You’ve finally got the college or degree certificate after years of hard work and you are ready to take on the working world. Yet you have graduated and find that it is taking time to jump start your career; or you maybe one of those lucky few that has landed a graduate career but you are just not feeling it. So, what do you do to find your way back to you? Welcome to the world of a side hustle. A way to leap frog you into a full-time job and/or pursue a passion project alongside a job to give you more purpose and meaning in your life.
Millennials and seasoned professionals take note. Some millennials totally get it in knowing how to use entrepreneurship as part of their career toolbox. In operating in a hyper competitive job, with no job for life but want a career that is aligned with their values and lifestyle, some millennials are turning to entrepreneurship to address some of these issues. Take Felicia Pennant who is the founder and owner of a women’s football and fashion magazine and lifestyle business Season – Zine. Read how Felicia got started and got her groove back here:
BUSINESS FEATURE OF THE WEEK: SEASON-ZINE
1) Tell me about your business?
SEASON zine is trailblazing football and fashion platform. A cross between a football zine and fashion magazine spanning biannual print issues and stickers, events and more; the team and collaborators tell stories that showcase, celebrate and empower female fans authentically, while unpacking important issues and emphasising diversity.
SEASON’S aim is always to do the above and make women more visible in modern football culture authentically by giving them a honest voice and sharing their stories, opinions and style. Being a cross between a football zine and a fashion magazine gives us the space to do that creatively with copy and imagery. We encourage all of our contributors to be as honest and candid as they want to be- the issue 05 cover story between friends Jeanette Kwayke and footballer Eni Aluko is insightful and enlightening. There’s an emphasis on inclusivity and diversity with SEASON too- race, age, class, sexuality, religion etc and collaborating with exciting female talent too- we’ve worked with photographers Jane Stockade and Flora Maclean and writers Gabrielle Kirchner, Kelsey Lee Jones and Shireen Ahmed in issue 05. Men are welcome in our narrative and spaces as well.
It’s a real labour of love and a steep learning curve. Only now, I would say, over two years later are we at the point where we could try to monetise to try and break even.
2) When and why did you set it up?
I launched SEASON to counter the male, pale and sometimes stale state of modern football culture. As wonderful as modern football coverage is, it’s very male-orientated and lacking diversity. Images of sexualised women without a voice is the kind of thing that comes up when you google ‘female football fans’. Very few women of colour either. Female fans (and players) are portrayed like this or are overlooked or underrepresented. Over the course of my career I’ve met creative women like me who were also into football and fashion, and realised there was nothing celebrating, targeting and expressing our opinions. So I wanted to change that and fill a gap by documenting and celebrating female fandom. Issue 01 came out in May 2016, after around a year of floating the idea and creation. I wanted to combine my two main interests: fashion and football and I was feeling creatively stifled in my old job. I did have previous experience interning at magazines like ELLE UK, GQ and Nylon in New York and I extensively researched doing this online (still do) and attended a magazine-making seminar which helped put things into perspective.
I wrote my final year thesis at Central Saint Martins about football, menswear and metrosexuality and I came across a brilliant book ‘The Fashion of Football’ by Paolo Hewitt and Mark Baxter which explores the connection between fashion and men’s football from the 1960s until the early ‘00s. I wanted to pick up where it left off and address the absence of women in it. Spurred on by the wave of independent football and style publications popping up- Mundial, Howler, Girlfans, Pickles- I also wanted to draw upon football’s rich history of fan-made publications but elevate it with an editorial aesthetic. Every issue comes with a set of illustrated stickers, based on contributors’ favourite players and managers, which can be stuck throughout to add an interactive element and reflect the old-school Panini books that football fans used to have.
3) Where did you get your business idea from?
I love magazines and own far too many to count. I also have interned at few like ELLE UK, British GQ, Tank, Nylon in New York and The Green Soccer Journal. I was a book worm who evolved into a magazine worm and, deep down, I think I always wanted to launch some kind of publication ever since I discovered ELLE and Vogue aged 14. A die-hard Chelsea fan and Central Saint Martins graduate, I’m also a NCTJ qualified writer with strong fashion experience and currently Deputy Features Editor at ASOS magazine. The zine is a great way to put all my skills into action and to learn at it continues to evolve.
Whether SEASON should be a print publication or an online publication is something I grappled with. Especially with rising printing costs. A blog is so much cheaper! However, I stuck to my guns because I think print has an extra special, collectable sentiment in our digital age. Online content is so instant and throwaway and I wanted to make something physical and more considered that could be flicked through forever.
4) How did you set up your business?
1. Floating the initial idea a lot with friends for feedback
2. Honing the idea/concept: fashion football, women.
3. Funding: my savings. This way you’re totally in control of how everything goes down
4. Production: Content: I wrote the majority of SEASON issue 1 myself around my full-time job and reached out to contributors cold a lot of the time selling them my idea and vision with mood boards and PowerPoint presentations. The content evolved to cover what seemed timely and relevant: for instance- the ‘In memory of Mourinho’ page only came about after Chelsea sacked him in December.
5. Design: I met SEASON zine’s first designer through a friend of a friend. The aesthetic we were going for is colourful and confident yet elegant and intelligent. Every detail was been carefully considered to ensure it looks great and reads well. Right down to the near matchday programme size, pink theme colour and grain of paper used.
6. The Team- who's going to help you bring your vision to life. For content: you’ll need writers, photographers, illustrators, stylists, models ETC. For SEASON I worked with friends, friends of friends but also reached out to people who’s work I liked cold. I wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight exciting emerging talent: photographers Alina Negoita, Emily Rachel Rose, Claire Pepper and Patricia Karallis who captures their scenes beautifully, illustrator Charlotte Trounce who did the stickers and set designers Isabel + Helen who worked with Saville Rogue’s luxury scarves.
7. ISSN NUMBER- every publication printed in the UK needs one.
8. Printing- decide how many you want to print. Finding someone who will execute your ideas in the way that you want for the best price can be hard. We’re on our second printer. Factor in this and the costs of the issue when setting the cover price. I did marketing research to see what similar publications are charging. Don’t expect to make a profit or break even with the first issue.
9. Promoting it. The main channels are social media- particularly instagram to share our aesthetic, fashion and football culture happenings, cool visuals and talking points. Events- launch events with each issues and others if I can afford it. Press- we’ve been in ELLE UK twice in 2018 and Grazia this summer.
10. Setting up a business at Company House is optional here.
Basically creating it, printing it, promoting it, selling it.
5) What problems did you encounter? How did you overcome them?
This is a real labour of love with highs and a lot of false starts. The main challenge is always money and time - figuring out how to fund the issues and projects we want to do, chasing invoices and distributors, then fitting it in as my team and I are juggling full time work or other projects.
6) What have been the benefits to you in running your own business?
The great thing about being an independent publication is that you have the freedom to experiment, collaborate with exciting emerging talent, set your own deadlines and basically do what you want.
7) What has been your proudest business achievement so far?
There have been so many! Highlights include SEASON’s first issue being on i-D online and been stocked in my favourite Parisian store Colette (which recently closed) and now Gucci Gardens. Multiple women from around the world have reached out by email or instagram to share lovely words and their thoughts about it and we’re eternally humbled by it all. Testimonials like this one from:
@amymschmalz: “It's like a stranger in London read my mind! There's a beautiful zine for stylish,smart ladies that are also mad into soccer.”
“You are a goddess @feliciapennant! Thank you for creating @season_zine and getting our voices heard. ⚽️❤️#TheFemaleFan”
let me know that my instincts were right and all the hard work, stress and sleepless nights are worth it. One Dad bought it for his daughter because he liked the message and hoped it would empower her. We’ve also been used as an educational resource and cultural record about female fans and women in football by The National Football Museum- which was one of many pinch me moments. Others include being featured on websites and in magazines we adore like It’s Nice That, The Fader, ASOS magazine and Copa 90. During the World Cup, we teamed up with adidas, Soho Warriors and Golaso Studio to host panels, screen matches and more around London and it’s always amazing to see so many women and men turn up to and support our events
We're stocked in the UK, Europe, the USA and Asia and we’ve had orders from as far flung as New Zealand via our website season-zine.com. We have over 9k followers on instagram (@season_zine). We’ve done projects with, Nike, Puma and Carabao and I’ve done talks/panels for Stack, Magculture, WOW, It’s Nice that’s Nicer Tuesdays and more.
8) In hindsight, what one piece of advice do you wish someone gave you when you started out?
Reach out to people you look up to and/or have experience in your field and ask questions. They’ve been there and done it so they’ll have great advice they can tailor you and practical insight you won’t find online or in books.
Want to find out more? Looking for further inspiration? Visit Season-Zine at: