Originally from Sydney, Australia, Andrew Green only arrived in the States recently—in 2011—but has accomplished quite a lot in the last two years. Thanks to his background as a touring DJ and music journalist, Green honed his people skills that landed him gigs at media companies like VICE and Bedrocket, and would later make him the perfect person for successful bloggers, record label owners, first-time film directors and restaurateurs to spill their stories of how they built their current passions from scratch, in a down-to-earth manner.
How did they pay their rent in Manhattan for three years while they figured out what they wanted to do with their life?
As a young guy starting out in a new city, Green was looking to others for guidance but found that aside from knowing someone personally, it was nearly impossible to find a relatable role model. "I read two articles in two different magazines. One was a business and entrepreneurship magazine that profiled a person that was now worth hundreds of millions of dollars but had actually started out with millions anyway. It left me feeling bored, small and unimportant," Green tells Cool Hunting. "The other magazine I read was a famous lifestyle magazine that did one of those 'Top 30 Under 30' articles. After reading, I was left feeling disappointed at myself for not achieving all of the brilliant things that these 'rising stars' had accomplished but also left with curiosities like, 'Who introduced them to that CEO?' or 'How did they pay their rent in Manhattan for three years while they figured out what they wanted to do with their life?'"
"It was then that I realized that the business and entrepreneurship media needs to take a step into the world of relatable entrepreneurs and that the lifestyle magazines need to ask real questions and take responsibility for what they're trying to make readers aspire to." Thus, Green's idea for a new print magazine, Konichiwang, was born.
Konichiwang's first issue features conversational interviews with 12 different New Yorkers who all started their own "thing"—such as Jenne Lombardo (Milk Studio's MADE Fashion Week), Matt Kliegman (The Westway, The Smile, Jane Hotel Ballroom) and Xavier Aaronson (Babes At The Museum blog). Each subject has a unique story; whether it's leaving what seemed like dream jobs at big brands or transforming hobbies into careers. The interviews are accompanied by Polaroid images and doodles by the interviewees, adding to the intimate nature and distinguishing itself from the more formal profiles done by many print publications where quotes seem more like paraphrased press releases than useful advice.
All of the interviews were conducted between December 2012 and July 2013, but what's noticeably absent in the first issue are interviews with tech entrepreneurs—which was a conscious editorial decision Green made. "It's something that is a bit saturated in New York and because of this saturation I personally wasn't super curious about anyone. I interview people I'm genuinely curious to meet." According to his plan, future issues won't exclude the industry, but certainly won't focus on it.
Green explains that he wants locations to define the interviewees, rather than industries or fads. "I'm already looking at Issue Two and am considering Sydney, Mexico City, Sao Paulo or Nairobi as possible options. For example, East Africa has a lot of entrepreneurs making ideas happen with mobile so it's likely that I'll find people in that tech world that I'm curious about and hence, tech may become a bigger part of that particular issue."
Pre-order a digital or print copy of Konichiwang's first issue by visiting their Kickstarter campaign, which will fund the magazine's launch. For more information about the 12 interviewees, visit the magazine's website.
Images courtesy of Konichiwang