The third issue of The Quiet Leaf magazine is out and as always, this Korean magazine brings an amazing aesthetic and design in the skateboard scene. With a global vision, The Quiet Leaf has conquered readers from across the world with a strong editorial (in English and Korean) that its appealing to both global travelers and brands. Interview with the editor Jin Yob Kim.
Can you tell us about your magazine?
I started skateboarding in the mid-nineties. Back then it was mainly about exploring the city, being creative and having fun in the streets. Only later I grasped this complex system called the skateboard industry. The Quiet Leaf started as an ode to those days, portraying low-key professionals and overlooked creative players in different parts of the world. Call it a humble reminder of what made us step on that piece of wood many years ago.
The Quiet Leaf is about the creative elements of skateboarding, including photography, art, music and traveling. Each issue focuses on one country and appears in English, Korean and each issue’s country’s language. Apart from interviews with people from the local skateboard, hip hop and arts scene, each issue features a photographer’s personal view on his city, a trip to visit a local skateboarder who shows us around with his favorite spots in town, an exclusive series of art works of a skateboarding artist, and much more.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Germany, studied in Bonn, London and Seoul, and am currently based in Korea. I work as a literature translator, freelance editor, and editor-in-chief at The Quiet Leaf. I started skateboarding as a kid, developed an interest for photography and writing soon after, and began my studies because I never gained any recognizable success through any of it. After odd jobs here and there, I worked for two other magazines based in Korea and finally founded The Quiet Leaf at the end of last year.
Why choose print? What kind of paper you use and why?
I wanted The Quiet Leaf to be a print magazine, because I am very fond of it as a medium. I suppose I’m an old-fashioned guy and just prefer reading things on real paper, feeling the weight of the book in my hands, the texture and smell of each page. It took us forever to find the right paper for the cover of our magazine. It is rough white paper made in Japan, rather sensitive to scratches, dents and marks. It feels great.
How’s the public response?
It’s been very well-received so far. We’ve found numerous retailers in Europe and Asia, mostly skate shops and book stores, and we are looking for stockists in the US, Canada and Australia as well. For each new issue we have small events and many people make it out to join us. Our readership is quite mixed, not only skateboarders but also people interested in photography, arts and jazzy hip hop have sent us positive feedback.
Business: Good print mags get a lot of love, but it’s not always translated to sales or advertising. How are the sales? Advertising-wise, is it a normal approach of selling an ad page or more a brand ad approach?
Sales are good. I mean, of course they could always be better, but frankly, making money off of the magazine was never a priority. While we do have ads we reserve ad space for both paying brands that understand our mission and also small independent brands that we want to support. We’re still a young magazine, only three issues deep, and as long as we can make ends meet to pay our staff and produce the next issue, all is good.
What are your upcoming projects?
We just finished our third issue, Hong Kong and China, and are about to launch the mag in Beijing, Seoul and Hong Kong. Currently, we’re also working with Vans Asia on the House of Vans events this September and October. The next issue is always around the corner, but I guess for the long run I would like to see some video contents to feed the digital needs, as well as further projects to build a stronger network and platform that allows creative exchange on a worldwide scale. Stay tuned!
The third issue features: photo series of Tobin Yelland (on Hong Kong) and Eric Lai (on North Korea), a trip to Shanghai with the Vans China team, as well as interviews with Tommy Zhao (videographer), Stephane Khou (co-owner of Helas Caps), Eric Lai (photographer and founder of Vagabond Skateboards), Brian Siswojo (shop owner, brand owner, rapper and actor), Eric Lau (UK-based beatmaker).