How it Began

My 2 partners and I launched hMAG while working at a creative agency in Hoboken, NJ, called Tisha Creative. It was right around the time of the stock market crash and we were looking to attract and grow new clients - creating a lifestyle brand was an innovative way to showcase our collective skillsets and talents as an agency and position ourselves as pillars of the community we called home.

What began as an experiment and a demo reel quickly turned into a thriving business with local support by the mayor of Hoboken, the city council, local businesses, and the residents in town. In addition, our creative agency soon began gaining exposure and new client work was thriving.

Launch hMAG (circa 2013)

The Magazine

hMAG began as a magazine (with a unique design that opened horizontally), featuring content written by locals about the culture, people, and happenings in Hoboken, NJ. Stories were written by professional writers - not bloggers - and included editorial about the hidden gems and distinctive culture not widely known in town. Advertisers were local businesses and the magazine was distributed every other month to every doorstep in town.

We used local professional fashion and lifestyle photographers to shoot our covers, as well as to enhance the imagery of the stories inside. Each cover was carefully conceptualized by myself, our creative director (partner), and the photographer.

Watch a Photoshoot Reel

Building a Platform

Shortly after we published and distributed nearly 20,000 copies of our first issue of the magazine, was launched. At the time, it was a one-of-a-kind social community platform that not only contained the digital archived content of the magazine issues, but also functioned as a member-driven community with well over 8000 members, composed of residents and businesses living and working in Hoboken.

Members of the site had the ability of connecting and communicating with other members, creating and sharing events and happenings, submitting their own editorial content for future magazine publishing consideration, creating classified listings, and participating in various contests and offerings.

Hoboken has its own "Facebook"

I designed, built, and managed the entire platform from scratch. I used the Wordpress and Buddpress architecture as its foundation. Over time, the platform grew to contain years worth of editorial content - organized by authors and various categories.

Advertisers in the magazine also had automated ads running on the platform. Editorial content in the magazine received commentary and further visibility online as well as on social (platforms like Facebook were just getting off the ground).

Watch a Website Reel

Building a Community

Having an operational magazine, an editorial calendar with staffed writers, and a thriving and growing community driven website wasn't enough for us. In order to further engulf ourselves in bridging the gap between the residents and businesses in town, we began throwing monthly mixers, dubbed hMIXERS.

We threw these events at bars, lounges, stores, restaurants, and hotels with a stipulation that the location must be an advertiser - therefore delivering a unique proposition of print, digital and experiential. Each mixer enabled our readers, our sponsors, and our staff to mingle and network. In addition, each mixer was paired with a charity, for which those in attendance helped to raise money for worthy causes.

Watch a hMIXER Reel

Moving on

My time working as a Web Director at Tisha Creative, the agency at which we began the hMAG experiment, eventually came to an end when I took a position at Social Media Week. I continued to work alongside my partners in publishing the magazine and maintaining the platform for several years after. Eventually, each of us moved on in our respective fields.

The site and the magazine received several recognition and accolades throughout its lifespan, including an award from the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce, an inclusion in the book "Legendary Locals of Hoboken" written by Alan Skontra, as well top honors on for best examples of platforms built on Wordpress.

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