Camilla Ackley on Running a female-led online magazine
In 2009 Camilla Ackley founded Into The Fold, an online magazine covering everything from style, opinion pieces, humorous tidbits, editorials, life in general and lots more. We spoke to her about juggling a 9-5 job in editorial publishing whilst running an amazing platform.
Hi Camilla! Tell us about yourself. You work in publishing and run an online magazine, Into The Fold. How did both things happen?
Hi! Well, I started a blog when I was 13, mainly discussing what I was wearing. As that grew over the years, it led into a stint as a freelance writer alongside my studies. After my first year of university I found myself tired of blogging about myself and wanted to use the audience I had grown for something bigger and something i felt more passionate about. I'd become exhausted with a lot of women's magazines and sites (it has to be said, they've drastically changed for the better I think in the last few years) and how single minded and vacuous a lot of the content was. I wanted to hear about the amazing things everyday women were doing - whether it was starting a sustainable company, getting through mental illness or tackling the maze that is contraception. That was where the idea for Into The Fold started and, with a small team of women, we launched in July 2015! When I graduated I knew I wanted something 9-5 as well (I like to be busy, apparently) and my love of editing pieces for the magazine, and my love of books, meant publishing felt like a natural fit. I work in digital editorial which marries nicely with my history of working on digital first publications.
Before creating Into The Fold, did you always want to have your own magazine?
When I was really young I wanted to be an Editor in Chief of a big magazine so I suppose in a way, yes. It slipped out of my mind for a good few years but I love the freedom it gives me to create a narrative that my team and I are passionate about. I think I sort of fell into launching an online magazine but I can't imagine not having that space now.
What made you transition from a fashion blog to Into The Fold?
As I said, I felt a lot of women's magazines and websites at the time were one dimensional. I wanted to celebrate what women and non-binary people were doing now - big and small. The time came when I felt ready to quit fashion blogging and this felt like a good use of my existing platform.
What's behind the name "Into The Fold"?
It was the same name as my old blog, so related to fashion at the time (I think I saw the phrasing used in an old Vogue issue, slightly cliche of me). When we switched to a magazine, we decided to keep it - now it fits nicely with the way that our pieces tend to deep dive into personal and social issues.
What we like about it is that there's a slight feminist side to to the blog, as it states it is written for young women by young women. Was writing a blog under the umbrella of Feminism your intent?
I think (hope!) it's more than a slight feminist side. We're unabashedly loud about women's rights, opinions, struggles and achievements. I definitely created the magazine with the full intent of it being female focused - I wanted it to be a safe, honest, comforting and entertaining place for women to go where they'd leave feeling better about themselves rather than worse. In recent years we've expanded our view to anyone who identifies as a women or non-binary.
Let's talk about you! How do you manage two full time jobs like the ones you have?
Eight litres of coffee a day. Kidding - definitely don't do that. I've always run a blog/ project alongside full time studies so doing the magazine alongside a 9-5 hasn't been too much of a shift from that. If you want to have projects like these, you have to make time. I edit on my commute, work on weekends and handle emails in my lunch breaks. I love doing it, so it's usually more of a break than a chore.
How does your typical day (or if not possible, your week) look like?
I wake up, snooze my alarm one too many times and then get ready in a blind panic (usually forgetting to brush my hair). I'll edit/ go through submissions on my commute into work and then obviously do publishing business during the day. When I get home in the evening I'll usually try to go to the gym if I don't have plans, or see my boyfriend/friends and then settle in with a chunky book until I doze off. On the weekends if I don't have plans, I'm probably editing/ reading or painting. I may take early magazine related meetings in the morning or after work during the week with PR brands or potential writers. There's also a lot of glasses of wine chucked in around that entire schedule.
You seem like an avid reader! What are three books you'd like to recommend to our readers?
Oh boy do I have some recommendations. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, Gender Mosaic by Daphna Joel and Luba Vikhanski, Expectation by Anna Hope, She Must Be Mad by Charly Cox, Notes To Self by Emilie Pine and Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley.
What would you suggest to someone who's wanting to do something similar? Do you think you'll take the leap into making Into The Fold your solo job?
Reach out to people who inspire you to see how they did it - most of them always want to talk about their work and are willing to help. Social media isn't just a tool for experiencing FOMO, it's an accessible and vital networking tool and a great place to meet like minded people to set your ideas off on a sprinting start. Use it! Go to networking events, make contacts, sleep well, enjoy yourself and keep trying. Things don't happen overnight, but they will happen if you put your all into it. For publishing, there are always events and networks you can join to get insider tips on getting into the industry.
What's planned for the future of Into The Fold?
Right now we're planning on staying online and keeping on with what we do - I want to increase our article output and gain some more editors for certain sections so we can expand without the workload falling solely on my and the current team's shoulders. I want to look into doing some events in London soon too so our readers can meet and network!