[Shelby Loasby | Head of Print]
There’s a new kid on the block in the world of men’s magazines: Copper Thorn. The online magazine was just founded in June this year and has ambitious plans to overtake its inspiring companies: GQ and Esquire.
We caught up with the man behind Copper Thorn Media Ltd, Jacob Beckingham-Wells, and he just so happens to be a second year student at the University of Hertfordshire.
At the beginning
At just 19 years old, Jacob is the founder and managing director of his own media company, producing Copper Thorn online magazine once every two months.
Studying Business and Sports Science, and working in men’s design and retail for the last few years, Jacob had the knowledge and drive to start his own venture. “I’ve always been interested in media and I wanted to be my own boss and earn money on the side,” said Jacob.
Whilst setting up a business and getting it running can start off costly, Jacob has already made a profit through advertising. Although the magazine is completely free to download and read, advertising deals with Mykryptor, HV3 and AEC has allowed the company to make money.
“I would want to pick up a free magazine, so why not make it free for everyone else?” He added, “No-one wants to pay for anything these days.”
Jacob admitted to charging the maximum amount for advertising but found that companies took him more seriously when he did it. “Business is about credibility, so it’s important that you go in with confidence and professionalism,” he said.
Surviving in the business world
Being taken seriously has been an issue for Jacob so far due to his young age. “People just don’t take me seriously. I’ll go in and the first five questions are about my age and how I’ve managed to set something up.”
He added, “They actually listen when I start to talk – I know everything about my company and I want them to know how they can get involved.”
Networking has been Jacob’s favourite aspect of the business so far. “I’ve really enjoyed it: the people I’ve met and the doors that it’s opened. I enjoy meeting new people who have done well for themselves.”
The origins of the name ‘Copper Thorn’ actually makes for a funny little story. Jacob explained that he was walking to the train station one day, and is one of those people who fiddle with things and brush their hands against things whilst walking – we’re sure plenty of people can relate to that! He then pricked his finger on a thorny bush and, instead of worrying about the pain, thought of the name ‘Green Thorn.’
‘Green Thorn’ sounded too agricultural, so Jacob went back to the drawing board, and eventually decided on Copper Thorn – because of his ginger hair.
The tagline for the magazine ‘Forever Sharp’ also originates from the thorn story, but also relates to modern life. “People always talk about living and dressing sharp – it’s a modern phenomenon,” said Jacob.
With a target audience of between 25-40 year olds, the magazine covers fashion, news, business, tech and men’s lives in general.
More to come
Ideally, Jacob would love for Copper Thorn to become a printed magazine as well as online. “I would try and have a type of kickstarter campaign.” He said, “So you would have to invest in the magazine and then receive a free subscription and a T-shirt or something like that.”
His plans don’t stop there, however, and include a five year plan as well as the scope to branch out into film and production.
“I’m hoping to use Copper Thorn Media Ltd. as my self-placement for next year,” he said. “In that year I aim to have two strands of the company; Copper Thorn Productions, where we will have short films and promotional videos for events and companies; and Copper Thorn Magazine, which, ideally, I won’t be running myself in three years time.”
He added, “I’m also doing a short next year. I love filming and producing. I’m not the most creative, but I enjoy the business aspect with a creative streak.”
If Jacob is successful in securing his own company for his placement year he will build Copper Thorn up so it is fully ready for when he finishes university. “It will give me the time and necessary advice to take it forward. I would love to be my own boss at 21.”
Jacob’s five year strategic plan was made up on the spot, but he knew exactly what he wanted to happen: “100,000 readership in five years; to be self-sufficient; and to be in the forefront of the men’s magazine industry with a strong market share.
“I would love to have a full team with an office et cetera. It’s far in the future but not unobtainable.” He said, “I currently have about 10-15 people writing for the magazine who are all volunteers with the scope of being paid in the future.”
Jacob started his journey by writing his own men’s fashion blog, jacob.bwells@wordpress. His advice to students also looking to start their own businesses is to develop something they are already good at or that they have the foundations for already. “I just took my blog and turned it into something bigger.”
At just 19, Jacob has established himself as quite the ambitious businessman and has surprised himself in his abilities. “There’s so much work and I don’t appreciate what I’m doing when I do it.” He added, “If I look at how far I’ve moved from June, I would say I’m very proud so far.”
If you want to see what Jacob has created, go to his website: copperthornmag.co/ and check him out on Twitter and Instagram @copper_thorn