Angela H. Brown is an entrepreneur, publisher of SLUG Magazine, and executive director of Craft Lake City. Angela has published SLUG Magazine for the past 19 years. During that time, she has launched the digital version, slugmag.com, SLUG’s bi-weekly podcast, Soundwaves, and created dozens of successful SLUG Magazine community events. The magazine’s combined digital and print circulation reaches over 65,000 readers each month.
In 2009, Angela started Craft Lake City, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization recognized for showcasing Utah’s handmade community with an annual Do-It-Yourself Festival. This three-day DIY festival features over 250 local artisans, a STEM building, 50 local performers on two stages and attracts more than 20,000 attendees each year.
In her spare time, Angela loves to print silver gelatin images in her photographic darkroom, run outdoors and volunteer for various local committees and advisory boards.
Angela has been the recipient of The Josephine Zimmerman Pioneer in Journalism Award from Utah’s chapter of the society of professional journalists. She is the current Chair of the SLC Corporation Business Advisory Board for the City Council and Mayor. In 2018, Angela was honored as a Distinguished Alum from the Salt Lake Community College. In 2019, she was cited by Utah Business Magazine as one of 30 “Women To Watch.”
How long has Slug Magazine been around for?
SLUG Magazine has been around for 30 years, since 1989! SLUG is an acronym for Salt Lake UnderGround. SLUG Magazine's current mission is to amplify Salt Lake City’s thriving alternative and underrepresented music, arts, lifestyle and events subcultures with thoughtful media coverage and exclusive event curation.
I grew up reading the magazine in junior high school. As the youngest of six children in a conservative household, SLUG expanded my horizons in alternative music and local subculture. The 14 year-old me would have never thought I’d eventually be running the mag, let alone for over 18 years now! It’s been a vessel for me to create positive change in my community while intersecting with local and national luminaries. I love the people I get to work with—from my stellar team of 8 full-time paid staffers to numerous independent contractors, to our 23 part-time delivery drivers, to our over 100 volunteer writers, copy editors, photographers, designers, illustrators, we attract like-minded individuals that collectively care about making our city of salt a better place to live. I also love SLUG’s advertising clients, the independent business owner. They keep us in business and allow us the privilege of doing what we love every single day.
When did you take over Slug and where do you see it five years from now?
September of 2001—18 years ago! As the third publisher, I initially intended to run it for only five years. But once those five years were up, I still had a lot of work to due. I had just barely paid off my loans and started to pay myself. I had worked so damn hard to get there I felt like I needed to see what else I could do. With help from numerous incredible teammates over the years, I took a legacy publication and kept it relevant for the times. I launched our website SLUGmag.com, a podcast called SLUG Soundwaves and numerous events—one in which I turned into our sister company, Craft Lake City, a 501c(3) nonprofit.
Is there anything you would have done differently? What has been some of your greatest lessons in running a business?
Oh there are always things I could have done differently but of course that is part of the process. Failing, learning and growing. I’ve learned to accept failure as a blessing, as a tool for learning. I tell my team, “It’s okay to make mistakes as long as we learn from them.” I tell myself that mantra too.
Tell us about Craft Lake City and any other initiatives that have grown out of Slug? Where can people go to learn more and get involved?
I bootstrapped SLUG and Craft Lake City. It made the early days of both organizations tough but gave me great budgeting skills. It’s one of the reasons why we’ve had longevity with both organizations. Craft Lake City is heading into its 12th year in 2020. For the first seven years, we paid ourselves with high-fives and the satisfaction of knowing we were creating an economy for Utah creatives. It feels good to have gotten past that 100% volunteer phase and to see Craft Lake City’s economic impact increase. As we grow, we create new jobs and opportunities not just within the org, but outside the org through our programing. Our monthly workshops foster education and teaching skills for Utah artisans. Once they learn how to teach workshops with us we see them continue to teach with other orgs all around the state. We love that our programming can offer skills not just to the workshop attendees but the artisan instructors themselves.
Our Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival and now Annual Craft Lake City Holiday Market (which just launched on December 7th at The Monarch in Ogden), give creatives the platform in which to network with others, sell their wares and connect them to community. To me, this work is SO exciting! We get to change the lives of artisans by giving them opportunities to become entrepreneurs and get their work seen outside of their network.
What are some of your go-to places for a quick getaway in UT or the neighboring states?
I LOVE to travel. I love to go camping and backpacking. I always book time in the natural world after I complete a large project like wrapping up the Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival. After this year’s Festival, I went to the Sawtooth Mountains with my partner and dog, @HandsomeHondo. We took a boat across Red Fish Lake and backpacked into an overnight backcountry campsite. the scenery was spectacular. I highly recommend the Sawtooths. Another favorite is basically anywhere in the Uintas. I love adventuring into new areas where I’ve never been. We did a backpacking hike into the Granddaddy Lakes a few years ago and I would highly recommend that as well. Of course Southern Utah is also a favorite.
Which living person do you most despise?
I do my best not to despise anyone. I try to learn from those that are different from me or those that purposely put obstacles in my path. I’m consciously working on doing my best to project love. It doesn’t always work and I’m still learning how to navigate the concept. Slowly, I’ve felt this practice soften my edges and allow me to forgive. I feel more content with letting go.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
I’m a cis normative, female identifying human who was lucky enough to marry the love of my life four years ago. He has all of the qualities I like most. Some of those are: artistic, independent, intelligent, thoughtful, humorous, has integrity and work ethic.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
At Craft Lake City, I have the opportunity to work with a mostly female-identifying staff. At SLUG, it’s split between male-identifying and female-identifying and gender neutral individuals. Honestly, lately, I haven't focused on gender. I’m interested in the idea that we’re all just humans and our sexuality or sex don’t define who we are, our spirits do. The qualities I like most in a Human are the qualities I listed above: artistic, independent, intelligent, thoughtful, humorous, has integrity and work ethic.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
The SLUG and CLC core value of "Over-Communication.” I’m writing a book on it.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Salt Lake City, my husband, my work, and my animals.