You’ve got to love a woman who is so comfortable with her sexuality that she bears all (with class) for the world to see. My brilliant and talented friend, Arielle Loren has done just that, and taken an even bigger risk: starting her own magazine completely dedicated to humanity’s embracing the sexual part of themselves. I swear I’m gonna have to read it, cuz I’m a bit bashful about all this stuff, so much respect for those who are comfortable to let it all hang out. (Uh yeah, that’s her in those nekkid pics!)
Arielle took time out from her extended vacation in BRAZIL (!!!) to chat with me about her new venue, and give advice to you all about how to take calculated risks to achieve success.
BB&W: What gave you the idea to do a magazine? Why did you feel the need for coverage of this type of subject matter?
Arielle: There have been various people who encouraged me to start a magazine as a writer. But I simply wasnâ€™t invested in the idea of a fast-paced, daily online publication thatâ€™s more concerned about website hits than quality content. When it comes to sexuality, there are so few publications that cater to the subject in a smart, accessible, entertaining way. So when I got the idea to create Corset, I knew that I wanted to bring quality, educational, and inspirational content about sexuality to a mainstream audience. This is not an eye-candy publication or on the opposite end, an academic journal that contains vocabulary that most people wonâ€™t understand. Corset is for ordinary people who want to enter a safe space to learn about all the complexities and benefits of sexual empowerment and consciousness.
BB&W: Who is your reader?
Arielle: The Corset reader is intelligent, curious, and most importantly, open to learning about various subjects within sexuality. There isnâ€™t a particular age or gender that we cater to. We have college-aged readers and senior citizens. Thereâ€™s something for everyone in our publication. Everyone leaves with something.
BB&W: Wow Arielle! You really bare it all in this flagship issue. How did you feel about posing in the nude for an international publication?
Arielle: Itâ€™s funny because I always knew that I wanted to do a nude shoot, but I thought that Iâ€™d do it just for private purposes or perhaps as art for my home. When I was brainstorming the theme for Corsetâ€™s inaugural issue, I realized that nudity, as a subject, is something that every human being could relate to. The majority of us struggle with some hang-up about our bodies, and truly arenâ€™t comfortable with staring at ourselves in the mirror completely naked. I came across photographer Saddi Khaliâ€™s portfolio, read his mission, and felt his deep passion for making people see the beauty in their nude selves without make-up, airbrushing, or anything unnatural. So we did a shoot together for the inaugural issue before I left for Brazil. And after the experience of shooting with him, plus the end product, I had no concerns about sharing my photographs with Corsetâ€™s international audience. I believe that I channeled nudity as a vehicle for reader empowerment, and that made the vulnerability that comes with publishing nude pictures well worth it.
BB&W: Put your businesswoman hat on for a second. What steps did you take to make this happen? Any advice to other young black women on how to be an independent business starter?
Arielle: I really made a conscious decision to go quality versus quantity, and seek longevity instead of instant fame with Corset. I chose a business model that thrives primarily off reader subscriptions versus waiting for some corporate advertiser to come and save the day. And personally, I believe thatâ€™s what is going to keep Corset around for the long run. So long as weâ€™re giving our readers something unique, powerful, and niche, weâ€™ll continue to be a steady growing force.
Corset is sold as a digital PDF download, and eventually, we are going to move toward offering the magazine in print. As a start-up, itâ€™s difficult to launch a print publication without making overhead costs skyrocket. And the print-on-demand services that I looked at werenâ€™t comfortable with nudity or some of the subjects that we talk about within sexuality. So weâ€™re starting digital, and weâ€™re working to find a print distributor that aligns with our brand. And from the feedback thus far, weâ€™re going to be just fine. Our readers have said that the content, photography, and layout were well worth our selling price of $3.99, and theyâ€™re excited to support a publication thatâ€™s unlike anything on the market.
To young black women looking to be independent business owners, be fearless, patient, and hungry for success. Very few of us make it to mogul level overnight, so try to build businesses that are sustainable and set to thrive for the long run. I always try to make myself a resource for women entrepreneurs, so feel free to reach out with any questions.