In an oversaturated market where nine out of 10 business start-ups fail, persistence is key, says Hannah Yakobi, editor-in-chief and creator of FAJO Magazine.
Yakobi shared this and other pro tips at a talk at the Ryerson Fashion Zone where she was recently appointed as an advisor. She said that one needs to stand out in order to be successful in fashion journalism and digital media. With more than 12 years in the industry, the award-winning journalist knows what she’s talking about.
The March 3 event, geared toward start-up hopefuls, was based on Yakobi’s celebrity-speaker series Fashion, Business & Beyond. She started FAJO five years ago, after graduating from Carleton University’s journalism program and writing for the Canwest network, which has since been bought by Postmedia.
“One day I had coffee with one of my former professors, who is the head of the CBC investigative unit, and I was complaining to him about how I couldn’t find a job and he said, ‘Well, why don’t you create a job?” said Yakobi.
She says at the time, there were no other online-only fashion magazines, and she wanted content to have journalistic integrity.
According to Yakobi, her digital fashion magazine has more than 250,000 unique visitors every month, with contributors based around the world. The publication strives for a Canadian focus, featuring industry professionals such as Jeanne Beker, Jean Paul Gaultier and David Dixon.
Yakobi cited three key elements to create a successful business. She says a business must have a story, a differentiated purpose, and a person behind it.
Emerging designer Jacqueline Tong, a fourth-year fashion design student from Ryerson, attended the event to learn more about how to gain exposure in the industry. Although she is not planning on starting a business immediately, Tong will be selling leather accessories through the new e-commerce platform at Mass Exodus, Ryerson School of Fashion’s annual fashion show in April.
Yakobi, who has attended Mass Exodus in the past, said she is a supporter of Canadian talent and believes it is important to promote emerging designers.
“I love coming and sharing my experiences with young people… I think it’s important to give back,” she said. ““I will always do that, no matter how far the magazine grows because we are all in the same industry – it’s pretty small – so we should all help each other.”