In The Country Magazine
poorly horse, girl comforting horse
In The Country

Part 2: My business story so far.

As promised, here is part two of my entrepreneurial experience so far, I will try and not make this one quite so long. 

Picking up where we left off, the magazines arrived on July 1st 2017. I had ordered 250 from a printer up in London, I was so unbelievably excited (and nervous) when they turned up on our doorstep. Hundreds of pre-orders had flooded in and I was conscious about getting them out to their new owners as soon as possible. Mum and I anxiously cut open the first box and picked up a copy each to inspect. My heart was beating so hard against my chest, I am surprised I didn’t explode! The front cover was exactly as I had imagined, the quality and finish of the cover looked incredible, I was so excited. As we nervously turned the pages of the very first magazines, my heart dropped…

 The printers had made an error… they hadn’t aligned the bleed up correctly on their machines and subsequently each of the full colour pages had been printed with a white line across the bottom. I was devastated. Panic soon set in and I began to feel sick, I knew I had hundreds of customers around the world patiently waiting for their copy of the magazine, they were keen to know what all this hype was about. I also knew that my previous employers would be inspecting the publication to see how well I had done, or not as the case may be. I also knew that potential advertisers would be reviewing the magazine ahead of any future advertising decisions…I couldn’t afford for it to be any less than the quality magazine I had designed and sent to the printers only weeks before. As someone who shies away from conflict at almost any chance she gets, I reluctantly called up the printers to notify them of the error, thankfully they agreed that it was indeed their mistake and they apologised agreeing to reprint the 250 magazines and deliver them again free of charge. 

I had been so looking forward to this day but it hadn’t turned out the way I had hoped, although in hindsight, it was a valuable experience and it taught me how to deal with my first business hurdle… we survived and came out of it on top! We decided to keep the 250 ‘error’ copies and so when the second batch of magazines arrived, we ended up with 500 copies in total. Thank goodness we did! 

 Once our customers began receiving their orders, that is when things really took off! I am not sure why, although I am so grateful it happened, but as people started receiving their magazines, they posted photos and unwrapping videos on Instagram and Facebook which really started a domino affect and hundreds more orders came flooding in. So fast that Mum and I couldn’t believe it and were struggling to keep a note of them all! We soon sold out of our original 250 copies and so decided to reduce the price of the ‘error’ copies so that people who had missed out and still wanted a copy, could do so for a discounted price. Within just a matter of weeks, we had sold out of ALL 500 copies which was incredible and totally overwhelming for us although it did unfortunately mean that some people missed out on a copy of the very first magazine.

Still reeling from the incredible response to the magazine, I started on the second issue. I couldn’t have wished for a better response from the community and it fueled my motivation and passion just that little bit more. With the first issue making a huge impact on social media, it wasn’t long before other publications began to notice. I had chosen the name It’s A Country Life back when I had started the blog, with little thought for any existing business as at the time I hadn’t intended to start a business of my own, however given that the magazine launch had been such a huge success we had to draw our attention to existing publications that might conflict with ours. With that said, we made the decision to rebrand slightly, changing the name in our best attempt not to upset or cause friction between anyone else. The rebranding itself, although I was slightly apprehensive about it, was perhaps one of the best business decisions I have made to date. The name now; In The Country (I think), is more mature, professional and has a better ring to it, it also summarises the brand and what we are about much better. The possibilities of where we can go with it are practically endless.

And so, with a brand new name, I released the second, follow up Winter magazine on the 31st of October 2017. With even more pre-orders than before and an equally exciting Golden Ticket prize from the iconicLe Chameau, I was yet again blown away by the response from everyone; businesses, customers, professionals and so many more. Again, Nick Rosendale from Events Through A Lens came out to shoot our cover and our Autumn/Winter Fashion Shoot feature; this was my very first experience of organising a professional photoshoot and I think it’s safe to say, I’d rather leave it to the professionals next time…

 The photo above is our Winter 2017 Front Cover Image taken by Nick. I loved it, but can you spot the horse poo I forgot to tell Nick about? Ooops!

A month or so after the Winter issue had been released, I headed up to the London International Horse Show at Olympia in Kensington along with James, my mum and two of my good friends, for a five day Christmas trade show spectacular. This was the very first trade show we had ever done and whilst I had no idea what to expect it was a great success. 

By this time too, we had established a small number of local stockists which consisted of equestrian, country and farm shops. Each of these independent retailers were doing wonders for the magazine by offering it up to a new audience and helping us spread the word! 

As Christmas came and went and 2018 rolled around, it was time to start my first full year of magazines. Starting with our first Spring edition, I knew when I first thought of the magazine, that I had wanted to produce it quarterly, tying in perfectly with the dramatic changing of the seasons in the countryside.

^ A look back at our Spring and Summer covers, again by Nick Rosendale.

Spring and Summer were relatively straight forward with the production of the magazine and the sales going smoothly. Last year bought with it some incredible opportunities and perhaps the most significant of which for us was The Game Fair. I was lucky enough to have been offered a last minute stand at the event which turned out to be the ultimate place to promote In The Country in front of our ideal target audience. It was fantastic to meet so many customers, followers and clients that I have grown to know over the past few years!

Reflecting on the success of the event, this is definitely THE place for us to be in future years! Make sure you keep an eye out for our stand!

There were so many highlights from 2018 that I am so excited to see what 2019 holds for both me and the magazine. I think a few of my favourites have to be having been invited to join Christy England at Royal Ascot with Victoria Brant A.K.A Wimpy Eventer, being invited to participate in The Magnolia Cup and being invited back to my old school as a Guest of Honour to present their End of Term Prizes AND give a speech about my life since school and starting the magazine! All things I could never have dreamed about doing if it hadn’t been for the magazine.

I will leave this post here for this evening and pick it up again tomorrow with the final part of this mini-series, bringing you up to date with the story and a little look ahead at what I would like to achieve with the magazine and the blog in the coming months and into the years ahead. I hope this has been interesting for those of you who didn’t know how the magazine came about or how I came to set it up.

I hope you all had a lovely Saturday and have a lovely evening either staying in and relaxing or going out and enjoying yourselves, there is no right or wrong in my books! 

Until tomorrow…

Lots of love,

Hollie-Ella Xxx

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