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2 Dec

Amanda Marko – Trouvé Magazine

“Celebrating the creative lifestyle and those who live it. Do as much as you can do on your own, but don’t be afraid to reach out to photographers and writers—you’d be surprised how many creatives are up for a collaboration.”


Creator Profile:

Amanda Marko + Trouvé Magazine

Creator: Amanda Marko

Company:  Trouvé Magazine (@trouvemag #creativityfound)

Location: Washington D.C. / Maryland

Website: TrouveMag.com

Words of Wisdom – My biggest advice is details, details and then more details.


I don’t even know where to begin. I came across Amanda Marko and her beautifully designed magazine, Trouvé, via Instagram. The sheer details, layout, clean lines, beautiful photography and carefully presented stories immediately drew me in. I visited her website www.TrouveMag.com and it went from there.

If you haven’t seen @trouvemag on Instagram, please do so! Amanda brings a certain quality that I feel is sometimes missing from published content these days, both online and offline. She brings both of those worlds together through the Trouvé magazine and website and I, like so many others, waited for my carefully crafted publication to arrive in the mail so I can take staged photos and tag her company in it as a token of my appreciation.

My Trouvé magazine was accompanied with a hand written thank you note, a strategically wrapped magazine complete with a wax seal and some additional artwork that read, “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on” (By Albert Einstein). This is how product packaging and customer relationship management should be.

After several emails, I caught up with Amanda and discovered her passions for creating her own magazine, the meaning of Trouvé, creating her brand by sharing it with others and some of the hurdles that come with publishing a magazine.


Photo by Jennifer Trovato for Amanda Marko & Trouvé Magazine

HDF: Thanks again for allowing me to interview you and learn more about Trouvé!

Amanda: Thank you so much for wanting to write about Trouvé. I’m so honored!


HDF: Well, Trouvé is amazing so I’m honored you’d take the time from a busy schedule of designing, creating and publishing your own magazine. Tell me a little bit more about your background?

Amanda: Growing up on the Indiana outskirts of Chicago, I was blessed to be close to a wealth of history, art and culture. As a child, I was interested in art, expressing that interest in sketching, painting, and a short-lived pre-teen scrapbooking phase (ha!).

By the time college decisions rolled around, I had learned and explored what was then a fairly new bachelor’s degree program, graphic design. I chose a small private school that was turning out some stellar graphic design portfolios, and never even thought twice about changing my major. I absolutely fell in love graphic design.

It was the perfect meeting point for all of my artistic interests, while introducing me to new obsessions such as typography, packaging design, and layout/print design (obviously my favourite to this day).


HDF: So, it seems inevitable you’d build your own brand one day?

Amanda: Well, I graduated in 2008, did some time at an ad agency, then as an in-house senior designer for a sportswear company. Though working full-time in a design job was great, I had an insatiable inward longing to have my own brand. I would put my heart and soul into projects, but they were never fully mine, as small changes either from the client or the company morphed it into something that wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

2011 arrived, and for a creative outlet I tried to do freelance work on the side of my full-time job, but ended up with the same problem/un-satisfaction, as you still are not designing something especially the way you want it to be, but rather a combination of what you and your client wants it to be (if you are a good freelancer, that is, I kept thinking,

“What if I could finally create a design, exactly the way I want it to be and it’s so beautiful that people want to be a part of it”

And Trouvé Magazine Was Born

Trouvé Magazine

Photography by Jennifer Trovato for Amanda Marko & Trouvé Magazine

HDF: And Trouvé was born?

Amanda: I think that may have been when I really started to think seriously about the magazine concept. Print design was always my favourite. Then someone at a dinner party asked me what I would do for work if I won the lottery, and I didn’t even think about it and said “I’d start a new magazine”…so then it began.

I started researching, and at the time, there was the big online magazine boom. I got to work contemplating what kind of magazine I would want to read cover to cover, and the content of Trouvé was born. I did sketches, layouts, played with fonts, and planned to launch an online art/design/shelter magazine. By the summer of 2013 I had full layouts, a name (then Villa), and a good amount of savings that I had worked extremely hard to accumulate at my day job.

I approached a former classmate in July to help produce the magazine. The name was changed to Trouvé, which means found in French, and together we “found” some awesome things to put into an online magazine. By Christmas the online flipbook mag was published, and received a lot of views, quickly becoming a full-time job on top of my REAL full-time job.

My classmate had small children and decided in January it was best to focus on her own painting and family, so flying solo, I decided to grow the online magazine and take the leap to move to print. 

I quit my senior design job at the sportswear company, and from January-May worked to create Volume O1. I then re-designed the entire website to announce and focus on the fact that we were moving to print, and planned a marketing theme for the next few months as I created the actual print. It was the most difficult, but exciting project I have ever worked on.

Trouvé Magazine Vol. 01

Photography by Jennifer Trovato for Amanda Marko & Trouvé Magazine

HDF: I bet that felt good to complete it? Lol.

Amanda:  Yeah, when I finally held the first print in my hands, I found that feeling of artistic fulfillment I had been looking for. I had finally created my brand, but the best part about it, was that it was not solely mine, but also belonged to the countless writers and photographers that wanted to be a part of this start-up.


HDF: How do you develop your stories? Do you interview people in person, do they send you their stories, etc.? If you have visited some of the people you’re interviewing, what cities have been the most fun to go visit?

Amanda: The current Volume of Trouvé is made up of 30% submitted material that fits into the theme and 70% features/essays that I have orchestrated. The features and essays of each issue all speak to the theme of Trouvé and “creativity found”, but also revolve around the theme of that particular volume, which is more specific. (The theme of Volume 01 is beginnings)

I look for content that not only fits the themes, but stories that will really engage and inspire readers, whether it’s a face that’s already well-known in our online/social media world, or a feature on someone from a small town who does not even have a website yet. Many of the features are artists I personally follow and admire, and I am currently allocating for travel to the photos shoots for two features per volume. I was in lovely Charleston last week and am excited to be in Brooklyn at the end of this month.


HDF: What was the hardest part of transitioning into creating your own company after working for other organizations?

Amanda: Probably learning to not overdo it workload-wise out of excitement and drive. It’s tempting when you are setting your own schedule to not even break for lunch, exercise, and wrap up work at a decent time. It’s a process, but I’m learning to leverage my zeal with what I can physically do:)

Amanda Marko - Trouvé Magazine

Photography by Jennifer Trovato for Amanda Marko & Trouvé Magazine

HDF: What type of difficulties did you face along the way?

Amanda: Some of the biggest hurdles to jump over were learning the ropes of actual publishing. From printing, to cost analysis, to packaging, there were so many details that I started writing daily lists on my fridge with a dry-erase marker.

I would work through as much of that list as I could, and the next day, whatever was erased, I’d fill with a new task to do or a new concept to learn via Youtube videos, blogs, etc. I am also grateful for a few folks in the publishing field that took time to talk and graciously give some seasoned advice. Again, never be afraid to send emails out and admit when you do not know something!


HDF: What’s the best part about creating your magazine?

Amanda: Without a doubt the new connection and friendships that I am able to make as a result of Trouvé. Every time I open my submissions inbox, I’m blown away at the desire of so many talented individuals to be a part of this project. I have learned so much from each creative involved in Volume 01, and it’s my goal to keep a somewhat fresh roster of contributors for each Volume, to make sure that Trouvé is truly a platform for as many photographers, writers, and artists as possible.


HDF: If you could give any entrepreneur advice, what would it be?

Amanda: The last few weeks I’ve really been thinking about the stamina it takes to tackle a startup and how I would work on Trouvé—completely for free forever because I love it so much. In addition to what you have already, I would advise any entrepreneur to find something that they love so much they’d be willing to do it for free

Write a list of exactly what you want to do and leverage that against a list of your resources and abilities. Do as much as you can do on your own, but don’t be afraid to reach out to photographers and writers—you’d be surprised how many creatives are up for a collaboration


HDF: Amanda, thank you so much for your time. This is all amazing and I think you’ve done an incredible job. It just goes to show you that patience (at least 2 years), hard work and taking risks is worth it. I wish you much success with Trouvé and you have an avid reader in me!

Amanda: Thank you Matt for taking the time to feature the magazine—it’s such an honor.


Photography courtesy of Jennifer Trovato for Amanda Marko & Trouvé Magazine

Matt Gottesman

Matt Gottesman is a global digital strategist and technology advisor, creator and editor-in-chief of Hustle & Deal Flow™ - an online magazine dedicated to the world's entrepreneurs, creators and makers, a Social Media Influencer and a consultant on New Media and go-to-market strategies for investments in digital marketing, technology, websites, mobile applications, eCommerce, social media and content.

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