FROM UNKNOWN STRUGGLING STYLIST TO AN INFLUENTIAL MEN’S EDITOR…
HERE’S THE TRUE STORY ABOUT MAN’EDGED MAGAZINE
To our amazing MAN’edged Magazine reader,
Michael here. I’m the Founding Editor of MAN’edged Magazine. The evolution of this media brand is synonymous with my personal journey here in New York City and I’d like to share the story with you.
I want you to know who I really am and what I stand for. More importantly, I want you to know to what MAN’edged Magazine is all about.
Some close friends and family have seen me on top of my game and have seen me struggle to pay rent. This is my story and I hope it gives you an idea of who I am as the Founder of this media company.
LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING
A shy, introverted and often bullied kid to moving to San Francisco at age 17 to attend The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. This was what my early twenties entailed.
In my mid-twenties, after six long years working retail (sales floor, visuals and a Customer Experience Executive at Bloomingdales), I was abruptly laid-off which financially disabled me.
Towards the end of my time at Bloomies, I met a Creative Director from NYC who was doing a fashion shoot in SF for a magazine. I thought, why not help him get some cool gear by pulling clothes from our SF store in exchange for letting me style the male model. After strategically negotiating the connection, I had my eyes set on becoming a stylist.
Remember that lay-off? Yeah, it hurt. At the time, I battled against the odds. Money was quickly draining and I could not land a job. Not even fast-cash jobs wanted me. What in the world was I going to do?
It was time to get very creative and to take drastic measures to preserve my money. All I knew was that I might have to take a step back in order to take ten steps forward. Especially, if I thought of one day making it in Los Angeles or New York City.
THE FAMILY DEATH THAT HIT CLOSE TO HOME
During this time, my dear grandfather, was not doing too well and my younger brother was wanting to join the military.
I thought it was best to shack up with my parents for a few months, spend precious time with my grandfather, my brother and ultimately figure out what I wanted to do. Then the dreaded day came.
My grandfather suddenly passed away from a heart attack. As you could imagine, this devastated the entire family. I will never forget the tragic moment when my mother told me to get to the hospital. My little brother had just woken up from a nap and I had told him our grandpa was in the hospital. It wasn’t until we were parked that I told him it’s not looking good. There we stood with tears running down our faces.
Fast forward a few months later and my ultra-ripped brother was getting ready to ship out. This was another teary-eyed farewell as we dropped him off at the DoubleTree hotel in Sacramento, CA.
As one life ended, another was just beginning. That’s the way I looked at my time back home.
Now, it was my time to make a move.
MAKING A COMMITMENT
It took me one week to figure out what city I wanted to move to. One safe idea was to just drive down to L.A. and stay in my “backyard”. A second, riskier, but life-changing idea would be to move across the country to New York City.
You’ve probably guessed by now, but after some self-development, self-healing and a little thing called “life” I was able to become more confident in my own skin, but I digress. The deciding factor came down to what regrets I would have on my deathbed. I never wanted to look back and say I missed out on opportunities because I was scared to make the jump.
The day after Christmas in 2013, I made the move to become a New York Wardrobe Stylist. There was no job secured and a handful of friends in the city. I had no idea of how I’d make it, but just a yearning to figure it the fuck out.
Fast forward some weeks on a friend’s couch, a massive polar vortex and some roommate meetings later and there I was in the middle of Bedstuy Brooklyn.
Not exactly where I wanted to be, but all that I could afford.
I hit the ground running and began networking every second possible, picking up odd jobs to keep bills paid and living paycheck to paycheck. My little lump sum was gone in like 3 months.
Damn you New York.
Of course, at this time I was still doing my wardrobe styling thing and have had my work published in Vogue, Time Out New York, Glitter Magazine, Modern Lady China and B.E.T.
This type of work helps build credibility and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, but it sure as hell don’t pay the bills. One of the cool things that it did allow me to do was gain access to really cool people.
Little did they know the struggle was very real.
After several months of this, as if it weren’t already challenging enough, I noticed my freelance styling business starting to dry up. It was the exact time that major publications were shifting over to digital and hiring in-house talent versus outsourcing stylists. Times got very tough and it’s truly a miracle that I was able to survive. Hustle was involved, but nonetheless, it was a true miracle.
Throughout all of this, I kept hearing an internal whisper to keep networking. I would often observe that I had a knack for conversing with really cool people like CEO’s or Celebrities, I never knew what to do with this gift. To the point that friends mention that they don’t understand how I’m able to talk with just about everyone no matter how much or how little money they have.
THE MENTOR’S FEEDBACK
One day, I decided to reach out to an old client of mine who I had met in San Francisco to catch up.
After sharing my struggles, my poor financial stature, my knack for meeting very interesting people and my personal love shopping, she made a life-changing suggestion.
She said, “Why don’t you start your own platform?”
It was at this moment that it all clicked. A platform to connect people and to tell their stories. A place for people to learn. A place where I can act as a stylist, but with more than just clothes. It would be a place to help people.
Then it all happened.
Several months of deep brainstorming, having trademarks declined, buying domains, thinking of content and trying to make everything perfect. It took weeks to figure out what to call this new platform.
I would wake up in the middle of the night trying to figure out a simple name. I knew it couldn’t be generic.
One day, I was going through my closet and was feeling ultra frustrated with what was in there. It’s easier to style someone else than it is yourself.
Taking out everything and tossing it all over put me into a bit of frenzy when I yelled out, “I wish someone would fucking manage this!”
GIVING BIRTH TO MAN’EDGED MAG
I wrote this word down. Man. Age. That’s it! MAN’edged!
A platform that men could use to make sense of the world. To help figure out what to wear to make them feel and look good. To figure out how to be the best them ever.
I knew that we were off to the races.
Within our first year we gained so much momentum and borrowing upon the contacts I made as a stylist, I was able to partner with brands to further elevate our exposure. Oh and we scored a mention via Forbes.com too!
Well, luckily during my tenure at the company I sat next to the regional PR team which then introduced me to the corporate PR team. I have and always will love Bloomies.
WHAT EXACTLY IS MAN’EDGED MAGAZINE?
MAN’edged Magazine is not and will never be considered a “blog”.
I don’t like that word. Nothing against it or those that partake, but it just doesn’t match with what we’re trying to do.
MAN’edged is a microsite. The word “magazine” has been attached because it elevates and portrays the type of content we publish.
Additionally, this site is not just about me. I’m not that important. It’s about our readers. It’s been built to withstand the test of time and to help enhance the lives of our readers.
Our mission is simple – to help guys live life boldly.
A bold life is one filled with confidence, lived without hesitation and lived to the fullest. We strive to make things just a little more manageable for our readers.
To date, we’ve worked with some of the biggest powerhouses out there. We’re still new having only launched in 2016.
None of this would be possible without the support of you, our awesome reader.
You are the reason we keep MAN’edged Magazine going. I don’t want any guy to ever not truly feel confident in his own skin. We all have one life to live.
Our job is to help make sense of it or as some like to say, make it more “manageable”.
If you’ve made it this far, I want to say thank you for taking a moment out of your busy day to learn more about me and MAN’edged Mag. The future looks bright and although I’m not sure exactly what the journey will look like, I do know that our readers will be the most important thing we consider at every step of the way.
Cheers to grabbing life by the bold.
Michael William G.
Founding Editor | MAN’edged Magazine