Determined to Publish … Meet Enterprising Barbara
When Barbara Campbell decided to go into magazine publishing she did not have collateral for a bank loan, and is famous for
Six years down the road multi-talented Barbara Campbell is founding editor of LIVE Listings Magazine, the only multicultural listings publication in the UK. Winner of the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners (EFBWBO) Awards 2003, a finalist in the ACPIF Black Plus Award 2002, and the recipient of the GWIIN Global Women of Invention & Innovation Special Award 2005.
LIVE Listings Magazine was started due to the lack of information relating to the ethnic community in the UK. Such listings were ignored by popular listings publications, including the popular ‘Time Out’ and ‘What’s On’. Barbara, former editor of ‘The Journal’ newspaper, left her job as Training Manager for the BMI (Black Media Institute) where she was employed to write the teaching curriculum for trainee journalist, to cater to the void in the market.
From beginning as a bi-monthly 20,000 print-run production, LIVE is now monthly and producing up to 30,000 every month and a Birmingham version will be launched in the Midlands in May 2006.
Barbara, who started out as a work placement on The Voice in 1994, gained editorship of The Weekly Journal, sister paper to The Voice, within two years of being formally taken on in 1995. Looking back at her humble beginnings she states: After looking at the work available on the job-front once I left the BMI, there was nothing out there I wanted to work on. I had no wish to go back into newspaper reporting and the magazines industry was not producing or covering things I found interesting. I knew what I’d always wanted to purchase in a magazine, but nobody was producing the kind I wanted to read.
As the idea took hold, Barbara, who was born in Jamaica and brought up in London from the age of four, looked around for business partners. After searching for many months and being disappointed each time, a good friend of mine remarked: How do you expect people to invest in YOU if you’re not prepared to invest in yourself!. I cashed in my life insurance policy and set up shop in a back-bedroom with a new telephone line and with my 10-year-old son typing in the listings.
She did everything herself, from writing features to distribution the magazines, learning how to master her accounts and even
It’s all been a learning curve and one of the greatest obstacles she found, was dealing with advertisers response to a new kid on the block. Publishing is one of the most precarious industries to enter. The attitude of many advertisers when first approached was come back to me in six months time if you’re still going. This was because most independent magazines not funded by large companies only manage to produce two or three issues before falling by the way-side, says the single mother of two.
That attitude made Barbara more determined. She has always been the kind of person who faced her fears. As much as I didn’t want to go into business alone I knew I was on to a winner and needed to prove myself to ME more than to anyone else. I had to give up many things, like taking taxi’s, treats for the family, holidays, retail therapy, throwing social evenings in-doors, to make ends meet as I worked even harder at getting those little advertisers who were more willing to support than the big boys.
Apart from being constantly financially challenged, the lowest point in her career as an entrepreneur was hearing her son begging her to stay home and eat dinner with him when she had to go to yet another evening function.
She did not get home until after midnight and found him slumped asleep on the lounge floor. He had tried waiting up for me and his dinner in a tray was still beside him you see he had wanted to have dinner with me himself. But one of the things I’ve discovered is that if you want something to grow you have to be prepared to sacrifice BIG time, says Barbara.
You have to be prepared to network like crazy. People need to know who you are and what you’re about. I’ve joined the EPN (Executive & Professional Networking organisation), The Women’s Resources Centre, the ACBN and the WIBN, attended the Women into Business Conference and a host of other (mainly female led) networking sessions organised by established groups. She is also regularly called upon to give talks to media students at schools, colleges and universities and work with youngsters who wish to get into journalism.
Her publishing company Barb Wire Enterprises Ltd launched its second publication: Black Heritage Today (a black history month guide) in October 2003, to much acclaim. They also produce other bhm’s for borough councils around the UK.
Barb Wire’s third publication The Official Guide to International Women’s Month (IWM magazine), was launched in London in 2003. It raises awareness of women’s issues and achievements across all sectors and cultures, with inspirational and factual features.
International Women’s Month (IWM) is acknowledged in March and is a month for global celebration of the economic, political and social achievement of women, says Barbara. We highlight International Women’s Day (8th March) and let our readers know about events and those who are visiting during the month.
Both publications are supported by the Mayor of London.
People ask what keeps Barbara Campbell going. She has a simple reply. It’s belief in myself, in my vision and the knowledge that what I am producing is wanted and appreciated.
For more information, to advertise or to order a copies (subscribe) call: 0870 765 5503 or visit: www.barbwire-enterprises.co.uk or www.blackheritagetodayUK.co.uk or email: email@example.com or the Birmingham headquarters on: 0121 357 0566
Launching soon : www.international-womens-month.com