Welcome, welcome! This is the first of the interviews that have been conducted, starting off with one for the ladies: an interview with Lipstick Royalty's Rachel Phipps and Amy Claire Thompson.
Lipstick Royalty is an online fashion magazine that became quite a hit among the 14-25 year old age group mainly in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and as far away as Indonesia. Based in Kent, Rachel runs the magazine during her spare time when she's not at school and writing. Picking up York school-girl Amy along the way, the pair became online stars with their readership, and kindly agreed to an interview (it helps to admit that we'd all become quite good friends well before this).
So, without further adieu, the interview!
STN: Welcome, Rachel and Amy, to Survive the Net! So tell us, Rachel, how did you come up with the idea behind Lipstick Royalty?
R: It was originally meant to be a fashion blog that I started because I was bored but it snowballed into a monthly zine with a print layout with the simple addition of magazine staff!
STN: How did you get involved, Amy?
A: Back in, God, it must be 2007, now, I was a bit of a Bebo geek. I'd always loved writing, and they'd just launched their 'authors' service, so I made full use of it to over-advertise my then dreadful writing. I went on all the authors' sites, and on one I spotted Rachel's advert. I remember that when I signed up, I told Rachel that I didn't want to do anything fashion-based. I've been fashion editor for over a year now, and I can't imagine myself doing anything else!
STN: How can people access the magazine, and when?
R: It's available as a free .PDF download from both the Myspace page and they can read back issues hosted in the archive on my personal blog!
(STN @ Reader: Rachel has recently added that the magazine can be read here: http://www.lipstickroyalty.com/ )
STN: What have been the highlights of the magazine for both of you?
R: I always have the same highlight - watching the issue of the magazine all come together after all of our hard work!
A: Definitely Clothes Show - that was amazing! It felt like a personal success, to have been able to get the tickets; it proved, to me, that the magazine was being taken seriously, and that people in the industry we work with didn't just see us as two stupid school girls with ambitions too big for their own good!
I also had the chance to interview a french jewelery designer, Stéphane at fashionvictime.fr, along with Jenny, our Beauty Editor (who, by a bizarre twist of fate, is at Uni in the city where I live!). It was such a triumph of translation skills for both of us to have pulled it off - that felt good.
STN: Tell us about your Battlefront Campaign, Rachel. How did you get
involved in it?
R: I've finished my campaign actually, but it was called "Who Wants To Be A Size Zero Anyway" and I filmed a documentary following my campaign with Channel 4. When I had just started the magazine someone from Raw TV (the production company) sent me an email after reading about the positive body image ethos of the magazine, asking if I wanted to get involved. To state the obvious I said yes!
STN: Any plans for the future of Lipstick Royalty? Where do each of you
intend to go from here?
R: Well we're working on getting Lipstick Royalty going as a free .PDF issue then I want to get a website built. As far as I want to go, I'm doing as many bits of work experience (the latest being in a photographer's studio because I'm also a fashion photographer) as possible, internships (I just did an interview for one at an online American teen magazine) and columns at online magazines. I want to get a killer portfolio so after Uni I can get a good job! If it all goes pear shape and no one will employ me, I'll have to become an English teacher!
A: I don't know much about the future of the magazine - it's Rachel's baby, really, and I'll stick with it for as long as I possibly can. Personally, I've just taken my AS levels, so at the moment I'm looking at university courses, and I'd like to do English Literature and Political History. That'll mean that I can go on to do a journalism course Post-Grad, or something like that. I definitely want to stick at media writing, but fashion journalism is so competitive that I don't suppose I'll ever be able to do it professionally.
STN: The London Clothes Show must have been great for you; how did you get
your chance to go as members of the press?
(R: Amy sorted it out - she's amazing at PR!)
A: My feature for August had just dropped out, when Idea Generation, the PR people behind CSL, sent me their press release for the event. I emailed them to ask for interviews, and they basically just said "Hey, why not come along?!" - it was a logistical nightmare, what with the whole 'meeting people from the Internet' thing, but it was so worthwhile and has definitely opened my eyes to the realities of the industry. It's also made my family realise that I'm serious about what I do, which was good!
STN: What success do you feel you've had with Lipstick Royalty?
R: Quite a lot; we're well known in our niche, people write in to say how much they love the magazine and Amy and I get to go to events like Clothes Show as press!
A: Success for the magazine... well, that's evident. We've grown and grown, and we mean business, now! Personal successes have been smaller; noticing how much better my writing has become has been so helpful - and it's great to have such a big journalistic portfolio at such a young age!
STN: Any final remarks before we close up here?
A: I guess I'd just like to thank Rachel for this amazing opportunity. Over the year and a half we've worked together, she's become such a great friend to me, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world!
Thanks again to the girls for their answers! And to the reader: they were sent the same questions, via email (which will be discussed at a later date) and asked to answer. It's a big risk in interviewing like this, because for one thing, you can't push people to write more, and then you need to fix any typos. There's also the matter that the people, if there are more than one, might just compliment each other. You've seen this with Rachel's response, which was put in italics and between brackets. I hope that made sense to everyone reading it.
And now onto the all important links! You can find the magazine and Rachel and Amy's blogs (respectively) at the follow sites. They're worth the read, especially if you're into the alternative fashion scene.
Coming soon is a trio set of interviews with three individually successful bloggers. Book Smugglers dot Com, Dan London and Darren Shan (yes, the highly successful childrens' author!) all chat with Survive The Net. Don't miss it!