Ash is a newly launched platform championing ordinary, extraordinary women and their endeavours in art, enterprise and activism - women that look like you, feel like you, struggle like you and succeed like you. We want to create a magazine in print that challenges the limiting narratives so often found in women’s magazines, one issue at a time.
We already have a thriving social presence (Instagram: @ashmagazine) and a website (www.ash-magazine.com), establishing Ash as a cheerleader for all women of strong will who are striving to live their best lives, working for the social good or who simply have stories to tell. As well as instigating conversation and raising awareness for causes close to our heart, we inspire action: our first event, part of UN Women’s HeForShe Arts Week, is on March 15 at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, exploring how the arts can contribute to conversations on sexual violence (all profits go to UN Women).
With £4,500: we can create the first issue of Ash magazine in print, cover the cost of photoshoots, some of the design costs and postage costs.
With £5,000: we can pay key contributors comfortably
With £6,000+: we can begin to cover costs for Issue 2, exciting!
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Increasingly, we’re bombarded with ever-narrowing ideals of beauty and depictions of ‘The Perfect Life’. Studies say that it’s now official: social media makes us sad and competitive, low self-esteem is on the rise, ‘quarter life crisis’ has become a legit term and platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are fueling unprecedented levels of mental turmoil in young women, who we are told are lonelier, more anxious and more depressed than ever before.
But it doesn’t have to be this way – we don’t need to feel like this. The simple fact is that mainstream women’s magazines have become outdated. As we enter a new emotional era, Ash wants to challenge the narratives we are so often presented with as women, to find the inspiration to become our best selves and the stimuli to reconnect with what matters.
Women want to read a magazine like Ash
Our research shows that although there are some amazing feminist magazines in circulation, a lot of women just aren’t aware of them, indicating that we simply need more of them on the market. Of almost 200 women surveyed:
- Only two women named feminist magazines in their top three favourite titles
- 70% of those surveyed said they would read a magazine with a feminist angle
- 59% think there is too much emphasis on celebrities
- 54% find women’s magazines to be generally uninspiring
- A giant 81% said they would buy a magazine if some of the proceeds were donated to charity.
We need to change the narratives often found in women’s magazines
The overwhelming feedback from our research was that women want to see less celebrities and less body shaming, and they want content that they can relate to. When we asked: ‘What would you like to see more of in women’s magazines?’, some recurring comments were:
- “Real, every day women”
- “Relatable people”
- “Regular size models and real bodies”
- “More women of colour”
- “Inspiring women sharing happy and interesting stories”
- “Inspiring stories from real people”
Unlike other magazines, we won’t tell you what to wear, what to buy or how to look. We won’t feature products just because they’re 'cool'. We will bring you inspiring content from a diverse range of real, relatable women, pages of beautiful art in the female gaze and a wide range of opinions and viewpoints.
WHO WE ARE
Charlotte Ruth, Founder and Editor
“Many moons ago I studied Journalism at university, where I first dipped my toes into indie publishing with my music based zine ‘Things We Love’. I’ve always loved finding and exposing new talent, a skill I sharpened during my eight-year career as a DJ agent. The environment was overtly male dominated – in meetings, I’d fight to strike the right tone with talent bookers who were more comfortable dealing with other men and at gigs I’d often be mistaken for the DJ’s girlfriend, despite the fact that it was me pulling the strings! Nevertheless, I was fortunate to have worked alongside some of the music industry’s most fiery, inspirational women both on stage and behind the scenes. As one such woman fatefully advised me: “Find your passion”. This is it. I founded Ash because I simply can’t ignore the idea – producing a beautiful, thoughtful and inspiring magazine is on my mind 24/7. The world is full of hugely talented, no-nonsense women; I want to tell their stories. I want to promote positive role models and to dig deep into issues that matter. I want us all to live our best lives feeling safe and free of judgment. For me, every step is a learning process, practically and emotionally. I’m feeling the fear but doing it anyway!”
Rosie Leggett, Designer
“I studied Fashion Communication at university and now work as a graphic designer for Net-a-Porter. During my studies, I had the opportunity to work for some truly inspirational women running successful independent brands across the creative industries. I’ve strongly felt, since then, that engaging with more women like those that inspired me at the start of my career is an absolute priority; likewise giving other young women the chance to gather the same experience. I have a passion for excellent design and beautiful imagery and I’m eager to bring that to each edition of Ash, making it engaging and inspiring to look at, as well as informative and powerful to read.”
WHAT ARE OUR CORE VALUES?
- To champion relatable women
- To empower women on all fronts - no judgment, no limits
- To be fiercely inclusive, with an eye on diversity
- To encourage entrepreneurship and make women in leadership more visible
- To show reality, not ‘perfection’
WHAT WILL YOU BE FUNDING?
- The cost of printing 500 copies of our first issue in print
- A buffer of money to pay key contributors
- Postage / shipping of magazines to those pledging funding
The theme of Issue 1 is: ‘Mirror, Mirror’, exploring self-love, confidence, identity and body positivity. This issue will actively challenge the narrow definitions of beauty and lack of diversity found in many women’s magazines, featuring entrepreneurs who are working on related projects and individuals raising these conversations. Serving as a platform for female artists, the magazine will be full of illustration with a preference for inspirational, short form content
The front cover has already been designed by the incredibly talented artist Olivia Healy. The magazine will be printed by Park Communications (printers of Printed Pages, Clash Magazine, Riposte, Puss Puss and many more). The magazine will be created entirely by women.
April 15 - Kickstarter campaign is completed
May 15 - Deadline for submissions
June 15 - Production deadline
June 20 - Print deadline
By funding Issue 1, you’re providing us with a springboard to self-fund Issue 2 via carefully selected advertising and brand partnerships, allowing us to continue to reach our objectives. Issue 2’s theme will be ‘Shame’, challenging perceptions around sexual violence, reproductive rights, sexiness, sexuality, sex work and more. We also want to go on supporting causes that we believe in, donating a portion of each cover price to women’s charities and initiatives.
The time is right for a magazine like Ash; we’re witnessing a huge global shift with feminist issues increasingly pushed to the forefront of mainstream discourse and we want to make waves from the bottom up. All women have a story and we're here to amplify it. It's such an exciting time but there is so much work to be done. Join us and change the conversation!
Risks and challenges
We have already received printing quotes and we are confident that we can produce a beautiful magazine for you (we've done it before). But as with any production process, delays can happen - work could be submitted late or we may have to extend deadlines in order to guarantee that the final version of the magazine is as good as possible. We'd rather take a few more weeks than deliver a visibly rushed product.
We plan on handling the shipping ourselves and we will do everything we can to deliver the magazines as soon as they are printed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)