Friday, September 12, 2014

Anglophiles Unite an Interview with The Anglotopia Blog + Anglotees Discount!


If you are a regular reader of The Nerdy Girlie, you know we are HUGE Anglophile's here!  I frequent the site Anglotopia daily to get my UK fix and bookmark TONS of articles in preparation for our 2015 trip.
Founder Jonathan Thomas' highly successful website has had over 7.6 million views since it's inception in 2007.  He and his wife have made many pilgrimages to the promise land and have witnessed first hand major events in British history {the Royal Wedding and the Diamond Jubilee}.  Recently I had the chance to speak with the founder of Anglotopia Jonathan about our favorite topic the UK!

The Nerdy Girlie:  Like a lot of people who live here in America, the UK has become a sort of fairy tale like place we all dream of going.  The sites, the sounds and the accents contribute to this wanderlust.  What is the first thing about the UK you remember loving?

Jonathan:  That’s a good question that I don’t have a good answer to. I’ve always loved Britain and can't pinpoint an exact moment. True love lasts a lifetime!

The Nerdy Girlie:  Your first post on Anglotopia “Blue Tits Respond Well to Warming” was cheeky and eye catching.  Did you start trying to cover just UK news, or did you know you wanted to write original material?  What is your writing process?

Jonathan:  Wow - I’m surprised you found that. I think I put that post up in 2006. I like to think we’ve gone uphill from there. I started out wanting to create the website that I wanted to browse but was not having luck finding. I don’t really want to cover UK news unless it’s noteworthy or fascinating. The BBC does a fine enough job with the news. I like to focus on history, culture, film, tv, etc. 

I don’t really have a ‘writing process,’ I just sit down and write. I have an ongoing list of hundreds of ideas, some I’ll get to, some that will remain forever elusive.

The Nerdy Girlie:  My first trip to England was a bit of a blur!  What can you remember about your very first trip to the UK?  What did you learn about UK travel and how did it feel to finally make it to the land you loved?!

Jonathan:  Well, this is going to make me sound really old but my first trip was back in the pre-9/11 world of 2001. The biggest lesson I learned was that my conception of London and the UK did not match the reality. I’d watched countless movies and TV shows that painted a fantastical picture that reality did not meet. But reality ended up being better than any movie or TV show.
The Nerdy Girlie:  Traveling to the UK is quite a feat {layovers, exchange rates, weather}, can you give us your best tip on UK travel.

Jonathan:  You will need twice as much money as you think you do. Britain is expensive and the exchange rate is merciless. Always have more money saved than you need. I’m been on a couple trips where I literally ran out of money and that was not fun.

Don’t fret about the weather, it’s not that bad and when it is - you have something to talk about with locals who will LOVE to talk about the weather.

The Nerdy Girlie:  As an Anglophile myself, I find it hard to purchase unique and eye catching tees.  When I found Anglotees I knew it was something special.  How did it begin and do you create all the amazing art?
Jonathan:  We sort of stumbled into it really. I designed a t-shirt for Anglotopia to wear at a convention and people suggested I sell it to the public. I didn’t think anyone would want to buy it. But I thought it was worth a try. So I put it up for sale, let our readers know about and and within weeks we’d sold hundreds. That got me thinking - that perhaps there was a market for a company that made British themed t-shirts - like Qwertee or Teefury expect for British themed designs. 

We did a few more tests to prove the marketability and decided it was the way to go. We went with a weekly design model to avoid stocking inventory in t-shirts and not having to buy printing equipment. We created a very lean and scalable business as a result. We create many designs ourselves but we also license designs - sometimes using them or altering them to fit a theme. We also have a few artists who’ve submitted designs that we licensed that have been hits. We’re always looking for designs and we pay royalties.

The Nerdy Girlie:  You have had some amazing British experiences since launching the site:  The Diamond Jubilee, the Royal Wedding!  What has been your favorite and most memorable moment?

Jonathan:  Definitely going to the Royal Wedding. I had a spot right on the Mall and I heard and saw everything. It was truly an amazing experience capped off by seeing the Royals on the balcony in the flesh and then a flyover by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. It was a very happy day. 

The Nerdy Girlie:  Anglotopia is a HUGE success, with amazing content.  What is one tip you would give to bloggers trying to make it in a sea of blogs.

Jonathan:  Have a business plan and do something unique (or better) that other blogs aren’t doing. There wasn’t a website doing what we do so we filled a niche. It’s a little more crowded now but we have the first mover advantage. Also be patient. It took years before we made any real money with our site and 5 years before I could work for it full time. Nothing happens quickly.

The Nerdy Girlie:  Finally we here at The Nerdy Girlie are HUGE fans of Doctor Who.  Who is YOUR Doctor?

Jonathan:  Well, I used to say I started with Christopher Ecclestone. But then I recently remembered that I started watching Doctor Who for the first time with the 1996 awful television movie on Fox. So, technically Paul McGann is my Doctor. But the Tennant years are by far my favorite.

Thank you Jonathan for taking the time to answer our questions, it is always so great to hear from other Angliophile and an experienced one at that!

Jonathan has been kind enough to give us a DISCOUNT code to his awesome tee shop Anglotees!  Use the code:  nerdygirlie for 5% off!  EVERY week there is a new awesomely British design!


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