I recently caught up with Celeste Houlker, founder of 12th Estate and the Editor-in-Chief at Live Magazine. In our interview, Celeste shares her story growing up and experimenting with entrepreneurship, her inspiration, the idea behind 12th Estate and how she became the Editor-in-Chief of Live Magazine.
Hi Celeste, How are you doing, great to have you on YHP?
Hi Joe, I’m doing great thanks- busy preparing for the launch of Live Magazine’s summer issue which is looking great. Thank you for taking an interest in the projects that I do and having me on YHP alongside great inspiring young people.
You’re welcome, before we move on, could you quickly give us some background information about yourself? Tell me about yourself growing up?
Growing up I was always very proactive, after school and every weekend I would be up to something whether it was writing, playing sport or being creative, if it was an interest of mine I was doing it. I grew up in Newham the Olympic borough, which is great because it’s such a diverse community, being exposed to many different cultures and backgrounds has helped me develop the way I see the world and my mind set. I was really active in school and college and played a great role in representing them both in the local community. I’ve always been passionate about my career and future for as long as I can remember and from a young age I’ve always wanted to be successful in whatever it was I chose to do.
Who was your inspiration growing up?
It may sound very cliché, but my inspiration is my parents. They created a lifestyle for myself and siblings that meant we could be free to follow our dreams, travel, live a normal life, but it was ingrained in us to perform well in school, work hard to achieve our ambitions and share what we have.
How did you get into business? How did the idea for 12th Estate come about?
Ever since I was young I’ve wanted to create something and own it, so I’ve always had an interest in business. My first little taste of business was when I used to run the Tuck Shop in Primary school I was about nine or ten. I enjoyed selling the carton of drinks and snacks and getting people to buy from me, I didn’t understand it to be business then, but it was. The show Teletubbies was quite popular then too and I used to print of sheets of the characters and sell them to classmates for them to colour in.
My love of media and being creative comes first which The 12th Estate encapsulates very well. The idea of The 12th Estate came about when I started my role as editor at Live Magazine. I was quite nervous about starting my role and I needed some peer support from young women who were just as ambitious as me, wanted similar things out of life and was in similar positions. There wasn’t a group that I knew of that existed like this and that’s when I thought I could start one myself.
What is 12th Estate? What are you trying to solve?
The 12th Estate is a project that connects young women between the ages 16-25 who want to build careers and enterprises in the creative, media and publishing industries. We’re all about Empowering people to go out and take the world into their own hands, by following their passions and creating innovative ways to generate an income in a fast evolving industry. Being a young woman in an industry that is still quite male dominated and not many people are willing to pay you for your work when you’re starting out can be very challenging. We exist to help break down those barriers.
After recently just launched, what would you say was your biggest challenge during the starting up phase?
Our launch event was amazing! We partnered up with Women: Inspiration and Enterprise Symposium and produced their first ever youth panel and workshop event. It was a very successful launch, but the biggest challenge was trying to explain what The 12th Estate does, because we’re so new, we’re still at that stage where we’re just trying out our ideas to see what works and what doesn’t work.
Tell me about Live Magazine and how did you get involved?
Live Magazine is a national youth lifestyle culture magazine aimed at 14-24 year-olds across print, online and Youtube, ran by young people and supported by mentors in the media and business industry. We also have a sister publication in South Africa called Live magazine SA. I got involved during my gap year when I was training to be a journalist. I first started out as a contributor, then I progressed into being the fashion shoot project manager, then deputy editor and then editor.
What does your role as an editor entail?
As the editor I work within both editorial and business development. Editorially I look over the Live Magazine’s content strategy across print and online working with the online editors, Youtube editors and section editors to make sure the content we produce is in line with what Live stands for. My primary focus is to produce a great magazine and lead a team of exceptional contributors. I also work with our advertising and business development manager in securing new business, managing partnerships and making sure Live Magazine is sustainable.
How has it been so far? What would you say has been the highlight of your journey ?
It’s been such an amazing experience so far. My highlights have been the times when I’ve been able to travel because of Live. My favourite being when I went to South Africa to help with the launch of Live Magazine SA.
How about university, what are your plans to go back?
I would like to graduate one day, but not because I went to university to help me get a job, but because I went to uni to expand my knowledge and study something just for interest.