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Ice Cold

Name

Laura Phillips

Idea

An Australian journal of Nordic style.

Laura is the founder, editor and publisher of independent magazine Mr. Wolf. Inspired by a love of all things Nordic and a ravenous consumer of magazines, Laura hatched a plan to create her own.

Laura started the magazine with no contacts and little publishing experience. Mr. Wolf is now distributed in over 20 countries and has over 30 contributors. Balanced with studying for Masters, casual work and all before her 23rd birthday. How did she do it?

Where did your first idea for Mr. Wolf come from?

I've always wanted to work in magazines and aspired to have my own. I was working at Borders just before they closed down and over a period of about six months I got my hands on every magazine I could and just studied them, the layout, the design, the feel, the writing.

Sebastian Avila

Sebastian Avila

Sebastian Avila

Why did you choose to focus on Scandinavian and Nordic design?

I have always adored Nordic design and I am really fascinated by the whole region. Mr. Wolf was the perfect marriage of my two interests. I went on exchange to Sweden and it was whilst I was there that I really started to think seriously about making a magazine and researching how I would put it together.

It must have been a long process, starting from a concept and piecing the whole thing together yourself with no experience. How long was it between having your first real thought about Mr. Wolf, and holding the first edition in your hands?

I started thinking about what would eventually become Mr. Wolf in 2010. I mulled over the idea and researched solidly for about 12 months and then put the first issue together over 18 months after that. The process of putting the first issue together wasn’t smooth or easy, there were many halts in the process. I was really working everything out on my own as I went including distribution, funding, design and printing. I was literally emailing press contacts from websites, or approaching people directly and they were responding positively, at the beginning was really encouraging. Especially when it was just me, on exchange in Sweden, emailing from my Gmail account with no website and no contacts, but this didn’t end up being much of an issue. People were responsive and I built up contacts that way.

It was still tricky to stay motivated because I was doing it myself and at the start I didn’t really have anyone to talk it over with. Now with that foundation and the benefit of experience the second edition has come together much more quickly, it took about 2 months.

Sebastian Avila

What motivates you?

Doing what I love is what really motivates me. I love hearing about the stories of entrepreneurship and creativity of our interview subjects, I love presenting those stories in an aesthetically pleasing package, I love hearing that people enjoy reading it and I love the privilege of being able to travel and be invited into all these worlds humming with passion and creativity.

What were some of the biggest challenges when you were starting the magazine?

Working out the bare bones of the production process with little guidance was the initial challenge. When the project started it was very overwhelming to consider the international scale and all the business facets involved behind building relationships with sponsors and retailers. It was also a hurdle to trust my own ability and determination to pull off some outlandishly ambitious ideas!

What are some of your highlights of the Mr. Wolf project so far?

Everything about Mr. Wolf is a highlight really, it's the best thing I could have ever done which has given me so much professional contacts, experience and confidence. The night of the edition one launch party was the most stressful of my life but when it came off a roaring success it finally put an end to months of no sleep and anxiety and that in itself was glorious!

Where do you see Mr. Wolf in the future?

Mr. Wolf does have a great potential to grow into a small business that supports the local Nordic creative community. Hopefully it will reach a stage where we can employ a little staff and publish more frequently - at the moment it looks like we will be publishing annually but I'm playing it by ear.

Sebastian Avila

Sebastian Avila

Sebastian Avila

Did you receive any great advice along the way?

After working on it for 12 months and hitting a lot of dead ends living in Sweden in terms of financing and printing the magazine, a very good friend persuaded me to come home to Melbourne and make the most of my home networks. The great success of the project was pulling in anyone and everyone who could help in any way.

I had a graphic designer friend, Eleanor, who at that time couldn’t get a job and we started working together and she is now the Art Director. The support from my friends in Melbourne was so humbling and they helped move the launch along, offering to help in every way which I was enormously grateful for.

Keep an eye out for Mr. Wolf’s second edition, coming very soon.

Sebastian Avila

Interviewed by
Ebe Cassidy

Photography by
Sebastian Avila

Mr. Wolf Magazine