Industry Profile: Shred Betties Editor Kelly Vance
01 Aug, 2008
Kelly: I live in Carbondale, Colorado, and I like popsicles and think puns are way funnier than they actually are.
Shay: What is your job title?
Kelly: Editor-in-Chief, Shred Betties Magazine
Shay: What was your first set up?
Kelly: Er…some crap from Gart Sports, I think the board was a Salomon Transfer? I had no idea what I was buying, I just got it because it had some kung fu guy that looked like Bruce Lee on it.
Shay: What is your current set up?
Kelly: I have a bunch of gear, but my main staples at the moment are:
Park setup: 08 Bataleon Violenza, 08 Ride Sigma MVMT
Backcountry setup: 07 Option Bella, 07 Ride DVA
Boots: 08 Vans Veil
Shay: What was your first job?
Kelly: Babysitting. I was really good at it. I just convinced the kids to watch what I wanted to watch on TV, and then got paid for it.
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
Kelly: A huge powder day with no one around. Well, I guess I might want a few friends to join me, just for when I feel the need to yell “holy shit, this is waist deep awesomeness” and have someone there to agree with me and make some kind of comment about needing a snorkel. But not too many friends, wouldn’t want them to track up the snow that I wanted to track up.
Shay: Who are your influences?
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
Kelly: I grew up skiing at local CO resorts, and tried snowboarding for the first time about 14 years ago. I didn’t make the full transition from skiing to snowboarding until 7 years ago. I was living in Steamboat and we had a really crappy early season so I had lots of time to focus on learning to ride.
Photo courtesy of Shred Betties
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
Kelly: Around 100.
Shay: What is your role at Shred Betties as the Editor?
Kelly: I boss people around and do a lot of nagging. Sometimes I do that red-faced yelling you see newspaper editors do in the movies. My official role is to coordinate and organize the staff, interns and volunteers, and sort out what we need to get done to keep everything rolling on a day-to-day basis, and what we need to do to achieve our long-term goals. I also spend a lot of time developing story leads and industry contacts, and editing content. Plus, for now, since we still have a small staff, I do a lot of writing, photography, and behind the scenes website stuff.
Shay: What made you create Shred Betties?
Kelly: Our art director, Julie Verone, had the idea years ago but never quite got anything going with it. Then, sometime in 2004, she and I started talking (or possibly bitching) about how we didn’t feel like the current snowboard media really covered the needs and interests of women very much. A year or so later the idea gained some real momentum when we realized other girls felt the same way, and some of those feeling-the-same-way girls joined us in wanting to get something started. Since it was summer, and we were all just sitting around bitching about the lack of snow anyway, we had plenty of free time to work on it.
Shay: How did you come up with the name and logo?
Kelly: The name was Julie’s idea, I think. We did a lot of talking, and much to my disdain, all of my awesomely quirky name ideas got rejected. We came up with the basic concept for the logo in a brainstorming session – to take imagery that’s associated with your stereotypical ditsy lodge rat snow bunny, and make it badass. Based on that, Julie came up with the design for our logo.
Shay: Shred Betties is an online magazine…what made you decide to go online vs print?
Kelly: Julie and I both grew up in the punk scene, so our first instinct was to do a zine. Unfortunately, printing was super spendy and we’re just poor shredder girls, so after attempting two print issues and primarily distributing them online as PDF’s, we decided to shift to online only. This allowed us to focus our time and money on developing content, expanding our reader base…and making stickers. We plan to revisit printing in the future, but print media is a tough business – it requires a lot of startup financing, and even established magazines struggle with budget and making ends meet.
Shay: What was the hardest part of creating the magazine?
Kelly: It’s a lot of work, and then there’s more work after all of the work is done. Plus there’s some work involved. It’s also sometimes really difficult to cope with our small budget, and it took a while for people to take us seriously.
Shay: Who else contributes to Shred Betties?
Kelly: My business partners are Julie, the art director, and Sara Dinkin, the associate editor/photo editor. Our other key staff includes Halley O’Brien, our marketing director, and Diana Distrola, our team manager. For content, we rely on a group of regular and freelance contributors in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia, mostly other snowboard-obsessed chicks. We also generally keep 2-3 interns on staff for slave labor.
Shay: What’s your favorite article/interview you’ve done for the magazine?
Kelly: Um duh, I guess all of our content is awesome. I did think the Shred Mommies interview series with Shannon Dunn, Tina Basich, and Barrett Christy came out especially cute, though.
Shay: What are your thoughts on women in the industry?
Kelly: I’d guess I’d like to see a few more of them. Not that we don’t like all the lovely boys, but it’s always refreshing to see a bit of feminine influence in such a male-dominated industry. We’ve met a ton of women who are making an impact on the industry, and last season decided to start an editorial series on those women, with the goal of encouraging more girls to think about industry careers.
Shay: Prior to Shred Betties, what jobs have you had?
Kelly: I actually have a Masters Degree in architecture, so mostly I’ve worked for architects, designing houses for rich people in ski towns, and doing web design. My main employment goal was always find jobs that allow me to live in an awesome mountain town, and take a long lunch and ride every day. None of us are super core industry types, we’re just your average snowboard-obsessed chick.
Shay: What’s your average day like working on the magazine?
Kelly: It depends. Some days I spend most of my time on the computer developing and editing content, sending emails, making calls or working on marketing. Other days I’m out on the slopes for photo and video shoots, events, or product testing. Plus, I still have my day job.
Shay: What experience did you have or attributes before starting the magazine?
Kelly: In second grade, my friends stopped talking to me for 3 days in a protest of my bossiness. It was originally supposed to be 2 weeks, but they soon realized that I made up all of the fun games, and got bored without me.
Shay: What are you looking forward to from women’s products in 2008-2009?
Kelly: I’m not much of a gear whore, so nothing really specific comes to mind, but I’m happy to see the options and technology available to women continue to expand, more small companies including girls stuff in their lines, and more products which were manufactured with some level of environmental responsibility.
Shay: What’s the best park you’ve gotten from your job?
Kelly: Mostly it’s just fun: travel, meeting interesting people, trying out new gear, and hearing from readers who are stoked on what we’re doing. I’ve had a lot of cool experiences thanks to Shred Betties, from photographing events, to meeting and working with awesome riders. For example, earlier this year we got to take a bunch of girls to check out the new Eclipse Snow Park near Idaho Springs, where we did some riding and shot some video for our “Under the Radar” series. As for more tangible perks, sometimes companies send us products, which is always fun, but often they just send us pictures of products, which isn’t nearly as fun.
Photo courtesy of Shred Betties
Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?
Kelly: I’m a pretty straightforward person, so I really hate some of the super schmoozy stuff. Like when someone from a company shows you something totally awful, like a new pair of snowpants with an attached mini skirt, it’s hard to come up with the right words to describe how you’re feeling without causing them to hate you. Also, my business partners are my friends, so it’s difficult to balance that with my responsibilities, which include nagging them and yelling at them if they’re being slackers. And I sometimes have the urger, the uncontrollable urge to punch the bro bras, it can be a strain to restrain myself.
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
Kelly: Pretty much the whole year. We’re always working on seeking out and developing content, editing, marketing, etc…
Shay: Education vs. Experience…which do you think is more important?
Kelly: I’m a school nerd with a Masters Degree, so I like me my education, but I guess it really depends on the job of job you’re interested in, whether it’s something where you need a basic level of technical skill to even get hired, or something where it’s better to learn in a more hands-on way. Of course, it never hurts to have both.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to start their own magazine?
Kelly: Maybe I’ll have actual good advice in a couple years once we’re further along. For now, I have two things to say: It’s a lot of work, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a wealthy business partner.
Shay: Final thoughts?
Kelly: Everyone should go read Shred Betties.