“YHP” Presents Full Interview with the “Founder of Obvious Magazine”.
Obvious Magazine empowers and motivates the person seeking self-gratification.
Obvious offers unbiased expert opinions both professionally and personally, Advice to understand the opposite sex's psyche to build a better relationship. Obvious also includes lifestyle, fashion and empowerment to our purpose and desires.
How you doing today? I am great! Thanks for asking.
Before we go any further? Can you give us some more information about yourself, you know, what’s your name? How old are you?
Sure. My name is Jerris Madison. I am the Publisher/Creative Director of Obvious Magazine. I also work as a celebrity photographer/wardrobe stylist. I am 36 years old.
When was Obvious Magazine born? Obvious Magazine came to be February 2007. I took a year and a half to develop concept.
What inspired you to start a magazine company? When did you decide that, that’s it, I’m starting a magazine company? Can you tell us how it all started? Wow. Good question. I used to work with another magazine and we had constant creative differences. When we had our last falling out, I decided at that moment that I can build my own magazine and team. This is how Obvious came to life. I am glad I made that decision.
What makes Obvious Magazine different from other Competitors? Even though I work in a very competitive market, I don’t focus on that. I focus on what my audience wants and I satisfy them. This keeps us fresh and sane.
It’s said Obvious Magazine isn't just a brand, it's a lifestyle. Get obvious! Can you elaborate on that? When we came up with the slogan, we wanted people to understand that there are things in our society that we can change and make a difference in our personal and business relationships.
What are your predictions about the magazine industries in the upcoming years? One of the predictions that I am currently seeing is a lot of traditional print publications expanding their magazines online. This is huge right now. Also, a lot of new publications are starting online first. Obvious Magazine is one of those magazines.
What has been your biggest audience, offline or online? Our biggest market currently is online. We first launched our first issue August 2008. Currently we have 100,000+ unique viewers every month. We accomplished this with little or no major advertising. Most of our recognition came from word-of-month, Myspace and Facebook.
Does the internet add value to your industry, or do you think it is killing the offline magazines companies? Definitely adds value. If you don’t have an internet base, you will be in trouble. This is the Digital Age.
Anyways, we’re moving too fast; let’s go back a bit, how confident where you when you started, did you think the magazine will get so popular so fast?
Honestly, I was very confident. I didn’t rush to print like a lot of magazines. I did tons of research. Most magazines that come out fail within 3 years. Crawl before you walk, even if you have the resources to launch big. No one wants to fail in any business. Most of the popularity of Obvious comes from people liking us and what we are producing.
Obvious Magazine? What made you give the magazine that name? Funny story...LOL. When I had my last disagree with my old business partner, I was sitting at my desk trying to find the new name for my magazine. I went through 15 names and they were all taking. For some reason, I wrote down my company name, Its-Obvious, Inc big on a piece of paper. When I was getting up to get something to drink, two pieces of page fell on my desk and covered up the “Its” and “Inc” in my company name leaving “Obvious” visible. I was like hmmm. I immediately called a therapist friend and asked her about the name “Obvious”. She said, “It’s Obvious you should have this magazine!” I was on the floor laughing. This is how Obvious was born.
How often do you publish obvious magazine? When is the next print coming out? Obvious Magazine comes out every other month. We are a bi-monthly publication. We aren’t in print yet but our next issue comes out April 28, 2009. This will be the May/June Issue. The theme is “The Raw Issue”. We will launch a new Myspace, www.obviousmag.com site and present a new 80-page digital magazine online. We are very excited.
The printed magazine comes in full-sized, flip-magazine (female version on one side, male on the other) targeted to both sexes with national distribution. What influenced this style? The idea behind this came for an Oprah Winfrey show about women choosing to be single. At the time, 70% of American Women choose to be single and 50% of the 70% are Black Women. I was like, “Wow!” I wanted to create a publication where men can vent about the issues with women and women can vent about the issues with men. There are a lot of things we assume about women. One being, not all women love flowers for Valentine’s Day.
How difficult was it to get sponsors and adverts on magazines? How difficult did you find it? This goes back to crawl before you walk again. I wanted to invest in my publication first and build our audition. Most companies aren’t going to give you one cent if they don’t believe in your brand. They want to make sure they are getting the most from the investment. Fortunately, we haven’t had to do many cold calls for advertising. They come to us. This is a blessing!!!
Did you encounter any setbacks or negative experience? How did you cope with it? The only setback was getting people to believe in us because we are an online publication. Most people still want to have that print version in hand. We just focused on the people who appreciate our online version and will focus on a print issue in the future. We however do have a book coming out in the fall 2009 entitled, “A Year in Obvious.” This book will have all of covers and editorials for the year ending 2009. We are getting orders for the book as we speak. We are grateful.
What are the most important lessons you have learnt so far? Don’t bite off more than you can handle and be impeccable with your word. I tell my staff often, if not every day, you work with me and NOT for me. This lets them know that I appreciate all that they do.
Who are your Role Models/ Influences? I am inspired by William Buffet and Oprah Winfrey’s work ethics! They let me know that hard work does pay off. Sometimes it takes years but it will reward you beyond your wildest dreams. I am inspired by the people I meet every day also. I love learning about culture and life experiences.
What have been the best advices you’ve been given so far? “Don’t take anything personally”, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success” and “Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well”.
What has been your greatest achievement so far? One of my greatest achievements is waking up in the morning and knowing that God is giving me another day to inspire people as I did the day before. That’s fulfilling to me and makes me smile.
What are your advices for Aspiring young entrepreneurs looking to break in the Magazine industries or other industries? Let’s say I have been thinking of going to the magazine business, what steps do I need to take? What do I do? Whatever profession you chose, work at a similar company to gain experience to see if you really want to make a career of it. This is very important and will eliminate a lot of wasted time and energy. I like to inspire all people through my radio show, “The Jay Mad Show.” My show airs every Sunday at 2pm PST/5pm EST and Wednesday at 3pm PST/6pm EST. The Jay Mad Show is internet based and listened to people around the world. For more information, go to: www.blogtalkradio.com/thejaymadshow
What do you do to relax your mind, rest your body, when away from work? I keep a positive attitude and wake up each day with a positive book and great music that inspires me. This sets the tone for your day. I am not a heavy drinker and don’t smoke. I like to cook for family and friends. This allows me to catch up on things and keep positive energy in each other’s lives.
So what’s next for Obvious Magazine and for you? We are continuing to grow Obvious Magazine as a global brand. We are working on an additional version of Obvious for the UK Market.
So finally, before I leave you both, I need to ask for your secret, come on, why have you been so successful, what’s your secret weapon? My attitude is my secret weapon. Well actually, that’s not a secret... (Laughing). You can ask anyone I know personally or had the pleasure to meet. Hands down they will say my attitude is one of my best personally traits.
I wish you the best in the future. Thank You. You are very kind and thanks for a great interview!!!
Thanks for the time.