pay, editorials that needed to be published–to phrase it delicately, we were royally fucked.
Our scramble to produce a print issue then morphed into an even bigger scramble to hobble together an online editorial calendar. In the midst of this freneticism we realized way too late that we were attempting to execute a half-baked plan prematurely with limited resources and minimal experience, a realization that soon led to my business partner stepping down and me letting the publication languish as I attempted to gain my bearings. My perspective on the situation felt pretty grim.
Just when I was feeling ready to give up, I serendipitously connected with my now-business partner, Quincie Zari, earlier this year after she modeled for one of our editorials. Being the visionary that she is, Quincie came up with the idea to execute a public forum featuring key members of the fashion industry to address the inequities that exist and encourage accountability of attendees (myself included), at which point she became an instrumental part of the team and really brought our magazine to the forefront of everyone’s minds. Bringing her on as a partner has dramatically reshaped the publication, and we have since worked together to shift the magazine’s perspective and strengthen our brand voice. Most importantly, she reignited my passion for this business.
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A lot of fashion magazines have a tendency to feature the same handful of non-white celebrities, deemed safe enough to be palatable for mass consumption only to be used as tokens to serve the guise of “diversity” that seems to be the buzzword at every fashion company nowadays, largely in part due to the youthquake happening on social media. Tyler Mitchell made history this year as the first Black photographer to shoot a cover for Vogue (of Beyoncé, no less) in the publication’s 126 years of existence, one of over 10 coveted September fashion issue covers to feature Black women this season. Despite this beautiful array of representation, we’re still living in a world where Black women like Nia Wilson are murdered solely for existing, meanwhile influencers like Alison Brettschneider of 25Park use these instances as an attempt to bolster their own white saviorism complex and capitalize on ally cookies by seemingly exploiting (and attacking) BIPOC activists.
We’re still living in a world where executive offices are mostly comprised of white faces (something I’ve definitely contributed to as a white woman) and where there is a disproportionate pay discrepancy between cis-white men and women and their marginalized counterparts, which dramatically affects career sustainability in creative fields. We’ve come to realize that as our company grows, our business initiatives need to keep up.
It’s not enough to post a pretty picture: we need to foster an editorial platform that highlights and compensates marginalized voices, both about serious issues correlated with identity as well as fun stuff like compiling listicles of the shows we should (and shouldn’t, *cough* Insatiable *cough*) be binge-watching on Netflix. We need to let marginalized people tell their own stories and to move away from only featuring conventional forms of beauty by photographing people of all sizes, genders, races, ages, and ability levels without reducing these folks to a marketing tool. We need to harness the potential for growth in this industry by forging new spaces created by & for marginalized groups and building equity through free or low-cost community events and workshops.
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Flash forward one year, to the present day. Now that we’ve outlined our goals and shifted our perspective, what’s next for our publication? Well for starters, we’re optimizing our digital & social content plans and sprucing up the website as we solidify the brand direction of Monachopsis. We’ll also be rolling out some really rad events over the coming months so that we can better connect with our dedicated subscribers.
Most importantly, we’re looking to add members to our team! If you are an account executive, writer, videographer, photographer, model, fashion stylist, hairstylist, makeup artist, or any other creative force not listed here, we want to work with you. We strongly encourage folks who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, low-income, plus/fat, disabled, and/or female to work with us, in line with our publication’s mission. All pitches, press releases, resumes, writing samples, and/or digitals can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can join our Facebook group to suggest story ideas, fill us in on the latest fashion news, and apply for open casting calls.
As always, your continued support and readership means the world to me. Thanks for tagging along on this journey. Here’s to another year and a fresh perspective.