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Towson alumna founds magazine geared to college women

Shelby Newsome started Tote and online magazine after studying abroad.

Shelby Newsome started Tote, an online magazine, after studying abroad.

Shelby Newsome ’13 always knew she would do something with magazines one day.

“I have always been interested,” says the Honors College graduate and editor and founder of Tote, an online lifestyle magazine for college women.

“During my sophomore year, my friend and I decided we wanted to start up our own magazine,” explains the Frederick, Md. native who at Towson double-majored in photography and advertising.

When her friend’s interest cooled, Newsome still pursued the dream of publishing her own magazine. She even felt the pull as she studied abroad at the University of Sunderland in England.

“I took a magazine publishing class when I studied abroad and it made me realize that creating a magazine was more possible than I thought. So when I came back, I decided to start Tote,” she says.

“I utilized my senior thesis class to create the pilot issue, to make sure it was plausible. From there, everything kind of fell into place.”

Tote sets itself apart by targeting college women, who the magazine wants to to realize their full potential. Billed as “a college girl’s best accessory,” the magazine’s readers can find everything from beauty and fashion to internship advice and inspirational stories.

Tote’s mission is to inspire women to go after their dreams by showing real college women accomplishing theirs,” said Newsome. “So for each issue we’ll find inspirational college women to feature. We want women to flip through an issue and feel inspired and entertained.”

And there’s more than one Tiger on the masthead. Caro Romero ’13, of Columbia, Md., is Tote’s graphic designer and Chanda Kumar, a current junior studying mass communications and graphic design, is an intern.

Newsome makes starting a magazine seem downright easy, but that’s a misconception, she says.

“It’s super scary,” she admits. “There’s always the fear of failing — not garnering enough interest to continue the project. But I’ve got big visions for Tote and I hope that shows as we continue to evolve.”


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