By Les Kollegian, Creative Director
While traveling to visit my East Coast clients in early 2008, I was staying with my ex-brother-in-law (yeah, we still hang out) who mentioned a start-up called College Magazine that may need some design help. My first response was… “College Magazine? There HAS to be a publication already out there of the over 3,000 current magazines named College!” Well, I was wrong. There wasn’t. I was in shock at the thought of such a great idea that hadn’t already been in the works. I mean…I was sure there were publications geared toward College students, but with such a strong market and being the most sought after (18-24 year olds), I was surprised that a name that simple wasn’t already taken.
Intrigued, I asked to be introduced to the founder to see how I could potentially help the fledgling publication. I called Amanda Nachman, the 23 year old, fresh out-of-school graduate who dedicated herself to making her dream of creating this magazine a reality. We met at a local coffee shop, A.K.A. her office, in Arlington, VA where she sat with her designer as they worked on the second issue. The first issue, released about a month earlier had a distribution of 5,000 copies at the University of Maryland, my Alma mater. The publication looked really good, especially under the circumstances… basically students creating it from scratch. As well, she was under $1,000 in the red for her first issue. Amanda got national and local advertisers, volunteer designers, copywriters and editors, and created a team of people that she engaged and enlisted to her cause… very impressive for someone with minimal business experience. Even more impressive, Amanda was creating the magazine in her spare time. She had a full-time job and worked on the book after hours. Amanda convinced me that she was on a mission to create the best College based content magazine on the market and expand nationally. I loved it!
I asked what kind of help she needed with the magazine. The response I got was usual from what I hear for most start-ups that I personally speak to. Design, marketing, and most importantly money! As a business owner, one of the biggest challenges is hiring good people, particularly with a strong work ethic. Amanda’s “gung ho” attitude and commitment to developing the magazine and building a company was refreshing. We immediately began discussing how I could help take over the creative direction of the magazine and Web site. As well, we discussed a potential partnership to fund the magazine development and decrease the time to expand distribution, both in the quantity of printed books, as well as location and additional schools.
Well…to make a blog story short (maybe too late), it was a match made in heaven. Our 3rd issue was just released to 5 schools in Maryland and DC… a total of 20,000 magazines. We have launched the beta version of the Web site and expect a full launch within the next 30 days. We are moving as quickly as possible to expand on the East coast and hopefully to the West coast soon thereafter. This is an exciting time and needless to say, I am thrilled to be a part owner in this venture.
For those of you reading this who are college students and for those who know college students, please spread the word and check out the site. We are always looking for contributors for articles, photography, editing, and more. For all information, check out the site at http://www.collegemagazine.com. You can also download a PDF copy of the 1st three issues of the magazine there.
Lastly, let me know what you think. The more feedback we get, the better. We are striving to make the site a great guide and community for college students.