September 8th 2005 sees the launch of Wonderland Magazine, the first success story of the hit BBC2 business series ‘Dragon’s Den’ and the first business venture for 29 year old budding entrepreneur Huw Gwyther, who managed to secure the biggest single investment of the series.
Huw successfully pitched his idea for an aspirational lifestyle magazine in the final episode of the series and won a £175,000 investment from telecoms millionaire and panellist Peter Jones. To start with, Huw had a tough time convincing the Dragons to part with their cash. However, the high risk/high return nature of the investment intrigued Peter Jones, who came up with the investment that gained him a 40 per cent share of Visual Talent Ltd, the company that will publish Wonderland Magazine. Huw was the only Dragon’s Den contestant to have raised some of the desired capital for the venture before going on the show. He has retained a 52 per cent share of the company with the remaining 8 per cent shared between three other investors.
Peter Jones says, ‘Huw was very impressive when presenting on Dragon’s Den and I was immediately struck by his knowledge of the international magazine and publishing markets, not to mention his passion for wanting to make a concept like Wonderland actually happen. For me, Wonderland is more than just a high quality magazine, it is a brand that can be nurtured and expanded in a number of exciting different ways. Huw has the vision and determination to make this happen and I’m delighted to be a part of it.’
The magazine, which will initially be published bi-monthly, is a luxury publication aimed uniquely at both affluent men and women of sophisticated tastes, aged between 20 and 40 years. It promises to showcase the very best of the world’s best consumer goods and services as well as a stimulating round up of contemporary visual culture. Moving away from the stereotypical ‘male’ or ‘female’ targeted publications of the past, Wonderland will focus instead on providing sophisticated, intelligent information and entertainment for everyone.
Huw Gwyther explains, ‘We aim to create an important, modern brand that will quickly become synonymous with good taste, style and originality, overflowing with the kind of information one might expect from a discerning friend.’ Wonderland will entertain, challenge and inform, assisting the reader rather than dictating to them, so that they may decide for themselves how to spend those two most valuable commodities: their time and their money.’
Wonderland Magazine has already scored a coup by being the first ever new launch to have its first edition stocked in every branch of WH Smith up and down the country. The magazine will also be distributed throughout all major US and European cities. Wonderland have also secured advertising from luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci. Visual Talent Ltd employs a core team of six experienced professionals from their offices in Notting Hill. Between them the team has worked with the likes of V Magazine in New York, The Face, Spruce and Wallpaper magazines in London and for the photographer Mario Testino in Paris.
Notes to editors:
At the age of 38, Peter Jones is considered to be one of the UK’s leading businessmen. Founder and chairman of Phones International Group and now worth £300 million, Peter set up his first company, a tennis academy, at the age of 16. By the age of 28, Peter was the youngest ever member of the board at computer firm Siemens Nixdorf. At 31 he was headhunted to join John Caudwell’s 20:20 Logistics Group, which has a £1 billion turnover as the UK’s number one mobile distributor. However, in 1998 Peter left to set up rival telecoms firm Phones International. The company experienced explosive growth with revenue totalling £15 million by the end of the first year and £44 million by the end of the second. Peter has just finished filming the second series of Dragon’s Den and has recently taken over the stricken ‘experience’ company Red Letter Days, with business partner Theo Paphitis.
29 year old Huw is the Managing Director of Visual Talent Ltd, the publishers of Wonderland Magazine. Huw comes from a publishing background, having worked in New York as Managing Editor for independent US published ‘Visionaire’. He has also worked for acclaimed fashion and portrait photographer Mario Testino, managing his studios in Paris and London. He studied at Central Saint Martin’s college of Art and Design in London.
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