Bronte Mitchell is the founder and editor of lifestyle magazine, Femme Country. This magazine showcases all thing fashion and lifestyle within the British countryside. She also launched the sister magazine earlier this year, Femme Petite. Femme Petite focuses on telling the stories of businesswomen in the country sector.
I sat down (virtually, of course!) with Bronte to talk all things business, how she adapted to the pandemic and, the all important question, if she could have gone in to lockdown with anyone in the world, who would she choose…
Continue reading to find out!
At the age of 17, I undertook an Extended Project Qualification specialising in Fashion Journalism. I had a passion for both writing and fashion and so I combined the two creating ‘Femme Magazine.’
Now, whilst this is a very easy sentence to say I can promise you that it was the complete opposite back in 2017 sat at my desk with my head in my hands. Finishing Sixth Form with the best qualifications I headed off to London College of Fashion to study an Integrated Masters in Fashion Criticism and Journalism. When in London, I witnessed a lot of complications and soon found out that living as student there wasn’t what I had originally imagined. With a heavy heart I made the decision to return to my home city of York and apply to a university closer to home. My determination and passion slipped away quite quickly as what I had envisioned hadn’t gone to plan and my aspirations of being a fashion student were gone.
I knew I needed something to re-ignite my love for writing and style once again. I saw a gap in the market for a female targeted country magazine that showcased country lifestyle and fashion whilst supporting recognised and upcoming businesses.
And so, in January of 2019, I released ‘Femme Country Magazine,’ a female dedicated magazine that footprinted on all acres of country life.
HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU BECAME A BUSINESS OWNER?
I was only 19, so relatively young. Having gained experience through interning at Hearst Publications, creating content for their Country Living magazine, I looked up to individuals in the industry and captivated every ounce of drive, imagination and creativity I could. My Father was a huge aid when I commenced the build-up to Femme Country, working inside the German and UK print sector himself, he introduced me to print quotes, pagination details and an incredible about of print jargon! In our current society, I believe that age doesn’t matter, talent and hard work can start from so young and as we look deeper into the fashion sector, we are seeing more and more inspirational young faces emerge from the shadows.
WHAT IS YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHT SO FAR?
Ooh there are loads! I think an exciting moment for me was seeing Femme Country on the shelves in our first stockist at Wild & Westbrooke.
I remember my friends connecting up the dots when seeing the first issue and sending me messages saying, “I just saw your magazine in store!” It was so surreal and now as I continue to build up our stockist list, I still get goosebumps seeing our seasonal magazines positioned against the beautiful brands we feature. Most recently, I would say the brand-new Spring Issue 2021 has been a huge career highlight. Since the New Year hit, my email inbox has been crazy! I have been approached by some truly extraordinary brands which I admire alongside teaming up with companies and talented individuals. I’m so eager to launch this issue and I’m looking forward to showcasing all the brands inside the Femme Country pages for Spring 2021.
HOW DID YOU FIND RUNNING A BUSINESS DURING LOCKDOWN?
For me, I found it extremely saddening. It’s been hard transitioning from socially interactive meetings and interviews to conversating over platforms such as Zoom.
When featuring brands or scheduling interviews, I’ve always met up with the brand owners, seen the business in its entirety and made the best memories. It’s such an important part of the magazine as the personality of the brand or founder really comes through when I’m writing up any feature after meeting them. Whilst I adore talking to clients and brands over the phone, there is always that desire and yearn to meet them in a more personal environment.
I recently caught up with Anna Green, co-founder of Salthouse England, and we were saying how we missed so many opportunities to meet face to face due to the pandemic. Saying all of this however, with the announcement cheering everyone up I am hopeful to rekindle connections and meetings towards the middle of the year!
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
To establish who your true friends are, stand up for yourself and believe in your truth. I had a huge complication regarding an ex-boyfriend of mine, and it wasn’t until the predicament that I realised who my honest and supportive friends were. If I were to tell my younger self anything, it would be to have faith in yourself and never let yourself be controlled by anyone – make your own decisions and be proud of the path you take.
IF YOU COULD BE ANYTHING APART FROM A JOURNALIST, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I’m so lucky to be in a profession that combines my two loves, fashion and writing so I’m struggling to pick a career path that I would fall into if I wasn’t a fashion journalist.
You’re going to find this funny, but I’ve always said to my partner and family that I would love to be a dermatologist! I am obsessed with looking after my skin. From skincare products to facials to cleansing and toning you name it, I’ve done it! Although, best not to catch me on a bad skin day haha!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING JOURNALISTS WANTING TO GO IN TO THE FASHION AND LIFESTYLE INDUSTRY?
I would recommend establishing an online portfolio and build your contacts. Put your foot in the industry door and get stuck in! At the age of 18 I applied for a lot of different internships and experienced so many contrasting roles in the fashion sector. From lifestyle writing in an office to a production runner on set of a photoshoot for ‘House Beautiful’ – make your name known and say yes! When it comes to your online presence, create an online portfolio showcasing your published work and job roles no matter how small. Through this you’ll then develop contacts but don’t wait to be contacted instantly, be ambitious and send that email or make that call first!
DESCRIBE FEMME COUNTRY IN THREE WORDS
Transparent, Empowering, Achievement
DO YOU REGRET ANY CAREER CHOICES SO FAR?
I don’t regret any of my career choices at all. Even if something has gone dramatically wrong with an issue or front cover besides being super, super stressful haha everything is a learning curve. There are some decisions I have regretted in regard to content for the issues – through the Femme Country journey I’ve learn to recognise that each individual is different and not everyone is warm and welcoming. Business can be super cutthroat at times however I stand by the preservation of respect and consideration and I have witnessed this a few times. Whilst it can be a knock down, I always re-engage, start a fresh and get back on my feet again. It’s the best way!
IF YOU COULD HAVE GONE IN TO LOCKDOWN WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD (DEAD OR ALIVE), WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
100% without a doubt, James Martin. My weekend mornings always start by watching his ‘Saturday Morning’ cooking show and usually includes me admiring everything he creates! Born and raised only 40 minutes away from me in Malton, James Martin’s family were farmers on the Castle Howard estate. If we were locked down together not only would the conversation be intriguing but, I would have Michelin star food 24/7! I’m imagining it already… hmmm.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT GOING FORWARD WITH FEMME COUNTRY MAGAZINE?
Oh, my goodness, so much! Where do I even begin?! Whilst I can’t reveal the front cover of the Spring Issue yet, I can assure you it’s going to beautiful and full of spring elegance. I am also excited to be reveal that I am in development for the Femme Country Office and work will commence on this late May!
There are some very big plans to coincide with this, but you might have to wait a little longer for this announcement. I can 100% say that there are always plans to develop at Femme Country, once something’s released, I’m onto the next. Our readers and subscribers are never bored and that is my aim to consistently give back and launch things that will never be obvious.
WHO IS YOUR INDUSTRY INSPIRATION?
I have the upmost respect for Jade Holland Cooper.
As a fellow country girl, she turned her small fashion business, Holland Cooper, into a multi-million-pound brand. Having met her multiple times, she has given me the push to ignite and expand Femme Country Magazine. Her work ethic is second to none, and it is something I look up to everyday as I do have the tendency to work more than relax – but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN STAR-STRUCK?
Multiple times! My first in awe moment was when I was at Leeds Festivals. I was 17 and had attended the festival with my friend. At the time her Dad’s company had provided all the barriers and security for the festival and with my backstage pass, I spent frequent time side stage watching and bands and even in the artist hangout – cool didn’t even begin to cover it. I’m laughing just thinking about it but, we’d just come off side stage after watching ‘Blossoms’ and we were making our way back to hangout area backstage. I suddenly needed the toilet and so turned around to make my way there and stood right in front of me was the entire ‘Blossoms’ band… let’s just say my urge to go to the toilet suddenly increased haha! After experiencing an awkward minute, I then continued to see them around backstage and even had a few words here and there.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU ARE GOING TO DO WHEN RESTRICTIONS LIFT (fingers crossed)?
I’m going to book a restaurant, go full glam, grab my new designer handbag (it’s been sitting lonely on my stand craving attention haha!), and head to a few bars with my partner, Harry. And then just to gain some time back from last year, definitely book a holiday!
Marketing Communications Manager