By Joanna Evans
Two former Ryerson students have started a magazine they hope will have an impact on the lives of young Canadian women.
The quarterly, names Blonde magazine, was created by former journalism students Rachel Horvath and Tasha Wasyliniuk, both of whom are natural blonds. They met while working in the editorial department at Maclean Hunter Publishing,
“We had our desks beside each other and we would get to talking about what we really liked in magazines and what we didn’t like,” Horvath said, “We realized that there were no Canadian magazines that really met our needs.”
The editors found too many of the women’s magazines on the market either American or British, and seemingly oblivious to the Canadian way of life.
“You know, those magazines are very interesting but the problem is if you were to see a great skirt in Glamour magazine, usually you would have to go down to The Bay and buy it,” Horvath said.
After talking about what they would like to see in their ideal magazine, Horvath and Wasyliniuk decided to produce it. Now they have a 50-page magazine dedicated to things like shopping, fashion and dining in Canada.
“We assumed that there were other people like us that were not getting their needs met,” Horvath said, “so after work we started to get together and talk about it.”
Horvath, 27, took a copy editing and research course at Ryerson after studying political science and radio arts at the University of Toronto.
Wasyliniuk, 26, graduated from Ryerson’s magazine journalism program in 1997.
The magazine launched in May with it’s spring edition and has been gaining recognition from across the country. The premiere issue sold 10,000 copies. Many of its writers are volunteers who haven’t been previously published.
So far, readers have responded positively to the magazine.
“We’ve gotten lots of letters and e-mails from people who have said that this is exactly the kind of magazine they have been looking for,” Horvath said. “And a lot of people are happy because it is a Canadian magazine.”
The magazine’s funding comes from a series of bank and government loans, including one from a program geared toward young entrepreneurs and one from the Royal Bank of Canada. Horvath and Wasyliniuk hope to eventually raise enough money to make the magazine a bi-monthly publication.
One of the biggest obstacles facing the two editors is getting advertisers and sponsors for the magazine.
“When you’re starting off and you’re contacting advertisers, everybody’s first reaction is, ‘Oh well, who publishes this?’” Horvath said. “If it is not a big enough publishing company they don’t have the incentive to take a risk on you.”
Fortunately, Horvath and Wasyliniuk have been able to find a few advertisers and sponsors have been enthusiastic and willing to help them put Blonde magazine together.
Horvath also offered a little advice and encouragement for people wishing to start their own magazine.
“Take some business and writing courses. Even if other people tell you that it’s going to be a lot of work or that you are not going to be able to, I think that you should just go for it,” she said.
Blonde magazine’s fall issue is currently available at the World’s Biggest Bookstore and other retailers. A single issue costs $2.95. A one-year subscription costs $9.99.