Industry Profile: Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine Publisher Jesse Brown
03 Sep, 2009
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Jesse: I am short, stocky, and spend way too much time in front of a computer, but feel incredible lucky to being doing what I am doing and working with the people that I get to work with.
Shay: What is your job title?
Jesse: In the masthead I am listed as the publisher of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine.
Shay: What was your first set up?
Jesse: My first board was an apocalypse with baseless bindings that my buddy stole from the factory.
Shay: What is your current set up?
Jesse: I like to switch it up and spent a lot of last winter on a lib 56 banana and it was super fun. I just ordered a venture splitboard and am looking forward to checking it out.
Shay: What was your first job?
Jesse: I used to umpire little league games as a kid, but my first official job was a dishwasher at a hotel in upstate NY.
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
Jesse: Lots of powder, good friends, and definitely some chronic.
Shay: Who are your influences?
Jesse: People that are living their lives and following their dreams influence me.
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
Jesse: I was a late bloomer, but have been shredding for 12 years.
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
Jesse: That really depends. I love snowboarding, but am also a bit of a snob. I have fun every time I go out, but also enjoy a ton of other things. If it snowed a 100 days, then I would probably shred 90 of them and if it snowed only 15 days, then I would probably ride about 30 days.
Shay: What is your role at Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine as the Publisher?
Jesse: That’s really just a fancy title that looks good in the masthead. When your involved in a small business, there are no limits on what you’ll do. I sell ads, edit photos, gather content, distribute magazines, and take pictures to name a few.
Shay: Was it a difficult transition from freelancing to creating your own magazine?
Jesse: I honestly had only been shooting snowboard pictures for one year before we started the magazine. After one year of submitting picture to magazines, it became clear that I would have to sell some serious photos to ever make an honest living. I knew that if this was something that I was going to pursue then I needed another avenue for getting my images out there.
Shay: What led you to create Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine?
Jesse: After submitting pics to mags, we were always left with tons of images and nothing to do with them. We literally said, “let’s make a magazine,” and so we did. We really didn’t have any experience in the print world, but we just went for it. First thing we did was make a media kit and then the hard part was convincing advertisers to support a new idea with nothing to show them, but a two page leaflet. We were able to convince a few good businesses to take part and the mag was off and running.
Shay: What was the hardest part of creating the magazine?
Jesse: The hardest part of the mag is getting everyone’s materials on time and in the correct format so we can get it done and off to print by our deadline. Also, Jackson is extremely laid back and trying to get anything done quickly isn’t easy. Let’s just say we have to pad our deadlines pretty heavily.
Shay: What is the focus and mission?
Jesse: Our mission is to make a high quality publication that stays true to what we believe, while taking on a completely different business strategy than most other magazines. Community oriented, high quality, free, 2 to 1 ration of content to advertising.
Shay: What led you to focus on Jackson Hole for the magazine?
Jesse: That’s where I live and that’s where the majority of my photos were being taken. I know I live in a special place amongst extremely talented people and felt passionate about telling their stories.
Shay: Who else contributes to Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine?
Jesse: We have a ton of contributors and we are nothing without their submissions. Every year it changes, but some of our regular contributors that we are so grateful for are: Willie McMillon, Bryan Iguchi, Jeff Moran, Melissa Larsen, Cutter, Anomaly Farm, and Dustin Varga. On a business side, none of this would be possible without my two partners, Kristen Joy and Michael Bills.
Shay: When it comes to ideas for articles, do you work collaboratively or individually?
Jesse: I handle all of the articles and have a variety of contributors that I work with. We either let the writer have free reign over what they write or we will commission them to write something we know we want to cover. Generally, we have no influence on the writing and once the topic is decided, we step away until we receive the completed piece.
Shay: What’s your favorite article/interview you’ve done for the magazine?
Jesse: That’s a hard question and I’ve never really thought about it. Sorry.
Shay: What are you thoughts on the current state of the industry?
Jesse: There are a lot of amazing companies and people in the industry, but as a whole, I think it’s pretty weak. I spend most of my year in the mountains and so I guess my opinion is a bit jaded, but I really see the industry heading in an unsustainable direction.
Shay: Does snowboarding need more honesty and brutal truth?
Jesse: I just think snowboarding needs to go back to just that: Snowboarding. Let’s loose all this image and facade and get back to what’s really important. Having a relationship with nature and being in the mountains and sharing life experiences with close friends. Everything else should just go away.
Shay: Prior to creating Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine, what other jobs/companies have you worked at?
Jesse: I worked with Illuminati a bunch and also did stuff with Bluebird and I AM. When I first moved to Jackson, I worked at the resort with the park and pipe crew, which is where I met a lot of the riders that I work with.
Shay: What’s your average day like working on the magazine?
Jesse: It really depends on the time of year. In the winter, I am out shooting pictures and distributing the magazine. In the summer is when we sell ads, gather content and lay out the magazine. I also spend an insane amount of time sending out emails, which I wouldn’t mind doing less of.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Jesse: Getting to do some traveling and working on The Bluebird Movie. I back Bluebird more than any company in the industry and anything I get to do with them is always memorable.
Shay: How is working for Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine (any cool work events, work environment, job perks)?
Jesse: Let’s just say I haven’t bought any new gear lately and we throw a sick release party every year to celebrate. Last year, The Beatnuts performed and it was awesome to chill with Juju and Les.
Shay: What education/experience did you have before getting the job?
Jesse: I have a college degree and am a self-taught photographer/videographer with zero experience in the world of publishing and print.
Shay: What’s the best perk you’ve gotten from your job?
Jesse: Not having to buy new gear every year, since it’s really expensive.
Shay: Since you started in the industry, what’s been the biggest change?
Jesse: I really haven’t been in the industry that long, but I guess I would have to say dealing with the transient nature of the industry. You work really hard on building contacts within companies and then the next year, they don’t work there any more.
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
Jesse: Definitely the summer because it’s so nice that we always leave everything to the last minute and then have to really scramble to meet our deadline and get it off to print.
Shay: Education vs. Experience…which do you think is more important?
Jesse: That’s a question that will be debated till the end of time and I so I can only speak on my own experience. I have never fully enjoyed the learning environment of school and have always flourished way more in the actual working environment. I have been incredible lucky to work with some amazing people that have taught me so much about my craft and I have been able to learn way more than I ever would have gotten in school with some great experience and real life credits for the resume.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Jesse: Live the experience and don’t just read about it and think you know. We need more people in the industry that have lived in a mountain town and are more understanding of the actual culture.
Shay: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from this whole experience?
Jesse: You get out of things what you put into them. It’s all about hard work, and determination. When you work for yourself there is no one else to make the decision, but you and your partners and all the repercussions of those decisions are yours to deal with. When working with others, communication is essential. I know I am a good talker, but it’s all about knowing when to be a good listener.