On a particularly sunny afternoon we had the pleasure of meeting up with one of our King Street tenants in Queens Square. Eilidh MacRae, director of ‘Eilidh MacRae Media,’ who provides copy writing, content marketing and PR for fashion, beauty, health and fitness brands. With the recent launch of a free health and fitness magazine ‘Bristol Health’, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to have a natter.
So what got you into writing?
I really liked creative writing at school. We would be asked to create a short story, everyone else would write a few paragraphs whilst I would be there furiously scribbling away. It was always what I wanted to do as a kid; I’ve dabbled with a few different ideas but always came back to writing.
What do you enjoy about it?
I’d like to say I’m quite good at it and I like to do things I’m good at, rather than things I’m not so good at… I’m rubbish at driving and in the middle of doing my test again, I’ve failed twice already.
Have you always worked freelance?
When I first moved to Bristol I worked in Kurt Geiger and then as a receptionist at a hotel. I then got a job writing for a marketing company, but the writing was based around a wide variety of companies, and I found myself writing about things like towel rails, so I quickly realised it wasn’t for me! I decided I wanted to pursue freelance copy writing full time so when I’d built up enough work I made the move.
How did you end up joining (Meanwhile Creative’s first project) Bridewell Space? Was it scary taking the leap into a co-working environment?
Bridewell Space appealed to me as it was a big open space, and I really liked the idea of being in an environment with lots of like-minded, creative people. It had a great atmosphere too.
Was fashion, beauty health and fitness your first loves as a writer? How did you get into these industries?
It was never something that I planned; I thought I’d go for a broad spectrum of things to write about to start with. But my specialist areas are my genuine personal interests so it happened naturally; when I realized most of my clients were in these industries, I decided to brand myself accordingly.
My first big role in the sector was with Vitality magazine and I loved it. It taught me a lot as I hadn’t done a lot of magazine work before and to be made editor was a big deal. I wouldn’t have been able to launch my new magazine without the experience I gained from that role. After a year with Vitality I realised I was confident enough in the process to do it myself.
Your first issue of Bristol Health magazine looks exciting, tell us about it. Are you a fitness nut?
Over the past couple of years health and fitness have become something that’s paramount in my everyday life. I’ve never been over weight or unfit and used to exercise on and off but about three years ago I started running and then joined a gym. Feeling so much more energised and loving how good the gym made me feel, I then started going religiously, four or five times a week.
I developed a love for healthy foods and soon enough eating anything processed would make me feel pretty rubbish, and likewise going more than a few days with out being able to workout would make me feel grumpy. Last year I did the Bristol Half Marathon and this year I’m doing Tough Mudder. In the gym I have been focusing on weights mostly, and can now deadlift 50kg for sets of 5 reps, which is my own body weight.
Why did you decide to launch the magazine?
I’d like to say I’d been planning it for ages but I’ll be completely honest, I was in the shower on a Sunday morning thinking about one of my favourite magazines, Women’s Health, and then I thought maybe I could do ‘Bristol Health’. I near enough jumped out the shower, got ready, ran out and grabbed all the free magazines I could get my hands on around Bristol and realized there wasn’t anything similar. I then spent the rest of the day planning- I found a designer and people who wanted to contribute. I’m currently working on the July issue.
What would your advice be for someone who wants to start a career in writing?
I would say just be brave about it. I think it’s about taking your skill and marketing yourself, finding a way that earns you money. In terms of what people actually need, there is always going to be a market for copywriting for marketing purposes. Everyone needs things written for their businesses. I’d say learn how to write for online platforms and keep up to date with social media.
How do you let your hair down?
With launching the magazine I’ve found it hard to relax recently. I only came up with idea 6 weeks ago; I’ve had so much to do with managing my other clients and doing Vitality! I’ve found it difficult to switch off; but I do like to get my joggers on and relax as soon as I get home but still find myself sat on my laptop writing!
And the future?
I’m very excited to be taking on a new intern over the summer for two months. I have loads of exciting things to get started on with her.
And finally… Would you rather be born with a Giraffe’s neck or an elephant’s trunk?
(Following much giggling) Giraffes neck, as having a long neck is elegant?! I’m really short too so maybe it would be good to experience being tall!