The FINANCIAL -- EGO
MAG and EGO MEN – glossy magazines for intelligent, strong and stylish
people, published by Flit Media, will be entering Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Kazakhstan and Ukraine soon. In addition to that, Flit Media is
preparing a new magazine which is to be called “Interview”. The first
issue will be published in March 2014. Anuki Natsvlishvili, Editor in
Chief of EGO MAG and EGO MEN and co-founder of Flit Media, also has
plans to bring new technologies to print media so as to make it more
widely available to readers.
“Since its establishment EGO has gone through a long and difficult period. At the moment, however, we see that EGO is already well-positioned on the market and is now ready to develop further,” said Anuki Natshvlishvili. “The whole team is working on Interview, which is our new product. This one will be completely different from EGO. While EGO tells the success stories of different people, Interview will be focused on celebrities and will be more yellow. We are excited about Interview and predict that it will fast become one of the most popular magazines in Georgia,” she said.
Soon online and mobile applications will be available for EGO readers who will be able to download the magazine version and read it online. The price will be less to the market price - GEL 9. In the meantime, all copies of EGO magazine are uploaded on to issue.com where people can read them for free.
Success is what unites EGO and EGO Men. Whereas one is about successful women, the other is about successful men. Anuki Natshvlishvili believes that she is very successful herself and this encourages her to tell other people stories about successful people to provide them with positive examples and inspiration.
“Since my childhood I have been surrounded by teachers, journalists and philologists. Books and magazines were a part of my life growing up. I still remember the smell of books and magazines of that time. My parents subscribed to magazines from Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic. Time passed and then Vogue and Elle appeared on the Georgian market. I was fascinated by those magazines and dreamt about having a publishing house to publish magazines and books. At that time it was very difficult to run any business, especially such kinds of businesses. So I decided to start another business which would be somehow linked to my profession. Hence I opened a store in Rustaveli Cinema in 2005 where I sold hand-made jewellery. In 2009 I closed this store as Georgia was going through a very difficult period - namely the war with Russia - and all kinds of businesses were negatively affected during that time. Besides, different accessories brands had started entering the Georgian market and I felt that this business would not be profitable to run anymore,” she added.
“At the same time I was working together with my husband in an advertising agency. We have a design studio, a polygraphic service and I was in touch with some customers for many years. But after you achieve your first goal it is normal for another one to appear. I felt I was ready to take forward steps to make my primary dream come true. I was well experienced and the market was more or less ready to accept new products. The first product which I issued was the sales voucher PayLess. It was a product that readers loved greatly. Then we moved in another direction and started issuing a corporate magazine for Goodwill. And finally, after realising that I was doing my job successfully, I decided it was time for EGO Magazine to appear, which was my dream come true,” Natsvlishvili said.
Q. How easy is it in Georgia for women to start their own business and run it?
A. In business there is no difference when it comes to gender - men and women are equal in this regard. The main thing is to be ambitious, courageous and able to take risks, which are characteristics not usually present in a woman’s character. They have to develop these characteristics to be able to do business.
It is very easy to start and implement your own business in Georgia and the business environment is friendly to both men and women; at least it has been in my business. There are no specific restrictions for women doing business in Georgia which could hamper their business development. The only problem is that women are afraid of taking risks and being courageous. They are used to working for years in the same position and not thinking about getting a promotion.
You can find very few women in top management positions in Georgia because men think that women are good counsellors but not good decision-makers. So in many cases women are not allowed to be promoted. I do not understand why people choose to stay and remain in such jobs to the point where they fear they will not achieve any of their own goals. This is a problem not just of women in Georgia but the business community in general.
Q. When you created EGO there were already other players on the market. Some foreign brands like Playboy and Cosmopolitan had failed and left Georgia. What encouraged you to start your business in such a situation?
A. The phrase “the market is not ready” is not appropriate. The market will never be ready for you if you do not start your activities. It is possible to develop any business in any place. Of course it is especially difficult in a country where the culture of reading magazines is disappearing; particularly if there are other famous magazines on the market and if you see that some of the foreign brand magazines have left the market because of unsuccessful management. When you see all of those challenges you might think that the market is not yet ready. But I was never afraid to face such challenges, on the contrary - it gave me the motivation to overcome them. I never compete with others. I simply strive to do my job to the best of my ability. None of the other magazines in Georgia do such a fine job as we. All the EGO interviews have their own photo-shoot for example. The quality of our photos is very high. We pay a great deal of attention to ensuring it. Content that people can read makes up the largest part of our magazine, more than anything else.
The publishing business is complicated. It requires large resources. 30 people are currently working on issuing three magazines, which are EGO, EGO Men and Autograph, which is being created together with Tegeta Motors for car enthusiasts.
When thinking about EGO and planning its content I decided to focus on women who were successful but who were relatively unknown to people. EGO is not a fashion magazine but it contains fashion of course. It is not a business magazine. It is a magazine about successful women and about those who want to become successful. People ask me, are there enough successful women in Georgia to cover their stories all the time? My answer is: yes, there are. EGO is not solely oriented on women living in Tbilisi nor on only those alive in this century. People can read stories about King Tamar, Mary Stuart and many others for example.
EGO is a product of Flit Media whose founders are my husband, Sergo kulidjanov, and myself. We do not have any other partners.
We chose a very interesting and effective marketing trick to make EGO popular. We allocated 1,000 copies of EGO magazine for VIPs, for the top management of different companies and distributed them. This is what we do every month. Using this marketing trick helps us to make EGO more prestigious and in demand.
Q. How would you characterize the Georgian print market?
A. In general, the people who love reading do not have enough money to afford it, and the people who do have money tend to not like reading. The new generation prefers to read everything online, but predictions that online media will replace print media are a far off reality.
Georgian readers are mostly interested in politics. 90% of them read newspapers which cover political news. Accordingly they are more popular in Georgia. There is not a large variety of magazines in Georgia. It might help if people see many different magazines in the press booths, which will encourage them to buy more magazines.
It is also complicated to make partners sure to follow innovative and creative ideas. For example the technologies are developed so well that you can print 3D or voice advertisements. But the partners are not ready to pay for that. It is generally financial problems that hamper partners and publishing houses when it comes to being more creative. Such technological innovations require more financial resources. In this case we still face the main problem - that people are not willing to take enough risks and they still do not understand that this is not a profitable strategy for them.