Deanna Sutton: Clutch Magazine/Sutton Media Group
Since its inception in 2007, Clutch Magazine has become one of the leading online magazines for women of color across the globe. The magazine’s target audience, the 18-34 year old urban female is one of the fastest growing segments in the world today. Advertisers and marketers are working overtime to understand women in this age group because their entertainment and fashion choices as well as their career and relationship goals set the tone for mainstream American culture.
Despite the impact this woman has had in our society, she continues to be overlooked by the publishing industry, left yearning to see herself and hear her own voice in the media. As a card-carrying member of this segment and social media visionary, Deanna Sutton, founder of Clutch Magazine and Sutton Media Group is committed to filling this undeniable void.
Although we thoroughly enjoy the features on Clutch Magazine, In Her Shoes thinks it’s time to shake it up a bit. Today the tables will be turned! Kick back, relax and prepare to take notes as In Her Shoes gets up close and personal with Clutch Magazine‘s Deanna Sutton:
In Her Shoes: For In Her Shoes readers meeting you for the first time, please tell us who Deanna Sutton is and what Clutch Magazine is all about.
Deanna: I’m an almost 30-year-old Michigan native who absolutely adores her family and friends. I love A&E, Lifetime, reading, fashion and underground Hip-Hop. My career background is marketing and public relations. Contrary to popular belief though, I’m really quite boring!
As for Clutch, the online magazine started out as a personal hobby to help make a really negative time in my life to a positive one. I lost my father my last semester of college and it shook up my world. I was a daddy’s girl and when I lost him I thought I couldn’t go on without his presence on earth. Clutch was an outlet God and I created so I can feel and live again.
Clutch is about Black women all over the world. My vision and goal was just to highlight me and my girls in our true light. We are diverse, complex, educated and pretty dope if I say so myself. Black women can not be defined or placed in a box when it comes to who we are, what we like, and how we live. Clutch is the vehicle I used and will continue to use to showcase that.
In Her Shoes: When did it dawn on you that you were ready to leave your job with one of the top global PR agencies in the industry to launch Clutch Magazine?
Deanna: I knew that it was time for me to leave when I couldn’t take driving in Atlanta traffic every morning and evening. Also, I couldn’t take any more long meetings, pitching, proposals and late nights at the office. I felt like I didn’t have a life and also felt pigeonholed by my title and career. I knew I was so much more and deserved more. I come from an entrepreneurial family so I always knew I was leaving corporate America – it just shocked my family and myself when I busted out so quickly!
Also, I must mention my play brother and mentor Jason Orr of the legendary FunkJazz Kafe. The day I decided that I was done working at my last gig, I went downstairs on an unapproved break and spoke with Jason about the move I wanted to make. We discussed if I should leave and do Clutch full time or not. What I really appreciate is how Jason kept it all the way real with me and told me to do it – but just know that it’s not a game. It was going to be harder than anything I every imagined. Needless to say, he was SO right. So, Jason Orr would be my other reason – if I hadn’t dialed his number that day I would still be writing press releases.
Jason Orr: FunkJazz Kafe
In Her Shoes: What do you think Clutch Magazine is giving readers that some of its predecessors may not have provided?
Deanna: I truly enjoyed all of the magazines targeting young women of color that paved the way for Clutch and would say that we are the digital model. When I decided to launch Clutch I knew I wanted to do it online only and not try to do print again. When I initially started Clutch in 2002 as a print magazine it was so much drama and just a very hard and costly endeavor.
A year before Clutch launched online I started going to new media conferences and became a social media enthusiast. I realized that no one in our demo had created an online only model and felt it was the smartest thing to do. To clarify – there are lots of websites online that are “online magazines” but they do not run as a print magazine with scheduled issues in a magazine format.
By having social media tools such as RSS feeds, bookmarking, networks, blogs and online word of mouth to highlight Clutch and it’s content we are able to connect with women all over the world. Although we’ve been doing this for a while, I still find it to be truly phenomenal.
In Her Shoes: Can you give us an idea of what a day is like in Deanna Sutton’s shoes?
Deanna: I get up and read my favorite tech sites like Black Web 2.0, TechCrunch, Mashable and Paid Content. Then I head over to Clutch to make sure no one has left any crazy comments. From there I start reading news and entertainment sites to get my daily dose. After I’ve done enough reading to get the day started, I start working on Clutch by posting, scheduling interviews, brainstorming, returning emails, designing layouts, and checking our presence on social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. I pretty much just repeat this sequence throughout the day.
In Her Shoes: What’s your absolute favorite Clutch Magazine story to date and why?
Deanna: LOL – I can’t pick just one! But If I had to I would say our Sanaa Lathan interview because I actually did that interview myself. When we got the approval for the interview my friend Erin was supposed to do it but something came up and I filled in for her. I am so not an interviewer or reporter! I was so nervous when I was asking my questions but Sanaa was SO nice to me. I am embarrassed to say I acted like a fan (which I am) during the phoner. I invited her to hang with me and my girls next time she came to Atlanta and even offered to take her to some of the “hot spots in the A” (sigh). I was so hyped! I must disclose that she was our 1st big celebrity interview. I will always be grateful to her for being so sweet and allowing us to feature her…and letting me ramble on with my foolishness!
In Her Shoes: What do you think is the most difficult aspect of running Clutch Magazine?
Deanna: Everything! I can’t pick one aspect because it’s truly an emotional roller coaster. It’s a blessing though and I’m happy to get on this ride each and everyday.
In Her Shoes: Who is your dream interview subject?
Deanna: I would have to say Maxwell and Oprah.
I love them both for very different but beautiful reasons!
In Her Shoes: The beauty of Clutch Magazine is that you are able to touch the lives of women of all ages across the U.S. and internationally. What has been your most memorable moment with a reader to date?
Deanna: We are so blessed to say that we get so many wonderful emails from sisters across the globe. I have received so many heartfelt emails that I can’t list just one. I will say that each one validates the fact that I am walking the path that was designed just for me.
In Her Shoes: Clutch magazine recently went from once to twice monthly and we absolutely love it. What’s next for Clutch?
Deanna: I am so happy to hear that! Well, I’ve got more good news…as of March 9th we’re going weekly! We’re also launching two new blogs – Paper (career, finance & education) and Pad (home & decor). I just want Clutch to continue to grow at a healthy rate and truly be a quality outlet that women of color can be proud of.
In Her Shoes: Any special acknowledgements or thank-you’s you’d like to give?
Deanna: I’d like to thank the most high and anyone and everyone who has ever clicked on Clutch‘s site or sent a positive vibe our way. I just want to tell you all thanks and it has truly been what has kept me going and Clutch alive.
I’d also like to thank Kierna Mayo and Joicelyn Dingle, the founders of Honey Magazine. When they created Honey they truly made something so special and so unique – it can never be duplicated and the reasoning is because it was truly them. Their friendship shined in the content, images, design and spirit of each and every page!
I’d like to thank them for being the originators of real, inspirational, fly, global and open publishing for Black women. Their mark in publishing and their spirit as beautiful humble black women is what drives me to do Clutch everyday. If I can touch as many people as they did and still do — it would truly make me proud to say I created Clutch Magazine!
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