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An Empire That Never Was

The rise and fall of Details Magazine

A community that thrived off itself. A collective group of inspiration and those that were continuously inspired. A multimedia platform which incorporated a personal element to its content, constantly growing in its sisterhood and creating elements that were relatable, educational, connective, and empowering. This was the goal of Details Magazine, the goal that was never reached, at least never to its fullest. 

Details Magazine was a digital magazine crafted solely to inspire and be a “big sister” source of media for young women. Content tailored by other young people to provide education and inspiration. Details discussed “real topics'' and philosophical points of views related to everyday obstacles. The magazine strived to talk about mental health, sexuality, soul understanding, health, and life guidance. First and foremost, Details wanted to be relatable to all young women and approach its content in a way that was easy to digest even if the concepts were bigger aspects of life. I believe that for what it was aiming to do, it succeeded. 

I created Details Magazine in 2020, amidst the waves of lockdown and restrictions of the coronavirus. While studying in Winchester, England at the time, my original vision was to create a monthly printed local issue: Winchester content and Winchester staff members. I approached local businesses in hopes they would be interested in holding the magazine on their tables and possibly advertising in the pages. But when the news of a second wave lockdown spread, my plan was crushed to the brim. These local businesses closed their doors; There goes my tables, advertisements, money to print the issues and essentially a reason to print it at all. With no one able to access a printed issue, or the funds to do so, I brainstormed and took the opportunity to publish it online. After all, this was the chance to spread the issue globally and allow for a wider range of staffers. This brought a greater amount of ambition on my end and quite a lot of work ahead of me.

I spent the good majority of 3 months at my desk crafting from scratch the foundation for the magazine, connections with people who wanted to contribute, and the entirety of the digital platform for which the magazine would lay. I worked on more aspects of this creation than I could have possibly imagined and every step of the way fueled my fire. I personally dove into new photography styles, managed models and organized photoshoots with other photographers. Journalism wasn’t something I considered my strong suit but I found a new fascination in conducting interviews to gather other people’s perspectives, allowing me to write a small portion of the articles throughout the magazine while primarily editing pieces that were written by various journalists. Aside from the content itself, I found team management to be one of my favorite challenges, where I did my best to connect staffers to each other and to projects that suited and excited them. With all of these moving parts, I felt that graphic design was the most time consuming aspect, as I sought out to learn everything about visual creation along the way. 

Never have I found such a passion that fed off itself. I wanted everyone, especially the young women it was aimed towards, to experience what I had created. After a few months, our first issue was released, the beginning of a two year journey. 

The magazine was called Details because I wanted the focus to be on the details of life, the things that make up the struggles and the laughter, the ambitions and the little elements of nature. I thought it was quite clever. After a few months of issues, newer articles and bolder photography, I began All The Details Podcast as a way to go in depth about the topics that were being discussed in the magazine. Using interviews, solo chats, and friendly conversations, we put out 9 episodes. 

The magazine itself continued on, publishing 18 100-page issues over the course of 24 months, whilst I balanced globally located staffers and personal relocation from England to Hawaii to Las Vegas, back-and-forth. Each month we would have fascinating articles, visually capturing photography and profound themes. I, even to this day, am impressed with what my staffers would come up with. From fashion photography, to solo travel experiences, to healthy recipes, to personal mental health challenges, to advice column pieces… It would all come together like puzzle pieces, beautifully fitting and creating the whole picture. I enjoyed every second of connecting with staff members, arranging the structure of the business, designing the layouts, and capturing the photography that fit the theme perfectly. Through these months, my love for Details Magazine did not diminish; maybe it was my growing passion that caused its downfall. 

For months we didn’t have any readers. Factually, the magazine industry was and is dying, people are no longer reading content of the sort, nor are they scrolling through a digital book like I had created. I understood this. However, I did everything in my power to overcome it. I tried charging a light fee per issue, using a subscription to motivate people to open the document and to spark curiosity of its value. This, obviously, didn’t have the results I was hoping for. Even fewer people were interested when they saw any sort of price tag. Understandable. While the content was inspiring, the photography and visuals were quite appealing, and the staffers which I took on were passionate, we simply had no readers. Aside from this, Details Magazine was beautiful and I felt nothing but pride. 

It wasn’t until I threw everything I had into the marketing side of Details that I felt the shift from passion project to effort and struggle. Using social media as a tool to capture readers was one of the most exhausting and creatively draining things I could have done. It is such a shame that social media has grown to be a game between users, a psychological warfare with businesses and the analytics. It felt that no matter how good my content was, or how much energy I put into it, it was useless. Because of the constantly changing algorithm and struggle to attain a solid audience, my passion diminished when as a creator, I was pushed down by the waves of people fighting for space on the selective screen. After a while of feeling defeated, I decided to end Details while it still had dignity. 

Now, a few years of reflection later, I can see clearly it was my own ambition that got in the way of my judgment. All I needed to do was go back to the basics, the building blocks, but each month I continued to think of what more we could do and what bigger we could create, hoping to capture people’s attention. 

Details Magazine was the start of a personal journey. I like to believe my journalist and photographers were passionate and gained some benefits for having worked with me. I also like to believe that whoever did actually read the magazine found some inspiration with the content we so carefully curated. What I know for sure is that the vision for Details Magazine lives on in other forms of passion in my soul. I know now what I can solely accomplish, and what I can accomplish with other creative minds in the works. I understand the potential results that are driven by passion and how to control them to become successful. 

I am proud of Details Magazine. I’m proud of everyone that was involved and every step we took to become what we were. The passion I had for Details remains in my heart and will only grow as I see what other creations are in store for the future. I will forever be thankful for such an opportunity to build and grow the empire that never was. 

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