Intel Boutique had the pleasure of talking to Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Bold Magazine, Miss Elissa Mirsky. She launched her digital lifestyle magazine in the Fall of 2011. Now she shares her experiences, her dreams, her journey and her works in progress.
Where did the inspiration for Bold Magazine come from? Why was creating Bold Magazine so important to you?
The inspiration from Bold Magazine came from my love of fashion. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to work in the fashion industry as a fashion designer, and have a magazine. My inspiration for Bold grew stronger when I saw ‘The September Issue.’ It was Anna Wintour that I wanted to embody. She was powerful and people respected her opinion and took her advice, and it worked. Creating Bold Magazine was so important to me because I wanted to create an outlet that celebrated more faces of color in the fashion industry. There has been an ongoing issue with the lack of diversity in the industry and I wanted to be the ‘Anna Wintour’ of Bold Magazine.
What are the kinds of articles and topics do you focus on in your magazine?
[At Bold Magazine] we focus on ‘black excellence’ and the Next Generation of Moguls in Fashion, Music, Arts, Culture, Philanthropy, and Business. We highlight every race, but it’s important to showcase faces of color, especially with [what] society thinks of us.
Do you see a need for your publication; a need for more African-Americans in fashion and related industries?
There are a good number of African-Americans behind the scenes in the fashion industry which is great, but being able to see them in the forefront would be much better because kids of color growing up would see them and [find it easier to] relate to.
Have you always been interested in writing and journalism? What’s your background in writing/ journalism?
I have always been interested in writing and journalism. I use to write poetry a lot growing up. I even won a poetry contest, well second place. In high school I wrote for the school newspaper and in college I took journalism classes.
How do you connect with people in the industry? Do you find it hard connecting with the caliber of people you would like to?
I connect with people through social media; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedn. I also connect at events like fashion week, launch events, and I do my research. Google is my best friend and from there I reach out to
people if I feel like I can be of assistance to them and they can be of assistance to me.
What would you say is the most challenging aspect about putting out a digital issue regularly?
The most challenging thing is funding, meeting deadlines, and hoping that you are putting something different out. With the whole digital magazine craze it’s really hard to set yourself apart. So, it can be nerve-racking and challenging trying to stand out and have a great product.
Do you have any other professional aspirations? What else are you working on?
I do have other aspirations and projects that I am working on. I have always seen myself as a media/brand mogul. I look up to Jay-Z, Warren Buffet, Oprah, Diddy, and countless others who have built a successful brand. Currently, I am working on Heels in the Kitchen: Fashionably Edible which is my cookbook. It’s simple and funny and so me.
How is Heels In the Kitchen coming along with getting a following? What similarities or dissimilarities have you found in writing a book and writing for Bold?
It is coming along fine. I can still use more followers but I do have some people that are excited for it. The similarities I have found with writing the book and writing for Bold is that you have to do research. The dissimilarities are that you can be more free and have more fun when writing a book. I am able to be more open with Heels in the Kitchen. It brings out another side of me.
Do you ever feel you have too much on your plate at any given time or maybe you aren’t doing everything within your potential to live your best life?
Yes I do. Often times I am extremely overwhelmed and lost. Sometimes I am not happy with the way things are going and I want to have a more normal life. At times I am stressed because I feel like I have to please others which in return leaves me not living my best life.
What sacrifices have you made up to now to starting living your dream? Has it been worth it? Has it all been an uphill battle?
A huge sacrifice has been not having a personal life. I use to have the best social life ever, and now all I find myself doing is work, work, work, work, work. At times, I feel it has been worth it and then I feel like it hasn’t because I should have known how to balance my personal life with my professional ambitions. It has definitely been an uphill battle for me, but I am working on it.
What kind of support have you had from friends and family? Do you have a support system in place?
I do have a few people in my support system and most of them come from friends more than family. My little sister and brother has always been my support system. Even if I didn’t have any support from anyone else but theirs that would be enough.
What are a handful of things you wished you had started your business that could’ve helped along the way?
Sometimes I wish I had an internship or apprenticeship. I really don’t know. I’m more of a self learner, self made type person.
As a double minority (being black and a woman), what is your perspective on running a business, going after what you want and doing it all on your own in the eyes of others? Do you think people are watching how you carry yourself?
It can be hard. Everyone has their opinion on blacks and everyone has their opinion on women. I just continue to work hard and build my brand without worrying too much about what others think and being a minority. I know for a fact people are watching the way I carry myself, but that is fine with me. I like the attention (Laughs).
What positives can you recall about the journey you’re on?
Just being able to do what I love. Everyone can’t be an entrepreneur. It takes strength, ambition, time, and persistence. I have enjoyed meeting new people.
What lessons have learned about creating a business on your own? Were some of those a few hard knock lessons?
I’ve learned that it is HARD! It is hard in general and it is hard without funding, but at the end of the day I am gratified because I built everything on my own.
If you could share some of the most important and maybe intimate experiences about starting a business, networking and finding like-minded people to join forces with, what would you share with aspiring entrepreneurs and those looking to follow in your footsteps?
I’ve learned that every networking event isn’t necessary. Do your research on the people putting events on. Look at past event photos and see what type of people they attract and think of how their event would benefit you. You don’t have to work with everyone. Beware of people who are only around you for what you can do for them and beware of the overly ‘wannabe’ celebrity types then can be bad for business. Write out your goals and what you want to accomplish, give yourself a timeline, and make a budget plan. If you can do things on your own instead of hiring someone else then do it. It can be time consuming but in the long run you’ve learned a new trade and saved money. Stay ambitious, and don’t get discouraged by others who are not doing anything with their lives. If you find something isn’t working for you, stop, rethink, restrategize, and start over. Success doesn’t happen over night, but if you work hard you will see success, and remember success doesn’t always come in financial means. Lastly, be BOLD!
You can follow Bold Magazine and Elissa Mirsky at: