If there is one thing we love to do at Style Magazines, it’s to shake things up and look for new ways we can evolve. This is why we were beyond thrilled to announce earlier this month that our founder and advertising powerhouse Tracy Sinclair has once again taken over the reins as the editor of Style Magazines. Most recently overseeing our Content Marketing department, Tracy is committed to developing marketing campaigns, collaborations and events to get results for your brand. In addition to this, she's driven by her love of Australian fashion (you’ll be seeing a lot more of it), shining a spotlight on locals and uncovering what’s new, now.
We managed to grab a quick five minutes with Tracy to chat about her vision for the future of Style.
What did you do before Style?
I’ve been in the magazine and newspaper industry continuously for 25 years, starting at London's TNT Magazine back in the day, so print and advertising has been my career for most of my working life. I even had a newspaper run when I was a kid, so it’s been a life-long love!
What was the idea behind Style?
It was, and still is, about supporting small and local businesses in a glossy, free magazine that anyone can access. Because we are a family business, we want to help like-minded families in business. And Brisbane … what can I say? It’s an easy, friendly place to do business and there are so many events and sweet new places to uncover each week.
The idea like most was conceived over a night of drinking wine, lots of it. When we woke up the next morning, it still sounded like a good idea, so we did it. It started with our first little magazine, Ascot and Clayfield Living. We converted the garage of our old Queenslander cottage into an office and Paul (business partner and husband at the time) would work his day job and then come home at night to design the magazine. I would go out and gather stories and sell ads. I received enormous support from day one because I think the area was screaming out for a mag that reflected the lifestyle of these suburbs.
I will be eternally grateful to the Racecourse Road traders at the time including Marilyn Domenech, Bernie McGrane, Sue Spork, Carol Sladen and journalist Vicki Montague, who helped me with some of the writing. Probably shouldn’t have listed people, always fraught with danger, but there you go.
We eventually sold that entity because I wanted to live in NZ for a while. When we returned to Australia, I worked for a national magazine company for a year or so but got made redundant. I think that was their nicer way of saying 'you’re sacked'. It was the best thing that ever happened because I went home, had a cry and thought bugger you bastards, and started Style the next week. I had 3 kids under 8 then. That was in 2001, so yeah, it’s been 17 years … not a bad trot.
How does online content differ from print?
It’s awesome because it’s so dynamic and reactive - if you have last minute tickets to sell to an event, we can advertise that immediately and get those suckers sold. Or if your restaurant is having a quiet week, same deal, we can promote it online and fill those tables. From an Editor’s perspective, it’s unreal because you can edit easily, there’s great flexibility. It has an immediacy and is the way many are absorbing the news. At the touch of a finger you can discover things to do. We've just gotta keep giving our followers more of it, every day, which we continually strive to do.
What have you been doing since you were last editor in 2010?
The thing I like most about business is being fluid, innovative, and adapting to the changes in the market. We started our custom publishing arm because clients kept asking us to produce their own bespoke magazines. I loved being editor of Style and didn’t really want to give that gig up, but the custom work took over and I had to hand the magazine reigns over to someone else so I could manage our growing client base and team. As the market started to evolve into a more digitally-dominant one, we added things like blogs, gifs, social media content plans and videos to our product offering. The department formerly known as Custom Publishing has now transitioned into Content Marketing (and we all wear raspberry berets… just kidding). The bulk of our clients are shopping centres from all over Australia including the biggest players on a national level, but we produce content around anything and everything. One day we’re creating content about redesigning a home, and the next it’s how to stay active in your retirement years or how to feed your family on the cheap.
What fuels your passion for the magazine?
There are so many things to love about magazines, well, media in general. The people you meet - their stories and what fuels their fire; the parties; the businesses you help grow; food; creative concepts; successful campaigns; collaborations; the unexpected cool shit that pops up every day; food; the photo shoots; fashion; the free stuff; the relentless deadlines that keep you sharp and focussed; the thrill of a mag hot off the press; happy clients; finding new places every day to talk about, and overall, the opportunity to Be. Creative. Daily.
What is your new direction going forward with the magazine?
I’d like to go back to our roots of looking after business, particularly the small family businesses. I just have an affinity with this sector because I live it (my kids work in the business too). Also supporting start-ups and showcasing one of my major loves, Australian fashion.
More Australian fashion, especially brands you don’t know. Stronger editorial uncovering talented Brisbane people. A more down-to-earth approach that hopefully inspires people because you’ll be able to read about the good, the bad and the ugly of business. No sugar coating, just real life stuff. I’m interested in the guts of something, not just the glossy exterior.
What are your long-term plans for the magazine?
Like any business, I just want to be here for the long run and continue to create a mag and digital platform that people keep coming back to. To continue to build a team of people who genuinely love what they do at Style and really appreciate the opportunities that Style offers, not just for themselves, but for each other. We’ll continue to ride out the tough times with innovation and adaptability and embrace the good times with fun and generosity. We’ve given so many Brisbane kids a start to their careers, including those who’ve had no qualifications at all but a kick-ass attitude. That is something I’m proud of. Aside from ongoing security and profitability, my ultimate goal is to have premises where everyone can bring their dog to work. We do it now when our staff’s furbs are sick or lonely and it changes the workplace instantly. We probably shouldn’t, but what the hell - cover your eyes OH&S peeps. #welovedogs
Any new exciting plans for the magazine?
Yes, there are a few new things that we are implementing which focus around rewarding our subscribers and creating more events for our readers to enjoy.
MORE ABOUT TRACY
Fave Australian fashion labels?
Manning Cartell, Dion Lee, KITX, Camilla and Marc, Bracewell, Zulu & Zephyr
My weeks are huge, so my weekends are chilled - beach walks, riding my pushy, reading crime novels, watching footy - pretty low key.
I love wine, but it’s starting to turn on me, so I’ve switched to Sailor Jerry’s or vodka. I love a French Martini and a Bloody Mary if I have to back up the next day, which is rare, but a girl’s gotta have a plan.
I’m a bit of a tomboy so pretty dresses are out. I like edgier looks like drop crotch pants, a statement dress, a sharp jacket, leather, a wicked boot or shoe. I love sneakers so I always have to keep heels in my car for meetings. I’m not into matchy-matchy preferring to mix brands to create my own thing.
Margaret Zhang has just got it - her style is off the wall, she’s so ahead of the game and has sheer talent. And, Sophia Loren, she was the epitome of glamour.
Fave thing about Brisbane?
The people - friendly and ready to give people a go
What advice do you have for someone trying to break into the industry?
Network, say yes to everything, work for nothing and make yourself so indispensable they will give you a job.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My kids drive me to strive for more; music fires me up, gives me energy and focus; travel and other cultures; being a nosey parker - I like knowing what’s going on; creativity - such a well-worn word, but seeing an idea come to life is a bloody beautiful thing.
Get in touch to chat about what the new era of Style can do for you. ? [email protected]
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