BYO Entertainment – LMNOP Magazine issue 21
We’re very excited to be closing KIDS WEEK with a super inspiring kid-centric interviewee – meet Sydneysider Jenny Lacey, editor-in-chief of cult online kids magazine – LMNOP!
Jenny is an expert on all things fabulous for kids, and has been flying the flag for online independent publishing since launching her beautiful publication in 2007. With a background in graphic design and advertising (and air hostessing!!?), it’s no surprise Jenny does such a stellar job of curating this very special magazine. LMNOP is an inspirational reference point for so many independent publishers – it is such a truly impressive professionally produced online publication, with spreads that are always so polished and consistently on trend content. Since its launch LMNOP has become a worldwide authority on design for kids, and a go-to reference for modern parents in Australia and beyond. It now has a loyal subscriber base in over 182 countries.
LMNOP are currently in their 5th year of operation, and next month will see the release of their 17th issue! They release 4 issues a year, and inbetween issues you can keep up to date on the LMNOP website and blog.
Jenny has kindly offered an annual LMNOP subscription to one lucky reader – leave a comment here before 10.00pm today (Good Friday!) to be in the running to win 4 x seasonal issues of LMNOP!
Massive thanks to Jenny for her time with this interview… read on for an insight into producing one of Australia’s cutest and most popular indie kids publications!
Jenny Lacey – editor-in-chief of LMNOP Magazine
Tell us a little about your background – What did you originally study, what industries have you previously worked in and what path led you to your current role as editor of LMNOP (Laugh Make Nurture Organise Play)?
I studied graphic design after I graduated from high school, but didn’t really know what area of the industry I wanted to work in. Like a lot of girls my age at the time, I did at one stage fantasise about working as an Art Director for Dolly magazine!
I fell into the advertising industry after doing work experience at an ad agency in the final year of my diploma course. I joined the agency the week after I graduated, and began my 18-year-long career as an Art Director, working on some of the biggest brands in the business.
In my twenties, I did a short stint as a long haul Qantas flight attendant to satisfy another childhood curiosity. I travelled the world and visited some great places, but again it wasn’t long before I returned advertising.
My days in the ad game have definitely contributed to the success of LMNOP. My experience in building brands and nurturing them has allowed me to build my own, while also helping our partners make the most of their own exposure in the mag.
What inspired you to start LMNOP back in 2007? What have been some of the highlights so far?
I’ve always loved reading magazines. So when I became a mum in 2004 I started to seek out parenting titles, but couldn’t find one that appealed to my aesthetic. My husband, Ian MacPherson, is a commercial photographer and together we saw a gap in the market for a contemporary publication geared towards modern parents and their children. Something that was beautifully designed, clever, fun and entertaining that featured unique children’s products from all over the world.
We founded LMNOP in October 2007 and launched our first issue online a couple of months later in December of the same year. Around the release of our third issue, the word about LMNOP had started to spread over the internet and our subscription base was growing at 10 times the rate with each publication. That was a pretty exciting time. The magazine has since taken on a life of its own and we now have subscribers from over 182 countries around the world.
Other highlights include: launching big by Fiona Scanlan’s S/S collection in 2010 with a special fashion edition of LMNOP; travelling to international trade shows (of course!); and launching our production company, LMNOP productions.
Can you give us an insight into the workings of LMNOP? How big is your team, how many regular contributors do you have, and what do you consider worthwhile outsourcing?
In the beginning it was just Ian and myself, but doing it alone proved too much. So now we have a small team of very talented people who help us put LMNOP together. Sunitra Martinelli heads up our fashion department, Elizabeth Bentley is our Senior Copy Editor (and my right arm!), and we frequently collaborate with our extended team of photographers, stylists, illustrators and designers in the US and Europe. Photographer Monika Elena is a regular contributor, as well as LA-based Gretchen Easton.
The process works something like this: The team brainstorm story ideas at length, and spend a lot of time sourcing unique products and brands to showcase in each issue. Once we know what’s going to be featured, we work on bringing each story to life. Production commences shortly after, where we source backgrounds and props, scout locations and do the photo shoots. After that, the story is designed and the writers work their magic.
We conceptualise and photograph 90% of the content you see in the magazine and on the website. It’s a lot of work to put together with such a small team. It’s good though, as it forces us to work efficiently and to be resourceful at every stage of the process.
We also invite special guest contributors to do one-off or regular columns, like Joel Henriques of Made by Joel, and Robyn Rosenthal (formerly an art director at Martha Stewart Kids), who we worked with to produce the great ‘Potato Print Monster Tees’ story.
Which Australian designers, artists or creative people are you currently inspired by?
Can you list for us your current top 5 go-to resources (i.e. specific websites, magazines or books) for creative inspiration?
I don’t have a lot of spare time to consume print magazines any more, but when I do get a chance to stop and flick through one, Anthology is by far my favourite read. It’s well designed, has great content, and it’s not too long.
Anyone who works in the children’s industry should visit Florence Rolando’s Pirouette blog for inspiration and regular updates on exciting new trends in kids’ fashion, furnishings, home decor and design.
My go-to resource for seeing what people are into right now.
I recently discovered this blog via Apartment Therapy. The authors, Naomi and Josh, do a fabulous job of making ‘family life’ look picture perfect. They do a regular post titled ‘Life lately, according to my iPhone pictures’, which is always fun to look at.
Bill captures creative types living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Here you’ll find lots of great photos and interesting interviews.
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
It’s not very glamorous I’m afraid! Some mornings I’m sitting at my computer by 4am. At 6am I meet my neighbour for a run. Then it’s the usual rush to get the family out the door that comes next. I take my son to school, pick up a coffee and continue my working day. Every day is different. Sometimes I have appointments with clients, other days I’m at a photo shoot or researching new products for upcoming issues of the magazine. These days keeping across all of our social media platforms takes up quite a bit of my time. Sometimes I even experience ‘Facebook Fatigue’! The best days are usually when I’m doing something creative: conceptualising stories for the magazine; styling a shoot; or helping an LMNOP business partner launch a new product.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I get to collaborate with incredibly talented and creative people from all over the world, and be the master of my own ship.
What would be your dream creative project?
I’m pretty much already doing my dream project!
What are you looking forward to?
Releasing our first iPad app. We also have a Best of LMNOP book in the pipeline, and we’re looking at potentially expanding the LMNOP brand to include an online store with our own branded products, as well as a headquarters in the US, where we have a strong presence.
Your favourite Sydney neighbourhood and why?
Surry Hills. The area has such a happening vibe. Crown Street is lined with some of the best restaurants and stores in Sydney, and it’s home to my favourite bakery and coffee pitstop, Bourke Street Bakery.
What/where was the last great meal you ate in Sydney?
Café Sopra in Danks Street, Waterloo.
Where do you shop in Sydney for fabulous kids stuff?
Kido, My Messy Room and Monkey Puzzle have the best selection of toys in Sydney. For fab one-off vintage items for kids, I can’t live without Justine Joffe’s store in Cammeray, Retrospections. She has impeccable taste in vintage wares. You can find all sorts of things from vintage children’s books to exquisite crockery pieces. A few of the treasures I’ve uncovered include an antique horse rocker, a classic gumball machine, and a musical bell toy from Japan. I also regularly source props from here. And last but not least, Manon et Gwenaelle in Darlinghurst is my go-to place for beautiful kidswear and exquisite accessories, such as delicate French bracelets and feather headbands by Japanese design team Atsuyo et Akiko. I always end up finding something for myself too when I shop there.
Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
Running the Clovelly to Bondi coastal track with my friend DK, followed by a quick breakfast at Three Blue Ducks in Bronte.
Sydney’s best kept secret?
The Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk – shh!