What is The Indian Trumpet?
The Indian Trumpet is a bi-monthly e-magazine for Non Resident Indians and we’re thrilled to be blowing the trumpet all across the world and connecting Indians via the magazine. You can visit us at theindiantrumpet.com. We capture the colour, culture and chaos of India that NRIs crave & miss in our 100 pages. The online nature of our magazine has ensured that we are read and followed by not just NRIs but also Indians in India. Interestingly, even non-Indians are loving the visual read. We launched our debut issue on July 1, 2013, and our fourth issue will go live on January 1, 2014.
Who is your magazine aimed at?
The magazine is aimed at an Indian who wants to talk of the past, present and future of the country, or a non-Indian who is fascinated with our colour, culture and chaos. It’s aimed at anyone who wants to be in touch with India, every waking moment. As an individual, it has filled my waking hours with nostalgic, encouraging and exciting Indian stories. We aspire to connect with Indians across the world with one another and give them a chance to read about and indulge in all things Indian. And that’s why we are on digital platform, and have managed to connect with thousands of Indians all across the globe, within less than six months (three issues) of our existence!
How does your magazine stand out against its competitors?
Magazines that cater to the NRIs do exist in the market though they are very small in number but none of the magazines match up to us when it comes to our content, feel, design, staff and availability.
In terms of content, our approach is fresh. When we talk of Bollywood we don’t merely carry interviews with the current heartthrobs but we talk of legends, classics & more. Etc.
In terms of feel, we work on a note of passion and desire to give the NRIs (as well as Indians back home) a chance to connect with each other through the common thread, their love for ‘home’. We don’t aim to be patriots but just aspire to be a platform where we can share anecdotes, get nostalgic, take pride, and express emotions ….all things Indian!
In terms of design, we are contemporary yet traditional, full of colour & life.
In terms of staff, our writers, photographers, artists, designers, etc. are from both India and different parts of the world. And even non-Indians write for us.
In terms of availability, we are available at a click, free of cost for one & all.
While the method of work at most magazines is essentially the same drill of ideation, morning meetings ( we do ours via Skype at times, since our writers are spread across the world!), drafting edit lists, assigning articles and photo jobs, editing pieces, correcting pictures, designing pages, chasing deadlines… and both smiling & stressing at the end of the day!! What’s different in our ‘method in madness’ is that we encourage even non-writers and photographers to contribute, including our readers, for this is their space. Also, we treat each of our members as a celeb! No matter how small or large his/her role is in the magazine, we consider all as members of this expanding Trumpet family.
Where did the idea for the magazine come from?
There is no research team that did the homework for me to start this magazine. When I landed in Dubai (November 2012) and became a NRI (Non Resident India) I felt a strong urge to strengthen my bond with my home, India as strong as my desire to explore my new home, Dubai. Very soon, this aspiration (first expressed through a blog, (http://theindiantrumpet.blogspot.ae/) became a talking point amongst the huge Indian diaspora & the magazine was born.
Here’s a little note for you on the same, which talks about the work that happened behind-the-scenes for the magazine to take shape.
“To all the people I knew, got to know and will know through this magazine.
Big fat Indian wedding. Friends, food, family. Tears and happy tears. Heena and happiness. NRI husband. Packing bags. Saying good bye to home.
Big fat Indian magazine. Supporters, critics and stress. Enthusiasm and challenges. Dreams and deadlines. NRI readers. Proof reading. Uploading the magazine.
The last few weeks have been exciting, tiring, fascinating and challenging. I lived through moments that made me smile and scream at the same time. There were times when the laptop misbehaved, fonts got mixed up and writers and photographers missed deadlines, but then these were complemented with times when my inbox got flooded with encouraging words, download speeds improved and colours and words just fell into place. And while the ‘new’ bride in me had made me believe that planning an Indian wedding was perhaps the toughest thing to do in the world, I realised that it was easier than living the dream of starting a magazine on your own. (Honestly, my mom-dad and sister were the real wedding planners and I was just the showstopper, but even watching them do it all was exhausting. And yes, they were patient with me both when I chattered about the wedding or mag! ) I also learnt that a husband could be a perfect roommate and be as supportive as a 4 am friend in the hostel room. (I was happy to watch the NRI husband switch roles between being a business development manager and a web-designer & proof-reader.) I even accepted that while I couldn’t do it all in one issue, each day would bring me one step closer than I was the day before to achieving my dream of starting my own magazine. I began to smile at the thought that as an NRI, I was getting a chance to love, miss and appreciate the ‘home’ as well as greet, explore and admire the ‘new home’. And honestly, even if someone had told me that this is how the journey would be from Delhi, India to Dubai, UAE, I would have still done exactly the same thing and with the same enthusiasm.
Yes, when this Indian girl landed in Dubai she felt she couldn’t leave behind her passion for journalism& love for home. At the same time, she couldn’t help but play with fonts, colours and words to create something for the fellow NRIs here. Little did she know that hearts & minds from all communities would greet her dream with the same passion and love.”
What is your business background, and what got you interested in online publishing?
I don’t have a business background but I have a strong background in the field of journalism. A journalist by profession, my life revolves around datelines, headlines and deadlines, and I ‘still’ love it very much. I have over seven years’ experience in the publishing industry and was working as an associate editor for luxury magazines in India before I moved to Dubai. I have had a stint as a journalist and senior copy editor with some of the leading newspapers in India and worked on a range of subjects like art, fashion, cinema, food, television, people, etc. I continue to work as a freelance editorial consultant and writer for Indian and international magazines. Over the years I have evolved from a journalist to an editor to a manager. While keeping myself abreast of the latest developments in the editorial world, I have become an efficient manager – building teams and leading them to meet aggressive deadlines without compromising on quality. I am backed with a post-graduate degree in mass communication and literature.
That said, I have always had an interest in the world of words, pictures, fonts, colours… and I guess after having worked as the editor for a few magazines & worked as a leader in launching a few magazines, having a magazine of my own was the next best natural step. However, it was not & is not the easiest course to take, for I am more an editor, any day, than a businesswoman!
How did you initially raise funding for your company?
I haven’t raised any funds for the company as of now. I am running the magazine with my earnings, whatever I make from working as a freelancer & editorial consultant I put it in the magazine. As I mentioned before the debut thought of launching a magazine was that of ‘connecting’ NRIs and not that of making money. But yes, we are looking at raising funds to blow the trumpet louder from here on.
How long has the you’re company been in the making, and who is the team behind the business?
The company came into existence with the launch of our debut issue on July 1, 2013. Prior to that I of course worked crazy hours for a few months to get everything rolling. I’d say I am happy playing the founder, editor, PR, peon, marketing head, tea/coffee boy, designer, sale representative…
I haven’t yet hired a full time team but yes my trumpet blowers i.e. contributors are a very passionate & interesting bunch of people – from family to friends, ex-colleagues to ex-classmates, new faces to old associates, first time writers to professional writers, immature photographers to award winning lensmen/women…
What has been your biggest challenge so far as a business owner?
Any new venture has its share of challenges and rewards. I don’t think I can single out any particular situation as a challenge, for these are just hiccups that any start-up faces. But yes, as an individual it has been a challenge to switch roles between an editor, founder and entrepreneur.
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
I see The Indian Trumpet emerging as the most-read & popular monthly magazine for NRIs. I see it gathering more love from Indians all across the world. I see it achieving more laurels and love. And perhaps, transform being a bi-monthly to a monthly!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
The only way a business can work is by following the commands of its clients, readers in our case. An advice to someone who wants to start a similar product would be to resist temptations to fill up the pages with things that the editor likes the most, talk of trends that its writers follow or simply copy-paste press releases to make the job easier. If one can resist these temptations, then one would be on the right track to creating a perfect magazine for the readers. I would say our strength is interaction with our readers. We’re constantly in touch with them through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, events, contests, meet-ups and a lot more. We exchange e-mails with them, share our plans with them and more. They help us decide what is too much or what is too less.
It’s always easy to give up something! But I’d say to every budding entrepreneur there that one should make a start, and a slow one at that. For, there is something about slow starts. The magic, the frustration, the anxiety, the imperfections, the discouragements, the temptation to give in….But the best thing about slow starts is the fact that you made a start! A beginning towards a dream, a change… It’s not about who wins the race, the tortoise or the rabbit! If we had a chance we would all make a brisk march to our goals but our race is different from his/hers/yours/theirs. I appreciate the moments when people give up because the one who tried is the one who can give up! Find your track and start walking, strolling, hopping, skipping… there is nothing better than being on the start line!