Tender loving care

This spring saw the launch issue of The Delicate Rébellion, a twice-yearly magazine created and fulfilled by one-woman band Hannah Taylor out of her top floor Edinburgh flat. It’s a thing of beauty but how far can one woman take it?

By James Evelegh

Tender loving care

The magazine is aimed at female creatives, or as Hannah puts it in her welcome note, “our pages are for good people doing nice things – people who have followed their creative whims and shirked convention. Those who zig while the rest of the world zags.”

Available to order from its website, it’s an A5, 125 page, 350g, perfect bound bookazine, with card cover and luxuriously thick paper. Each page is lovingly crafted with stunning imagery and plenty of white space to let it all breath. Dotted in between the articles are poems, works of art and the odd Spotify playlist.

The articles themselves profile a broad range of female (it is all women) creative talent. We meet film maker Erica Edwards who was “raised by a fiercely independent mother who taught me I could be anything, regardless of my gender”; Siobhan McKenna who has created her own shop and studio in Glasgow – ReJean Denim – where she creates bespoke clothes and accessories out of cast off jeans; life model Topaz who tells us that “life drawing is a very powerful tool for positive change”; late starter, 48 year-old artist Helen Downie (“when I began painting, it felt so instinctive, I just followed my hands”); photographer Bethany (“I always loved art and creativity, but until finding digital forms of art, I never felt like an artist”) and tattoo artist Fidjit (“I’ve never felt like I fitted in and I wanted to show my separation from the masses by altering my appearance.”)

A thing of beauty…

They all share their journeys, motivations and offer up words of encouragement. It’s uplifting and positive throughout.

The usual useful stuff at the back includes ‘Little black book’, ‘Nice stores’ and ‘The Collective Mentors’ and the issue is rounded off with a rough guide style list of things to do in Vilnius and Bucharest.

It’s a quirky, highly personal and delightful offering; well worth the £10 + postage.

So, what got Hannah into this. Certainly not the money, not yet at any rate. Passion is what drives Hannah and it’s three-pronged.

She loves print; the creativity, the design, the look & feel and the slower more considered pace, infinitely preferable, she says, to the endless scrollable content online.

Having studied photography and photographic make-up before doing a masters in magazine publishing, she is a creative herself so has an easy empathy with other creatives, especially those early in their careers struggling to make their mark.

Last, but not least, she cares deeply about the place of women in society. Ever since her teenage years, she has felt that women too often get judged by their looks and that their talents are overlooked.

Demeaning stereotypes depicting women as bitchy and image-obsessed and a media that too often holds up unattainably thin and beautiful women as role models have inspired Hannah to want to provide a safe space for creative women to network and support each other.

It’s a quirky, highly personal and delightful offering; well worth the £10 + postage.

Where next?

This passion lies at the heart of her publishing project and one gets the impression that making money comes somewhat as an afterthought, a chore she devotes time to when the coffers start to run dry.

But, could there be the makings of something bigger here?

Despite insisting that she is no businesswoman, she has managed to assemble the building blocks from which she could take the brand to the next level.

Hannah Taylor.

The magazine carries some ads, though not many, and there are signs of an emerging, though currently covid-stalled broader distribution strategy focussing, I imagine, on specialist retail outlets. There’s a store on their website which in addition to copies of the magazine, sells t-shirts, sweatshirts and lapel pins, which, given their active and growing social media presence (11k followers on Instagram) has lots of potential to develop further through an extended range of merchandise. Hannah has the outlines of an events programme up her sleeve, inevitably deferred until after lockdown and not forgetting, The Collective, a paid-for members-only community she has created for female creatives.

Perhaps not yet firing on all cylinders, but if the stars align, and she can integrate all the activities more closely, then I could see an exciting future for the title. It wouldn’t take much.

There’s an authenticity, passion and an effortless cool which would appeal to the many female creatives trying to carve out a living. It’s a community I can imagine many of them would want to be part of.

The challenge, as for all small passion fuelled publishers is that to grow, she will inevitably have to relinquish some control and become less hands on. Someone else will have to lick the envelopes and walk the copies down to the post office. Plans and budgets will have to be drawn up, commercial rate cards and mission statements too. The assorted paraphernalia of successful publishing can quickly squeeze the fun out of a project, even if it is the only way of giving titles like The Delicate Rébellion longevity. How does Hannah grow the brand whilst retaining its edgy off-beat persona? Difficult but definitely doable.

You can hear Hannah Taylor being interviewed by Ciar Byrne on a recent episode of The InPublishing Podcast, which was sponsored by Atex, a provider of software solutions for the media industry.

This article was first published in InPublishing magazine. If you would like to be added to the free mailing list, please register here.