The Balti Club
What is the Balti Club?
That’s a good question, it’s pretty hard to define. The name was originally, and I suppose still is, what our group of friends go by. We’ve been called The Balti Club for as long as I can remember. But now we’ve turned it into something a little more legitimate, an online magazine of sorts. We write articles and do interviews on topics and people that interest us, particularly the young creatives in Ireland and the UK, people our age that are doing cool stuff that you wouldn’t normally hear about. But to say we’re just an online mag wouldn’t be right, we take photos, make videos, make the occasional t-shirt, and we’ve got a few plans for the new year, some exciting collaborations and potentially our first printed zine. So there’s a lot going on, but at the core of it I suppose The Balti Club is just a group of friends, sharing things that we like with people who’ll listen.
Who decided that it was time to turn this idea into a reality in the form of a website/magazine?
It wasn’t like there was any single moment that we thought “we got to make this into something”. We’re lucky enough to have Paul in the group who is an extremely talented photographer, he used to post a lot of his photos to Tumblr under the moniker of The Balti Club, and gained quite a following. Then I started making videos and posting them to Vimeo and they did alright too. Then after college it started to die down a bit and we didn’t have the same amount of time to go and make these videos or take those photos, we started to all see less and less of each other, so we just had the idea of making the website, with no real intention but to keep the name alive somewhere. From there it just organically grew into what it is now, an online magazine.
You sell t-shirts/merch from time to time, is this somewhere you see the Balti Club making money from?
It has never been about the money for us and it was never started with the intention of making money. We’ve not be turning any huge profit so far with those endeavours, they were just things we thought would be cool to do, and we’ll keep doing them. If some money starts coming in down the line then great, we’ll put it back into making more content, but if it doesn’t then we don’t really care. It’s pretty easy and cheap to keep a website running these days so as long as we’re not bleeding money we’ll keep going.
Where do you see the online magazine space going in the next few years?
That’s a funny one, it’s quite a saturated market and there’s a hell of a lot going on at the moment. One of the things that I see happening quite a lot, is magazines posting content just for the sake of content, just posting sheer volume about anything in order to stay relevant, and we’re not really about that at all, we like to focus a lot more on things that honestly interest us as opposed to just throwing up any old thing. The sad reality is that it’s hard to compete with those other sites who take the quantity over quality approach. However I think we’re definitely seeing a renaissance in print, and would love to see more online magazines creating special edition printed issues. Because the print process is more expensive and limited, I think it really slows down the content and forces editors to think about what they’re actually publishing. There’s also just something more authentic about holding onto a physical publication. In terms if The Balti Club, we’re still finding our feet and trying to nail down our niche and our standing in this market, but I’d love to see us try our hand at a printed version in the New Year and put some real effort and meaning into it.
What have you learned/what advice would you give to someone who has an idea and doesn't know what to do next?
I suppose the best piece of advice I can give, and it might sound cliché, but it’s to just do it. It’s so incredibly easy to get something set up these days. That’s not to say it’s a walk in the park, we’ve had a few complications and hit a few learning curves along the way, but with the internet and social media it’s the easiest and cheapest time to set up a website/blog/an online shop, and start posting your content. So really, it might seem daunting, but just dive into it and make it up as you go along, that’s effectively what we did and in my opinion that’s the best way to get experience and learn things, because you could plan something out for months and months, but until you actually experience it and go through the steps you won’t really understand it.