In this issue, we’re celebrating QUAY Magazine’s One Year Anniversary!
And what a year it’s been…
Throughout the highs of forming new, exciting partnerships, and the lows of COVID-19 lockdowns, we’ve been working hard to create a local hub for entrepreneurs to exchange their ideas and experiences.
In 2018, graphic designer Eleanor Stafford had a thought – what if, instead of competing, local companies worked together to build a stronger and more supportive business community?
Eleanor had previously worked for other print publications, so a business to business (B2B) magazine seemed like a great way of engaging with fellow enterprises and encouraging collaborative business partnerships.
Soon, the concept began to take shape.
It would involve a B2B magazine which published high-quality content by local entrepreneurs, where they could share their knowledge, make new connections, and get their name ‘out there’.
Right from the start, it was crucial to the vision of the magazine that the published articles would be full of actionable advice and valuable insights, while providing a platform for local businesses.
We are very lucky to have great people involved, many of whom have been here right from the start.
The QUAY Magazine team came together as an organic community, the first members of which were visionary founder Eleanor and her team of creatives; these included her son, the Multimedia whizz Cai Stafford, Short Stop Video’s Creative Videographer Damien Sciberras, and the Photographer Will Reddaway.
Also backing us right from the beginning were Your Partnerships and BBX Devon. These organisations both shared our belief that a supportive community is essential for entrepreneurs to grow their skills and their businesses. Through these two companies, our network of likeminded businesspeople also grew to include Lee Randall-Pybus, David Brock, and Jon Iacomino.
In December 2019, the team was expanded to include Alex from New Frontiers Marketing, who came on board as the magazine’s Editor. The team then increased further when Holly Jackson joined as a Junior Content Producer Apprentice and Editor in March 2020, followed by Hayley Wetherall joining as Junior Editor in October 2020.
Launching The Magazine
In November 2019, we held the launch for the very first edition of QUAY Magazine at Pier Point Restaurant & Bar in Torquay.
Many new business connections were formed that evening, as a wide variety of businesspeople were brought together from a range of different fields.
By March 2020, we had inspired enough support from local businesses that we were able to launch our first Cornwall issue. The launch event took place at Penventon Park Hotel in Redruth, and entrepreneurs from Cornwall and Devon alike came to network, make connections, and discover the brand-new Cornwall edition.
We were all set to begin creating more distribution points, and to develop more local business ‘hubs’ for entrepreneurs to get advice and make connections… but then came COVID-19.
Of course, there were the obvious hurdles; we had to start working from home, which we adapted to well – holding team meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 14:00 and staying in touch via phone and email. We also participated in online networking, getting our name known with the help of Your Partnerships’ business networking events.
But there was one challenge that was more difficult to overcome; under the first national lockdown, nobody was going into their workplace. This meant we could no longer make connections, network, or distribute the magazine.
Therefore, we had to think creatively, and our solution was to take the magazine online.
We uploaded all our articles to the improved and updated QUAY Magazine website, while in May 2020, we released our first online-only edition. It was laid out in our conventional style, except this time it was available in an easy-to-read PDF format.
This online edition took off, reaching a total of 900 reads and downloads. Our busy blog section has proved popular too, attracting up to 270 visitors per week.
Where We Are Today
The year of 2020 has been full of ups and downs.
Despite this, we’ve managed to pull together a team of inspiring entrepreneurs and creatives who are passionate about making our local business community thrive.
For now, we are embracing the possibilities of online publishing. While putting a hold on printed editions was a difficult decision to make, there are many benefits to being an online publication instead.
For example, we can offer advertising at a reduced rate, we can more effectively track readership statistics through analytics software, and we can help our readers find the magazine more easily – as obtaining a hard copy would present challenges under the current COVID regulations.
However, we look forward to releasing printed editions again as soon as it is safe to distribute the magazine widely once more.