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Stand Magazine: The Tagline Says It All: The Magazine For Men Who Give A Damn – A Men’s Magazine That Promotes More Than Just Looking Good – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Dwayne Hayes, Founder & Managing Editor, Stand Magazine….

December 7, 2016

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

“I’m just a huge fan of print. When I read something, I want to grab it in print. When Borders (Bookstore) was opened, I would go there during my weekly Friday afternoon routine when I would get out of work early, sit down with a dozen or so magazines and just read through them all afternoon. And I think that the digital focus and emphasis in our lives actually provides a great opportunity for really beautifully-made print magazines. People enjoy being able to sit down and have a cup of coffee or have a beer and read something beautifully-made in print.” Dwayne Hayes…

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With the mission of encouraging men to be much more than just snazzy dressers, Stand magazine challenges all of us testosterone-charged beings to look at everything we do with a bit more conscious thought than we might do normally. To try and be better partners, better fathers, better husbands, better friends and neighbors and better…well, just better men all the way around.

Dwayne Hayes is the founder and managing editor of Stand, but he’s much more than just those adjectives. Dwayne is the vision behind the mission, coming from a long career in social work as a therapist to young males and adult men with a history of domestic and sexual abuse. His compassion and exemplary skills, while no longer being utilized on that personal, one-on-one patient basis, shine through the pages of the magazine, stirring all men, regardless of their ethnicity or sexual orientation, to be better people.

I spoke with Dwayne recently and we talked about the new magazine, which has seen its 4th issue, with number five on its way. The quarterly magazine is not his first attempt at the publishing business, as Dwayne has also had a very notable literary magazine called Absinthe out in the world. But by his own reflections, Stand brings with it a whole new experience for him when it comes to publishing a magazine four times a year. Along with the art of finding his footing, Dwayne is also seeking his audience; as this first year he admits has been more of an experiment than anything else. Planning a thematic format going forward, he’s also gearing up events to further the conversation with his audience around the theme of each future issue.

So, I hope that you enjoy this very thought-provoking and inspirational interview with a man who seeks to be a better man himself with each issue of the magazine that he creates and hopes to encourage other men to do the same, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Dwayne Hayes, founder and managing editor, Stand magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On why he felt the need to start Stand magazine: Well, I didn’t think there was a magazine out there for men such as we envisioned, and that was one that really promoted a different view of what men and masculinity meant. And to encourage and challenge men to reject some of the stereotypes about manhood and to really embrace a view that spurs men to be equal partners in all aspects of life; in raising children; in parenting; in taking a more conscious and ethical look at their work and what they do; reducing violence in the world, violence against women and children.

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On how the idea actually developed into a magazine: It really happened years and years ago. My background is in social work; I was a therapist for a number of years. I have a master’s in social work from the University of Michigan. And my work was with boys who were perpetrators of sexual abuse. And I did that for a number of years and I also worked with men on domestic violence and anger issues. I ended up leaving social work and got into publishing. I’d always written and was very interested in publishing. And I did that for a number of years; primarily with information and reference publishing, and had started my own literary magazine that I published for 10 years. It was during this time that I began to conceive of the idea of Stand and decided that there should be a new men’s magazine for men who wanted to stand for something besides just trying to look good.

On any stumbling blocks he had to face during the development of the magazine: Everything feels like a stumbling block. (Laughs) As you know very well, doing a magazine is not a walk in the park. I was very fortunate though; when I finally decided to take the step and do it, which happened after leaving my job that I had been doing for about 16 or 17 years, I happened to meet a guy, Carl Johnson, who as it turned out, lived right around the corner from me, and was and is a fantastic designer, and we sat down and I told him about the vision I had for the magazine. He was very interested in it and really got the look I was going for, the design that we had in mind, and began to take it from there.

On why he started a print magazine in this digital age: That’s something that we’re constantly rethinking and reworking. We’re looking at all of this in our first year and we see it as a kind of experiment to see what happens. But I’m just a huge fan of print. When I read something, I want to grab it in print. When Borders (Bookstore) was opened, I would go there during my weekly Friday afternoon routine when I would get out of work early, sit down with a dozen or so magazines and just read through them all afternoon. And I think that the digital focus and emphasis in our lives actually provides a great opportunity for really beautifully-made print magazines.

On the addictive quality of Stand for men: I think it’s a combination of the photography in the magazine and the readability of the design. One thing that we have stayed away from is long form essays and journalistic pieces. I know that can work well in some formats, but I also know that attention spans are perhaps not what they used to be, so we try and provide content in a way that people can grab one essay or one piece and read it, then put it down for a week and come back and want to read another one.

On whether his prior literary experience spilled over into Stand or he had to wipe his brain clean and start over: It was kind of both. When I first started my literary magazine, it was called Absinthe after the drink and it was focused on European writing and translation, so as you can imagine there was a wide audience for that in the United States. (Laughs) But we had a really great group of readers and writers and translators that we associated with. But certainly having that experience helped, Absinthe was not nearly the amount of work that this was and is. Absinthe was published biannually and I think doing a quarterly really steps up the pace.

On whether he’s trying to set the record straight about men with Stand or he feels there is a gap that media isn’t addressing when it comes to men’s magazines: A little of both. We envisioned the magazine kind of turning some of the conventions of the men’s magazine on its head. Originally, our intent was that we would show a regular guy on the cover; there wouldn’t be celebrities. That is likely to change; that’s something that we’re working on, and the change is based upon some feedback that we’ve gotten. But we really want it to be a magazine that the average guy relates to, so for example, the fashion section that we did for the first year; we did it and called it “Curated Thrift” and we focused exclusively on fashion and style that men could afford. And we really tried to do things that men could wear that were under $100, as opposed to what they’re normally going to see in GQ or Esquire or any other men’s magazine.

On what he hopes to accomplish in 2017: In 2017 we’re going to be doing a number of things. We’re going to be adding a podcast and I hope that will have taken off and have found listeners. We’re also going to be adding events that will be part of each release of the issue. Issue #4, as you noted, focused on male body image, and going forward the issues will have more of a thematic focus and we’re going to be developing events around those themes. Hopefully, this will further the conversation among men on the issues that are important to them.

On any changes he’s made to the magazine since the first issue: If you haven’t seen Issue #1, the obvious difference is that we changed the way the logo type is on the cover. We had the logo on the first two issues with just the “S” and the small Stand, and we changed the logo across the cover.

On the magazine resonating with each and every man, no matter race or sexual orientation: The intent is that it’s for the man that you want to become too. Going back to the beginning of the magazine; you do a magazine like this that’s idealistic in a way and calls men to really think more consciously about themselves. As an editor and a founder, you kind of set yourself up for people to view you as thinking that you’re an example of what a man should be. (Laughs) And for anybody who reads my editorials in each issue, I think one of the things that has resonated with our readers is that my editorials are full of failure; the ways that I have failed as a man. And how I’m struggling and learning to become a better man.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly at his home one evening: Typically, the four of us are having dinner together, my wife, Jessica, and our two children, Logan and Savannah. Logan is six and Savannah’s four, and we’ll sit down and have dinner together. And once we take care of what they have going on, and they work off all of their energy and go to bed; my wife and I will sit down with a book or watch a movie, and have a glass of wine to relax.

On what keeps him up at night: It’s ironic that you ask this question now, because last night it was my daughter, who climbed into bed with us, and I have no idea what time it was. If it’s not my daughter; probably like many people I tend to get inspired in the middle of the night and that drives me crazy because I can’t sleep. I’ll come up with an idea and I have to take some time to write it down.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Dwayne Hayes, Founder/Managing Editor, Stand magazine.

Samir Husni: The tagline for Stand magazine is: for men who give a damn. Tell me, why did you give a “damn” so much that you felt you had to start a magazine?

Dwayne Hayes: Well, I didn’t think there was a magazine out there for men such as we envisioned, and that was one that really promoted a different view of what men and masculinity meant. And to encourage and challenge men to reject some of the stereotypes about manhood and to really embrace a view that spurs men to be equal partners in all aspects of life; in raising children; in parenting; in taking a more conscious and ethical look at their work and what they do; reducing violence in the world, violence against women and children.

I love men’s magazines. I grew up reading GQ and Esquire and others, and I just felt like there was a place for a men’s magazine that encouraged men to think a little bit more consciously about the decisions that they make.

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Samir Husni: Take me back to that moment of conception, when you said to yourself: this is what I feel and I want to put it into a magazine and call it Stand. How did the idea develop into an actual magazine?

Dwayne Hayes: It really happened years and years ago. My background is in social work; I was a therapist for a number of years. I have a master’s in social work from the University of Michigan. And my work was with boys who were perpetrators of sexual abuse. And I did that for a number of years and I also worked with men on domestic violence and anger issues.

I ended up leaving social work and got into publishing. I’d always written and was very interested in publishing. And I did that for a number of years; primarily with information and reference publishing, and had started my own literary magazine that I published for 10 years.

It was during this time that I began to conceive of the idea of Stand and decided that there should be a new men’s magazine for men who wanted to stand for something besides just trying to look good. But I was doing all of these other things, so I didn’t have the time to do it then. I thought it was a good idea, but couldn’t do it at that time. Later however, my career changed and I made some other decisions, and I ended up having some time to develop it.

Samir Husni: Were there any stumbling blocks that you had to face during that development, and if so, how did you overcome them?

Dwayne Hayes: Everything feels like a stumbling block. (Laughs) As you know very well, doing a magazine is not a walk in the park. I was very fortunate though; when I finally decided to take the step and do it, which happened after leaving my job that I had been doing for about 16 or 17 years, I happened to meet a guy, Carl Johnson, who as it turned out, lived right around the corner from me, and was and is a fantastic designer, and we sat down and I told him about the vision I had for the magazine. He was very interested in it and really got the look I was going for, the design that we had in mind, and began to take it from there.

It’s difficult to get a new magazine out there, I’m not Condé Nast or some other large company, so we don’t have all of the resources that some of their startups might have, so that’s certainly a stumbling block. And to answer questions like: how do we reach our readers; how do we find our audience?

Samir Husni: We live in a digital age, so why did you feel the need for a print magazine and one with such an expensive cover price, $15?

Dwayne Hayes: That’s something that we’re constantly rethinking and reworking. We’re looking at all of this in our first year and we see it as a kind of experiment to see what happens. But I’m just a huge fan of print. When I read something, I want to grab it in print. When Borders (Bookstore) was opened, I would go there during my weekly Friday afternoon routine when I would get out of work early, sit down with a dozen or so magazines and just read through them all afternoon. And I think that the digital focus and emphasis in our lives actually provides a great opportunity for really beautifully-made print magazines. People enjoy being able to sit down and have a cup of coffee or have a beer and read something beautifully-made in print.

And that’s what we wanted to do. Make something in print that’s really beautiful that people would want to keep around and put on their coffee tables and come back to. The content that we’re envisioning for the magazine is pretty timeless; it’s not something that once the new issue comes out you feel the need to discard the other issues.

Samir Husni: I must admit I have taken Issue #4 of Stand home with me; I bring it back to the office; then I take it home again. I really can’t put it down. What’s the secret recipe in Stand that makes it so addictive for men?
Dwayne Hayes: I think it’s a combination of the photography in the magazine and the readability of the design. One thing that we have stayed away from is long form essays and journalistic pieces. I know that can work well in some formats, but I also know that attention spans are perhaps not what they used to be, so we try and provide content in a way that people can grab one essay or one piece and read it, then put it down for a week and come back and want to read another one.

I’ve had people tell me that they sit down and read it straight through from beginning to end. Some people flip through it, almost like it is a website. We’re still figuring out how people read it and how they prefer to read it.

Samir Husni: What’s the impact of your previous experience with the literary magazine; did that somehow spill over to Stand or you had to completely wipe your brain clean and start over with Stand?

Dwayne Hayes: It was kind of both. When I first started my literary magazine, it was called Absinthe after the drink and it was focused on European writing and translation, so as you can imagine there was a wide audience for that in the United States. (Laughs) But we had a really great group of readers and writers and translators that we associated with.

When I first started it I went to a reading by a Greek poet, Dino Siotis, who has published a number of literary magazines and newspapers. And he was speaking about his publishing experiences and about how you had to be a little bit crazy to start a magazine. And I knew that craziness, so I think that’s why I resisted doing Stand for a while, because I knew that it was going to be a quarterly and I knew it was going to be bold and have a big vision for where it was going to go and for what it was going to do. And I was a bit scared to take those steps and try something new and reach out.

But certainly having that experience helped, Absinthe was not nearly the amount of work that this was and is. Absinthe was published biannually and I think doing a quarterly really steps up the pace.

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Samir Husni: One of the things that I noticed about Stand is that you seem to be going against the norm; I mean you have an article about men, body image and the media. Are you trying to set the record straight when it comes to men or do you feel there’s a gap that media isn’t addressing when it comes to men’s magazines?

Dwayne Hayes: A little of both. We envisioned the magazine kind of turning some of the conventions of the men’s magazine on its head. Originally, our intent was that we would show a regular guy on the cover; there wouldn’t be celebrities. That is likely to change; that’s something that we’re working on, and the change is based upon some feedback that we’ve gotten. But we really want it to be a magazine that the average guy relates to, so for example, the fashion section that we did for the first year; we did it and called it “Curated Thrift” and we focused exclusively on fashion and style that men could afford. And we really tried to do things that men could wear that were under $100, as opposed to what they’re normally going to see in GQ or Esquire or any other men’s magazine.

But we’re going to expand that; it’s not going to be quite the same as we move forward, because we also want to highlight the work of a number of ethical and sustainable designers out there, so that will change.

You’re not likely to see women in bikinis in Stand either. (Laughs) In Issue #4 we have the swimsuit portfolio, which was literally suits swimming on a beach. We are attempting to turn some of the things upside down that is usually in men’s magazines. And similar to what you might see in GQ or Esquire and some of the others; we’re going to highlight a woman that we admire and that woman is going to be someone we admire for the quality of her character; who she is and what she does, rather than how she looks in a bikini or lingerie.

Samir Husni: If you and I are having this chat a year from now; what would you hope to tell me that you’ve accomplished in 2017 with Stand?

Dwayne Hayes: In 2017 we’re going to be doing a number of things. We’re going to be adding a podcast and I hope that will have taken off and have found listeners. We’re also going to be adding events that will be part of each release of the issue. Issue #4, as you noted, focused on male body image, and going forward the issues will have more of a thematic focus and we’re going to be developing events around those themes. Hopefully, this will further the conversation among men on the issues that are important to them.

Samir Husni: If you can go back to Issue #1; is there anything different that you’ve done with the subsequent issues since that first one?

Dwayne Hayes: If you haven’t seen Issue #1, the obvious difference is that we changed the way the logo type is on the cover. We had the logo on the first two issues with just the “S” and the small Stand, and we changed the logo across the cover. We’ve made some tweaks along those lines.

Right now we’re really looking at the first year as an experiment. What can we do to make it better and what can it become? For example, I think the mission of the magazine is very clear to readers, but we also want to touch on other issues that our readers are interested in.

Samir Husni: When did you decide on the tagline: the magazine for men who give a damn? And is that for all men; all races; all sexual orientations, because it seems the magazine is a mirrored reflection of society? You do not exclude any man in the magazine.

Dwayne Hayes: No, not at all. The intent is that it’s for the man that you want to become too. Going back to the beginning of the magazine; you do a magazine like this that’s idealistic in a way and calls men to really think more consciously about themselves. As an editor and a founder, you kind of set yourself up for people to view you as thinking that you’re an example of what a man should be. (Laughs) And for anybody who reads my editorials in each issue, I think one of the things that has resonated with our readers is that my editorials are full of failure; the ways that I have failed as a man. And how I’m struggling and learning to become a better man.

The magazine is really about that struggle that we all go through to live as the men that we envision ourselves to be and as the men that we’ve always wanted to be as well. So, the magazine is a way to call us to that vision and to encourage us to that. And we realize that men have various interests. The magazine is really for guys who want to look good; who want to feel great; and who want to do the right thing.

Samir Husni: From the masthead, it looks like you have the entire Hayes family working for you?

Dwayne Hayes: (Laughs) They’ve been involved to various degrees, yes. There’s a bit of fudging on the masthead though, because you’re probably seeing the names of my son, who is six, and my daughter, who is four. Their primary roles are inspiration, but my brother has been involved; he writes a piece on the content of character that we have at the end of each issue. And my nephew, Steven, has managed our social media presence.

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Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing; reading a magazine; reading your iPad; watching TV; cooking; having a glass of wine; or something else?

Dwayne Hayes: On a good day, I’m able to do all of those things. Typically, the four of us are having dinner together, my wife, Jessica, and our two children, Logan and Savannah. Logan is six and Savannah’s four, and we’ll sit down and have dinner together. And once we take care of what they have going on, and they work off all of their energy and go to bed; my wife and I will sit down with a book or watch a movie, and have a glass of wine to relax.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Dwayne Hayes: It’s ironic that you ask this question now, because last night it was my daughter, who climbed into bed with us, and I have no idea what time it was. If it’s not my daughter; probably like many people I tend to get inspired in the middle of the night and that drives me crazy because I can’t sleep. I’ll come up with an idea and I have to take some time to write it down.

Coming up with ideas for the magazine; coming up with thoughts about how we’re going to build the audience and reaching people who would love the magazine is what I’m thinking about.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

One comment

  1. […] “And I think that the digital focus and emphasis in our lives actually provides a great opportunity for really beautifully-made print magazines. People enjoy being able to sit down and have a cup of coffee or have a beer and read something beautifully-made in print,” Hayes said in his interview with Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni. […]



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