Q+A with Rachael Cavallo of Palu Ltd.

Rachael Cavallo refers to her job title as “magician.” She and her coworkers – her fellow “magicians” – run Seattle-based Palu Ltd., specializing in the design and manufacture of affordable home furnishings. It might take a bit of magic, she says, to combine fine craftsmanship, quality materials and contemporary style with the needs of an increasingly green world – yet Palu remains committed to environmental responsibility in all aspects of its business.

And when it comes to publishing catalog that help sell Palu products, Cavallo leaves the magic to MagCloud. “It’s been absolutely wonderful – and we especially appreciate the fast turnaround,” she says. “I can’t recommend MagCloud highly enough.”

  Tell us a little bit about Palu.

Rachael Cavallo We like to imagine things differently. From a broad range of chairs to cabinets, dining tables, mirrors and more, our line offers versatile furniture that is elegant, appropriate and approachable.

We recognize that the business of making furniture can have a heavy impact on our environment and our world. We are constantly working to minimize the impact we have and to promote positive change. We actively support sustainable and accountable forest management, fair labor practices, energy conservation, recycling, transparency and innovation in everything we do.

  How did you get started publishing through MagCloud?

RC We used to do a catalog with each item having an individual page, and we assembled all of the pages into binders. It didn’t take long, though, for customers’ binders to become unorganized – especially when we’d add or discontinue items. If we weren’t there to update the customers’ binders personally, it just wasn’t working. Plus, our printer wasn’t doing a very good job. So we needed a new platform.

We found MagCloud and began creating individual booklets by room. So we have a bedroom booklet, a dining room booklet, a living room booklet, one for accessories – and the like. So now when we have revisions, we just alert customers to the revised booklets and they can order them directly from MagCloud.

  How has MagCloud improved your business?

RC I like that we can do very small print runs. We can easily put together a 12-page catalog every few months, print out a few and send those to anyone who’s interested in what we have to offer. We’ll do about 400 or 500 at a time. And if we need, say, three more, then we order just three more. Or 300 more. The quantity is never a problem.

The expense is so small compared with the benefit of always having something for customers to hold on to. That’s always been the challenge for us.

  What tips would you give to someone new to self-publishing?

RC Learn your publishing software. I think that’s the most important tip I can give. We use InDesign, and we had a local designer create 10 styles of a template that we use on a regular basis. InDesign is a wonderful tool. Learn to use it, and it will not fail you.

  If your catalog were an ice cream flavor, what would it be?

RC I’m going with Marionberry Swirl because vanilla is its classic base – you can’t go wrong with that. The marionberry comes from our part of the country – and our pieces definitely have a Seattle/Northwast flair. The marionberry shows that we’re classic, but with a special twist.

Q+A with Kyle Menard of BRINK Magazine

Kyle Menard has loved magazines since he could read. So much so that he once even dreamed of opening a newsstand selling magazines from around the world. “Like the kind you see in New York City,” he says.

Now an adult in the digital age, Menard has directed his passion for print into a magazine of his own. In 2009, he launched BRINK, an Orlando, Fla.-based bimonthly magazine that celebrates entrepreneurs – those already successful and those just starting – and the spirit that makes them all so special. BRINK was voted “Best Magazine in Orlando 2012” by TheDailyCity.com readers.

  How did BRINK come about?

Kyle Menard  I’m just a huge fan of magazines and wanted to create a magazine of my own. So I put all my ideas together and named the magazine BRINK – because it’s always exciting to be on the cusp of something new, whatever that might be.

BRINK celebrates entrepreneurs and shares their stories and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. We feature entrepreneurs in the realm of entertainment, fashion, human interest and pop culture – everyone from indie musicians and actors to designers and artists – people who’ve quit their day jobs to live their dreams. We hope these stories inspire future entrepreneurs to create their own paths to success.

  How has publishing a magazine changed for you in the past five years?

KM My name has definitely become more recognizable in Orlando. And through the years people have become more willing to work with me and participate in BRINK. They want to join in the conversation. There’s something about publishing a print magazine that gives you more credibility.

There’s been a lot of talk about the demise of publishing, but print is not going anywhere. Online is great – everyone loves immediate gratification. But people still want to hold something in their hands. They want the physical magazine that they can hold – they want to experience a deeper connection.

  How did you get started publishing through MagCloud?

KM I did a web search for “publishing magazines” and found MagCloud. I began with a simple eight-page prototype. And after teaching myself Photoshop, going through some MagCloud tutorials and trial and error, I’ve never looked back.

  Why did you choose MagCloud?

KM We’re always evolving, and MagCloud is always evolving. The convenience factor is huge. If we need something printed right away, MagCloud can do that. If we need perfect bound instead of saddle stitched, MagCloud can do that. If we need 10 copies shipped to Spain, again, MagCloud makes all that possible. Plus, MagCloud is always encouraging us to do more with our magazine. They don’t just print your PDFs. They really care about your success.

Publishers in Their Own Words: Mike Lesnick Photography

My name is Mike Lesnick, I am the owner and photographer of Mike Lesnick Photography. I use MagCloud to make my brochure/portfolio available to all past and future clients. It’s a great way for me to have my information readily available to everyone.

I created my brochure so that anyone could see a sample of my work, pricing and little snippets about myself and the weddings I have photographed. With my brochure I have made an impact on brides and grooms with my neatly presented work, pictures and lay out. My latest brochure was updated to include all pictures from this past wedding season (2011) as well as full-page spreads of previous weddings I have photographed.

MagCloud has provided me with the most cost-effective way to  distribute and manage my brochures; as well as providing the print quality that as a wedding photographer I expect and need to present my work in a manner that I feel is professional. Thanks so much MagCloud, keep up the good work!

Mike Lesnick, Owner/Photographer, Mike Lesnick Photography

Visit Mike’s website to learn more about his work or preview his work on MagCloud.

Publishers In Their Own Words: Merritt Design Photo

I love when January comes and I can take a moment to dream up new strategies for my small business in the coming year.  For 2012, I made a decision to crank things up a notch with a new creative marketing strategy for my wedding photography business, which had previously been promoted solely “word of mouth.”  I had used MagCloud before and knew that it offered an excellent solution to get started with a custom-designed, high impact product that I could print affordably enough to leave after meetings with wedding coordinators, and even send to begin a dialogue and make a lasting impression with potential clients.

For my first Weddings issue, MagCloud’s format, quality and great price-point give me ample space to share insights into my personal approach to wedding photography; what clients can expect from the experience of working together; some information about packages; and finally, plenty of space for rich color photographs to jump off the pages. Because I can design the whole issue myself, it is the perfect product to give a sense of my personality and style — hopefully enough to inspire people to want to learn more!

I am proud to share this gorgeous, stand-out marketing piece with potential clients; in the first few showings alone, the response has been overwhelming! I’m so excited to be working with MagCloud and I already can’t wait to create my next magazines!

Jennifer Koskinen, Owner/Photographer, Merritt Design Photo

Visit Jennifer’s website to learn more about here work or preview her work on MagCloud.

Publisher Spotlight: Portfolio Contest Winners Sean McCloskey, Cemal Ekin and Jeremiah Johnson

In this post, we’re excited to highlight the work of the top three winners of the MagCloud Portfolio Contest.

This photo of U2 is Sean's favorite concert photo. It was taken on the final night of their 2001 U.S. tour. (Credit: Sean McCloskey)

Sean McCloskey
Photographer Sean McCloskey, grand prize winner of the MagCloud Portfolio Contest, got his start shooting concerts while in college. His passion for the business led him to publish his first magazine just two months after graduation. He’s now been in the photography business for more than 16 years and as well as a magazine publisher for the past 13 years. Sean’s MagCloud contest entry is a showcase of his first 15 years in the concert photography business.

Thanks to MagCloud, Sean has been able to break out of the local market and get more eyes on his work. He found a way to not only distribute digitally but also easily maintain the high quality print distribution that’s so important to photographers.

He currently has four publications on MagCloud.com: SFL Music, Movie Zone, Streets and his submission for the Portfolio Contest. Check out Sean’s work and join us in congratulating him once again!

Photo of the Hagia Sophia from inside the dome. (Credit: Cemal Ekin)

Cemal Ekin
Cemal Ekin, one of our contest runners-up, is a true MagCloud whiz. He stumbled across the service when looking for a new way to spark innovation in his classroom at Providence College. His students began creating and publishing MagCloud magazines each semester – their publications were a hit and Cemal saw an opportunity to spread the word about his own work.

The portfolio he entered in our contest, along with his other publications, have really made an impact with clients and have helped attract new business opportunities. Whether at an unveiling party for his latest publication or a closed-door meeting with new prospects, it’s the quality of MagCloud’s print and binding that grabs the audiences’ attention. Obtaining shots of the Hagia Sophia from inside the dome is a rarity, and Cemal’s portfolio of this work not only wooed his community into voting for him in our contest but also spread his work to new contacts – notably ARTstor.org (a premiere collection for art and art history research) who accepted his photos of the dome’s detailed mosaics and structure of the dome into their exclusive collection.

Ekin has even written up the process he uses for preparing his photos for printing through MagCloud on his site, KeptLight.com. A big fan of the ease of publishing workflow, he breaks the process down in digestible steps. Have a look!

Don’t forget to view all of Cemal’s MagCloud publications here, including his portfolio submission. Bravo on your win, Cemal!

Entryway and mud-room of the PrairieHouse project. (Credit: Jeremiah Johnson)

Jeremiah Johnson
Designer and amateur photographer Jeremiah Johnson created his MagCloud portfolio to showcase his architectural and graphic design work along with his budding photography skills. Seeking work, he needed a solid portfolio to leave behind at job interviews and cold calls. From the start, Jeremiah knew that MagCloud’s publishing quality and value was tough to beat.

Jeremiah was thrilled to receive job offers from the first three firms he submitted his MagCloud portfolio to and accepted an offer from an architecture firm in Minneapolis. In addition to his design and photography skills, Jeremiah said that “the professional quality of the publication is what caught the eye of potential employers who often receive spiral bound booklets of inkjet printed pages from applicants.”

Congratulations on the win and the new job, Jeremiah! View his portfolio here and catch even more of his great work here.

Publisher Spotlight: Sell With Your Ears

President Obama once asserted “small businesses are part of the promise of America.” At MagCloud, we wholeheartedly believe this statement and strive to provide small business the opportunity to market their products with style and quality without demanding a hefty investment.

One such small business owner who relies on MagCloud is author and sales strategist Bill Zipp who published his publication, Sell With Your Ears, through MagCloud as a way to market his business and provide a valuable resource. Sell With Your Ears presents Zipp’s unique approach to the marketplace and resource and tips for uncommon ways to build a smarter, more profitable business. It represents Zipp’s thought-leadership in his industry among business owners and key stakeholders responsible for generating revenue for their business – large or small.

As a business owner himself, Zipp is responsible for promoting his brand at all times. His publication is a conversation generator in networking settings and helps spread his message to even wider audiences. “I give my publication to clients to give to their friends, essentially serving as a sophisticated, and powerful business card.”

One element we are proud of at MagCloud is the quality of the printed materials we produce every day for publishers and readers. Time and again, we hear from our customers that the quality of the printed magazine, brochure, flier, etc. exceeded their expectations and that of their readers.

Additionally, when customers like Bill who publish with MagCloud, they are take advantage of the print on demand feature which affords customers the ability to fulfill orders as they come in vs. having piles of magazines or books in their homes and offices waiting to sell and ship. (Or as Zipp explains, “I don’t have to store thousands of books in my garage.”) Bulk printing is no longer the standard in publishing thanks to print on demand.

We encourage you to learn more about Bill Zipp’s publication here, and hope that you are inspired to become an even savvier marketer with MagCloud.

Have you ever considered publishing a book through MagCloud? What marketing materials are you publishing using MagCloud? Let us know by posting below.

2 Days Later, Let’s Welcome Longshot Magazine Issue Two

One theme, five challenges, and a plethora of writers, editors, artists, photographers, programmers, videographers, and other Creatives from all around the world and you have a magazine.   This past weekend Longshot Magazine published Issue Two focused on the theme, Debt, in just 48 hours with help from a global community of literary zealots.

On Friday, July 29 at 3 p.m. EDT, contributors were given 24 hours to fill in the blanks: “I owe ___ for ___.” Through short essays, long-form articles, photographs, illustrations, the Longshot Magazine team narrowed down all the 672 crowd-sourced online submissions on Saturday to produce a 68-page paper magazine and a slick digital edition by Sunday evening.

Headquartered at Gawker.com’s New York City office and with satellite offices around the U.S. and Europe, the team was able to accomplish their goal through various tools such as SubMishMash, Kickstarter, Google Docs, and of course, MagCloud.

Check out Longshot Magazine’s Issue Two in all its glory. If you want to learn more about their very intense weekend, visit their Tumblr blog or follow @LongshotMag on Twitter. We hope Mat, Sarah and Alexis and their crew are getting some rest today.