Marc Thomas, Mr. Plastik fantastic
May 31, 2011 § 2 Comments
Marc Thomas is working on a dream. “When we’re young we dream of doing something great. Most people dream of being famous, but then they go to university, live off of mouldy pasta for 4 or 5 years and at the end decide they prefer the security of a full time job”. But, unlike many of his peers, Marc has chosen a different path. He’s going it alone.
Marc is editor and owner of Plastik Magazine (formerly Journal of Plastik), an “on-line magazine of culture and things relating to creative culture”. The aim of the magazine is to “represent the creative atmosphere of one of the world’s most vibrant cities – Cardiff. The city is up and coming and producing a vast amount of incredible creative talent. Plastik Magazine exists to document the flux of the city”.
Marc acted on impulse when the idea for the magazine came up. Instead of thinking through a web strategy or developing a business plan he decided to be reckless and just do it. “Personally, I feel uneasy with the idea of just getting a job out of comfort. If I were working for a magazine or newspaper I would seldom get the chance to work on a project like this. I’d be constrained to writing features that might not be all that interesting. This might be the only opportunity I will ever have to be so free in journalism and business – If I don’t take it now, I’ll probably end up feeling bitter and ruing the day I took the easy way out”. Wise words, but also quite brave for a 22 year old fresh out of journalism school.
Plastik Magazine has gained a loyal readership in a short space of time, but over the past few weeks, with the end of his University days fast approaching, Marc has been focused on turning Plastik Magazine from a journalism project into a fully-fledged business. “I’ve been working hard on building revenue streams into the website and creating new ways to build community at the same time. There’s a big problem of how to make online journalism profitable and not sell out. Plastik Magazine wants to help local businesses, culture and customers connect and also continue to be able to afford to provide our readers with brilliant content”.
It is this dilemma that has led to Marc’s most recent venture – the Plastik Pass. The pass is a discount card, which costs £5, lasts six months and gives lots of unique offers and discounts at local, independent businesses throughout the City. “The Plastik Pass is my proudest achievement to date. It’s a cord of three strands: community, revenue and culture”. Marc’s hope is that by buying a Plastik Pass you’re doing two things. “Firstly, you’re saving a whole bunch of money, and secondly, you’re supporting loads of great local businesses and helping to promote our unique culture, which is something you can’t really put a price on”.
Marc’s creative juices are clearly is constant flow. So much so he has developed a post-it system to capture and prioritise his ideas. “If there’s something that needs doing I get very excited about the blank page in front of me”. However, he stresses that one thing he’s learning is that it’s very difficult to come up with a brand new idea. “Originality is hard to come by. These days, to get to the front of a crowd, you just need to be better at walking through gaps”. Similarly, Marc realises the importance of a good support network. “There’s a lot you can do on your own, but you can’t do everything. At some point you have to listen”.
Marc is not a native. He moved here five years ago, like many others, to study at University. But his love for Cardiff is clear and there is no doubt that he has worked hard to become part of the community. I wish I had contributed as much during my student days.
Marc didn’t quite fit the picture I had in my head of someone who is deep into the music scene, an entrepreneur, promoter, and journalist. I’m not sure what I expected, but he wasn’t it. Marc was so much nicer. In fact, you’d have trouble meeting a nicer bloke. They say nice people don’t get very far in business, but I have a funny feeling this one will. Best of luck Marc.
Marc is an editor, journalist, writer and song-and-dance man. He is currently the editor of culture e-zine Plastik Magazine, the brains behind Plastik Pass, a regular blogger and lover of sensual print layouts. He is tweetable on @iammarcthomas and would love to hear from you.