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From student to entrepreneur

Gainesville native finds success in a New York minute

POSTED: March 13, 2011 1:30 a.m.
/For The Times

Gainesville native Brittany K. Earls started her own magazine when the publishing student couldn't find a job in her chosen field. The publication is now headquartered in New York.

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Brittany K. Earls has discovered that sometimes you have to make your own way out of what seems like no way.

When she couldn’t find her dream job after graduating from college, she decided to create it from scratch.

As a student at Georgia State University, Earls fell in love with magazine writing.

"When I graduated, I simply wanted a job at a magazine company. I didn’t care if I was just answering the phones as a start," said the 24-year-old Hall County native.

"However, I graduated in 2007 during the peak of our recession and found that most of the entry-level jobs were taken by seasoned professionals in their 40s who had been laid off (from other positions)."

Instead of being discouraged, Earls put on her thinking cap. After much internal debate, she decided to create her own magazine.

"I kept thinking to myself, ‘All they have that I don’t is money. And I can find a way around that,’" Earls remembers.

"I immediately hit the drawing board to come up with a name and content for my magazine."

Although it was a solo endeavor, Earls says she can’t take complete credit for her dream becoming a reality.

"I have never prayed so hard in my life. God has definitely granted me wisdom and creativity," Earls said.

"Every day for about three weeks, I would wake up with ideas and concepts for my business. I mean clear direction. You would think that someone

whispered these instructions to me in my sleep."

The whispered voices from her dreams even provided her with a name for the publication.

"I was trying to think of names that had to do with originality or the beginning of something," Earls said.

"I woke up one night and a name hit me — ‘Genesis.’"

The first issue of Genesis Magazine came out in October 2009 and was a tangible representation of Earls’ vision.

"I knew I didn’t want to create some gossip magazine or a magazine that only focused on one specific group of people or one topic," Earls said.

"I also knew that there are amazing people out there doing great things, breaking barriers and birthing inspiration but we rarely hear about these people."

Instead of focusing on which A-list actor is dating which movie star, Earls decided to devote her magazine — and its cover — to everyday celebrities.

"Oprah is always on the cover of her magazine. Not because she is vain or self-righteous, but because she is proving two points," Earls said.

"One is that we place celebrities on a pedestal too often, and the second is that it is time we celebritize ourselves. So that became my focus, to search for the guy or girl-next-door and celebritize them.

"I wanted to find people who dare to be the first to achieve the (seemingly) unachievable."

Last year, one of her issues spotlighted another Hall County talent — singer JJ Evans.

"JJ and I were in kindergarten together at White Sulphur Elementary School (in Gainesville). We also had classes together in high school and were in the gospel choir together at Georgia State," Earls said.

"I always knew he could sing and always admired the type of music he creates. When I decided that I wanted to do a music issue, I immediately thought of him."

Although she launched her magazine here in Georgia, about a year ago, Earls decided to relocate her base operations to New York City.

"When we released the first issue of Genesis Magazine, we booked 30 advertisers and 24 of them were from NYC," Earls said.

"I felt like those initial (New York) contacts were just the tip of the iceberg. There’s only so much you can do online or over the phone. If we wanted to build revenue, we had to gain our advertisers’ trust. And to establish that credibility, I felt like they needed to be able to see me and the product that we produce."

Even though she left her familial comfort-zone behind, Earls says she’ll never abandon her Hall roots.

"We have a tradition in my family to have Christmas dinner at my grandfather and grandmother’s house. No matter where this magazine takes me, as long as I’m breathing, I will spend every Christmas in Gainesville," Earls said.

"Even when I am married with kids, we will be leaving our Manhattan high-rise and heading to Gainesville for the holidays."

Although launching her own business at such a young age was challenging, Earls believes that anything worth having is worth working for.

"You can’t be fearful of what could go wrong," Earls said.

"If you want to be successful at anything, you have to put 100 percent of your efforts into it. The best idea in the world that doesn’t have the proper time put into it will fail.

"You can’t just put an hour here or there into it, you have to find at least eight to 10 hours each day to devote to your business. You have to be dedicated to what you do."

Currently, the magazine is printed quarterly but Earls is hoping to go to a bimonthly schedule this fall. Print and online subscriptions are available on the web at www.
genesis-mag.com.

 



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