Insights of Publishing with Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE Magazine
[00:00:00] Made Remarkable Intro: Welcome back. And thanks for tuning into the Made Remarkable podcast, hosted by Kellee Wynne. In today's episode, Kellee is talking with the inspiring Janine Vangool. Of UPPERCASE Magazine to discuss the fascinating insights of publishing. Janine shares her story of balancing work and family life, her passion for magazines. And the importance of maintaining an analog focus. In the digital age. She also provides valuable advice for aspiring publishers and highlights the creative inspiration behind UPPERCASE Magazine. Check out the show notes and transcripts for more information about Janine exclusive promotional offers. And any special links mentioned during the episode.
Kellee loves connecting with listeners.
So don't be shy. Reach out on social media and together let's build a community that celebrates the remarkable. If you want to be notified every time a new episode has the airwaves. I just hit that subscribe button on your favorite podcast platform. Thank you for joining us today and always remember that you are made remarkable. Destined to achieve the unimaginable. Now let's get to the good part. Uh, Introducing Kellee Wynne and Janine Vangool
[00:01:08] Kellee Wynne: well, hello. Hello. I'm Kelly Wynn, artist, author, mentor, fiercely independent mother and wife, and the founder of a multiple six figure creative business. And I love my life, but I've been where you're at. I was slogging away at this art business thing for more than a decade. Once I finally connected with my true calling, unlock the magic of marketing and built a system that could scale, while I realize I can make an impact and make a substantial income, I'm finally running a business that I love and it makes all the.
Difference in the world. My biggest dream is to help you do the same. Let this podcast be the catalyst to your biggest success. You already have it in you because you are made remarkable.
well, hello, hello, Janine. It's nice to have you on the podcast, especially because I'm a big fan of your magazines and books. So, getting to know you is really fun.
[00:02:05] Janine Vangool: Thank you so much for inviting me.
[00:02:07] Kellee Wynne: How are you doing?
[00:02:09] Janine Vangool: I'm doing well. Thanks.
[00:02:10] Kellee Wynne: So you said that this is the first time recording from your new studio.
Tell me about your new studio. Cause I'm a little bit jealous
[00:02:18] Janine Vangool: Yeah. So, uppercase has been around for quite a long time now this is my 18th year as uppercase, the magazine and such started a bit later, but as uppercase as an entity began in 2005 ish. And I've been renting various places. For all those years. And just this past summer, I was able to get my own place, be my own landlord, have my own studio.
I can do whatever I want in. And so, I love that we are, and it had some beautiful book bookcases built in. It's a house converted to an office from 1907. So it's really nice.
[00:02:58] Kellee Wynne: What city are you in?
[00:02:59] Janine Vangool: I'm in Calgary, Alberta, Canada,
[00:03:02] Kellee Wynne: Canada. I thought you were in Canada. That's awesome. That's amazing. I love the way it looks and I love all the magazines and books behind you.
So for anyone who's watching on YouTube, they'll get a chance to see how beautiful that is. I put a couple of. They're a little bit blurry in my video, but I put a couple of the books from when I was published in one of your special editions when we were working on art supplies. So I thought, how fun would it be to get you on the podcast, get to know you better and just kind of hear your story?
Because part of what I love doing with the Made Remarkable podcast is we focus kind of on creative entrepreneurs, all the different pathways we can take. So you say that you've been. Uppercase officially for like 18 years. So I would love to hear how you became Uppercase and how you turned it into a magazine.
[00:03:53] Janine Vangool: Sure. So before Uppercase, I did graphic design for arts and culture clients. So I did freelance graphic design for about 12 years. So that's my kind of professional background. So I did lots of design for like Calgary opera and theater and arts festivals and small publishers. And I worked on another magazine as an art director.
So that's where I wet my feed in into the world of graph design and art. and, got to hone my skills as a graphic designer. And in 2005, the opportunity came about that there was a building in downtown Calgary called Art Central, and it was going to be a three level like, um.
An old building that was retrofitted to be various artist studios on the three levels, and I had been working out of my home for all that time and I just like, I want to get out. I want to do something. I want to be out in the world. Like, I don't want my entire career to be, in my little room off the kitchen. So,
[00:04:53] Kellee Wynne: I relate to that right now.
[00:04:56] Janine Vangool: So, so I decided to take the leap and rent a space and part of the mandate of this, Art Central was that you need to be public, like you couldn't just have an office and be there you had to have, like, it was open to people to come in. So that's where uppercase gallery books and paper goods.
Came about. So I had my design studio in the back and in the front was a gallery space and a beautiful bookshelf and just shelves for me to like be a public facing creative entity. So the concept was, it was like, you know, graphic design, commercial art illustration. Those were the sorts of, gallery exhibitions that I was curating.
And then I designed my own reading cards. And I sewed products and I, had other people's publications and for sale in the bookstore area. But I dreamed that, someday Uppercase was going to have its own books there as well. And I hosted workshops, we made books by hand, we did button making, we did all sorts of things.
And so I did that for about eight years or so. And then that building, unfortunately, it was sold and new management just wasn't interested in the concept and people left and then the whole thing was torn down. So, I moved to a different office, and I was there happily for about 10 years no public retail anymore but just concentrating on uppercase publishing.
So publishing my quarterly magazine and various books, and then that lease was coming up and I just didn't really feel like Continuing to invest in other people's properties and I just thought it was time to get my own place. So now I'm here you are.
[00:06:43] Kellee Wynne: Yeah. So it was, it was a little bit more than a decade ago then that you switched over to creating the magazine for yourself.
[00:06:51] Janine Vangool: Yeah. So it's sort of coincides with becoming a mom. So my son is 13. Now the magazine is 14. So that timing worked out pretty well to launch the magazine first, then have a baby and then continue, you know, growing the business. So, yeah, when Finlay was born, it was clear I couldn't do, you know, a gallery and a magazine and I couldn't do client work and all these other things.
So I happily retired from doing graphic design for clients. That was the first thing to go. And then when this Art Central, you know, fizzled out, I was happy to just let go of retail at that time. And yeah, just concentrate on the magazine baby and the real baby
[00:07:34] Kellee Wynne: and the real baby. And so did you say your, your kid's name is Finley?
Yes. I have a family as well. Yeah. So funny. And he's now 15. So,
[00:07:47] Janine Vangool: okay. Well, Finley's are amazing.
[00:07:49] Kellee Wynne: Yeah. So that's really cool. And I think personally, from my experience of being a mom, starting it before you're a mom. Probably is helpful, because once you're in the throes of it, it's like, okay, now, how do I start something now that I know how challenging it is being a parent?
Did you find it hard to juggle this new entity at the same time?
[00:08:11] Janine Vangool: Well, yes, and I'm glad I started the magazine first. But the first few years of being a mom, like, there's lots of nap time and usually the first few months I could just put him down and he would stay there and I could do some work and such and um, we got into a routine and right from the very beginning I always knew that my child was going to be fully aware of what I was doing, right?
Like, that I'm the sole earner in the family and these things are important and these are things I have to do. And, my child can help me, sometimes, but just, you know, being quiet for a bit or, you know, we can juggle our time and make things work for us. But my husband was a stay at home dad, you know, for the first year.
Um, so that was possible. And then he actually got let go from his job. So, he just stayed home and that was fine. So we've always, um, you know, uppercase and family and taking care of each other is all sort of like, wrapped up together. There's not a lot of separation. And so that's, that's how we managed.
I think we just always made it work because there was no other choice but to make it work.
[00:09:20] Kellee Wynne: I love it, though. I know my husband has always said he wishes that the roles could have reversed so that he could be a stay at home dad, which is kind of funny because he definitely has the alpha male personality, but there's always a part of him who's like, well, and he is glad that I have a career that's successful, so the pressure isn't all on him anymore, but I love that.
We're shifting how that looks for families and for, dynamics of the gender roles that were expected to play. So I love that. You continue to make this business thrive and I'm the same way. I love letting my sons know, like. I'm working now. I was a stay at home mom, but I'm working now.
So there are times where I'm like, Oh my goodness, you know, I need to make more time for the kids. And is it wrong that I'm working while they're here and they're present? I'm like, wait a minute, my husband never says, I'm so sorry. I have to work. Right. So there are some big mental shifts. To as we're coming into this new century of all the roles are changing, all of the possibilities are there and what it means to be a mom or a dad or a family or business or whatever it is.
I love seeing it change and shift however it is that we want to make it happen.
[00:10:32] Janine Vangool: Yeah, I think like right from the get go, like I knew I wasn't going to stop doing my creative pursuits in my business just because I was going to be a mom. Like it was, these are the two things that I'm going to be doing, and they can coexist, quite well together, I have the flexibility of changing my daily schedule. So that's always been useful. And I, I homeschool Finley now we've been, you know, we're going into grade eight together coming up, right. And that's been I've been able to like bring that into my daily schedule and we work together to make sure that.
You know, we're both able to get what we need to get done. So yeah, I think being flexible and not worrying about whatever, like, you know, the norms are just for you. And the idea of mom guilt, I never, never. Like that's something just terrible. Like there should be no feeling of being, feeling guilty just because you have to get some work done and you're not 100 percent with your child all the time.
Like, right. Exactly. Notion is just ridiculous. So, I've always known that when I'm working, I'm, I'm working, like I'm at my full capacity and I'm doing my very best to make sure that the time that I am spent working is. Well spent. I'm not going to waste my work time.
[00:11:49] Kellee Wynne: That's good. I do need a little more discipline in that area, but you have very specific deadlines to meet every, every quarter for your magazine.
So what was it about publishing and creating magazines that you were really drawn to?
[00:12:05] Janine Vangool: Well, that goes back way back into my childhood because I've always loved books. And I used to make little pretend books when I was a kid and I used to make little magazines and they were like really small with paper that I got from my mom, like discarded from her office and stuff.
And my dad was a drafts person. So I had lots of like blueprints and things. So I had all these paper. And I would cut them up and one side would have whatever thing from my parent on the back. And then the other side was for me to , to write and draw on. So I always loved making little books. And then as I mentioned professionally, I did graphic design for other publications you know, so seeing how other magazines were operating, it was like, oh, someday I'd like to do it myself, right? And to be in charge of the content and get to decide, all aspects of what's part of this design project that I'm working on. So, I think it goes way back as a kid of making magazines. And as far as deciding to do my own magazine, part of it was thinking ahead, like to have something that has, predictability with the schedule.
And there's a lot of, accountability when you have like all these subscribers and they expect it to be out a certain time. And so that really is motivating for me to have that structure built into the business that I just have to do it. There's no. There's no debate about whether I can do it now or later.
I just got to do it now.
[00:13:30] Kellee Wynne: Do you get help to do it now?
[00:13:33] Janine Vangool: have a roster of amazing contributors. We're all like virtual. So like a beautiful list of people who contribute to the magazine frequently and my copy editor. Cory Baldwin is in Montreal. And so he's like the eagle eye who looks at absolutely everything, for grammar and copy editing.
And he also has written a few of the books. So, the rag and pulp book about paper creativity. He wrote that one. So yeah, Cory's a good part of the team. But there's the day to day stuff is me customer service. Managing logistics, laying out all of the like
graphic design and layouts of the magazine too.
Yeah, yeah. I started a magazine because I wanted to design it myself.
[00:14:18] Kellee Wynne: Do you do all the outreach then for the artists that participate?
[00:14:23] Janine Vangool: Yep, that's my job as editor is to compile, curate and conceptualize each magazine.
[00:14:30] Kellee Wynne: That's so amazing. I love it. I am a big fan of magazines as well. I don't feel like your books are exactly magazines though.
The uppercase is, it's a book in the mail every quarter.
[00:14:43] Janine Vangool: Well, I pack a lot in there. I Yeah, I kind of think of them. It's an ongoing conversation. Because when you have the topic of, you know, it's for the creative and curious is my tagline, and that's so broad, but really, there's so much, Creativity in the world.
So having it as like a quarterly look at a small little section of creativity or come up with a theme so I can kind of corral all the ideas together into one issue. That's a fun challenge. And I think sort of that's part of the longevity of the magazine is because. There's this infinite wealth of creativity out there that we can all draw upon.
And so my job is to kind of focus our attention on a small little aspect of it every few months.
[00:15:29] Kellee Wynne: Yeah, that infinite wealth, a wealth of creativity and Tapping into that I was like, I was having a moment where I'm like, are you going to run out of ideas? 1 day? Like, have you covered every subject?
And then I realized creativity is always changing evolving. There's always new voices. There's, you know, voices of the past that we could tap into. I feel like you're right. There's like, it's limitless really how much you can do with. I'm focusing on creativity. So, and now the current book you have out, I'm going to have to get a copy of it because paper is my absolute favorite material in the whole wide world.
So I must have missed the memo. Thank you for for the, the emails that go into the wrong folder. But I love the uppercase magazine but your additions. Tell me a little bit about how like you came up with this idea for the. For another wing, if you will, of the brand.
[00:16:23] Janine Vangool: Sure. Actually, so Uppercase started publishing a few books first, cause like when I had the gallery, I was curating all these shows.
And so I did some exhibition books sort of thematically. And then I did a few other books, about illustration and design prior to launching the magazine. But the one we're talking about the uppercase encyclopedia of inspiration. And so this is a, Well, it comes out in whimsical non alphabetical order, and I plan on eventually doing 26 books, one for each letter.
I carry with letter F, which is a book about feed sacks, which are, vintage fabrics that used to, they're beautifully patterned and decorated, and they used To sell, chicken feed and farm feed and flour and sugar and stuff in cloth bags. And they're beautifully decorated. And, Lindsay call McCrae was the author of that book.
So the concept of an encyclopedia began, thinking about this book about vintage things and feed sacks. And then I had some other book ideas that I wanted to do about, printmaking and ephemera and just like a large topic. of books that I'd like to do at some point. And I thought, well, how can I bring those all together?
As like what can I do to conceptually bring all these disparate ideas together and I came up with the idea of an encyclopedia because like that's sort of like a vintage thing in itself. When you think about there used to be like door to door encyclopedia sales people that would try and sell you, recurring books about. Absolutely every topic. So I decided to create my own encyclopedia and that helps, with the design and format of each of the book has like a similar feel with the belly band and a decorative dust jacket, and they're hefty books. They're always, like, typically 448 pages and so they're, they're hefty, like, encyclopedia like books.
Yeah! Um, and they can't make it good with a magazine, right? Like they're big.
[00:18:18] Kellee Wynne: They are gorgeous though. And one thing I noticed about it is they're very readable. Like a lot of times I get magazines or books and I just skim through the photos, but I actually sat down with my copy of the art supply book and read all the articles because they flowed like stories, like information, like insights into the artists rather than do this and do this and do this, which I'm kind of like over like the, how to, or, instructional kind of dictation.
I love the, the way that the artists are presented in the magazines and books, sorry, and the encyclopedias.
[00:19:00] Janine Vangool: Well, in the encyclopedias, that's on purpose, like, and even the magazine, I've never been like, it's not a how to. Right. Right. With the internet, Pinterest, YouTube, whatever, you can find out how to do anything in an instant.
Right. Yeah. But what I focus on is inspiration. And that's more nebulous. And that's sort of got a secret sauce to like inspire other people. So I think that's the strong suit for, for these books and the magazine is it, it actually helps. Provide people with some motivation and inspiration.
And I think that's true, like beautiful imagery. You know, the people who are profile talking about their process and their inspiration and kind of like these, serendipitous moments of things together and the kind of the curating of Of different ideas that have a little similar thread, which can spark someone's imagination.
That's what I like to do with, with my publications. And so that's the ultimate goal of the Encyclopedia of Inspiration is not to tell you how to do something or how to copy someone else. It's how to, Look at something and feel inspired and go make your own thing. That's what it's all about.
[00:20:12] Kellee Wynne: Yeah. That's probably why it resonates with me so much. And I think a lot of artists love it for that. We're creators because you're not just targeting, you know, artists or painters or 2d. Artists like it's all different kinds of creativity and I get that, but I find the joy and other books or magazines about art is just to take the little pieces that spark something in me and then run with it on my own.
And that's really what uppercase provides. Mm hmm.
[00:20:41] Janine Vangool: And I'm inspired by people who are just so passionate and so talented in their area of whatever area that might be. I find that really invigorating, to just kind of be in the vicinity, even if it's through print where you're in the vicinity of someone who is just like really honed in on their skills and identify what they love and they're just doing it in like the best possible way.
That's really inspiring.
[00:21:06] Kellee Wynne: Right. When you look at their work and you can immediately identify the thread of the body of work that they've done. Like there's definitely like a voice or a point of view that's coming across and then it gets really exciting. Yeah, so I'm kind of curious like what are the challenges or hurdles of publishing.
I mean this isn't a small feat. I've thought about it in the past like wouldn't it be fun if I could print my own. Whatever, like I've had those ideas. Always have. I have a million ideas because I'm an entrepreneur at heart. But there's the sensibility of me. It's like, you can only do so much, but you picked your thing in publishing and it is a really wide loved magazine now.
But tell me about some of the challenges around it. Like, especially as You know, there's this ebb and flow of popularity of magazines.
[00:21:59] Janine Vangool: Mm hmm. Well, I started it, 2009, when the first issue came out. I started the magazine then because a lot of magazines that I loved were just disappearing. They weren't being published anymore.
2007, 2008, 2009, a lot of magazines were just shutting down, like Blueprint Magazine from Martha Stewart Living, and there was Domino Magazine, like the very first iteration of that magazine, and, there's some other ones that I enjoyed reading that were all just Calling it quits because of their advertising revenue at the time, like they were relying on ads and ad sales and, they apparently couldn't make it work.
So when I started my magazine, it was like, I want to make a magazine because there's nothing for me to read anymore. You know, as a graphic designer, I always had like, you know, it's a bit of a vanity project to make my own magazine, right? Like you want to see your own vision come to life. But also I wanted to create a magazine that was supported by its readers, not relying on any sort of advertising or any other influence.
So that was right from the beginning that it was going to be supported by its readership. So I stick to that. Still, and it was really tough in the beginning because printing stuff on paper and mailing it is really expensive. So for the first seven years, I was just barely getting by, you know, I had a 50, 000 line of credit.
And so I would use that for my print bill and then, people would subscribe and I'd work, work, work my way back to zero and then, oh, another print bill. I used my, you know, so I was existing like that for a really long time and a lot longer than probably anyone really should. Because I'm just stubborn.
But I just kept going. And then I took, Marie Forleo's B school in 2014. And that totally changed everything. I've realized what I was doing wrong and what I needed to change with my, marketing communication. And I did like a big reboot of my business. I let people go and just went back to just being me.
And, yeah, I rebuilt it and it's been. A profitable business ever since. There's such a difference between operating in, in the negatives all the time and having a company that can actually, grow.
[00:24:19] Kellee Wynne: I love that really important part about entrepreneurship, about having a business is for whatever reason, and even with our art and our creativity.
For some reason, we all think that we're going to just do this on our own and we don't need help. But look at what a change that is for you once you've got more training and understanding from B School, um, of how to just to, to get the word out there, to market it, to show up and that it changed your business.
And that's pretty cool. I know that the more training and, and the more I've invested in my business, the better I've gotten at it as well. What was like the biggest shift for you besides like just restructuring, but did you have a different way of being able to show up after that or find the clients or not clients, but customers?
[00:25:10] Janine Vangool: Well, I think when I had people working with me they're lovely people and it was really horrible to have to, let people go. That was awful, but., there was someone for marketing, and then they had someone to do subscription management and customer service and then they had an editorial intern and so that was as big as it got was, was three other people, and they had their areas of expertise but.
I guess I relied on, on their expertise that would keep us going. Like, you know, someone who has a degree in marketing, surely they know how to do marketing for my business then, right? Like they're, they're trained. So they should be able to do it for me. And I have zero, you know, I went to art school, and there was no business training in art school whatsoever, like, and then I just learned by being a freelance craft designer. So my mistake was just thinking that people would be able to do what they need to do for my particular company. When I took B school, I realized how specific you need to get, with your marketing communications and the stuff we were doing for uppercase was too generic and it wasn't like really resonating and it wasn't really authentic to what I was trying to do.
So, When I did the big, hard reboot, the first thing I did was start over with my communications and send out a regular newsletter and just be forthright with what I was going through and just like build from there. So sending out my newsletter every Tuesday. That's been the biggest thing that changed things around and it comes from me and it's talked about what I'm doing and the good and the bad and it involves my readers in a way that makes them feel like they're part of it because Uppercase is, hugely, supported, like entirely supported by people who subscribe to the magazine and people who submit their work and, it's integral that I have that great relationship with my readers and that started, from realizing I need to do that when I took B school way back,
[00:27:16] Kellee Wynne: sO maybe prior to that moment where you made a big shift, it was a publishing company.
That, like, there's this wall between you and the product, maybe, that it becomes impersonal. And when you have ownership and you're showing up and you're communicating every day with the people who are there buying your, I mean, like, that's what people want now more than anything is they want the person, they want the personal touch.
I think we're really past the I'm not saying you're not professional. I'm just that corporatization of a brand.
[00:27:51] Janine Vangool: Yeah. I think like when I had other people working with me, I thought like, this is what it's supposed to be like. If I have a magazine, you have someone doing this thing and you have someone doing that thing and you're in a space together and you work together and that's what it's supposed to be.
And the marketing that we did, if I think back to it, like I was. Doing some of my own writing in there, but we're also doing things like, you know, here's mother's day special and here's christmas and here's like these sort of seasonal things that Generally anyone would do for like marketing 101, but it really And kind of useless for, for my particular business , I guess I just learned a lot.
I didn't know anything about marketing before then what I had observed through doing materials for my clients. So taking a course specifically about marketing and communications and business was. You know, it was life changing. It really changed the trajectory of my business. It kept it afloat and then it made into a profitable business.
[00:28:49] Kellee Wynne: I love that so much Cause that's what I teach. I love marketing. I love messaging. I love communications. I love how we can infuse ourselves into our business and connect more deeply with our customer. And that's what I've been teaching all of my members of my. coaching program. And it's like such a huge shift in the mindset of marketing isn't like some sterile, making some graphic.
Marketing is our message and how we communicate with people. And that just like, it's revolutionary. and of course, I think at this point, Uppercase is like a staple in most artists life, because it is so prominent and prevalent in so many different areas. Like you said, you cover so many different topics, but it doesn't matter what the subject is in that magazine.
Like, I feel the personal touch now, and so I can see how that's making a huge difference.
[00:29:43] Janine Vangool: Yeah, well, marketing is a creative outlet. That's how I think of it as one aspect of the creative outlet that I have. I have this business and I enjoy it. And, I really enjoy writing now. Like I didn't realize that I wanted to be a writer until I started writing on a regular basis.
I really enjoy writing and sharing what I What I'm going through and what I know. So that's terrific. Especially excellent skill to have when you publish books and magazines, right? I can write my own stuff. So that's one aspect of marketing that I absolutely love. And I think It's a way of, also honing in what you're trying to do with your own business.
Like when you're communicating with your customers on a regular basis, you can start to, almost direct yourself like, Oh, you know what I want to go in this direction. And so I'm going to tell people that I'm going to. Start to do, you know, this particular project or this thing, or I'm going to experiment with something.
And then you get this, like a feedback of encouragement, and support. And, that's good momentum that, you know, it keeps you motivated. And then when it results in people subscribing to my magazine or buying my books, that's amazing because like, I can't afford to just print them for fun.
[00:30:56] Kellee Wynne: And the cost of print goes down the more people you have purchasing, in a subscription.
[00:31:01] Janine Vangool: Yeah, yeah. The per unit cost when you have a print run, the larger the print run, you can lower the per unit cost. But then there's things like postage goes up and paper cost goes up and everything like that.
You mentioned how, like you see Uppercase in lots of places and that's amazing, but it's really still a very, very small magazine in the grand scheme of, of magazines. Like you can't go out to like a Barnes and Noble or something and find Uppercase. You have to go online or to some very small list of stockists in the United States, for example, who will have the magazine.
But I Try to be in the community as virtually as I can. Right. And
[00:31:42] Kellee Wynne: yeah, that's what I really meant. Like when I see it everywhere, I mean, I see it everywhere. People talking about it online. I don't think I go into stores anymore. I order everything online. So how convenient, but yeah, I just, because you have so many people from the creative community participating and that in and of itself means that you have. marketers naturally built into the program.
[00:32:06] Janine Vangool: Yes. And that was just a lucky accident because I didn't think of that. But, um, I started having open calls for the magazine because like when you have, you know, a particular theme, I was like, Oh, it'd be nice to get other people's interpretation of the theme in addition to what I'm curating for the magazine.
So I started having open. Calls for participation and that just has continued to grow. And so I've like added more pages to the magazine so that I can include more of the readers because like the more that I can, reflect back who's reading the magazine and support that community, then the better. We all are, you know, on the unplanned, but now it's a good thing is that people who are in the magazine, like to share that they're in the magazine and then family are interested in it and then it, it helps it grow.
[00:32:53] Kellee Wynne: Very much. So a big deal to be in one of your books or magazines, which was such an honor for me too, to be able to be in, in one of them. How many editions of
Uppercase are there now.
[00:33:08] Janine Vangool: I'm on issue 59 of the magazine and I'm working on the 12th volume of the encyclopedia.
[00:33:16] Kellee Wynne: Well, so you're not quite halfway through.
No, but you're getting there. Yeah. How are you going to deal with the letter X though? I really have to know.
[00:33:27] Janine Vangool: I don't have a plan for every single issue yet.
So, yeah, I don't know. We'll see.
[00:33:38] Kellee Wynne: Well, that was just kind of like a funny thought I had there. Like, I can probably imagine everything else, but an X is going to be an interesting. Challenge, but
[00:33:48] Janine Vangool: I'll have to check. I've got in my database. I've got like brainstorming ideas in there.
[00:33:53] Kellee Wynne: Yeah. How much have you seen shift and change in our creativity over the last like since you've been publishing uppercase?
Or do you feel like it's a lot the same that it's always been? Or do you see new trends coming and going quite rapidly?
[00:34:11] Janine Vangool: I think more people are trying to pursue creativity in their lives. That's what I've seen. That more people who have like a supposed non creative job, are trying to be creative in their personal time.
I think that's, that's definitely grown. And then during the early years of the pandemic when more people had time to explore things other than being at their offices and out and about, that there was a reconnection to craft, and making things and, you know, Handwork and that sort of thing, so I hope that continues because that's we can all use that.
It's just good for our souls
[00:34:55] Kellee Wynne: for sure. Okay, so there's a growing need for creativity, which is good news because I feel like that's. Really like the pure expression of humanity is whatever we can create, how we're using our imagination. So that's good to see. Do you know your type of reader?
Like, I'm assuming that it's not just all artists, that it may be newly budding creatives as well.
[00:35:26] Janine Vangool: Yes, um, So there's a wide range of readers. But I think they're, they're more skewing to people over 35 years of age, but I haven't done like a, survey that asked people that sort of stuff.
That's not my style. I don't really need to know. I just get to know my readers through, what they email me and our conversations that we have that way. The submissions that I receive and looking at people's Instagram and stuff like that's how I get to know who my readers are not really by demographics, but I think typically the people who submit are people who have.
Reconnected with their creativity. More recently, or they're trying to shift careers a little bit and then some are just like professional artisans and creatives who have been doing this for a while. so there's a variety of people. When I first started out back in 2009, I thought it would be more of a younger, like More like me at the time, I guess, but it's always been a little bit older than me, which is fine.
And now I'm like, now I'm the, probably the more of the average age of my readers, so that's good.
[00:36:44] Kellee Wynne: I see creativity shifting in different areas for all ages too, so hopefully even those who are like, Young newly out of the school scene and into the, like, boring old adulting scene are now able to, like, reconnect with their creativity.
Maybe that they had when they were kids. I'm hopeful that that part doesn't, isn't lost, just like you like to see that growing surgency is really inspiring to me, especially when I'm like around my, my kids, friends, and they're like, yeah, I'm learning this, you know, crocheting or.
Paper craft, or I want to learn how to paint. So I'm always like hopeful that it will continue. But I do understand, like, I don't know that it's the demographic of age or race or location that's important, but it's more like the interest, what, what people are interested in right now.
[00:37:40] Janine Vangool: Well, and there's some people who don't understand uppercase at all.
And that's fine. It's not a magazine for them. If they're too literal. About, you know, I'm only interested in quilting or I'm only interested in rug hooking and like I'm only this kind of like hand built ceramics and not that kind of ceramics like that doesn't work. Like that's not what my magazine about is about my magazine is about.
Looking at things that are outside of your typical area of creativity to get inspiration and motivation, right? It's about connecting. Like if I'm a quilter and I'm looking at a ceramicist, what can I learn from looking at ceramics that can inform my quilt making and vice versa, right? So maybe it's how you make a mark.
on a ceramic piece? Can you make a mark like that in your quilting, right? Or can you apply, quilting motifs of pattern decoration onto your ceramics? Those are the sorts of things I want people to think about when they're looking at my publications, is like, what can I learn from something that's slightly outside of my usual comfort zone?
[00:38:46] Kellee Wynne: That is exactly how I use your magazine. Because for me, if I'm looking at all the same type of art, it's too close and literal to what I'm doing. So the only way for me to really gather inspiration is to see creativity out of my own personal genre. So I've been personally, I love jelly plate printing and patterns, and I've been working on new collage ideas.
Like my work is evolving behind the scenes, not publicly. I haven't really been sharing a lot of that. So where am I turning? I am literally seeing ways that people are doing pottery, quilting, Surface pattern design, like I am looking at all these different ways that people make art. That's so different from me, but it's all inspiring and informing my next move.
Jewelry making, hand painted, like objects instead of surfaces. Like all of that is like, it's tasty. It's yummy. It's like the thing that I'm craving. And so I get it. And you're right. There are some people who are like, just very. Singularly focused and maybe 1 or 2 additions might be right for them.
Whereas for the creative. The artist that really wants to expand beyond where they're at, this is a perfect way to get inspiration. I mean, sometimes I'm just like, I should buy two copies because I just want to cut some of them up and take all of the bits and pieces of the gorgeous color. Like, I don't mean to destroy your magazine, but that's why I said two copies.
[00:40:18] Janine Vangool: Because like, destroying if you're using it for creative fodder, that's okay.
[00:40:22] Kellee Wynne: Yeah, creative fodder. That's a really good way to put it, but it's just always like I open it up and I'm just like, you know, plus the texture of the paper is just perfect.
You definitely have that right weight and satin, not glossy. It's just a beautiful magazine. I just, I really do absolutely love it. Um, I know I'm gushing over it a lot, but there are very few magazines that I'll purchase at this point in my life and Uppercase is one of them for sure. So I'm kind of curious where you see the future of Uppercase, of magazines, of where we're going to be going with art and art trends.
[00:41:03] Janine Vangool: Well, the future of my particular magazine is I'll keep going. I'm on issue 59 and I'm planning to get to issue 100. That's my goal. I'll be in my early 60s by then. And, uh, it seems like it. a good milestone. I'll probably keep going after that, because what else could I do? But um, I like having issue 100 as my goal in mind for the magazine.
Um, and then the encyclopedias I've committed, I want to do all 26 letters. So that will be on one. that's coming out next year called Notions and it's about like sewing notions and ephemera and memorabilia related to sewing and inventors who create, who invented notions and yeah, it's really fun because I love, I love sewing.
That's like, my zone of creativity. So I'm working on that and then I have ideas for the next um, it's like medias that are coming out. in the next couple years. So those are, that's my like, you know, general future ideas. And then now that I moved into this beautiful new space, I want to use it to, kind of expand my, my mind because I have more space.
So I want to have a place where I can do my own hands on creativity. I want to paint. I want to get back into like the tactile ness of Making a mess and having color and stuff, which I couldn't do when I was like in my previous place or just working in my in my home. I didn't have enough room. So that's something I want to do is explore my own creative self.
You know, I haven't done that since I was in art college where I used to paint and draw and illustrate all the time. And I got it out of that. I want to get back into that. And I plan on having some creative courses about more of the practical side of it. Of being a creative in business. So I'm planning on filming that here with my nice little backdrop.
So that's like the immediate future for uppercase and for creativity in general. I'm right now. I'm seeing a lot of people talking about, a I and chat GPT and mid journey and all these, devices that can you can outsource your creativity to, but I don't plan on. Going down that route. I have an article in the next issue coming out where an artist is writing about it.
It's specifically, but I think we can use those sorts of technologies as impetus to really hone in on what it Is to be a human artist and to create our own work and to, reap the benefits of being a creative person and going through your own creative process and going through the struggle of coming up with ideas and the joy and fulfillment of putting something out in the world that you've created from yourself.
So I'm hoping that's where the. The future of creativity goes, we just like say, Oh, so why this is like a little trend of AI and whatever, get a, get a computer to do something for you. But I think at the essence, humans need to express themselves. And I hope that that's where we're going to turn towards instead of just pursuing some.
Algorithm type thing that's going to turn out something that looks the same as any other computer could turn out.
[00:44:25] Kellee Wynne: I noticed that they all as as fascinating as AI art is and mid journey and all of that I'm, i'm not afraid of it. I'm not angry about it It is what it is, and i'm just gonna ignore it and continue to pursue physical things that I can touch but it is It does look a lot alike.
And once you recognize the look of it, you realize how computer generated it is. So maybe there's a place for that. Just like when the, when photography came out and artists were like, it's going to ruin our career because now a picture can take somebody's portrait, you know, but Photography just became another means of creativity and use and artists still make art.
So I'm hoping that we'll just continue our need of like this hands on touching and not only that, but buying things that we can see and touch and feel because that's a lot more exciting than. Something that's all just, um, ones and zeros.
[00:45:23] Janine Vangool: Yeah. Well, that's where I'm going to maintain my focus anyway.
Like, and as long as I maintain my focus, I know there's other people who are going to feel the same way as me and, and, and that'll be fine for, for our niche, you know, like analog stuff. But when I think like, I've been doing this for a while and when I first started out. With the magazine, like the iPad was the big thing that came out and everyone was saying, Oh, can you put your magazine on the iPad?
I want to have a digital version of the magazine. And I was like, No, you can't. I can't do it. Like, I'm just one person. I'm a print designer. I put things on paper. That's what I'm trained to do. That's what I love doing. Uppercase is about tactile things. Like, no, I'm not going to do a digital iPad version.
And I just stuck to that. And that was a great business decision because people can't get it digitally. So they have to buy it. And they're more willing to pay the actual cost for the physical item than they would be for a digital version of that thing, right? And then the other thing that came out was like procreate and so that's a really interesting tool To use on the ipad and at first I think a lot of art just looked like oh that looks like someone did on procreate But now that people have been using it for a while.
They're finding how to make Art that's unique to them that might happen to be on this technical tool. But I think now it's less likely that you'd say, Oh, like that was just made on procreate or just like, you know, 20 years ago, you can say, Oh, that was done on Adobe illustrator. Exactly. Yeah. So perhaps I guess at a point that we'll be like with AI generated art, that there could be a way of injecting more human personality from the author of it, but I don't know.
I'm not really interested in, in looking at that, but so seeing, seeing things like technology changing in the past, you know, 20 years there's trends and I can see it reflected back in what people are submitting to the magazine. But as the curator of the magazine, I can decide what I'm putting in or not.
So I'll always be focused on the, the human made by hand, tactile, things that you can love it.
[00:47:32] Kellee Wynne: Anything you can touch. That's what belongs in the magazine
[00:47:37] Janine Vangool: and ideas that you can't touch
[00:47:39] Kellee Wynne: and ideas that you can't touch. I love that. That's really cool. What advice would you give to anyone if they were considering this as a path of entrepreneurship of starting some sort of publication?
Is it worth it? Would you recommend it even?
[00:47:58] Janine Vangool: Well, I, I would recommend doing what I'm doing because it's great. I love it. A unique set of skills that's making it work for me. Um, but over the years, people have emailed me the question and such. And so I kind of had a canned response.
But the thing is that you have to have, Tolerance for risk if you're going to do like a publication, right? Because there's no guarantee that it's going to be able to support itself. And so you have to be able to, manage financial risk. Very to keep something like this going. You have to be good with numbers.
You have to be good with looking at like the real practicalities of like, what does it actually cost to produce something physical, not even just a magazine, but any product you're going to put out there. What are the real costs? What are the like the peripheral costs that you're forgetting about because those are really really important right what is like labor and time costs like there's so much you need to consider before you just do something like a magazine right.
So, yeah, that's the important thing is really look at it as a business to make sure that it's not just like a whim. It has to be really committed. Of course, you can do like a one off project or something, and it's not everything needs to be, a business or for profit or anything. But if you're going to do a magazine, I think the nature of the magazine is that you're committing to doing it on a regular basis and you're committing to have a relationship with your readers and it's a big commitment.
[00:49:32] Kellee Wynne: And to learn how to market. Yeah. That goes for all businesses. But I love that, that shift of things for you. And, well, obviously everyone can find you at Uppercase right?
[00:49:46] Janine Vangool: Like online, I'm uppercasemagazine.
com and uppercasemag on Instagram.
[00:49:52] Kellee Wynne: But if somebody gets on your email list, They're going to get personal love notes from you for your newsletter.
[00:50:00] Janine Vangool: Well, the nature of Uppercase being a one woman show is that it's, it's all personal.
So yes, we're finally in those places.
[00:50:07] Kellee Wynne: Well, I actually am inspired by that because I was just having a discussion. I have two people who help me with my business and I've had a lot of help with some of that writing. In the past, and I'm like, you know what, I think the part that's missing is me, and I need to come back to that basic.
So that's what I've been working on myself as well, right on the money about that. And I'm assuming easy to just go to uppercasemagazine. com. Yeah. And sign up for a subscription. It's quarterly. Yeah. I know that I went in and, and when I discovered, I don't know, it was a couple years ago, maybe three or four years ago that I discovered Uppercase, and I bought some back issues.
So are there still back issues to purchase?
[00:50:51] Janine Vangool: Yes, there are some. Yeah, those are available too on the website. And I have like some bundles where if you buy like a bundle of them at a time you save quite a bit off of them and Likewise with the encyclopedias, if you want to buy one or two, they're available.
Or if you want to buy the full stack, there, I've got a big bundle of, I think there's eight or nine books in the bundle available right now. So yeah, those are all there.
[00:51:18] Kellee Wynne: Do you still have the little kids version like the, for the youth?
[00:51:22] Janine Vangool: Yeah. So I have a, an occasional publication. I've done three volumes.
It's called little you and it's the offspring of uppercase. And so it's not exactly, it's not for kids, but it's about children's related industries. So like children's books, illustration for kids, toy design. Surface pattern for a kid's fashions and creativity inspired by young people, um, is very, it's very sweet.
It's inspired by being a mom. Yeah. Finley is my, editor at large. So we did three. Issues together. And it's a very small, it's like four by six inches and 200 and some pages. So it's like a little brick. Um, yeah, so they're very sweet. And a portion of those sales go to UNICEF to support children's charity.
So those are available too. I haven't done a new one in a while. I'm kind of On a break. Now, my son's a teenager, so we're not looking at all like the cute little children's stuff anymore. So I guess people have moved on for a while. But we were talking about it the other day if we want to do another volume.
I think we might someday.
[00:52:29] Kellee Wynne: Well, teenagers are still technically children. So maybe there's a teen version out there that's possible.
[00:52:35] Janine Vangool: Yeah, maybe. Yeah, well, I've got enough projects right now that I'm committed to, but I have another potential outlet for, for curating and such. Right.
[00:52:45] Kellee Wynne: So I just, I, I have to put the ideas on the shelf cause there's always like 10 more of them that come.
Okay. So before we end here, I'm going to ask you my favorite question that I ask everyone at the end. What is your big audacious dream?
[00:53:02] Janine Vangool: I'm living it. I'm living my dream. You're living it. Yeah, like just having moved into this beautiful studio that I purchased through my hard earned efforts from the past 20 years.
That's, that's awesome. I'm living that dream. So just, like, be my own boss, be in charge of what I'm doing with my time, and creating stuff that I absolutely love, and being surrounded by things that are, you know, beautiful and pretty and inspiring, so, yeah, I'm, I've done it. I don't have a new one to superimpose on that.
I'm just going to like, enjoy this experience and continue working really, really hard to, you know, pay it off.
[00:53:48] Kellee Wynne: There you go. Edition 100, you know, awesome. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today, Janine.
[00:53:55] Janine Vangool: It was my pleasure. Thank you so much. I enjoyed our conversation a lot. It's nice to chat with you.
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