by Zolton in New Trends on Thursday 9 July 2009

I used to edit a free street mag in Australia called STU, so I was impressed when I came across a similarly sized one out of Montreal called SNAP!, which expertly covers fashion, art, music and other creative pursuits with a healthy focus on spotlighting local creatives. We checked in with Hannah Byrne, who along with Shayl Prisk is one of the two founders of the publication, and asked her about the spark behind the launch of SNAP! ‘Initially the spark came when Shayl and I sat down after a long day in our kitchen jobs and decided we wanted to do something different, more creative. Over the course of several months we brainstormed over lattes and pints and talked about exactly what kind of magazine we would want to read and what kind of stories we would want to tell. It was a really exciting time, starting this thing from scratch and deciding where it was going to go’.

Have you found a place already amongst Montreal’s creative community?
‘We’ve worked with so many talented artists based here in Montreal. Many of our creative friends were willing to contribute work from the beginning but as we grow we have more and more people approaching us at our events or online asking how they can submit and get involved in what we do. We try and thank all the people that work with us by hosting regular parties and art events, and hand out free beer for our fellow starving artist friends! Our sponsor Bierbrier is great for that. We really love to have fun and to get local artists and writers published, and they seem to like that too! We are receiving more and more emails from people every day, which is really encouraging!’

How hard is it sustaining a free magazine?
‘Well, we both still work day jobs, as well as play a lot of online poker (haha). We’re slowly starting to build a strong base of advertisers but it’s hard for any new business at the moment. It takes time but for now we are also working on different projects around the magazine to explore other ways to keep it all funded.

‘Shayl and I were always adamant that our magazine would be free- yes the print world is in a crisis right now, but magazines still have that tangible appeal and when the access is free and the content is rich and local, we really believe that the product will be picked up. That’s valuable to an advertiser, our main source of revenue, so we’ll just keep fighting and hope that our hard work pays off soon’.

What’s coming up in SNAP! world?
‘We recently launched the SNAP! tee-a-thon: an ongoing t-shirt design competition through our website and the magazine. We’ve got some great prize packs up for grabs and are trying to draw in some great artists and designers. We’re happy to ship prizes and the competition is open to anyone in any country. Eternal glory awaits the winners!

‘Once our purse strings are a little looser, we’ll increase our distribution and possibly even try SNAP! in a few other cities. We’re excited about what lies ahead.’
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