If you're a social entrepreneur, you should definitely check out pebble magazine. It describes itself as 'about how we want to live, the world we want in the future, our dreams and desires', and covers subjects such as sustainable design, ethical fashion, slow food and eco-travel. We caught up with editor Georgina Wilson-Powell to find out more...
Hi Georgina, thanks for chatting to us! Why did you set up pebble?
I set up pebble after working for 15 years editing food and travel magazines I couldn’t find any outlets as a freelancer that consistently covered the stories I realised I care about more and more - such as ecotravel, ethical fashion, permaculture and so on.
I hate the way sustainability is seen to be a boring subject when in actual fact the most exciting developments in technology, infrastructure, industry and independent makers all have sustainability at their core.
I wanted to do my bit in helping share the stories of people who are tackling our world’s problems head on and to be part of a positive movement that inspires readers to make eco changes in their lives - whether big or small, now or in the future.
Is there a reason you chose the name 'pebble'?
It took weeks to come up with the right name. I had certain criteria I wanted it to meet and when we struck on pebble, it just sounded right. We look at our stories like pebbles, alone they can cause ripples but when you stack them up they can change landscapes. Our readers are like pebbles too. Our hashtag is #pebblesmakeripples because we want to inspire change.
How do you find topics for the magazine, and what topics really inspire you?
I have the opposite problem, there’s so much out there that is inspiring it’s trying to fit it all in. We purposefully keep our four main pillars (Doing, Living, Eating/Drinking, Travelling) broad so that we can bring more issues in. We cover everything from permaculture to plastic waste, ethical fashion to eco travel but with a chic lifestyle angle to it all.
The people we interview constantly inspire me, we’re just a conduit to share all the amazing projects and people we come across.
Do you have a favourite article in the history of pebble?
I love our interview with award-winning zero waste chef Douglas McMaster. We talk about jellyfish terrorists and importing things by pirate ship. His sense of fun as well as purpose is infectious.
What would you say are the main challenges that you've faced in this industry?
Trying to launch an independent magazine on next to no budget is a challenge. As are the social media algorithms that determine how many people see your content. As a small publisher trying to navigate Facebook and the rest and be seen, I think that’s the biggest challenge we have.
Do you think that people are becoming more receptive to alternative media sources such as pebble ?
Definitely. Partly because of social media. We don’t want to create a pebble bubble of readers but reach out to lots of strands. We all read and take in multiple media sources throughout the day and that’s why it was integral to our design from the start that we look good and work well on a mobile screen. We’re designed to be read, shared and so on, on the go.
What blogs, magazines or books do you read for inspiration?
Like everyone, what I read tends to depend on how much spare time I have during the day but The Atlantic and New Yorker are great for indepth contextual pieces. I love DeZeen and Inhabitat for keeping me abreast of green news. I find a lot of inspiration from Twitter and Instagram accounts I follow and I love the weekend supplements of lots of different newspapers because they’re truly unisex and have such a wide range of topics - and that’s an aspect we try to bring into pebble.
Are you a social enterprise, and how do you connect with other social purpose businesses?
We are becoming one. I think I’m right in saying every single brand featured in pebble is a social enterprise because we believe purpose driven is so much better than profit driven, so it wouldn’t be right if we weren’t also the same. We working to become accredited with 1 % For the Planet, which takes 1% of your overall revenue and transparently donates it to causes we care about. I love this programme because it helps a range of people and it’s all traceable so people can see exactly what we’re doing, all verified by a third party.
How do we connect? Usually by Twitter or Instagram. Some of the pebble’s biggest supporters and our closest brand friends have emerged from random conversations on the platforms. I don’t think mainstream brands are aware of just how many people want to choose local, handmade, Fairtrade, small batch, sustainable, environmental goods over mass market and fast fashion nowadays. Luckily that’s everything we’re about.
What would you say to someone who wants to use media to change the world?
Go for it. It’s a truly effective medium. Stories have the power to change the world, I truly believe that. And in today’s world of fake news and fast facts and so on, learning about someone’s experiences, their way of life, their passion and their ideas - it’s a powerful way to connect and to share our knowledge. Figure out your angle and who you’re talking to and go for it.