that sweet spot

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So I said I was looking for some inspiration, and then I came across this terrific interview with Penny Martin of The Gentlewoman on Three Thousand, via the epitome of quiet. Love the honest and thoughtful way she addressed the questions - she doesn't seem condescending, and it's so easy to sound that way when you're trying to set the tone for something.(Good questions from the interviewer too.)

I started off liking but not loving The Gentlewoman because it felt a little self-serious in the first few issues but I love that it's found its pace and I look forward to every issue. I do wonder if the very qualities I find appealing - personality-driven, exploring subjects and issues through the lenses of the women they feature - would also be the ones that limit its potential as a magazine. But I think that's a challenge Penny Martin would appreciate: how to relate to people and yet be true to the magazine's vision, and keep people coming back for more.

Comments

lucent imagery said…
Wow, you are right. That interview was really enjoyable. It makes me want to have a look at the magazine, I've never picked one up.
Kate said…
I love the Gentlewoman but I don't always buy it - it's hard to track down where I live and it seems silly buying it over the internet. That said, after reading that interview I just ordered a copy of the latest issue - I was reminded how genuine and special the Gentlewoman is. I can't wait to read it!
A├»ssa said…
With all the scans available out there, I often limit my magazines purchases esepcially since the content is often vapid... I mean I often feel the journalists recycle the same theme at the same time. Like for instance, it's all about losing the winter gain weight, next the swim suits issues and so on.
Your post makes me want to head out to WH Smith bookstore during my lunch break and grab "The Gentlewoman".
Frances said…
Thanks so much for linking to this article - it's completely fascinating. I love the way she's so open about the processes behind her magazine, and the effort necessary to make for a worthwhile interview: the complete opposite to the meaningless ten minute interview slots I imagine most magazines rely on...
Ammu said…
"I disagree that you need fantasy to create aspiration. I think you can inspire desire by showing someone as exactly how they are, no?"
I LOVE this. What an interesting person. Thanks for passing on the link!
miss sophie said…
this is so inspiring, thanks for sharing! :) i really need to order all the back issues and start a proper magazine stash again. i love that PM is trying to go deeper with her editorial approach, and create a different kind of magazine...
Marzena said…
Thank you so much for the reading recommendation. I must say that The Gentlewoman is one of my favourite magazines. Always looking forward to the next issue...
Joy said…
her focus on inspiration thru practicality is something i feel alt is trying to do with vogue paris, but not nearly as successful.
lin said…
lucent imagery: you won't regret picking it up; i especially enjoyed the interviews in this latest issue; there was one with maisie williams, who's in Game of Thrones, and it was such a good portrait of her.

kate: i'm lucky that it's carried here at a large bookstore, but it does sell very fast! i've taken to calling ahead and checking with the store as to when they will put it on the shelves.

Aissa: I agree, very few magazines are worth the price. Sometimes you come across a good profile or feature in US or UK Vogue, but that's getting to be a rare thing.

I say go grab that copy, so that you have some good reading material for the weekend!

Frances: I was really thrilled to stumble across the article myself; that's what I like about social media, the way good things can passed along.

I think The Gentlewoman has the advantage of only coming out twice a year; it leaves you more time to do things in depth, perhaps.

Ammu: She's awesome isn't she? She has such clarity of ideas and you can see it in the pages.

miss sophie: these are definitely magazines worth keeping!

marzena: No problem, I'm only passing along something being shared to me :) I really like that it comes out just twice a year...it slows down the pace when everything these days is about what's the new thing.
Jess said…
Ok, I have finally gotten around to placing an order for the latest issue! That interview finally convinced me. I think I've been holding off buying the Gentlewoman because I thought it was too good to be true, and didn't want to buy yet another magazine and be disappointed by it. But it seems like all the evidence points to it being kind of amazing! (And now I'm really annoyed that I didn't buy one of the billion copies I saw when I was in London on the weekend, because I don't think I'll be able to find any locally.)

"My colleagues at Fantastic Man are always really struck that the women we interview really want to focus on what they do as much as who they are." -- I found that line kind of weird, though. Like, how much do women have to talk about what they do before people in general start to realise that that's a normal thing? Why are the Fantastic Man people always surprised by it, rather than realising that's just reality and that there are plenty of women out there who do amazing things and want to talk about those things? I hope it was just unintentionally phrased that way, and that people aren't that constantly amazed that there are women out there who want to talk about what they do.
lin said…
Jess: It's so boring to go on about how great the magazine since so many people have been talking about it, but I think it's the best fashion magazine out there at the moment - for people that are not into "fantastical" imagery, that is. Hope you don't find it disappointing! I remember I didn't love the first few issues because it felt unfocused but I think they've found their stride in terms of what topics they want to approach.

I was thinking that perhaps the people who work at Fantastic Man are strange, haha.
Alexandra said…
Thanks for sharing the interview Lin, Such an inspiring and intelligent woman. There's also an interesting article on her here: http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/columns/kate-finnigan/TMG9869900/Getting-to-know-Penny-Martin-The-Gentlewoman.html
Oh wait Aissa, the magazine is available at W.H Smith?? I'll go take another good look. I've never heard of this magazine before but what a wonderful concept. Penny Martin's right about how surprisingly that most people don't read magazines from cover to cover. Most of the time, I just flick through Vogue or Harpers Bazaar and wonder why I bothered subscribing to them.
Lindsay K said…
Such a lovely interview- thank you for sharing. I do love The Gentlewoman. I still find myself going back to my old issues all the time. There's such a clarity of ideas that came through so well in this interview.

I feel like The Gentlewoman has always been really good about balancing insightful and intelligent conversations with a bit of charm. It's all too rare today.

What really impressed me about this interview was that Penny Martin is so open and responsive to criticism. What bothered me most about the early issues (and I think we've talked about this) was the inattention to copyrighting in the early issues. It drove me nuts in the beginning, but has improved. I also was always perplexed about the on sale date of the issue- it really makes no sense, so i was glad that she addressed that it really should be hitting newsstands earlier to be relevant.

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