interview: mixtape zine gals

by kath_red on 12/05/2008

in People, Whip-Up

Nichola and Justine have just celebrated their 4th issue – 1 Year anniversary of Mixtape zine. It has gone from success to success and to celebrate they are kindly donating four packs of their first four issues (if you have the first four already – then they will send you the next four as they come out). To win a mxtape zine pack just leave a comment here about how the craft blog world has helped or inspired you to live your dream. (comments open until Friday this week).

Mix tape zine is a collision of craft, eco-cool and pop culture kitsch it features recipes, eco tips, crafty people profiles, ethical business practices etc – you can purchase back issues here or find out more here. Find Justine here and Nichola’s blog here.

Kath: Nichola and Justine you are both based in Melbourne and met through your blogs – finding out that you just lived around the corner from each other. I love that sort of serendipity. Can you tell me a little more about how you met – what ‘attracted’ you to each other?

Nichola: We met when Justine had read my blog and realised that she lived nearby the cafe I owned with my husband and we met up for coffee. Justine moved and soon after we closed our cafe and moved to the same area only 3 streets away, talk about stalker!

I think what attracted me to Justine is that in some ways we are so similar but in many ways we are total opposites, she’s an organised ‘let’s get it done now’ kind of girl whereas I’m more of a chilled ‘Yeah sure, I’ll be done at some point, usually the last minute’ kind of girl. A little bit of chalk and cheese but we complement each other nicely, she kicks me up the butt when needed and I tell her to chill when she’s running round like a headless chicken and it all works out well. She’s pretty funny too!

Justine: We have pretty much been inseparable since we first met. Our kids get along well and I think the fact that we are completely different is the “attraction”. Nichola is an “earth mother” and I love that about her.

Kathreen: Can you tell me a little more about how you first thought up the idea of mixtape zine?

Nichola: I had been thinking for some time that I’d like to start a zine of some kind. To be honest I was thinking small scale, something handmade that I could maybe pass around to fellow crafty people like myself. I told Justine of my idea and she expressed an interest in doing it together. We discussed what we thought the zine should be like and we came up with craft, ‘green’ ideas, pop culture, music and parenting amongst others, so really the zine has quite a broad range of topics. Then it was only a matter of a few months before our first issue went up for sale.

Kathreen: What sort of research did you do – how did you decide on format etc?

Justine: We based our zine on the American indie zine “Croq”. Heather was very helpful helping us out in the early stages. My husband Simon is a graphic designer so we left the design up to him.

Kathreen: Details details: Does the zine pay for itself? How much time do you spend on getting each zine to press?

Justine: We photocopied our first issue but after that we purchased a laser jet printer. We get our supplies wholesale which is the only way we can afford to print this quality at home. We have financed every issue via pre-sales, so that we only print for the demand. We have not had to put any money in ourselves, the zine pays for itself. We are going to apply for a grant so that we can at least pay our regular contributors. We do the pagination and Simon designs it all. The minute we release an issue we start the process for the next issue, so three months to get an issue together, that’s working on it most days.

Kathreen: You have had gorgeous covers – do you take submissions or do you commission the covers?

Justine: All the artists that have done the covers have done it for love! We approach people.

Kath: You both have a really great eye for design as well as being entrepreneurs and astute business women – can you tell me a bit about your backgrounds – what did you do before?

Nichola: I’m originally from the UK and moved to Melbourne with my husband and daughter in 2004. I was a pastry chef up until my second daughter came along and now I’m a stay at home mum to three girls who keep me very busy. I took up sewing, crafting and blogging when I arrived in Melbourne and things took off from there!

Justine: I come from a sales/marketing background. I worked in the music industry for a good 10 years.

Kathreen: Can you tell me a bit about the craft movement in Australia?

Justine: You know to be honest I’m not sure about the “craft movement”. I just happen to be following my heart and this is the path it has lead me down. Once I discovered the craft blogworld in 2005 I was hooked. What a bunch of fabulous artist/crafter that merge together and inspire. I realised that there was a market for a zine and we took the plunge and have one up for offer!

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