“I’ve hit the jackpot!” That’s what Jenny Rudd, editor and co-publisher at UNO Magazine, says about her role. “It ticks every box on the dream job list: fulfilling, enlightening, fun, exciting, rewarding, glam, interesting, worthwhile – I could bore you forever with effusive enthusiasm for my beloved magazine.”
Her burning love for UNO started when she arrived in New Zealand in November 2007. Jenny went from being a trader in the city, London, to being a mum in The Mount. She saw UNO and was impressed with the big, glossy, world-class production. Becoming a freelance writer was a great way to “fit work around my children and expose my brain to the big world out there beyond wiping Weetabix off toddlers’ bums.” She pestered Andy Martin (the then owner) for about a year to let her write for UNO. She says, “My pitches were TERRIBLE. I was clueless, but relentless. I think that’s the clue to learning really fast. Just keep trying. Don’t worry too much about getting it right first time. And if you meet someone who knows lots about the industry you are trying to get into, ask LOADS of questions, and stay in contact with them”.
The persistence paid off, and Jenny eventually got her foot in the door at UNO, at the same time as a few other magazines. Industry heavyweights like the editor at Simply You, Natalie Bridges, and deputy editor at North & South, Joanna Wane, critiqued the work she sent it in. Jenny says “I absolutely loved it, as I was being schooled by the best in the business”.
Before buying UNO in September 2015 with husband, Mat Tomlinson, Jenny had no experience in publishing, but that didn’t seem to matter. Jenny believes a lack of experience can often work in your favour. She says, “It means you don’t slide into ‘this is how we’ve always done it’ when it’s not beneficial to your advertisers or readers. And you can always employ people with lots of experience who share your vision”.
“Being editor at UNO puts me in an immensely privileged position. Every time I read or hear about something interesting, I can make a phone call and ask more questions. I’m not sure if the same opportunity would be afforded to many others: imagine calling up Peter Burling’s agent and saying ‘Hi, my name’s Susan, I am an accountant for a firm in Tauranga, but I’d just love to have a coffee with Peter and find out how he became the best in the world at what he does’. That’d get a no, I reckon”.
Asked what makes regional New Zealand an exciting place to do business, Jenny says, “Every region in New Zealand has a definite character, and because UNO are so involved with lots of businesses, enterprises and associations in the Bay of Plenty, I get to really understand what motivates the thousands of sparky, lively, active minds and bodies who choose to live here. To own such an influential media platform which speaks to all those people is an absolute honour”.