Lucy Singer was sitting in a totally boring tutorial at university when the scribbled idea for a children’s history magazine started to take shape in her notebook (in which she was supposed to be taking notes about the Russian Revolution). Despite her apparent lack of in-class attention, Lucy completed her Arts degree with majors in History and Australian Studies at the University of Melbourne in 2012, whilst also working part-time at the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria. Then, the following year, she took her magazine idea from sketches to reality, launching HistoriCool in February 2013 and embarking on the journey of a lifetime.
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HistoriCool Magazine fosters the realisation in its 8-14 year-old readers that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, and aids their parents and teachers in developing their children’s interest, even love, of History. Each of the six issues published every year features educational, entertaining and inspiring articles, plus puzzles, activities and curriculum links. At HistoriCool, we believe that the social benefits of History education outweigh even the academic ones, as a knowledge of the past cultivates self-confident and empathetic young people in a future-centric world; qualities that HistoriCool aims to help grow in its readers. Put simply, HistoriCool is the coolest mag in History.
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I have always had an interest in History, perhaps encouraged the most by my grandpa, who’s collection of history-related books were only outnumbered by his endless personal stories and memories of the past. What I really craved when I was a child was to be able to read about history in a fun and colourful way. Being the youngest in my family, I saw that my sister had Dolly magazines and my brother subscribed to Drive. Where was mine? I (or, more likely, my mum) scoured high and low for a magazine that could fill this hole. But it didn’t exist. Much later, while at university, I noted that the product I had so wanted still wasn’t available. So I made the decision at the age of 19 that I would make it myself. Now, at 23, I have published 13 issues as of February 2015, each one growing HistoriCool’s dedicated readership and reaching more schools, families and mini-historians than the last.
I watered plants at a florist after school when I was 12. It didn’t last too long, and I waited a few more years before getting my first ‘proper’ job at a cafe when I was 16. You could say I’ve always been a tad enterprising though; I negotiated a “Dollar a Meal Deal” with my parents at 13 whereby I would cook a family dinner in return for a dollar (I talked them up to $2 a couple of years into the venture!)
Like many other businesses, HistoriCool arose out of a “why hasn’t anybody done this yet?!” I knew exactly what I wanted to create because it is exactly what I had wanted to have many years earlier. I did have grand naive visions of instantly making money and quitting my job, but my main driving force was to see something that I really believed in grow from an initial seed of an idea into a physical product in my hand (which is lucky, because the instant money-making certainly didn’t happen!)
Plenty of time and money that I might have spent elsewhere, but I certainly wouldn’t change it. So much good has come out of my venture that I can’t imagine going back to a life without it. I know now that I can back myself going into life’s challenges, I have (even if just a little) grown out of my shyness, and I have added a whole new and amazing aspect to my relationship with my mum – who edits the magazine.
Holding the first issue in my hands was a really proud moment for me, and the feeling doesn’t seem to tire with each subsequent issue either! I am also incredibly flattered when I receive emails from parents noting their child’s new-found excitement in reading and learning because of HistoriCool.
Aside from my own business, I have learnt so much from being involved in (and sometimes just being the sounding board) for my wonderful partner’s entrepreneurial ventures. I have been there for the establishment of his Dog Daycare centre in Blackburn and his (many) online start-ups. He teaches me what being an entrepreneur is really about (hard work!)
Don’t believe that just because you’re young you can’t start a legitimate and respectable business. Yes, you look like you could still be at high school (and you will enjoy this fact when you hit 40 as we’ve heard a million times) but what you lack in age, you make up for in determination.
Just start; nothing is going to work if you don’t.
To bring HistoriCool before a much wider readership, potentially even hitting the overseas market. I’m really excited for a happy, healthy and successful 2015.