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Weekend Escapes: A New Magazine To Help You Escape Reality For A Relaxing Weekend Getaway – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Monique Reidy, Publisher & Editor In Chief…

August 31, 2018

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

“I don’t know why people are having this print meltdown; we love magazines; everyone we talk to loves magazines. If you go to any Barnes & Noble or any newsstand, people are sitting around reading magazines. I don’t understand what the hype is all about. I know this is nuts, and maybe I could be way off base, but I think partly us, as a publication community, are partly responsible because we keep talking about it. I think we should just move on and not even make it an issue.” Monique Reidy…

“If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
If you´re not into yoga, if you have half a brain
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
I´m the love that you´ve looked for, write to me, and escape”…Rupert Holmes

Mr. Holmes probably said it best, but there are times when we all need to “escape.” Whether it’s from the daily grind or simply from the bells and whistles that our non-stop digital connection forces upon us with every millisecond notification we receive. And for just such moments, there is a new magazine on the scene that will help us to do that – Weekend Escapes. And of course, as busy as we all are, sometimes a weekend is all that we can manage and according to Monique Reidy, publisher and editor in chief of the new title, that is exactly the hyper-niche audience she is looking for with her baby.

I spoke with Monique recently and we talked about the new magazine and its target market. The idea “is to take us to a new level of escapism with the beautiful print magazine, tempting us to visit as many of the locations featured as possible, without having to book a two-week vacation. It’s quick, yet magnificent, getaways that hopefully we won’t be able to resist.” The concept is alluring and the first issue very intriguing. Mr. Magazine™ is looking forward to seeing more from this new title, published by the same folks who give us the regional Southern California Life.

Monique is a passionate dreamer who believes in print magazines and loves them dearly. Something she has in common with Mr. Magazine™, and she has plans to continue with the stardust by publishing even more titles down the road. So, I hope that you enjoy this momentary “escape” into the world of print dreams in the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Monique Reidy, publisher & editor in chief, Weekend Escapes magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On whether she believes she is out of her own mind for starting another print magazine: I don’t know why people are having this print meltdown; we love magazines; everyone we talk to loves magazines. If you go to any Barnes & Noble or any newsstand, people are sitting around reading magazines. I don’t understand what the hype is all about. I know this is nuts, and maybe I could be way off base, but I think partly us, as a publication community, are partly responsible because we keep talking about it. I think we should just move on and not even make it an issue.

On the new magazine Weekend Escapes: Our first magazine, Southern California Life, is primarily about where to go and what to do in Southern California. But we were getting so many requests for media trips, stories about travel outside of Southern California, so we started a special section called “The Weekender” in Southern California Life magazine because we thought we should give residents or locals, even the tourists who read our magazine, because we are in-room in numerous hotels, we should give them an opportunity to see what is beyond Southern California in case they want to travel.

On what’s in her future: I’d like to launch more magazines. They say that magazines are dying, we keep hearing that, but I don’t believe that’s true. I do feel that maybe some different themes are maybe contracting, like all of the celebrity magazines, and there’s quite a number of fashion and beauty magazines, but travel is something that peaks the interest of most people. Most people are tired; they’re stressed out; we live in a society now that’s just pushing us forward, making us think about work, think about achievement, about all kinds of things. We just need to relax; we need to go away; we need to spend time away from the hustle and bustle.

On whether it’s always going to be just weekend escapes in the magazine: The one thing that I believe will either make or break a publication is it has to be super-niche now because you can’t just join in and do another finance magazine, there are so many of those. And of course, news magazines are gone because by the time you buy a news magazine, you’ve already got the news on your device. So, I think finding this super-niche that’s lacking out in the marketplace is probably key. I don’t necessarily believe that I’ll have to do a travel publication, but certainly with the next launch it’ll be something that doesn’t exist yet.

On whether her journey from being a student of magazines to a publisher has been a walk in a rose garden:
Oh no, and I think anyone in any of those big publishing houses, if they spent 10 minutes with me they would think I was absolutely nuts because we don’t have a business plan, we fly by the seat of our pants, but you know what, when you have a passion for something and you have determination and you’re going after it like a heat-seeking missile, the resources show up. And I know that’s a whole different mentality than many businesspeople are accustomed to, but truly if you’re determined and you’ve got fire in your veins, it just happens because you just make it happen.

On whether she has any regrets or she is having the time of her life: Well, I’m not going to say it’s a piece of cake, it’s a challenge. Because we’re not funded by anyone, this whole ordeal is self-funded, and it’s not easy. However, it does have its positive points. We don’t have a huge board that we have to consult every time we need to make a decision. I don’t have to run it by several departments every time I need to make a change. We’re small, most of our staff, or I should call them team members because they’re not really staff, they’re freelance, and it works, it really does. And I don’t have any regrets.

On what she would hope to tell someone a year from now when it comes to what she has accomplished: Well, I hope to launch another title. We have a really big office and I plan to fill it up and we’re growing every month. It’s something that I believe I’ll be doing my whole life, so I’m hoping that a year from now we’ll have grown exponentially and have new goals and new things we’re hoping to achieve. It’s an exciting experience for me, where things just show up. Trust me, I know this is very unconventional, but it’s sort of the way we work around here, and it seems to work.

On what she would tell a magazine student if they came to her with an idea for a new magazine:
We do work with one of the professors from Pepperdine University, from the business school, who does, oddly enough, he evaluates business launches. And we had him do a little bit of research for us prior to launching the first publication. I would suggest that a student do a bit of research prior to just launching any old magazine. The other thing I would say is don’t do something that already exists, and then I would suggest that they find funding first. I put my entire life’s savings into this venture, but not everybody has a little stash put away, so find a partner, find someone who will help support the operation, that’s crucial.

On whether she would have done anything differently with her magazines:
I don’t think so. I was so passionate about what I wanted to do that I feel as though if I had a partner who I was just bringing on for financial support, I’d have to start doing what they dictated and I am very driven because I believe in what I’m doing and unless the partner had that same passion, I think there would have been a lot more emotional baggage, so to speak.

On anything she’d like to add: Well, because you’re involved with students, my suggestion would be; if a student has a desire to be involved with magazines at any level, I think getting as many internships as possible prior to graduating would be smart. You know, we’ve had interns come to us who really know nothing about magazines and they are journalism majors. There is a lot more involved to magazine work than just writing, even if you are a writer.

On what keeps her up at night: I get a great night’s sleep every night. I never have sleeping problems. I have a very big faith in God and I believe that this is a business that I was blessed with and if it’s not going to happen, it’s not going to happen, and no biggie. We just move on to Plan B. But so far we feel really blessed, and again I’ll stress that it’s not without its challenges, because the magazine business is tough, but you have to learn to roll with the punches and that applies to everything outside of business as well. I think anybody looking to make a happy, successful life needs to learn to be adaptable and to not let the small things keep you up at night.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Monique Reidy, publisher & editor in chief, Weekend Escapes magazine.

Samir Husni: Tell me, are you out of your mind, or do you see something others do not see in starting another print publication?

Monique Reidy: I don’t know why people are having this print meltdown; we love magazines; everyone we talk to loves magazines. If you go to any Barnes & Noble or any newsstand, people are sitting around reading magazines. I don’t understand what the hype is all about. I know this is nuts, and maybe I could be way off base, but I think partly us, as a publication community, are partly responsible because we keep talking about it. I think we should just move on and not even make it an issue.

Look at Gwyneth Paltrow, she started Goop magazine, she started online and decided she better have a print publication. And with the quantity of pictures we get from products and services to be included in our print magazine, it’s outrageous. We get at least 400, and we’re a little regional in Southern California, it’s not like we’re a major national magazine. And we get that many pictures a day, I can only imagine what the others get.

But if that were the case, if print was dead, why does everybody want to be featured in a magazine? It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t measure up.

Samir Husni: Tell me about Weekend Escapes, the name is obvious, but tell me more about the concept.

Monique Reidy: Our first magazine, Southern California Life, is primarily about where to go and what to do in Southern California. But we were getting so many requests for media trips, stories about travel outside of Southern California, so we started a special section called “The Weekender” in Southern California Life magazine because we thought we should give residents or locals, even the tourists who read our magazine, because we are in-room in numerous hotels, we should give them an opportunity to see what is beyond Southern California in case they want to travel.

And then we thought that people just don’t have the time to do these week-long or two-week-long trips any longer and it’s pretty pricey now if you want to travel well. But if people want to escape for a long weekend or even a short weekend, it’s refreshing; it’s rejuvenating; people do need to unplug and get away. So, we started doing pieces about places you can go outside of Southern California for a short trip that is just as nice as taking a more extended vacation.

And then we were getting so many requests that we thought we couldn’t possibly include all that content about destinations outside Southern California, it really required its own publication. So, that’s why I launched this new one. And it’s 100 percent travel content.

I took the advice of one of your speakers at one of the ACT Experience conferences, and it hit me pretty hard in the face when they said you should recycle your content, that’s what other magazines do and I decided that we were going to do that too. So, our launch issue is primarily regurgitated articles from our past magazines, but the publication is beautiful and it features back-to-back places that anyone can visit for an extended weekend and have a wonderful time.

Samir Husni: What’s in your future?

Monique Reidy: I’d like to launch more magazines. They say that magazines are dying, we keep hearing that, but I don’t believe that’s true. I do feel that maybe some different themes are maybe contracting, like all of the celebrity magazines, and there’s quite a number of fashion and beauty magazines, but travel is something that peaks the interest of most people. Most people are tired; they’re stressed out; we live in a society now that’s just pushing us forward, making us think about work, think about achievement, about all kinds of things. We just need to relax; we need to go away; we need to spend time away from the hustle and bustle.

Travel isn’t going anywhere, people will need to take a break, and I think that the travel magazines seem to be doing well. I read over the new MPA guide that has the current research and on every level the travel magazines appear to be doing very well. So, I’d like to stick to that theme. It’s a happy magazine and people like happy things.

Samir Husni: Is it always going to be just weekend escapes?

Monique Reidy: The one thing that I believe will either make or break a publication is it has to be super-niche now because you can’t just join in and do another finance magazine, there are so many of those. And of course, news magazines are gone because by the time you buy a news magazine, you’ve already got the news on your device. So, I think finding this super-niche that’s lacking out in the marketplace is probably key. I don’t necessarily believe that I’ll have to do a travel publication, but certainly with the next launch it’ll be something that doesn’t exist yet.

Samir Husni: Since you moved from being a student of magazines to a magazine publisher, how has that journey been? Has it been a walk in a rose garden?

Monique Reidy: Oh no, and I think anyone in any of those big publishing houses, if they spent 10 minutes with me they would think I was absolutely nuts because we don’t have a business plan, we fly by the seat of our pants, but you know what, when you have a passion for something and you have determination and you’re going after it like a heat-seeking missile, the resources show up. And I know that’s a whole different mentality than many businesspeople are accustomed to, but truly if you’re determined and you’ve got fire in your veins, it just happens because you just make it happen.

And we have people who come to us from places that we didn’t anticipate, they just call and ask for an ad, which in a lot of industries that’s unheard of. But I think that’s largely due to providing a product that people like and people need. So, I was helping other friends, to answer your question, to launch their magazine, because magazines are what I know, it’s what I’ve learned, I have a master’s degree in journalism. I just decided why am I helping everyone else launch magazines, I need to be doing my own.

I will say the one issue that doesn’t quite translate from being a journalism student to being a publisher is you forget that there is the IRS, there’s the EDD, there’s accounting and HR issues, all of those things for those of us who love magazines might not factor in when you’re first launching, (Laughs) but you learn quickly because you have to. That takes a little bit away from the joy of the whole experience, but if you’re going to be an owner of a magazine, a publisher of a magazine, those are things you have to factor in.

Samir Husni: Any regrets? Or you’re having the time of your life?

Monique Reidy: Well, I’m not going to say it’s a piece of cake, it’s a challenge. Because we’re not funded by anyone, this whole ordeal is self-funded, and it’s not easy. However, it does have its positive points. We don’t have a huge board that we have to consult every time we need to make a decision. I don’t have to run it by several departments every time I need to make a change. We’re small, most of our staff, or I should call them team members because they’re not really staff, they’re freelance, and it works, it really does. And I don’t have any regrets. I think that you do the hard work on the frontend, sort of counting the cost of what you’re looking at. I feel hopeful and encouraged, and I love magazines. I love being a part of it. And everyone on my team loves magazines.

Samir Husni: If you and I are having this conversation a year from now, what would you hope to tell me that you had accomplished in this past year?

Monique Reidy: Well, I hope to launch another title. We have a really big office and I plan to fill it up and we’re growing every month. It’s something that I believe I’ll be doing my whole life, so I’m hoping that a year from now we’ll have grown exponentially and have new goals and new things we’re hoping to achieve. It’s an exciting experience for me, where things just show up. Trust me, I know this is very unconventional, but it’s sort of the way we work around here, and it seems to work.

Samir Husni: As you go through this lifelong adventure, as you called it, if a magazine student came to you with an idea for a new magazine, what would you tell them?

Monique Reidy: We do work with one of the professors from Pepperdine University, from the business school, who does, oddly enough, he evaluates business launches. And we had him do a little bit of research for us prior to launching the first publication. I would suggest that a student do a bit of research prior to just launching any old magazine. The other thing I would say is don’t do something that already exists, and then I would suggest that they find funding first. I put my entire life’s savings into this venture, but not everybody has a little stash put away, so find a partner, find someone who will help support the operation, that’s crucial.

Samir Husni: In your case, would you have done anything differently with your magazines?

Monique Reidy: I don’t think so. I was so passionate about what I wanted to do that I feel as though if I had a partner who I was just bringing on for financial support, I’d have to start doing what they dictated and I am very driven because I believe in what I’m doing and unless the partner had that same passion, I think there would have been a lot more emotional baggage, so to speak.

There are always trade-offs, it would have been easier from a funding standpoint to have a partner, but this way we just move along and we’re flexible. We can adapt and we can do what we believe must be done, and sometimes at the very last minute. We’ve changed covers just before we go to press, and that would probably be a much more daunting task if there were more people involved.

Samir Husni: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Monique Reidy: Well, because you’re involved with students, my suggestion would be; if a student has a desire to be involved with magazines at any level, I think getting as many internships as possible prior to graduating would be smart. You know, we’ve had interns come to us who really know nothing about magazines and they are journalism majors. There is a lot more involved to magazine work than just writing, even if you are a writer.

You need to learn to interview correctly; how to research and how to fact-check. I’m going to guess that you do that, because when I had Eden (Eden Sandlin – a Mr. Magazine™ service journalism magazine student) here as an intern, she seemed to already know, but we get students from other schools who know how to write a piece, but that’s where it all stops. And in order to be marketable in the magazine industry, you have to be pretty well-rounded. And my advice to students would be to get as much of an education as possible while you can.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Monique Reidy: I get a great night’s sleep every night. I never have sleeping problems. I have a very big faith in God and I believe that this is a business that I was blessed with and if it’s not going to happen, it’s not going to happen, and no biggie. We just move on to Plan B. But so far we feel really blessed, and again I’ll stress that it’s not without its challenges, because the magazine business is tough, but you have to learn to roll with the punches and that applies to everything outside of business as well. I think anybody looking to make a happy, successful life needs to learn to be adaptable and to not let the small things keep you up at night.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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