If you didn’t know, “Printing is really really expensive,” says Collinson. Despite selling his initial issues for a very small fee (a measly buck), the couple was able to slowly gain enough support within the industry to secure some advertising dollars. Collinson says, “Every dollar that we got, we put back into [Lowcard], whether that went towards ink or photographer fees or anything else that would come up.” The magazine has been able to grow exponentially since then by utilizing those advertising dollars to branch out into retail, and also support its small collection of contributors. Now with an online store, fans of the mag are able to purchase hoodies, tees, beer cozies, etc. The photographers, who pitch most of the magazine’s content (even though it might not be seen for a couple months), are now able to afford extra cups of coffee. The fee has also been waived for shops that carry Lowcard’s gear. Due to their growth, the gang has been able to head out on small tours as well. Recently, they teamed up with Blood Wizard and Heavy Wheels, and came out into our neck of the woods, stopping in Salt Lake for a skate/photography tour (see slugmag.com or Issue 44 of Lowcard for the highs and lows).
Now approaching its 10-year anniversary, the mag produces around 8,000 to 10,000 copies bi-monthly and can be found in any core shop across the states or overseas in over four countries. What makes Lowcard different and appealing to most audiences is Collinson’s humor and unwavering dedication to his ideals. Predominantly photo heavy, the publication focuses on the less serious side of skateboarding. Since the beginning, his zines were created to make his friends laugh and share his love of skating with whomever would read them. Today, these are the same characteristics that maintain the foundation for the magazine. While providing an uncensored skater’s perspective without compromising advertising dollars is a hard task to accomplish, Collinson has made it work. Lowcard is able to secure the same companies as the mother-approved magazines typically gracing the shelves and demanding $5, due to their uncompromising attitude. “If someone’s down to help us out and we see eye to eye with the company, then we’re going to let them advertise in the magazine. [Our readers] know it’s not going to change our content just because there is a more corporate company in our mag … because we’re picky with who we let advertise,” says Collinson. “Advertise or don’t. Either way, the mag will get printed.”
Lowcard can be described as skateboarding’s evil stepchild. By using industry contacts and friends at his expense, Collinson and his contributors are constantly challenging mainstream publications with anti-matter. Collinson defines the mag as having “a lot of meaning behind it, staying on the low side.” He says, “I’ve always loved magazines, and I don’t make much money doing it … it’s just for the love of skateboarding.”
You can buy a year’s subscription plus a T-shirt for $20, pick up some merch, or check out exclusive online content at lowcardmag.com.