I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite online publications, VERTICAL Tampa Bay. Its lovely creator, Leslie Ickowitz, and I initially bonded via Twitter and Facebook over our mutual love of local designer k. hendrix. We eventually decided that a coffee date was in order and an instant friendship was formed. I am truly in awe of how Leslie has brought her vision to life. VERTICAL, aptly described as a work of art, is the type of publication that makes you marvel at the beauty Tampa Bay has to offer…but don’t let that turn you away if you aren’t a Tampa resident. Anyone who appreciates beautiful things is sure to become an avid reader. Did I mention that it’s free? Yes, that’s right…free! After you read my interview with Leslie, I’m willing to bet you’re going to want to subscribe!
Can you tell us a little about the mission of VERTICAL Tampa Bay? VERTICAL is designed to uplift our community by celebrating its treasures—the people, places and things we rejoice to discover.
What can readers expect to find when they peruse it? Captivating content, vibrant photography, artistic layouts, thoughtful editorial and something for everyone.
Would it be an enjoyable read for people outside the Tampa Bay area? Sure. While VERTICAL is ideal for locals and people who have ties to the Tampa Bay area, much of our content is broad enough to apply no matter where you live. Plus, VERTICAL is often referred to as a “work of art”, so those who enjoy a stroll through a gallery or museum might also enjoy experiencing it—especially curled up in comfort from their favorite spot.
Starting your own publication is quite the undertaking. What inspired you to take on a monster goal like that? People inspired me. In the midst of economic chaos, I came across a group of local professionals who refused to bury their heads in the sand in favor of reaching out to one another and lending a helping hand. After sitting around a table with them one night, I created VERTICAL specifically with the goal of playing a role in uplifting those around me.
Do you have any advice for budding entrepreneurs? Believe in yourself, surround yourself with positive people and get vertical.
Besides the online magazine, do you have anything else in the works? OMGoodness; I have never had so much going on at once. Topping the list is launching VERTICAL’s “Stellar Society” & a constellation of benefits to help you celebrate the treasures of Tampa Bay. Check it out here.
On 2.11.11 VERTICAL hosted its premier fashion presentation, “So Not Sari” featuring a collection exclusive to VERTICAL by local designer k.hendrix. We auctioned the garments live that night and donated 50% of the proceeds which benefited homeless children in St. Petersburg and surrounding areas.
Then there are the Studio 10 TV appearances which are always exciting because we get to bring the pages of VERTICAL to life!
And I’m over the moon by the response to my original photography. It’s a passion that has developed auspiciously to coincide with creating this vessel to share it. Now, one of my favorite boutiques in the whole wide world (The Hive Creations on Anna Maria Island), is creating a section of the store dedicated to selling my photography.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future of VERTICAL? VERTICAL is gaining momentum and it’s starting to feel like a movement. People are passionate and involved. This is a community magazine and everyone is welcome. Over the course of our trajectory, I hope more and more people will embrace it and understand the meaning of “Get VERTICAL…and be part of something fabulous!”