Co-founders are thrilled as highly praised Pier Journal shortlisted for regional startup award

Chris Johnson and Sammy Murphy, Co-founders, Pier Journal.

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: March 21, 2023 | Updated: 22nd March 2023

An independent community journal celebrating the creative culture of BCP has got off to a dream start with the news that it’s been shortlisted for a regional award.

Pier Journal was launched by graphic designers Chris Johnson and Sammy Murphy seven months ago.

The third issue has just been published.

Produced quarterly, it aims to provide a platform for independent businesses, makers and creators to showcase their work as well as position the area as a creative destination full of opportunity.

Pier Journal has now been shortlisted for the Creative StartUp of the year category at the South West England Startup Awards.

The event, on June 15, celebrates the valuable contribution made by entrepreneurs and their new ventures.

Sammy, 30, said they were thrilled with the news adding: “Being chosen as a finalist is a great honour for us.

“We are proud of what we have achieved so far.”

Between them, Chris and Sammy have more than 18 years’ experience in the design industry.

They have worked for a range of global clients including the BBC, Barclays, Diageo, Nesta, Native Land, Hammerson and The Sunday Times.

But, said Sammy: “Living in London during the pandemic was a turning point for us.

“We were prompted to pause and reassess the direction of our careers.

“It became apparent that we desired to design projects that made a positive impact on the world beyond the confines of the corporate bubble we were accustomed to.

“As a result, we began to pursue work that would have a meaningful impact on people’s lives.

“This shift in perspective led us to leave London and seek a better work-life balance on the coast.

“Upon discovering Bournemouth’s unassuming, yet vibrant, creative scene and thriving independent community, we felt compelled to create something that showcased the wealth of talent present in the area.

“Within a year, Pier Journal was born.

“Our primary goal was to support the local economy and offer a platform for small businesses that had suffered during the lockdown.

“We firmly believe that art and culture contribute to the creation of healthier and happier communities for people to live and work in.

“We were eager to make a difference in the area we call home.”

The 60-page Pier Journal is printed on 120 gsm paper and has a 1,000 print run.

It is distributed for free via stockists including universities, coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, bars, co-working spaces, offices, hairdressers and independent shops.

Regular features include:

  • Shop – A handpicked curated directory of the best local, independent and sustainable businesses along the South Coast.
  • People – Interviews with inspiring local people making a difference.
  • Adventure – Places to discover and explore.
  • Food and drink – New restaurant openings, reviews, sustainable eating, foraging and recipes to make at home.
  • Events – Upcoming events including art exhibitions, creative workshops, makers markets, festivals and gigs.

Chris, 31, said the publication had met with an overwhelmingly positive response.

Comments received include:

  • “Beautiful journal, things like this are so needed locally and refreshing to say the very least.”
  • “I love it, and it fills me with some much-needed local pride. Thank you.”
  • “It’s a stand out piece of design. It’s difficult to cut through the noise, but you have done it – with bells on. Brilliant work.”
  • “This is such a beautiful publication, we’re in absolute awe. Lots of great tips and fantastic articles on local businesses and places to visit.”

Sammy said: ” There is an abundance of talented individuals and groups based in the area.

“Pier Journal is finally providing the recognition they deserve.

“We are injecting newfound energy into the community and positioning Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole as a united creative destination where people and businesses can thrive.

“Our mission with Pier Journal is to establish BCP as an art hub full of creative opportunities and to retain the talent that emerges from Arts University Bournemouth.

“Through our publication, we are creating unique and exciting creative opportunities for our community and hoping to inspire individuals to remain in the area.”

The duo, who live in Boscombe, hope to broaden the scope of the publication by including stories from the wider Dorset region.

They are also exploring the possibility of hosting community events such as art exhibitions, makers markets and music festivals.

Sammy said: “Our vision for Pier Journal extends beyond the confines of a traditional magazine and into the realm of immersive cultural experiences.

“Our recently launched website is a testament to our commitment to pursuing innovative and creative projects.”

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