Africa has been the object of much attention lately as saturated markets in America and Europe have caused many to seek opportunity on the continent. Answering this new wave of interest, Africa-centric magazines and digital destinations like Arise, AfriPOP!, Orijin Culture, and MIMI magazine have cropped up, while L’Uomo Vogue dedicated its June 2012 issue to the continent. Now, New York-based Ghana native Sandra Appiah has launched Face 2 Face Africa magazine with business partner Isaac O. Babu-Boateng.
With no major investment behind the venture, and determined to launch in costly print even as publications like Newsweek are migrating to digital, Appiah, 23, only four years out of Syracuse University’s prestigious Newhouse School of Public Communications, is unwavering in her belief in the magazine. What’s so special about Face 2 Face Africa, or F2FA as she’s nicknamed the magazine? Appiah makes the case.
Madame Noire: Why did you start Face2Face Africa (F2FA)?
Sandra Appiah: F2FA was conceptualized about two years ago to fill the void of a high-end, multi-niche, and soulful pan-African publication within the global magazine industry, and serve as an influential platform for the emergent generation of African descendants. We believe that an informed, enterprising, and interconnected pan-African generation deserves a discerning, eclectic, and soulful voice. Our goal, simply put, is to be this VOICE!
MN: How did you launch the magazine without major investment or backing?
SA: The lack of funding definitely posed a lot of challenges and elongated the release of the magazine. We were married to our goal of creating an outstanding product, and as such, we had to be very patient and strategically secure the resources that we needed. But once we started moving, we were very fortunate to receive a lot of support from individuals who identified with the importance of our mission. We utilized all our resources, and with persistence, devotion, and passion, we successfully launched. I’ve learned that when your passion burns, it turns into the investment that you need to keep going!
MN: Why did you decide to create a printed magazine in the age of digital?
SA: It is important to us that our publication has a presence on magazine stands. Sure, some experts say that print is dying, but there have remained quite a few print titles that continue to make an impact. I think the key is creating a niche and filling a void.
Certainly, F2FA is unique, as there is no existing publication that does exactly what we do in the way that we do it. We do have plans on being eminent on the digital platform so we can better serve the needs of all our readers.
MN: How is F2FA different from Arise, and other African lifestyle pubs on stands?
SA: These are all great publications that I give a lot of credit for showcasing Africa in a positive and progressive light, however, they are all known for a specific concentration, being fashion, culture, or entertainment, which is great. But what we wanted to do with F2FA was to be the bridge. As such, we take pride in being multi-niche, a platform for all areas including politics, development, entertainment, culture, and fashion. We are distinctive for our holistic approach and the unique perspectives of our writers and contributors. Our tone and creative direction are also different. It is important to us that African images, concepts and ideals are infused in our creative and artistic direction. This is where the soulfulness of our magazine comes from.