CV: Kathryn Brown, Editor, `Red'

I decided I wanted to be a journalist while doing my A-levels - in history, drama and English - in the early Eighties. But when I went to the school careers office, they said: "Don't be ridiculous - here's an application form for Marks & Spencer."

So I went and bought lots of glossy magazines, and wrote to all of them for advice. I got a letter back from Cosmopolitan, saying I should try the London College of Fashion, as they did a good course in fashion journalism which was quite a good way into the magazine industry. I've always been very grateful to Cosmo for that.

I wasn't particularly interested in fashion; I just went to the LCF for the journalists' course. At the time I didn't think it was very good (though it seems to be more applied now), but it was a way in: it did teach you what the industry was like, and how magazines work.

My main concern when I finished, a year later, was to move to London - I'd been living in Essex - which I did with a close friend of mine, Jenny Tucker. There, the first thing I did was take a job at French Connection, where I worked for six weeks before getting a job in beauty PR. Jenny, meanwhile, managed to get a job as editorial assistant at Just Seventeen magazine, which was just launching. I used to hang around with her, getting to know the people from Just Seventeen, and I used to bombard the editor with pieces - probably all really bad ones, actually. Finally, though, I had a column published, offering advice for young girls on leaving home.

After that, I wrote more and more pieces, and they would ask me to do film reviews and pieces for their Up Front section. Then, because I'd worked in beauty PR and had learnt quite a bit about the beauty industry, I got the job of beauty editor on Just Seventeen - which I did for a few years. But really, I was desperate to work in features, and I got a job as staff writer on More! magazine, for its launch 10 years ago.

That was great fun: I did celebrity interviews, reviews, and went to do a report on a Club 18-30 holiday.

Meanwhile, a man I knew from Just Seventeen, Steve Bush, had gone out to Australia and started a publishing company called Attic Futura. He wanted to launch a title called Girlfriend - a glossy teenage magazine - and, when I'd been at More! for a year, he asked me and Jenny Tucker to go and help him.

It was a real cowboy operation then: when we got there there were no computers, and it was a real mess. But Jenny and I launched Girlfriend, and it became really successful, so I ended up staying in Australia for six years, though I'd only intended to stay for one. Career-wise, I wasn't really going anywhere, but it was a lot of fun - great weather and a great lifestyle.

Because Girlfriend was such a success in Australia, and, because in England there was only really Just Seventeen (which had a comic-type format) at the time in that market, I kept saying to Steve that we should launch Girlfriend in England. Eventually, Attic Futura decided they would, and I came back to England as editor-in-chief to oversee the whole thing - which became Sugar magazine. (We researched the name Girlfriend, and everyone here hated it; all the girls here thought it was a lesbian magazine.)

I was only supposed to stay in England for six months, to set things up, but once I was here I decided I wanted to stay and get into the older market. Every now and again, I'd go out for coffee with Ian Birch, the editor-in-chief at Emap Elan, who would occasionally mention magazines I might be interested in; finally, Marie O'Riordan, who became editor of Elle, asked me to be deputy editor there. And I thought: "Now you're talking."

So I did exactly a year of learning the glossy market at Elle, and I suppose that's why - because I'd done that and had a lot of experience in launches - Emap Elan thought I was the right person to launch their new title, Red. We launched in January, and have just sent the sixth issue to press. It's been fantastic; it's really taken off.

A launch is such a stressful, labour-intensive thing that you really have to believe in the magazine. Although a lot of research went into it, it was based on a very real feeling that there was a gap in the market. Red is aiming mainly at 30-plus women, though we have picked up lots of younger readers; it's more to do with an attitude or life-stage than an age. It's grown-up, but it has a youthful spirit.

Interview by Scott Hughes

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Advertisement Sales Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A publishing company based in F...

Guru Careers: Product Design Engineer / UX Designer

£20 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a tech savvy Product Design Engineer /...

Guru Careers: German Speaking Account Manager

£24-30K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: German speaking Account Manager / ...

Guru Careers: System Administrator / Sys Admin

£23 - 30K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a System Ad...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor