For Tyler Brûlé, the visionary behind two global publishing brands and an intelligence-driven design enterprise, being shot by a sniper while reporting in Afghanistan during the war in 1994 only served to fuel his devotion to journalism, the commercial value of intelligent editorial and his inherent business drive.
Tyler Brûlé decided to launch his own magazine–a smart title covering design, travel and lifestyle–that would soon become part of the contemporary vernacular. Wallpaper*, supported initially by a £136,000 uk government-backed business loan, was launched from his own home to critical acclaim in 1996. Brûlé says its success was due to a clear vision of where the publication fitted within a crowded marketplace–combined with a focused belief in quality.
Decision to sell and recreate
Two years after it first hit the newsstand, Brûlé sold Wallpaper* to Time Warner, retaining the post of editorial director and gaining what he calls ‘an mba at Time Warner.’ This decision sets Brûlé apart from many entrepreneurs who find it particularly hard to give up control. But this option was driven by pure business logic. While the launch had been hugely successful, Tyler saw the opportunity to grow the business with the distribution and marketing expertise of a major media company as his partner.
Then, in 1998, Brûlé set up Winkreative, a branding, design, and content agency whose blue chip clients include British Airways, American Express and blackberry. The launch was a natural response to clients’ demands for more bespoke, editorial-based commercial solutions to their branding requirements.
Apart from relishing the challenge of starting a business, Brûlé says an important part of his entrepreneurial drive is the desire to perfect a product–whether it be a magazine or aircraft interior. That could explain his decision in 2007 to launch another ground-breaking magazine, Monocle. Billing itself as a ‘briefing on global affairs, business, culture and design’, Monocle is read by an affluent group of well-travelled, well-connected readers, and is already distributed in 65 countries internationally. Today, almost 15 years after founding Wallpaper*, Brûlé runs a cosmopolitan enterprise with over 100 employees, and an international network of offices connecting London, New York, Tokyo, Zürich and Hong Kong.
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