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107


By The Dart at work


As we celebrate our 10 year anniversary we thought we’d tell you a bit more about the people behind this magazine. We’re a small team of part time staff based at the home of Mark & Ruth Simpson supported by freelance writers and a loyal band of magazine distributors. Interview by Steph Woolvin


Mark Simpson PUBLISHER


So Mark, six thousand copies of each edition go out, how do you manage all that from your house in Kingswear… It actually works perfectly - there’s enough space, the team get on well and there’s no commute! We used to have an office in Dartmouth, but when my wife Ruth and I finished building this house a couple of years ago, we decided to save money and move the office here.


How many hours a week do you work? Often 50 hours, unfortunately! But that’s not just on By The Dart; we publish a similar magazine for Kingsbridge & Salcombe called The Post. We also create the Darthaven Yearbook, the Dart Harbour Guide, the Dartmouth Visitor Map, two Annual Directories and, of course, our very popular ByTheDart website. We have a new advertising sales rep, Rachel Roberts, based in Kingsbridge working mostly on The Post and a small band of fantastic freelance writers - Steph Woolvin, Kate Cotton and Ginny Farrell. I really couldn’t do it without Ruth, a great team of hard- working colleagues and our loyal contributors and distributors.


Is it a stressful job? It can be. Especially when we’re approaching a deadline and we’re still chasing adverts, money and contributors! But I’ve worked to


deadlines all my life - I’m getting used to it by now.


How did you get into this business? I studied economics at Bristol University but after a couple of years working as an economist for the Society of British Motor Manufacturers I went to work in the marketing department of one of the country’s biggest trade magazine publishers. I was soon in charge of a wide range of different publications and over the years I’ve published magazines for farmers to investment bankers. I then bought a magazine company in Bournemouth publishing computing and technology magazines, before selling that and moving down here.


Why did you move to Kingswear and set up By The Dart? I used to come here sailing when I was a boy and have always loved the area. Ruth and I moved here in 2008 and decided to start a small publishing company. The first couple of issues of BTD were a real family affair. My son Tom took charge of design, Ruth wrote the articles and proof-read and I sold the advertising and put it all together. After the first few issues went out people started offering their services – from professional photos for the front cover to articles on health and beauty, gardening, food, finance and so on.


10 years on and you’re still here! Why do you think By


The Dart is so popular? It celebrates local life and reminds us all why this is such a great place to live and work. People want to know what’s on their doorstep - whether that’s reading about the fascinating life of Fred from down the road or finding out about a new event at Greenway. The reaction from readers has been overwhelmingly positive from the start. We don’t get rich on it, but it’s rewarding.


If you could do it all again would you chose a different career path? When I finished my degree I was offered an interview with a merchant bank. I never went as I accepted another job, but I often wonder what would have happened if I’d gone - I could be retired now sat on my yacht in the Med!


Describe yourself in three words? Intense, enthusiastic, workaholic.


Where can we find you on a Saturday night? Well, thanks to Jamie Oliver, after 40 years of marriage I’ve actually learnt to cook! So you’ll normally find me with a gimlet cocktail in hand, listening to some jazz, and cooking up something tasty for Ruth.


What do you need to get through your day? A distraction! Having my business in my home can be all encompassing, so I do enjoy a bit of light relief often by switching on The Archers or walking the dog!


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