Bumble Magazine

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Rachael Nellist

Rachael is the founder of Bumble Magazine and works for the conservation volunteers in York.

My name is Rachael and I am the founder of Bumble Magazine. I’m 25 and born and bred in Yorkshire! I’ve always been fascinated by wildlife. I guess I’ve never really questioned why I was so fascinated until recently. I love plants and landscapes but it’s animals that really interest me. I think it’s the calming aspect of nature. Life is so busy these days and the world can be a pretty hectic place. However, sitting outside watching a snail glide past you or hearing the birds in the trees, there’s something really calming about that.

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I find insects particularly interesting to watch. I love taking a moment to sit down outside and take a closer look, I find it amazing to see the amount of species diversity all around us. Ants, woodlice, spiders are the usual suspects. The tiny little creatures that run the world. I feel lucky we get to share this planet with so many interesting little beings.

I’ve been interested in wildlife since I was a kid but not being the best at science, I felt it was something I couldn’t pursue at school. I decided to study photography at university instead which allowed me to explore my other passion in life. I still shoot regularly for the magazine, as well as for my own enjoyment. After finishing university, I was pretty unsure what I wanted to do, which I have since realised is so normal (if anyone reading this is in the same boat, DO NOT WORRY, you’ll get there.) I worked at a café for a year but realised working in hospitality wasn’t for me. I always wanted to work in wildlife but with no previous academic experience it felt like an impossible dream. Until I stumbled upon Tomorrow's Natural Leaders, a traineeship scheme for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. It sounded perfect!

The first half of the year was spent working out on nature reserves and learning all about wildlife conservation, the second half of the year was project based. We had a small pot of money and a very open brief; you could do anything for your project as long as it engaged the younger generation in wildlife. I was so excited by this so I went on a search for all the wildlife magazines I could find for inspiration. However, after reading a few I felt they were all very similar, with extremely busy pages, graphs, and a whole host of unfamiliar words. I felt the opposite of inspired but then I realised the idea was right there in front of me. To create my own wildlife magazine that is clear, straight-forward and well produced. A wildlife magazine open to everyone!

Initially, I intended to do everything myself. This included photography, content and design, as well as all the other tasks required for the successful running of a magazine. How naive I was! I very quickly realised that I couldn’t do it on my own so I roped in Josef to design the magazine.

A few months went by, more people found out about us, sales really picked up and five months later we had sold out, I couldn’t believe it!
— Rachael Nellist

I met Josef while studying photography at Manchester School of Art. Although not trained in graphic design, Josef had a real passion for magazines, and got on board with the project from the start. He now also produces some of the artwork in the mag, turning his hand to photography and illustration. Alongside this he is a key component in the day to day running of the magazine.

The third member of the Bumble team is Megan. I met Megan whilst on the traineeship at the Wildlife Trust. Megan is an amazing writer, editor, photographer and illustrator, and has written and illustrated articles for each issue. Her special expertise lies in the field of ecotherapy; how nature can help improve mental health. Then there are all our amazing contributors that help make the magazine what it is. All of the photographers, artists, writers and conservationists lending a hand to try and inspire others. We couldn’t do it without you!

After around four months of curating, writing, photographing and designing, issue one was finally finished and printed. For issue one we hadn't really done much promotion, and so we weren't expecting much interest. The night we launched we received two orders, and we were ecstatic! It was so exciting knowing that two people actually wanted to buy and read our magazine. To this day, it is still a lovely feeling.  A few months went by, more people found out about us, sales really picked up and five months later we had sold out, I couldn’t believe it! We started Bumble never really expecting it to carry on and to be able to create a second issue. But now we are currently working on issue three and it’s the best feeling ever.

I would say the highlight of running this magazine is having a platform to speak about issues really close to my heart and giving others the platform to do the same. I love writing about the less recognized species such as spiders and pigeons and trying to shed a better light on them. We have also received a postcard from Chris Packham who described Bumble as a ‘thing of beauty’, as well as the man himself, David Attenborough, who, in a handwritten letter, said it was ‘one to treasure’! These achievements mean the world to us and truly illustrate how far a grass-roots publication such as ours can go.

However, it’s not all smiles and insect watching. There are obviously hard aspects of running your own magazine. I am dyslexic and that can often be a barrier for me. My sister and Megan are my personal proof readers and help me be able to express what I want to say. It doesn’t really stop me from doing much except the writing I do is at a snail's pace and takes a lot of re-doing before it makes much sense. Also, managing my work/life balance can sometimes be tricky. I’m not sure many people are aware but we all work full time and Bumble is our hobby not our job! We are all volunteers; Bumble is not for profit and all proceeds we make go back in to printing further issues. I think our printing costs are a bit higher as we use recycled paper and vegetable inks, we are also advert free which is where most magazines make their profit!

I really hope to inspire people with Bumble. The world can be a scary place but I truly believe there is a lot more good in it then bad. We just have to help and support each other and all the amazing creatures we are so lucky to share this planet with.

Get your hands on a copy of Bumble via their website and follow them on Instagram @bumble_mag and Facebook @bumblemagazine