What’s going on? Where have I been? Where’s the magazine?
It’s no secret, lots of you will have noticed my absence from social media. Loyal readers will be wondering when the next edition of In The Country is going to land… Well, the truth is, I’ve been doing some impromptu soul-searching.
To be clear, this post is not seeking anyone’s approval, I just want to be real with you, and keep you all in the loop as I’ve tried to do right the way through over the past four years.
Having given my all to creating and growing ITC as a magazine title, business and Instagram account over the last few years, I’ll be honest with you – I am exhausted. Covid19 and the numerous lockdowns have bought this home for me, in more ways than one.
From a personal point of view:
I’ll let you into a secret. I LOVE the brand I’ve created and the lifestyle I’ve been lucky enough to lead, but all of that has come at a price. I am 25 and for the last 4.5 years, I’ve taken no real wages, managed no savings and not really moved forward in life. Yes I’ve been successful in creating a business and nurturing a large Instagram account but, my main goal when starting all of this was to save for a place to live. I am, in reality, further away from this goal than I was when I worked full time, before the magazine. Relationships and friendships have suffered because of it, but not anymore.
As I said above, the lockdowns and Covid19 have really highlighted the need for friendships, the importance of family and also, that life is simply just too short. We never know when something is going to catch up, and in my opinion business and the conventional aspects of societal life are all relative – necessary but relative. In my eyes anyway.
I asked myself, what was more important? Trying desperately and tirelessly to build a successful business, with the hope to live a wealthy life at the cost of my own mental and sometimes physical health. OR, to live a life surrounded by your passions, appreciating nature, being thankful for my body and health and ultimately being happier. For me… it’s option two. Though, it hasn’t been an easy decision to come too.
I’m stubborn. I so wanted the magazine to succeed and I wouldn’t listen to anyone who said otherwise in the early days, naive really. And yes, I could continue running myself into the ground for next to no profit to produce a truly special and amazing product for circa. 1000 people a quarter, but I cannot live that way and I wouldn’t ask anyone else to either.
From a professional point of view:
Let’s talk cold, hard business for a minute. I know we’re all tired of hearing about it, so cue the eyerolls, but the various lockdowns and global pandemic have had a big impact on business of all kinds.
In my experience, COVID has meant, advertisers have no budget, which as I’ve said before ultimately means no magazine.
Advertising is a funny one, and striking the right balance in my opinion can mean the success or failure of a magazine. Too many ads, or adverts that don’t fit with the title and readers switch off, not enough adverts and there’s not enough money to print the publication.
Too many times, I gifted adverts to brands I love and want to work with in a bid to support them but, a business can’t survive on goodwill alone. A business needs to generate revenue.
When I launched ITC, I was adamant I didn’t want to feature ‘classifieds’, I wanted to showcase stunning display style adverts which would compliment the content and fit within the pages. A bad business decision perhaps, but one which led to creating the title that ITC became known as.
I know I have the support of small businesses, and I am forever grateful to them for that, and many of them have my support right back, but we need big brand adverts too. And thanks to Covid, they have had their marketing budgets slashed to survive and so need to be tactful about where they spend their money… the question of spending a bit more for an advert in a publication which can reach tens of thousands and is likely in supermarkets up and down the country or, to spend a little less for an advert in an independent, solo-produced publication reaching 1,000 of their targeted audience becomes a no brainer really… and can you blame them, ultimately? It hurts, like a punch in the chest, but if I were in their position, I’d likely have to make the same choice.
So, by removing the pressure of having to rake in advertising revenue in order to print each Edition, I can now in fact work with and support the brands I want to online, without needing a cash transaction to survive.
But, without the advertising revenue, there can’t be a magazine. And so, here we are. The end of an era – In The Country Magazine will be no more.
Sure, I could reduce the pagination, reduce the paper quality, choose to staple the pages together rather than the perfect bound finish I chose, all to save money, hell, even add in a Classifieds section, but if I did these things… the publication you’d receive would no longer be In The Country.
Maybe, one day in the future, the market might change, but for now, In The Country Magazine must cease publication. I will be sharing articles, blogs and content through the website, so ITC will live on, just in a different format.
I hope you can continue to support me as I move into a new era, I will be sharing more details on why, ‘just Holly‘ over the next few days, but for now. I’ll leave you with this.
It has been a genuine pleasure and the experience of a lifetime to create In The Country Magazine over the past four years, from meeting so many fascinating people and sharing their stories, from learning to design, layout and produce an international magazine and even to hand-wrapping and writing each copy every season. Thank you for your support and your orders, but also for your support of me as an individual, this isn’t the end of In The Country.