Interview with Charlotte Jacklin, Betty Magazine
Our #joaniegalboss series continues as we catch up with Charlotte Jacklin, founder of one of our favourite publications ever - Betty Magazine! In our Betty Magazine interview, we chat to Charlotte about changes to the magazine as we know it, her working day, life as a new mum and a few career tips too!
We love Charlotte's knack for finding beauty in the everyday. Her Instagram account is a true celebration of pretty. From interiors and personal style to wanderlustworthy travel locations and the pick of uncovered independent brands.
Despite recently leaving the capital to settle in Margate, Charlotte is still our go-to for London gems - think quaint cafes, curated homeware shops and crafty workshops.
As well as her eye for detail and enviable nostalgic style, Charlotte is an experienced fashion professional and accomplished entrepreneur. Check out our Betty Magazine interview with Charlotte below for an insight into her world.
Hi Charlotte! We’ve been big fans of Betty since discovering the magazine in one of our favourite independent book shops in Manchester. Can you describe the essence of Betty and why you think the magazine found success?
Thank you! Betty started as a reaction to the magazines that were available when I was at university. The main magazines I read were Australian or American. There wasn’t much of an independent magazine scene in the UK, and the glossy weekly and monthly ones made me feel deflated after I’d read them. Whilst I was at uni we had a project to create a 20-page zine, which is how Betty was born. It’s always been a place for celebrating individuality, and promoting positivity. I wanted the magazine to provide worthwhile content even if you picked it up a year after it was produced, I didn’t want it to be throwaway. It featured fashion, food, music, craft, travel and lots in between, everything I featured seemed to have its own colourful aesthetic.
How did you go about launching the magazine? Is it something you always wanted to do?
It’s not something I’ve always wanted to do, but then saying that I don’t think I’ve ever had one clear career dream, apart from wanting to work for myself. After the magazine was developed at uni I didn’t do a lot with it for a year. I’d just graduated and entered the world of work (at the time I was working at Lulu Guinness as one of two people in their web department). Whilst working full time, I relaunched the blog for a creative outlet and used to spend a lot of time online. Through Twitter I met my business partner and we launched the magazine in print, after I had interest from a publishing company. We thought if they were interested in it, then others will like it too. So we researched printers, and put in £300 in each and Betty was born!
Why Betty? How did you come to choose the name?
Betty was my Grandma’s name, I’ve always loved it! At the time it wasn’t as popular as it is now, and I thought it had a certain cheeky/retro element to it.
Above: Charlotte wears the Agatha Jumper
Have you got any personal highlights that come to mind when you look back at what you’ve achieved with the magazine?
The whole thing was a highlight, when we first started (Charlotte and I) we had no idea what we were doing. To take it from my bedroom at university to being stocked in over 15 countries internationally was a wonderful thing. I learnt so much from printing and distributing a magazine, it was such a valuable experience. My favourite thing was when someone would share a photo of the magazine on Instagram, that was really exciting knowing that you were part of someone’s day. Talking to readers and doing events have always been one of my favourite parts of Betty.
2017 has been a huge year of change for you with the arrival of baby June and a different direction for Betty with its relaunch as an online platform. Was leaving the print world behind a hard decision to come to?
Yes and no. In a way we had done everything we felt we could with the magazine. As a business it just didn’t work financially. It paid for itself, but it was more a hobby. I’ve always had either a full-time job, or in more recent years a part-time job and freelance work alongside Betty. In 2017 Charlotte (my business partner) and me decided that we would go our separate ways, and that I would relaunch Betty online. I think that was the hardest part, we had such fun working together! Having a baby means you have less time to work, so the work that I am doing needs work for my family and me, it’s not just about my boyfriend and me anymore. I guess, for me, it highlighted my priorities and what I want to do with my career.
Do you still like to buy magazines? What are some of your favourite independent titles?
I didn’t for a while, because I would have this running commentary in my head almost reviewing it as I read. Now enough time has passed. I love Cherrybome, Frankie, Little White Lies, The Gentlewoman, I also love to read the Sunday supplements too when I remember to buy them.
Talk us through a typical working day. How does running Betty fit around your lifestyle?
At the moment I am still figuring out a typical working day after having June, I normally sit down and plan my week on a Sunday, as I often have to book a photographer or head into London, so no week ever looks the same - which I love.
Above: Charlotte wears the Etheline Sweatshirt
You’ve recently moved to a shared studio space – what do you find are the pros and cons of working at home vs. working in an office?
I have just started working in my friend’s studio a few days a week, I’m really enjoying it. I thought I could work from home all the time, however it’s quite difficult to get things done when June is playing upstairs. I find myself going up for tea breaks and not returning to my desk and playing. Cons are getting dressed and remembering all my belongings, I can stay in my PJS all day and I’m really forgetful. The walk to and from the studio allows me time to switch my brain over from work to home quite nicely.
Can you tell us about any exciting plans you’ve got in the pipeline for Betty?
I am wanting to host more events this year, I love getting lots of women together in real life, there’s always such good energy in the room when this happens. I am also starting to teach workshops on social media and emailing marketing (this was my full-time job, previously to Betty). I also lecture at a couple of universities, I love teaching so it’s the perfect combination. I’ve got a couple of product collaborations in the pipeline for the summer too, hopefully there will be more product in the second half of 2017. I’d love to do more.
With your experience working at well-known fashion brands and running the magazine, we’d love to sit in on one of your lectures! Is inspiring the next generation of creatives something that’s particularly important to you?
I think sharing your knowledge is so important, I really like to help people where I can. I’m constantly learning myself but in the decade since I graduated from university I have a lot to share with people. If my knowledge or experience can help guide someone with their career or business, then that’s quite rewarding. I also think that there’s such a lack of information out there for people wanting to have a flexible working life, and so few conversations discussing earning potential that it’s important to have as many share as much as possible. Women need to see as many different role models as they can so they believe that it is possible for them to achieve their dreams too.
What would be your best piece of advice for women looking to break into the fashion industry?
Try your hand at as many different things as you can, as knowing what you don’t want to do is just as important as knowing what you like to. And that every job teaches you something even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. I worked in customer service for a year and whilst I didn’t love that job, it taught me a lot about managing people’s expectations and thinking on the spot at solving problems.
Finally, we love your sense of style! Who are your biggest style icons?
I have so many, I’m so drawn to fashion of the past especially the 60s and 70s. I love old Laura Ashley florals, Biba girls and vibrant colours. Modern day, I love the style of Florence Welch, she wears a lot of maxis and tailoring. The Haim sisters are spot on at the moment too, again lots of tailoring and relaxed 70s shapes with denim. Alexa Chung is never going to fall off my style radar, or her friend Tennessee Thomas. Martha Ward is someone I constantly hit like on Instagram along with my favourite Liv Purvis and Rachael Clifton. I’ve just finished watching Feud and was pretty obsessed with all Betty Davis outfits, especially when she got into high-waisted trousers look.