I’ve had a chance to catch up with Ramona Atkin, founder and editor-in-chief of LUCY’S Magazine. Although this publication came relatively recently on to the market, it already gained an impressive following both online and offline.
Photographers and photography fans alike flock to LUCY’S for its high-quality editorial content from around the world. Each monthly edition is a compilation of beauty, color, and creativity.
You’d be very surprised to find out that Ramona pulled off to create a world-class publication all on her own in just 3 years. I had to ask about how she did it, and what role did social media play in spreading the word.
Lesya: Tell us a bit about yourself and how LUCY’S Magazine started.
Ramona: I was born and raised in Romania, and at 18 I moved to Denver, Colorado. LUCY’S started from the love I have for fashion and pushing my limits.
It was a challenge to start a new magazine since I didn’t know anything about it, or marketing it. But that is why I did it, to learn new skills and push myself to grow!
Lesya: How did you start LUCY’S? How did you get the word out there about your brand new publication? How did you get enough editorials to complete the first few issues?
Ramona: It took a lot of convincing to get my first editorials since nobody knew about the magazine, and everyone was probably a little concerned to give out their photos.
That is the beauty of starting a new path, you struggle a lot but you also discover incredible things. I am very ambitious and these little things that I had to figure out seemed fun to me, haha!
Lesya: I have to compliment you on LUCY’S high editorial standards. Every issue is simply gorgeous and looks like a work of a huge team. When you were starting out, was it challenging to stick to these standards and “make it easier” on yourself to post an “ok” content? How did you persevere?
Ramona: At the beginning you post what you have and what you can, while always dreaming about posting better content. It is a process, just like when you cook a fancy dinner, you have to start with some basic steps, be patient, and you’ll get there eventually. You can’t create a great magazine in 2 months, unless you have a huge budget and a big team. I personally had no budget for the first 2 years, but I still did it because I am very passionate about it. I would have done it for 5, or 8 years with no budget if I had to. I am here for the passion, and I know it takes time to start making money as a new business.
Back to your question, I knew it took time to get better editorials and I waited patiently, and meanwhile I posted the best photos I could possibly post at that time.
Lesya: You have editorials coming from all over the world in every issue. This question is a two-parter. First, how do you manage to reach these creatives with your magazine? Second, do you think it’s harder or easier to work with such diverse audience?
Ramona: You have to understand that when you connect with people from all over the world, you are dealing with many cultures and being professional is absolutely necessary. I think LUCY’S reached an international audience through the content I put out.
Lesya: Your online presence is very impressive. LUCY’S Magazine boasts some notable following on social media, especially on Facebook and Instagram. How did you build your initial following?
Ramona: It took 3 years and a half to reach 94k followers, again, building a business takes years and patience. I think working 10 to 14 hour days and being passionate about what I am doing brought me this following.
Lesya: How much of Lucy’s success do you attribute to social media?
Ramona: 100 percent.
Lesya: Share with us your secrets to growing your Instagram community so fast, better yet, so engaged with your every post.
Ramona: Work, and work some more, and work so much that you go the extra mile. Few go the extra mile.
Lesya: Clearly, Facebook and Instagram are the two platforms LUCY’S Magazine is very active on. Are you exploring any other networks? Have you thought of expanding your reach on other platforms or are you conservative with what you put your efforts in?
Ramona: Instagram and Facebook are probably the main two platforms I will be using for a while unless something else works out better.
Lesya: Snapchat is all the hype these days. Is it tempting to jump on the “new hottest platform” bandwagon?
Ramona: Could be!
Lesya: What is one advice you’d give to anyone who wants to start their own solo business (online)?
Ramona: Unless you have money, expect to work for free for the first 1 to 3 years. And to work for so long without making any money, you have to be really, really passionate about your magazine.
My point is start a magazine if you are truly crazy about it and would dedicate your life to it!
So, there you have it. I hope LUCY’S story inspired you to go out and create (or curate) more beauty in the world. If you need somewhere to start, head over to LUCY’S Instagram account to take in as much visual magnificence as possible.
All digital issues are also available on LUCY’S Magazine website.
Hero image: Photographer – Ryan Bater