We invite you to take on a global mindset as we talk to Raoul Keil, editor in chief of Schön! Magazine. The outlet started as an online publication and has become a successful crossmedia project, including an international print magazine in 43 countries and an online reader base in 197 countries. It is published in English and headquartered in London.
Why did you found Schön! Magazine?
The origins of Schön! Magazine trace back to the fashion networking platform nineteen74. I used to work as a headhunter for agencies trying to win the most talented people for them. During the course of my work I frequently discovered that young talented people – especially in emerging markets – were often not given a voice. It was important to me to provide such young talented people with a platform where they could network and promote their events. Personally, I don’t think I have a particular talent. If anything it is my talent to seek out talented people and to bring these people together. That’s exactly what I did with nineteen74.
However, setting up the platform was very costly which is why we were short on money when it came to advertising. Therefore, in an effort to promote the platform we came up with the idea of portraying the works of our most talented members in an online portfolio, which was put together in the style of a magazine. The eventual result was the first edition of Schön! Magazine.
Our print edition breakthrough came shortly thereafter when we featured Alessandra Ambrosio on our cover. Today Schön! Magazine is very successful. The print edition is being distributed in 43 countries. Our 22nd edition is being printed as we speak.
You are editor in chief of Schön! Magazine and creative director of nineteen74.com. Why are you so passionate about fashion?
Technically, my passion does not lie in fashion itself. It is rather the production that fascinates me. The entire process of creating fashion, the “craftsmanship” so to speak, is what really gets me going. What spikes my interest are the production factors and how all participants from the designer to the [tailor] collaborate. To capture the eventual result by means of photography is what complements this process for me in its beauty.
Schön! Magazine is an international magazine. How come it carries a German name?
I was on the phone to my sister in Germany and asked her how I should name the magazine. She asked: “What do you want to put in it?” “Beautiful pictures” was my answer. And since beautiful means “Schön” in German we had our winner- Schön! Magazine.
What makes Schön! Magazine successful?
One reason is certainly our loyal readership with an ever-growing number of new readers. Those readers value our magazine for the quality of our photographs and the print quality. But above all, it is our crossmedia experience which sets us apart from the rest. In comparison to most other magazines, we started off as an online magazine and ventured into print afterwards. As a result, we could rely on a loyal readership as a basis. Moreover, we have incorporated new technologies early on and kept up with the times.
Speaking of new technologies – what’s your take on the prospects of print media?
When it comes to daily newspapers, I think they are an endangered species. These days it is much easier and cheaper to get an overview through the internet or through apps.
For print media in specialized topic areas – particularly in the luxury segment – the situation looks quite different though. There is still a great interest in fashion and labels and their beautiful portrayal in print media. That interest even prevails within younger generations. Therefore I believe that such magazines will not die out easily.
The problem is that no one really knows where we are headed. What we are certainly seeing is a slow but gradual implementation of pay walls. There is a tendency to accustom the online reader to the fact that reading only comes with a price, too. Generally speaking I believe that specialized magazines such as automobile magazines or scientific magazines will continue to exist as print editions whereas print media which cover a wide array of topics – such as daily newspapers – will suffer.
– A version of this post originally appeared on Cision Germany’s Blog.
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