Time Out Melbourne

Sick of vacuous women's magazines that run the gamut of features from bland to bimboid?

Co-founders Haylee Collins and Ashleigh hope to use Young Vagabond as a tool to combat the media's negative influence on young women – rather, they say, they're about the "absolute beauty of diversity". The quarterly magazine will have features on literature, sport, music, fashion, current affairs and will only feature positive rold models (issue one has Puberty Blues' Brenna Harding on the cover).

You can pick up your maiden issue online or in store at the Body Shop.

Haylee, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Ashleigh and I are both grew up on the Mornington Peninsula but did not meet until a couple of years ago through the company we were both working for at that time. We hit it off instantly as we share common values and a passion for creating a better world for young women. I am still based on the Peninsula and Ashleigh is now living closer to the city.

My professional background is marketing and team management. I am officially the editor of Young Vagabond, but I cross over into other roles as needed. Ashleigh’s professional background is in marketing and communications. Officially her role is publisher, however she also assists in other areas as needed.

At the moment we are balancing Young Vagabond with our other respective jobs which we are both lucky to be able to do just four days a week. We are both fairly creative people and big bookworms, but Ash is probably a bit more social and extroverted than I am.

Who else is on board with the team?
We've been fortunate to have the help of some very talented photographers and journalists – both established and budding – proof readers, illustrators and very importantly our creative director, who was putting the magazine together up until just a couple of weeks before her wedding.

We have also had a huge amount of support from the Adidem Group, the umbrella organisation that owns the Body Shop. They have effectively acted as a silent partner during the production of the first edition of YV.

What was the genesis of Young Vagabond? Is it still put together out of someone's bedroom?
Ironically Young Vagabond is a bit of a vagabond herself at the minute. While we aren't necessarily working out of bedrooms, we pick our work location based on convenience, so it could be either mine or Ashleigh's home offices, the office of our creative drector or of the Adidem Group. Often it is a café where we are meeting an interviewee or at the location for a photo-shoot. It is very much a round-the-clock thing for Ash and I and we are loving every moment.

You used Pozible to fund the magazine. Did you run through other options first?
We researched all the different grants we were eligible to apply for. However a friend of mine had used crowd-funding for a project in the past so we looked at that and found it was a great option for creative endeavours. The thing with crowd-funding is that you generally have to do a lot of research before you launch your campaign and they recommend you build a community around your idea before you launch. However, Ashleigh and I threw the book at the guidelines and instead used Pozible to introduce our idea to the world and we were lucky enough to build a wonderful network of supporters around the campaign.

What's your demographic?
Initially we wanted Young Vagabond to bridge the age gap we feel exists between publications like Dolly/Girlfriend and Cosmo/Cleo. However, upon investigation we realised that it wasn't so much a bridging of age but of interests, and that YV actually fills a niche all of its own that can be attractive to women of any age. So, on paper we are for "young women" and I guess that encompasses teens to early twenties. However, we cover a wide range of topics that could be of interest to women of any age.

What magazines have you enjoyed growing up?
To be honest as a teen I grew up on a fairly mainstream magazine diet of Dolly, then Cosmo, and then Vogue. But I've also loved scientific publications such as New Scientist and Ashleigh really loves Frankie. I think its important to read any publication with your own kind of filter and that is something we encourage readers of YV to do – to think critically about what we presenting to them and to think for themselves and form their own opinions.

Teen mags tend to veer away from the really gritty issues – for instance, domestic violence and sexual abuse, which are thought to affect one in six girls. What's your stance on the tough subjects?
That is something Young Vagabond will certainly be aiming to do, both in the magazine and eventually on our website. YV is about giving young women a voice, so for example in our first issue we have an article by a 16- year-old woman who is really passionate about the asylum seeker issue. She's not necessarily an expert, but she is an example of a young woman who is aware of some of the bigger issues out there and wants to make a positive difference.

It is scary as a new magazine approaching a topic that is even slightly controversial. You just don't know who you are potentially offending or alienating. So I can understand why established magazines may take a step back from hard hitting issues. But educating our readers and sharing the stories of a diverse range of women is important to us, so it is always going to be a priority to cover the positive and negative issues that are relevant to young women.

Do you accept submissions?
We love accepting submissions and ideas! Send to submissions@youngvagabond.com.au.

The first issue is now available online now for $10 - or $25 for a year. How often will you put them out?
Young Vagabond is currently only in print and it is a quarterly publication (published in the months of April, July, October & January). So a subscription gets you four issues over 12 months for $25, including postage. The first issue is on sale online for $10 because that is how much we were selling it for through Pozible – and it also includes postage.

Future issues will retail at $6.95 plus postage and as of Monday 15 April you will actually be able to purchase YV from any the Body Shop store in Australia for $6.95, as they were kind enough to subsidise some of the cost for us! This was not part of our original plan but is a recent development that we are incredibly excited and grateful for.

What sort of content can we expect, going forwards?
YV features articles relevant to being a young Australian woman, and while this can include topics such as beauty, fashion, sex and relationships it also very much encompasses articles that are relevant to the world at large. We try to keep our content fairly authentic and accessible to a diverse range of women. Topics touched on in the first issue include sport, science, humanities, literature, history, political issues, fashion, health, music, youth issues, art, feminism... there is so much more but I think that gives you an idea of the range. Above all Young Vagabond was meant to be a celebration of women and what they can and do achieve, and I am proud to say I think we have accomplished what we set out to do in creating it.


Updated on 12 Apr 2013.

By Jenny Valentish   |  
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