h1

DUN Magazine: A “DUN” Deal When It Comes To Fly Fishing Content Created For Women By Women – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Founder & Editor In Chief, Jen Ripple…

February 5, 2018

“I watched my children when they were younger have to do everything online, and they grew up in the digital age. And I watched my kids, specifically my two younger children, and they just loved to pick up a book. They preferred a book in their hands, and I think that was because they grew up so digitally that they needed the tactile sensation. They love the vinyl records and the Walkman, and they love books. And I thought, people who say print is dead; I love print and I know my children love print, I believe that print is never going to die.” Jen Ripple…

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

DUN Magazine is a beautifully done and well-crafted lifestyle publication about the female fly angler that is created for women by women. And that interpretation is incorporated into the magazine’s tagline and into its DNA. Jen Ripple is the founder and editor in chief of the title, which drew its first breath as a digital-only entity that seemed to be missing the one thing that would give it a heavier substance: a print component. And would also answer the cry of many of the online version’s readers of where could they buy the magazine.

I spoke with Jen recently and we talked about the many facets of DUN, from its unique name (an actual life stage of an insect that fish love to have on their menu: the mayfly) to the hefty cover price of $20 (which no one has balked at paying, according to Jen). It’s a lovely print magazine that is oversized and sticks to Jen’s own firm beliefs in conservation by using a vegetable-based ink. And while Mr. Magazine™ may not be an avid fly fisherman, I certainly applaud the determination and excellent content of the entrepreneurial endeavor.

Gearing it toward women, without excluding the male reader, Jen hopes to empower females who are interested in the sport or already ensconced in their boats and raring to go. And while she may occasionally swim upstream when it comes to some of the males in the industry of fly fishing, Jen has no intention of tearing down the scaffolds of her platform that she’s built, which strives to provide a voice for all women anglers.

Jen Ripple

So, I hope that you enjoy this “DUN” interview with a woman who gives true meaning to the words passion and entrepreneurialism – the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Jen Ripple, founder & editor in chief, DUN Magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On the story of DUN Magazine: The story of DUN is a funny one. I was working at the University of Michigan and it was a very cold winter. I didn’t really have anything to do, so I was looking online to see what was going on, and I decided to take a fly tying class. And I took the class in a fly shop and actually loved it, so from that point forward it was like a downward spiral. I started fishing and then I started writing for a Midwest fly fishing magazine. But I really wanted to write for a women’s magazine and there wasn’t one. And that was in June 2013 and by September, we had our first magazine. I figured if I was missing it, other people were as well.

On how she chose the name of the magazine: I think picking the name for the magazine was the hardest part for me, because once you pick it you’re stuck with it, so you better like it, right? (Laughs) So, dun is the stage of a mayfly and a mayfly is one of the predominant flies that trout and bass eat, that fish in general eat. So, it made sense to have a name that was associated with fly fishing. I also wanted to pick a name that would maybe cause people who didn’t understand fly fishing to take a step back and ask, “Wait a minute, what does that mean?” Then maybe they Google it and find the magazine.

On why she decided to go against all odds when adding the print component by being oversized and having a cover price of $20: I wanted to make a magazine that people weren’t going to just page through and then toss aside. And since I’ve had the magazine, I’ve become a bit of a magazine hoarder. I just look at all magazines; I love to page through them and see the different things that I like and don’t like. And I found that the magazines I kept around were the ones that…and I don’t cook at all, but I found a cooking magazine that I really loved and I kept going back to that magazine and magazines like it, the ones that were about something that I didn’t even like, because of the way they felt, the paper quality, the print quality, the heftiness of them.

On why she geared the magazine toward women only: It’s a fly fishing magazine, so 43 percent of our readers are male in our subscriber base. But there was nothing out there for women, and I knew that women were a lot more prominent in the sport than the fishing industry knew, just because they weren’t as vocal as the male population out there. So, I just believed that women didn’t have a platform to actually prove themselves as anglers.

On whether the fish get bigger in the stories women tell as they supposedly do with “men” fishing stories: You know what, one of the covers of our magazine had a woman holding a teeny-tiny, little brook trout and I loved that because usually it’s all about the size, and that story wasn’t about the size, it was all about the experience of fly fishing. So, women don’t care what size the fish is; they don’t even care if they catch fish sometimes, because it’s about being on the river, being out side in nature and just enjoying a beautiful day. The fish is like a side story, whereas with the male population it’s more about the fish, and how big it was.

On any snags or complications she had along the way to creating the magazine: Obviously, it hasn’t been without its snags, but I think the biggest was when I started it, before our first digital magazine came out, I had a male friend of mine in the industry to say that we’d have one beautiful magazine and it would be great, but we’d never have more than one because there weren’t enough women out there who fly fish. Looking back, maybe that should have been a snag to me, but I just knew he was wrong and if nothing else, it became a springboard to prove him wrong.

On the future and what she would hope to say she had accomplished one year from now: A quarterly magazine, which is what we’re doing in 2018, and that we’ll hit our goal of 50 percent women on the water and in the fly shops and just a growing population of young and old women and children. And the fly fishing industry becoming more prevalent in fishing, in general.

On whether she received any backlash from the high cover price: Not at all. In fact, I thought I would, but I really haven’t. Everybody who picks it up just says wow, this is really a coffee table magazine that we wouldn’t get rid of. So it seemed like an appropriate price. And to be conservation-minded and print a magazine that’s conservation-minded, it’s more money. But I’ve been surprised that I haven’t had anyone balk at the cover price.

On anything she’d like to add: From the millennial generation; I watched my children when they were younger have to do everything online, and they grew up in the digital age. And I watched my kids, specifically my two younger children, and they just loved to pick up a book. They preferred a book in their hands, and I think that was because they grew up so digitally that they needed the tactile sensation. They love the vinyl records and the Walkman, and they love books. And I thought, people who say print is dead; I love print and I know my children love print, I believe that print is never going to die.

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at her home: At the end of the day, you’ll find me with a glass of Scotch in my hand, on my side porch, with my feet kicked up, looking over the beautiful Land Between the Lakes. My house is on 10 acres that backs up to the Land Between the Lakes, which is 180,000 acres of public land.

On what she would have tattooed upon her brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about her: It would be trailblazer. I want people to realize that I’ve created the home base for women in the sport. That’s what I want to be known for.

On what keeps her up at night: Having to make another magazine as beautiful as the last one. (Laughs)

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Jen Ripple, founder & editor in chief, DUN Magazine.

Samir Husni: Tell me the story of DUN Magazine.

Jen Ripple

Jen Ripple bio headshot[/caption]Jen Ripple: The story of DUN is a funny one. I was working at the University of Michigan and it was a very cold winter. I didn’t really have anything to do, so I was looking online to see what was going on, and I decided to take a fly tying class. To be really honest, I took it because it was inexpensive and I figured that if I didn’t like it after the first time, I wouldn’t go back. And I took the class in a fly shop and actually loved it, so from that point forward it was like a downward spiral.

I started fishing and then I started writing for a Midwest fly fishing magazine. But I really wanted to write for a women’s magazine and there wasn’t one. And that was in June 2013 and by September, we had our first magazine. I figured if I was missing it, other people were as well.

Samir Husni: How did you come up with the name DUN for the magazine? And why did you decide to add a print component after a few years as a digital-only entity?

Jen Ripple: I think picking the name for the magazine was the hardest part for me, because once you pick it you’re stuck with it, so you better like it, right? (Laughs) So, dun is the stage of a mayfly and a mayfly is one of the predominant flies that trout and bass eat, that fish in general eat. So, it made sense to have a name that was associated with fly fishing. I also wanted to pick a name that would maybe cause people who didn’t understand fly fishing to take a step back and ask, “Wait a minute, what does that mean?” Then maybe they Google it and find the magazine.

And when I first started, I really wanted to just be an online magazine, because five years ago people knew all about digital-online everything. And we are also very conservation-minded and I thought we’d never go to print because that’s not being conservation-minded. And I could offer it for free online and we could have a larger audience. So, we went from being four magazines a year digitally to six magazines a year digitally, to having one magazine that was 300 pages online, and that was just too much. We had so much content that everybody was asking where they could buy the magazine.

And our older demographic and our very young demographic were saying that they wanted something that they could take with them and that they could page through when they were sitting at home. Finally, after about a year and so many people asking when we were going to come out with a print magazine; I found a printer that I really liked, that was all ecofriendly and used vegetable ink, and we decided that we’d try it. And that’s why we went to print, and it’s been really good for us.

Samir Husni: Going to print, it appears you didn’t save on anything; you have a hefty, oversized magazine with over 140 pages and a $20 cover price. Why did you decide to go against all odds; a larger-sized magazine in print; a higher cover price; and quite a few pages?

Jen Ripple: I wanted to make a magazine that people weren’t going to just page through and then toss aside. And since I’ve had the magazine, I’ve become a bit of a magazine hoarder. I just look at all magazines; I love to page through them and see the different things that I like and don’t like. And I found that the magazines I kept around were the ones that…and I don’t cook at all, but I found a cooking magazine that I really loved and I kept going back to that magazine and magazines like it, the ones that were about something that I didn’t even like, because of the way they felt, the paper quality, the print quality, the heftiness of them. And I thought if I’m going to do a print magazine, I’m going to do a print magazine. (Laughs) A beautiful one that people can’t just dismiss.

And everyone who has looked at it and come to me about it has said that it is a coffee table magazine. They’ve said, “I bought this for my wife, but I love it as much as she does, because first and foremost, it’s a fly fishing magazine, but it’s also beautiful.” And that’s what I was trying to accomplish.

My background is not in magazines, so I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I just wanted to make a magazine that I would like to look through. And I didn’t know anything about the mailing, or the cost of making a magazine. (Laughs) So, I guess part of it was ignorance is bliss, you know? But I think having a background that isn’t in journalism or publishing has been good for me. It’s not without its challenges, but it’s been good for me because I can just do something that I like without having a preconceived notion about how it should be done.

Samir Husni: Why did you decide the magazine should be geared toward women only? Part of your tagline is “For Women by Women.” Why did you opt for only half of the population instead of the entire population?

Jen Ripple: It’s a fly fishing magazine, so 43 percent of our readers are male in our subscriber base. But there was nothing out there for women, and I knew that women were a lot more prominent in the sport than the fishing industry knew, just because they weren’t as vocal as the male population out there. So, I just believed that women didn’t have a platform to actually prove themselves as anglers. There are a lot of other fly fishing magazines out there, but they were all very testosterone-filled, I guess, and I knew that women had something more to offer to the industry. So, that’s why it’s women authors only, or at least, predominantly women authors.

Samir Husni: I have to ask you this question; do you hear a lot of exaggerated stories among women anglers as they say you do among men? Do the fish get bigger each time someone tells the story?

Jen Ripple: (Laughs) I love that. You know what, one of the covers of our magazine had a woman holding a teeny-tiny, little brook trout and I loved that because usually it’s all about the size, and that story wasn’t about the size, it was all about the experience of fly fishing. So, women don’t care what size the fish is; they don’t even care if they catch fish sometimes, because it’s about being on the river, being out side in nature and just enjoying a beautiful day. The fish is like a side story, whereas with the male population it’s more about the fish, and how big it was.

I used to be involved with a magazine called “A Tight Loop Magazine,” and that’s a Midwest fly fishing magazine that was 99.9 percent male authors. And I used to say that the difference between my authors at DUN and the authors at A Tight Loop was sort of like describing a baby. You know, your baby is so cute with all that hair and in that outfit; those are the female authors. The male authors were more like: my baby is bigger than your baby; my baby has more hair than your baby. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Jen Ripple: So, that’s why I think the fish is inconsequential. Men catch many fish and sometimes more and bigger fish, but it’s not about that. And I think maybe that’s why women are such great fly anglers, because they can enjoy the whole thing. And it’s not about the fish, so they let that part go, and the fish respond to that. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: The energy in your voice as you’re talking about this magazine makes it sound as though it was as easy as a successful fly fishing excursion. Have you hit any snags or any old shoes in the water that you maybe thought were fish? Or has it been smooth sailing all the way?

Jen Ripple: Obviously, it hasn’t been without its snags, but I think the biggest was when I started it, before our first digital magazine came out, I had a male friend of mine in the industry to say that we’d have one beautiful magazine and it would be great, but we’d never have more than one because there weren’t enough women out there who fly fish. Looking back, maybe that should have been a snag to me, but I just knew he was wrong and if nothing else, it became a springboard to prove him wrong.

The women fly fishing community is so encompassing and so supportive that I think my major issue in the beginning was convincing the men in the industry, the manufacturers, that we were legitimate and that they should support us. In hindsight, I guess I got lucky in making the digital magazine first, because it didn’t really cost me much, so I didn’t need their support. And then once I could prove that women were so forefront in the industry, they were ready to put their money behind it.

Samir Husni: What are the plans for the future? If you and I are talking one year from now, what would you hope to tell me?

Jen Ripple: A quarterly magazine, which is what we’re doing in 2018, and that we’ll hit our goal of 50 percent women on the water and in the fly shops and just a growing population of young and old women and children. And the fly fishing industry becoming more prevalent in fishing, in general.

Samir Husni: When I saw the magazine on the newsstand, it jumped at me. It’s oversized, metallic ink on the cover, and a $20 cover price. Did you get any backlash from the high cover price?

Jen Ripple: Not at all. In fact, I thought I would, but I really haven’t. Everybody who picks it up just says wow, this is really a coffee table magazine that we wouldn’t get rid of. So it seemed like an appropriate price. And to be conservation-minded and print a magazine that’s conservation-minded, it’s more money. But I’ve been surprised that I haven’t had anyone balk at the cover price.

Samir Husni: Now, you call middle Tennessee home; are you originally from the South?

Jen Ripple: No, I’m from Wisconsin. I grew up in Wisconsin and lived the majority of my adult life in Chicago. I moved to Tennessee a year ago.

Samir Husni: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Jen Ripple: From the millennial generation; I watched my children when they were younger have to do everything online, and they grew up in the digital age. And I watched my kids, specifically my two younger children, and they just loved to pick up a book. They preferred a book in their hands, and I think that was because they grew up so digitally that they needed the tactile sensation. They love the vinyl records and the Walkman, and they love books. And I thought, people who say print is dead; I love print and I know my children love print, I believe that print is never going to die.

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

Jen Ripple: At the end of the day, you’ll find me with a glass of Scotch in my hand, on my side porch, with my feet kicked up, looking over the beautiful Land Between the Lakes. My house is on 10 acres that backs up to the Land Between the Lakes, which is 180,000 acres of public land.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Jen Ripple: It would be trailblazer. I want people to realize that I’ve created the home base for women in the sport. That’s what I want to be known for.

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

Jen Ripple: Having to make another magazine as beautiful as the last one. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: Thank you.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: