5 Minutes with our Heroes: Crystal Mahey-Morgan

In the lead up to our From Zero to Hero! event on September 22nd at Rich Mix, we’re celebrating each of our panelists and speakers.

Next up, we have Crystal Mahey-Morgan an independent multi-media publisher and founder of OWN IT!.

Give us your elevator pitch… 

OWN IT! is a storytelling lifestyle brand across books, music, fashion and film. We tell diverse stories for diverse audiences in diverse ways.

Now explain it to your Mother in Law… 

We’re driven by story rather then format or form. This means we don’t confine ourselves to just one type of product or entertainment form. You could just as easily find us releasing a six word story on a t-shirt as a full length novel in hardback. We don’t just tell stories through physical products like hardbacks books or t-shirts either. For example our first release was a multi-media digital book which included a song and animation within an eBook. In short we tell universal stories in diverse ways.

What inspired you to start OWN IT! ?

I didn’t feel like there was a space for my ideas and approach in mainstream publishing. I was excited about reaching new audiences and giving a platform to new writers/artists and it felt like the only way for me to be able to achieve an undiluted version of my vision was to put my own money where my mouth is. I was tired and frustrated at continuing to hit glass ceilings so decided to stop banging my head and start opening my mind to new possibilities that would allow me to carve out a space for myself on my own terms. The result was to quit my job and find a way to launch OWN IT! and it was the best professional decision I’ve ever made.

Who’s the team behind OWN IT! ?

On a day to day it’s just me which means I’m pretty stretched most of the time. I’m really lucky that my husband happens to be super creative so he tends to be my go to person for advice/input when I need a sounding board. I also have the most amazing network of freelancers and artists I work with. Plus with a 50/50 approach with my authors from ideas to net profits, I feel like they are as much OWN IT! as I am.

What’s your top tip for getting a project off the ground?

Don’t take no for an answer and believe anything is possible. I sometimes surprise myself with what’s been possible by living by this advice myself. There’s always a way and if it means taking a route very different to what you first thought, embrace it as you’re probably going to end up with a better project as a result not to mention a whole heap of experience for your next project.

What can we expect to hear from you at our From Zero to Hero event?

I’ll be talking about a book I’m really excited to be publishing in October called Mama Can’t Raise No Man by Robyn Travis which will be out in Hardback and eBook but also as a multi-media digital experience. It’s very different from content to author to audience. The book launch will be an evening of live music, poetry and comedy at Hackney Empire with an unmissable line up so there’s also a live events element to this particular project. In many ways it symbolises everything OWN IT! is about.

Tickets to the book launch are available here.

You can find Crystal on Twitter @CrystalMMorgan

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