Since going freelance I've got to meet a whole new group of people who are amazing and inspiring because they are just going for it - taking ideas and running with them.
Today meet Paul Mansfield. He is the publisher of Plump and Spry, which has just launched Pooch. A former art director (whose work is obvious in the design of the online mag), Paul started his career in London at TimeOut and went on to work for The Observer, The Big Issue and The Sunday Times Magazine.
I was flattered to be asked to interview comedian Josh Thomas for one of the first features on the site.
Which five words best describe you? Wow. That’s a tough opener. The best person to answer this is probably my wife... she seems to think: dry, thoughtful, curious, passionate, patient.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Persistence. Once I’d left art school I was this cocky 21 year old and felt ready to take the world on. Problem was, so did thousands of others... At that age I was totally naïve and had no idea it was so competitive. It was a really tough time and I was out of work for 6 months. I persistently sent companies letters (no email then!), faxes and idea mock-ups until I got my first break at TimeOut London. I loved the tension and energy that came with producing magazines to deadlines and I’ve remained in publishing ever since.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? You make your own luck in life.
What’s your proudest career achievement? The launch of Pooch is without doubt my proudest moment. Pooch came about after a random conversation I was having with a fellow passenger on a plane. It so easily could have remained just another idea or conversation, but I felt a sense of urgency to create it. Before it’s current incarnation as a website I’d created dummy versions as a street mag and then a glossy mag. There was lots of testing and research going on. I even met up with Ita Buttrose one morning who very kindly offered her advice. I spent a long time raising cash, seeking contributors and developing business models to see if it was best as print or online... Pooch is the project I’m most proud of because after all this, it’s finally real.
What’s been your best decision? The decision to set up my own publishing business – Plump and Spry. It wasn’t an easy decision to make - I already had a great job at an agency, the Global Financial Crisis was worsening and I had a wedding to pay for! With all that as a backdrop, setting up Plump and Spry was a total leap of faith. However, so far, so good. Through Plump and Spry I’ve worked with some fantastic clients, met some incredible creative people and am feeling positive about the year ahead.
Who inspires you? This list could go on... However, on a personal level - my wife, Dan. Perceptive, ballsy, thorough, funny, gorgeous.
She keeps me on my toes!
What are you passionate about? I’m passionate about loads of stuff. But because of work, the thing that’s come more to the fore is that I’m a typographic nerd! All the beauties and intricacies aside, I love how a font can work on so many levels. A font can be used to point you in the right direction on a motorway at a quick glance, or seduce you and influence your spending choice as a consumer.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? When I was a kid I was obsessed with pirates. Still am. If I could go back in time I’d love to sink some rum with the much feared Blackbeard.
However, I’d probably avoid discussions on typography with him...
What dream do you still want to fulfil? On the work front, I’m looking forward to working on more creative custom publishing projects with brands. On a personal note, I always had a fear of heights until recently. I finally managed to conquer it after a few extreme measures. The most recent was I got to fly a plane which was both terrifying and exhilarating. I’d love at some point to go for a pilots license. How cool would that be? (Naturally, I’ll be needing a plane too...).
What are you reading? Private Eye Magazine - I love it. Proper investigative journalism, purile humor, genius covers.
images courtesy of and via pooch