Her savings account is empty, but she doesn’t care. All that matters to Shanley Maguire is that she can hold her own magazine in her hands and feel the pages as she flips through it. She may only be in her second year of graphic communications and management, but she and her business partner have already designed, created and published two issues of Go Home Magazine.
Maguire says that being in school is the best time to start a business. Not only does she have a strong support system and a wide variety of resources through Ryerson if she has any business questions, she says there are tons of bursaries specifically for young entrepreneurs or people just starting a business.
She says, “You’ve got to find what makes you a minority of some sort and go for that.” The only problem for her is that bursaries don’t guarantee immediate cash, there’s often a long process before they give away any money, but she’s trying not to let that get to her.
“[It’s] my fun project on the side,” Maguire says. “I’m seeing what I’m capable of doing and what I can handle and then [Go Home Magazine] can grow and morph into whatever it’s going to be, but I’ll always have this magazine that I just like to do.”
Maguire and her business partner Emma Sharpe — a recent graduate from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University — created Go Home Magazine out of the hallway of their apartment. They turned a door into a worktable and lined the walls with inspiration for what they wanted their magazine to look like. They used shapes, content and paper textures of other magazines for ideas of how to make theirs exactly what they wanted.
Their goal was to create a magazine that would become a platform for emerging artists to showcase their artwork while supporting local businesses by only using them for production. Their first issue was all photography but the second issue included poems, illustrations and short writings. Maguire says she hopes to eventually have features, articles or Q and As with famous artists in every issue.
“[The magazine] is for young adults, people who are lost in life,” Maguire says. “We’re a really weird generation and a lot of people don’t have very defined paths because of the way our education systems are set up… it’s a generation that needs help and a voice sometimes, so that’s what this is for, to help these kinds of people out and show their artwork because it’s not easy to get into big galleries.”
Their last issue received over 80 submissions but they were only able to publish half — they use their Tumblr account to share what doesn’t make it into the magazine. While Maguire says she’d love to be able to publish them all in the magazine, there just isn’t the money to do that.
So far, the girls have each invested well over $2,000 of their own cash into Go Home Magazine — money they made from working in coffee shops. Some of the expenses were marketing, merchandise and distribution of the magazine to independent bookstores in Canada, the U.K. and America, but the majority of the money goes towards printing.
The first issue, “Go Home,” cost $1,500 to print and the second issue, “We’re All Adults Here,” had twice as many pages and cost about $2,300 to print 250 copies. They were able to recycle the profits from the first issue and other merchandise to create the second, which they then sold for just under $10 each.
“I’d rather people buy it at a lower price and me lose money and have them know who I am than not buy it at all,” Maguire says.
To make back some of their money, they made buttons, postcards, risograph prints and other merchandise. They recently did a run of tote bags and limited edition T-shirts that were designed by artists and then screen-printed by a local store in Toronto.
“We could outsource that to some place in the States that’s super cheap but we choose not to do that for the reason of supporting local people and local businesses and local talent,” Maguire says.
The business partners may both be in debt, but Maguire is able to invest her money into the magazine because her parents help her with tuition and living expenses while she’s in school.
“My savings don’t exist anymore but whatever. I’m kind of being supported right now so it’s a good time to dabble into this and figure it all out,” she says.
Maguire often deals with a lot of criticism for starting a print business since “it’s a dying industry,” but Maguire is completely against that notion and says that it’s all about finding the people who are still interested in print. Ironically, it is though advances in social media and technology that she has been able to find print lovers and promote Go Home Magazine.
“I think anyone can start a business now because of social media; it’s so easy to find people,” she says. “I don’t know how I would have gotten the word out if social media didn’t exist.”
Maguire says that the beauty of social media is that it creates a lens that allows both she and Sharpe to appear much more professional than the reality, which is “two little girls in [their] apartment trying to package things up and send them off to you.”
While Maguire says the quality of the magazine speaks for itself, she would have no idea how to promote it without social media. It’s one of the ways she’s been able to marry the tangibility of print with new-age media, but she says it’s funny that she’s become so dependent on social media for a print business.
“When print was more alive, I’m glad I wasn’t,” Maguire says. “Now [print] is special.”