Archive for the ‘New Launches’ Category

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: FORM: Pioneering Design Magazine: Reborn In Print & Digital By Someone Who May Not Be An Architect, But Who Is Passionate About Southern California Architecture & Design & The Community It Serves – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Jerri Levi, Owner & Publisher…

January 31, 2019

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

I really did have to examine print. What I did is I went around and talked to different architects and people in the industry and I just put it out there. I asked did anybody see a need for print? And what I’m seeing now is, I think there is going to be a new renaissance in print. And of course the purpose of print is going to be changing, because it’s no longer a primary source of information. But I think by and large architects are visual, they’re tactile; I think there is something about having something sitting in front of you that you can lay down, pick up again and use it as reference.” Jerri Levi…

Celebrating Southern California Architecture, Design & Artwork, :Form: Pioneering Design magazine has been reborn into a robust, beautiful print publication that also has its own digital footprint. The magazine focuses on the Southern California area and the artists, designers and architects who inspire and create there. Owner and publisher Jerri Levi bought the magazine with the vision of celebrating Los Angeles and Southern California in general.

I spoke with Jerri recently and we talked about the quality and beauty of the magazine and on why she chose to bring it back to life in print as well as online. It ceased publication some four years ago and Jerri, as a former marketing director for :Form, saw the value it had for the Southern California design community and sought to revive it and to bring back a regional publication to serve that community. And after much examination, Jerri realized that architects and designers were tactile and visual people and a print magazine would be the best way to serve them.

Jerri isn’t an architect, but she is passionate about the subject and knows her way around the world of marketing, so :Form was reborn. And what a great time to do it. Entrepreneurs are breaking new ground in the world of magazines and Jerri is no exception. I hope that you enjoy this delightful conversation with a woman whose strongest desire is to serve the community she loves and respects. And now the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Jerri Levi, owner and publisher, :Form: Pioneering Design magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On why she bought the magazine and brought it back to print:I used to work for the magazine. I was their marketing and advertising director for eight years, so I started working for an L.A. architect when it was still the official publication for the AIA (American Institute of Architects) of Los Angeles. And so I always had a deep affection for the magazine and I’ve always recognized the value it has had for the design community out here. So, basically what happened is I went my separate ways, I ended up getting an art gallery and got into real estate. When I heard that the magazine was no longer going to be in print and no longer on the website; I’m still a very good friend of Ann Gray who is the original publisher, and kind of on a whim I decided to say if no one else wants it, I’ll take it, naively thinking that because I had worked for it before I knew all about publishing, of which I now know I don’t.It’s been a very humbling experience trying to bring a publication back to life.

On what made her feel there was a need to bring this publication back to life in print:First of all, as you know there have been a lot of changes in the publishing industry. And of course when I was working for :Form way back when, and I also used to work for Metropolis, print used to be the primary form of getting your information. It’s really an interesting thing to come back now and really examine why you would want to go into print. The one thing that I realized was there were no longer any regional publications that reached out B to B to the architectural and design community.

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On whether relaunching the magazine has been a walk in a rose garden for her or she has had some challenges along the way:No, I tell you, once again, it’s a humbling experience, because everybody laughed at me. First of all, I had two different crowds. I had people who immediately got it, like Michael Webb, God bless him, he’s one of the absolute cornerstones of architectural criticism out here in Southern California. And Michael, God bless him, he stepped up and wanted to be a part of the new :Form almost immediately.

On people’s initial reaction since the magazine has come out:People have been blown away. I commissioned a fine artist by the name of Timothy Robert Smith to do a definitive map of Los Angeles and I think just that pullout map is really blowing people away.  I had Michael Franklin Ross essentially do an article about the best architectural design in L.A. for the past 100 years. And I think what’s going to happen is this magazine is going to start a new dialogue, just having experts go: I think the concert hall is the greatest building in Los Angeles, that’s going to get people talking. And it’s really going to get eyeballs back on how Los Angeles is developing and how we see this metropolis.

On anything she’d like to add:Just that I’m very happy to be here and I’m very happy to be exploring this magazine in a way that I never have before, coming in as a publisher, as opposed to coming in as the marketing director. It’s a very different experience. And in some ways it’s very daunting, because I still don’t know if I’m going to be accepted by this very distinguished community. But I’m also very excited and challenged, and I feel like we’re going to serve a greater purpose. So, I’m very happy to be here.

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at her home:I play with my dogs. I have three dogs, two Shih Tzus and a Standard Poodle. I do a lot with them. I have one dog that’s a service dog and I take him to hospitals to visit people. I lead a pretty quiet life really.

On the biggest misconception she thinks people have about her:I don’t know, but I think that some of the pushback that I’m getting is because I am not an architect. And so they feel like I’m not qualified to address this very sophisticated architectural community. And I think because I surround myself with great talent and people who are much smarter than myself, I believe I’m underestimated. But I think people are going to be surprised when they see the high quality of writing and journalism that we’re going to be bringing to the table. So, I’m hoping I’m going to prove some people wrong.

On what she would have tattooed upon her brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about her:Just that I’m sincere, that I have absolute respect for what I’m doing and that I want to bring the best quality and bring the best out of people. And I’m hopefully to be trusted and embraced eventually.

On what keeps her up a night:Money. (Laughs) Creating a magazine is an expensive endeavor and I guess my biggest challenge right now is sustaining the vision and being able to follow through. I’m thrilled that I was able to do my January/February issue, and I have to look at the bigger picture and I’m hoping that I’m going to be able to sustain it.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Jerri Levi, owner and publisher, :Form: Pioneering Design magazine.

Samir Husni: Why did you decide to buy the magazine and bring it back to print?

Jerri Levi: I used to work for the magazine. I was their marketing and advertising director for eight years, so I started working for an L.A. architect when it was still the official publication for the AIA (American Institute of Architects) of Los Angeles. And so I always had a deep affection for the magazine and I’ve always recognized the value it has had for the design community out here.

So, basically what happened is I went my separate ways, I ended up getting an art gallery and got into real estate. When I heard that the magazine was no longer going to be in print and no longer on the website; I’m still a very good friend of Ann Gray who is the original publisher, and kind of on a whim I decided to say if no one else wants it, I’ll take it, naively thinking that because I had worked for it before I knew all about publishing, of which I now know I don’t. It’s been a very humbling experience trying to bring a publication back to life.

Samir Husni: What made you feel that there was a need for this publication, for :Form, and an even bigger need to bring it back in print? And of course on the web too.

Jerri Levi: First of all, as you know there have been a lot of changes in the publishing industry. And of course when I was working for :Form way back when, and I also used to work for Metropolis, print used to be the primary form of getting your information. It’s really an interesting thing to come back now and really examine why you would want to go into print. The one thing that I realized was there were no longer any regional publications that reached out B to B to the architectural and design community.

The Architect’s Newspaper has gone, it no longer has a regional side to it. Obviously, Architectural Record is a national publication, so nothing was really speaking to the community, particularly in Southern California, which is huge. The AIA of Los Angeles is the second largest architectural body in the United States. And there was really nothing that was serving this very unique crowd of highly educated, influential designers.

The second thing is I really did have to examine print. What I did is I went around and talked to different architects and people in the industry and I just put it out there. I asked did anybody see a need for print? And what I’m seeing now is, I think there is going to be a new renaissance in print. And of course the purpose of print is going to be changing, because it’s no longer a primary source of information. But I think by and large architects are visual, they’re tactile; I think there is something about having something sitting in front of you that you can lay down, pick up again and use it as reference.

And this magazine is almost like a small work of art. I have the best graphic designers working on it; I have a brilliant editor. And these issues are going to be saved. A long time ago, when it was L.A. Architect, people collected L.A. Architect. And I’m hoping in a way that :Form is going to be coming back to being almost a collectible.

Samir Husni: I tell all of my students that print is the new “new” media.

Jerri Levi: I love print. And once again, I’m an old-timer. I remember when there were dozens of regional print publications in our area and they’ve all fallen by the wayside. And I think there’s a real hunger for it. I have to say, going to the printers and actually having a conversation about paper, and about what this magazine is visually going to look like, how it’s going to be formatted; you really are looking at a three-dimensional object, which conveys its own sensibility. It’s a completely different experience when you have a print publication in front of you versus getting your information online.

Samir Husni: Since you got the idea of purchasing the magazine and relaunching it, has it been a walk in a rose garden for you? Or have you had some challenges along the way?

Jerri Levi: (Laughs) No, I tell you, once again, it’s a humbling experience, because everybody laughed at me. First of all, I had two different crowds. I had people who immediately got it, like Michael Webb, God bless him, he’s one of the absolute cornerstones of architectural criticism out here in Southern California. And Michael, God bless him, he stepped up and wanted to be a part of the new :Form almost immediately.

But I’ve also had people essentially question me as to why I think I am worthy of taking this on, because my predecessor Ann Gray was an architect herself, she was very much a part of the industry, she was an insider; she’s an AIA Array FAIA. She’s a bigshot. And so people feel comfortable with that. I, on the other hand, I’m a salesman. I’m a marketing person and I’m a publisher. But I think that also gives me the perspective of being able to work with different talents and different points of view that I think an insider doesn’t have.

So, it’s been a challenge and I’ve had  a lot of criticism, but on the other hand, now that the magazine is out, I think I’m going to see a lot of enthusiasm.

Samir Husni: The first issue has been out for a bit now; what has been the initial reaction?

Jerri Levi: (Laughs) People have been blown away. I commissioned a fine artist by the name of Timothy Robert Smith to do a definitive map of Los Angeles and I think just that pullout map is really blowing people away.  I had Michael Franklin Ross essentially do an article about the best architectural design in L.A. for the past 100 years. And I think what’s going to happen is this magazine is going to start a new dialogue, just having experts go: I think the concert hall is the greatest building in Los Angeles, that’s going to get people talking. And it’s really going to get eyeballs back on how Los Angeles is developing and how we see this metropolis.

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

Jerri Levi: Just that I’m very happy to be here and I’m very happy to be exploring this magazine in a way that I never have before, coming in as a publisher, as opposed to coming in as the marketing director. It’s a very different experience. And in some ways it’s very daunting, because I still don’t know if I’m going to be accepted by this very distinguished community. But I’m also very excited and challenged, and I feel like we’re going to serve a greater purpose. So, I’m very happy to be here.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing? Having a glass of wine; reading a magazine; cooking; watching TV; or something else? How do you unwind?

Jerri Levi: I play with my dogs. I have three dogs, two Shih Tzus and a Standard Poodle. I do a lot with them. I have one dog that’s a service dog and I take him to hospitals to visit people. I lead a pretty quiet life really.

Samir Husni: What’s the biggest misconception people have about you?

Head shot

Jerri Levi: I don’t know, but I think that some of the pushback that I’m getting is because I am not an architect. And so they feel like I’m not qualified to address this very sophisticated architectural community. And I think because I surround myself with great talent and people who are much smarter than myself, I believe I’m underestimated. But I think people are going to be surprised when they see the high quality of writing and journalism that we’re going to be bringing to the table. So, I’m hoping I’m going to prove some people wrong.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Jerri Levi: Just that I’m sincere, that I have absolute respect for what I’m doing and that I want to bring the best quality and bring the best out of people. And I’m hopefully to be trusted and embraced eventually.

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

Jerri Levi: Money. (Laughs) Creating a magazine is an expensive endeavor and I guess my biggest challenge right now is sustaining the vision and being able to follow through. I’m thrilled that I was able to do my January/February issue, and I have to look at the bigger picture and I’m hoping that I’m going to be able to sustain it.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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Magazine Media Quarterly: Arriving This Spring– A New Print Magazine For Magazine-Business Executives

January 24, 2019
Friends, readers and fellow information distributors, we are proud to report our direct involvement in a new print magazine project from a lovable team of experts. This is a project created with love and respect for our industry.
It is our hope that you will all subscribe to this free print magazine designed to promote all our businesses and mutual careers. The magazine will be published by the Magazine Innovation Center at the School of Journalism and New Media at The University of Mississippi.
Magazine Media Quarterly
A Business Magazine For Magazine-Business Executives, Coming This Spring!
To Subscribe Click Here
Magazine Media Quarterly, a magazine for magazine-media executives and the aspiring entrepreneurs who want to be part of magazine media.
MMQ is dedicated to the premise that new kinds of information are needed to help publishers prosper in a new media landscape. It’s produced by the University of Mississippi’s Magazine Innovation Center and intended for managers, directors and executives in sales, marketing, content creation, web development, data management and more.
Today’s media leaders want unduplicated insights into the new competitive landscape. They want perspectives and actionable knowledge, all from the leading innovators in the business.
They want how-to analyses, opinion, and case studies in success. And they want to understand the impact of the latest trends, and where the new challenges are coming from, even before they occur. Magazine Media Quarterly is unique in the depth of its knowledge of the market and in its unparalleled access to the thought leaders at all companies, large and small, B2B and consumer.
MMQ’s executive management team includes Mr. Magazine™, Dr. Samir Husni; Bosacks, whose “Heard on the Web” is the industry’s first and most influential enewsletter; Tony Silber, Forbes.com contributor and founder of the acclaimed M10 magazine; and Jim Elliott, one of the leading magazine-sales leaders of this era.
MMQ will launch early in the second quarter of 2019 with an exclusive qualified-controlled circulation of 5,000. Readership will be balanced among the professional disciplines as well as all magazine-media sectors. Select industry suppliers will serve as donors, underwriters, and benefactors.
Because of the limited size of the subscriber file, MMQ will not be able to accommodate all of the people we anticipate will want this ground-breaking magazine.  So we’re offering readers of “Heard on the Web” an exclusive, limited-time opportunity to apply to be on the subscription list. Just fill out the form here, and we will keep you posted in the days ahead as we build the file.
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The 13 Hottest Magazine Launches Of 2018 — Mr. Magazine™ Teams Up With The MPA: The Association of Magazine Media To Present “The Launch Of The Year” At The American Magazine Media Conference Feb. 5, 2019…

January 7, 2019

As 2018 slipped through the portals of time and high-fived 2019 as they passed each other in the hallway of new magazines, we acknowledge that 2018 was a fantastic year for magazines and feel certain that 2019 will see just as much success. It is with that in mind that we are honored to once again celebrate those new titles that were born this past year. This time “The Launch of the Year” is being selected from all of the new magazines that were started from January 2018 through December 2018.

To honor and celebrate those new magazines, Mr. Magazine™ and MPA: The Association of Magazine Media will come together to pay tribute to “The Launch of the Year” during the American Magazine Media Conference in New York City on February 5, 2019.

There were 191 new magazine titles that arrived on the scene with the intent to publish on a regular frequency in 2018, and you can add to that another 600+ bookazines and specials that are not included in this selection. You can view all the new titles with frequency at the Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor here.

The criteria for the selection process is as follows:

  • We must have actual physical copies of them.
  • The number one criteria point is the audience’s reaction to that magazine. How did the overall marketplace react and how did its intended audience respond to it? And just as important; how did the industry behave toward it? These questions are the first thing I ask upon selection of “The Launch of the Year.”
  • Major industry leaders’ launching new print magazines certainly is something that must be recognized because it speaks of the power of the medium. These people aren’t in the business of wasting dollars on something that has no value. In the past there have been new offerings from publishing giants such as Hearst, Condé Nast, Meredith and the southern-born Hoffman Media. For companies as distinguished and successful as these to create and bring new titles into this digital world signifies the good health and power of print.
  • And then there are the entrepreneurs, with their vision and determination to launch their magazine no matter the cost to their wallets and their emotions; they are no less amazing. Some of the best titles we’ve seen in a long time have been from relatively unknown publishers who are not without experience, just without the stolid names that audiences know so well.
  • The criteria for selection is based on factors that include creativity and audience reaction first and foremost, and then industry trends and as always, those rogue wildcards out there that just won’t be denied and seem to make some of the best magazines around.
  • Also, something has to grab our attention to be selected as “The Launch of the Year,” based on the comparative analysis.

Top 13 Launches for 2018 (in alphabetical order)

  1. Compulsive
  2. Ember
  3. Fleishigs
  4. Good Company
  5. Hungry Girl
  6. Jez
  7. Jugular
  8. Kitchen Toke
  9. L’Officiel USA
  10. Outboard
  11. Retro Fan
  12. Western Hunting Journal
  13. Where Women Create, Where Women Create Work, What Women Create, Where Women Cook

Compulsive

Are you interested in exploring captivating, compelling conversations? Then welcome to Compulsive Magazine. According to the title’s tagline, captivating and compelling is exactly how they create a comfortable space for their readers to enjoy the magazine. From beauty to health, inspirational articles to fashion and style, Compulsive is enthusiastic, passionate, and irresistible. And Mr. Magazine™ says welcome to the Top 13!

Ember

Born from a collaboration between the folks at Paper and a growing marijuana dispensary chain in Los Angeles called MedMen, Ember is one of the latest cannabis and cannabis culture magazines to hit newsstands. With the goal of destigmatizing and bringing marijuana into the everyday culture more and more, the magazine is a heady dose of all things cannabis, with ads that are as informative and compelling as the articles. Mr. Magazine™ thinks Ember burns brightly among the other weed-based titles and enjoyed the read “highly.” (Joking, of course).

 

Fleishigs

The word Fleishig means meat, pure and simple. From beef to poultry and the fat in between, kosher culinary culture involves keeping certain foods, such as meat, away from other certain foods, such as Milchigs, or dairy. Hence, a new food magazine all about the meat-centric point of view, without diluting the content away from the main vein: the meat. From the team behind Bitayavon and Joy of Kosher, this new kosher food magazine is brilliant. Recipes abound and the articles are as rich as the protein-filled subject matter. What a refreshing change of pace and an awesome way to explore the kosher lifestyle or enrich it!

Good Company

Inspired by the success of her latest book, “In the Company of Women” (now a New York Times Best Seller), Grace Bonney’s new print magazine, Good Company, provides motivation, inspiration, practical advice, and a vital sense of connection and community for women and non-binary creatives at every stage of their lives. Each issue of Good Company focuses on one overarching theme, including Change, Fear, Community, Mentors, and much more. It’s a magazine, but more than that, it’s a conversation and one that beckons you (the reader) to jump right into. And if you do – there’s no doubt you’ll be in Good Company!

Hungry Girl

Lisa Lillien is the Hungry Girl and she is this new magazine published through a partnership with the Meredith Corp. Lisa is the New York Times bestselling author and the creator of the Hungry Girl brand. She is the founder of http://www.hungry-girl.com, the free daily email service that entertains and informs hungry people everywhere. Complementing her brand nicely is this great new print magazine that adds another dimension to her digital platforms. It’s exciting and intriguing and inspires all of us to realize that just because we’re “hungry” doesn’t mean we can’t make smart food choices and determine creative ways to eat the foods that we love and still fit into our pants!

Jez

Jez is a new quarterly magazine, which highlights what’s new and best in fashion, beauty, culture and entertainment, but also has a special focus on philanthropy. In fact, the magazine’s tagline is fashion, culture, philanthropy. Founder and editor in chief, Ezequiel De La Rosa, has been a designer, store owner, makeup artist, photographer (which he still is, photographing many of the images between the covers of the magazine) and now a magazine creator. The magazine is artistic, beautiful,  and has that strong entrepreneurial spirit that makes it stand out above many of its peers. Welcome to the finals, Jez!

Jugular

An antidote for boredom, indeed. This new title’s tagline is certainly one that fits as the oversized, brilliantly-done magazine was born out of the desire to tell real and uncontaminated stories filtered through one of the keywords of the 21st century: DESIGN, To hold this new publication in one’s hands is to understand the meaning of the phrase: tactile experience. It’s an unbelievably exciting project that was born out of the passion of people who wanted to go deeper into the story, deeper into the design, and hit that “jugular” where the blood flows passionately between the brain and heart. And it definitely affects the main arterial flow of emotions.

Kitchen Toke

Kitchen Toke is the first magazine about cooking with cannabis. It focuses on exploring and understanding cannabis for recreational and medicinal use, covering cooking and entertaining seasonally with cannabis along with the chefs and individuals who are advancing marijuana in food and health. It’s a fantastic magazine whose founder and president, Joline Rivera, said has recipes and stories that help people to understand all of the misinformation that’s out there about the plant, causing unnecessary and misplaced fear for many people when it comes to using it in food or at all. An amazing offering from the cannabis world that seems to be exploding!

L’Officiel USA

A European title that now lives in the USA too, this big, bold magazine aims to merge the century-long traditions of its predecessor with a modern approach. L’Officiel, the 96-year-old French luxury fashion and lifestyle magazine owned by the Jalou family offers fashion, beauty, music, film, literature, culture, lifestyle, wellness, politics and more with an emphasis on telling stories that matter. And its American counterpart is glorious  and marks a new chapter for L’Officiel. Welcome to America!

Outboard

A new magazine dedicated to outboards, this title offers the immediate rush of a speedboat. It’s sleek, shiny and as addictive as the adrenaline that flows through one’s body as you skim the surface of some smooth waters at the clipped speed of sound! The photos are bold and splashed across print pages that feel like the salty silk of the ocean beneath your fingers. Outboard is a new title that Mr. Magazine™ can’t wait to see more of!

Retro Fan

Retro Fan magazine, published by TwoMorrows Publishing, is an ultimate handbook for all things retro and fun. From tattoos in bubble gum packs to your favorite Saturday morning cartoons, this magazine takes you back to the past with an exuberance that is reminiscent of childhood. It’s filled with things that still play an important part in many of our lives: The Andy Griffith Show, Star Trek (how many of us grew up on Captain Kirk and Spock), articles, such as one with Lou Ferrigno (TV’s Hulk), and fun sitcom quotes, along with much, much more. Mr. Magazine™ was so excited to discover this title that he had to include in our 2018 Baker’s Dozen!

Western Hunting Journal

A magazine produced by a team who are self-proclaimed passionate hunters dedicated to publishing the best information for hunters in the West with in-depth gear reviews, world-class hunts, expert shooting advice, industry news, and hunting information that is relevant to hunters who chase big game, waterfowl and upland gamebirds. It features excellent photography, great writing and smart design. And Mr. Magazine™ for one says welcome to this passionate and bold hunting experience!

Where Women Create, Where Women Create Work, What Women Create, Where Women Cook

Jo Packham believes we all have a story to tell and she also believes it is her job to give a venue to those ideas; hence, the four titles that she created and formerly published (three of them anyway) with Stampington & Company by her side. But no longer is she affiliated with the giant crafting publisher. Today, she is following through with her own vision, through her partnership with Disticor, and has decided there is more to tell than just “where,” we also need to know “what.” And for the beauty, content, and magnificent design of these magazines, Mr. Magazine™ has included all four of the titles (counted as one entry) into this Baker’s Dozen of fantastic new publications. 2018 was a great year for Jo Packham! Welcome to the fold!

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Kitchen Toke: The First Magazine About Cooking With Cannabis & The Game Changing, Positive Effects It Can Have On Human Health – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Joline Rivera, Founder & President Kitchen Toke…

November 6, 2018

“People will often hear me say that I call my magazine a very expensive business card. I believe in the power of tangibility. When I talk to people, getting them to look at my Instagram page or my website in a world that’s overwhelmed by digital media; I just think that it’s a lot easier for me to communicate who we are and what we can do, and what we’re capable of with our brand, if you can hold it in your hand. So, I believe in the power of tangibility.” Joline Rivera…

Kitchen Toke is the first magazine about cooking with cannabis. It focuses on exploring and understanding cannabis for recreational and medicinal use, covering cooking and entertaining seasonally with cannabis along with the chefs and individuals who are advancing marijuana in food and health. Founder and President Joline Rivera said the magazine has recipes and stories that help people to understand all of the misinformation that’s out there about the plant, causing unnecessary and misplaced fear for many people when it comes to using it in food or at all.

I spoke with Jo recently and we talked about the brand, and the plant that is being legalized in many states as well as many countries around the world. Jo said the cannabis industry is moving forward and making progress when it comes to legalizing and promoting the medicinal benefits of the drug, and in also recognizing that the recreational use of marijuana is becoming more and more mainstream, replacing alcohol for some people as their drug of choice.

It’s a controversial topic that has become a hotbed for both politics and ethical and moral conversations surrounding its usage and accessibility. Joline Rivera is a firm believer in the medicinal and healthful usages of marijuana. From devastating illnesses such as cancer, to the health benefits of edibles for day-to-day living, Jo practices what she preaches by using cannabis herself.

As a creative designer for many years, Jo has designed cookbooks for Meredith Publishing and contributed to various magazines, such as Sweet Paul and Uncrate, so Kitchen Toke, a quarterly, is a very design-driven magazine.

So, I hope that you enjoy this Mr. Magazine™ interview with Joline Rivera, founder and president of Kitchen Toke, as we learn more about a plant that could be the answer to many health-problem questions that have existed for decades.

But first the sound-bites:

On the genesis of Kitchen Toke: I started paying attention to the cannabis industry in 2011 when they were talking about legalizing Colorado. And right around that time one of my designers’ father became ill with cancer and we tried some cannabis chocolates on him. And for the first time in years, he’s been battling the disease since about 2011 to 2015 before he tried these chocolates, and we got to watch them work; we watched him eat them and we watched the effect that they had within about 30 minutes. He started to feel less pain; he started to eat; he was able to enjoy his grandkids. Shortly after that, he passed away in 2016 and it affected all of us who I worked with. And when he passed away, it was clearly on my mind. I was watching a Vice show; have you heard of the rapper, Action Bronson? I was watching one of his shows and he was getting high, smoking a joint while he was cooking. And I called my editor and said he’s getting high and he’s cooking food. She said why doesn’t he just get high while he’s eating his food and I said exactly! (Laughs again) Then we had the idea of coming up with a magazine to teach people how to step away from smoking, it’s not healthy, but also being able to medicate yourself in a helpful way.

On why she decided on an upscale, expensive, elegant print magazine, rather than a more mass-type publication: I had been used to producing magazines like that; I had been designing a magazine called “Uncrate” for a while and a magazine called “Sweet Paul” for about nine years. I do another magazine called “Gluten Free Forever.” I have been doing those Indie pubs and those upscale-looking magazines for a while. And so when I looked at the cannabis space, and you look at magazines like “High Times” or “Cannabis Now” or “Dope,” they all have a great audience and those magazines are great for that purpose, but one thing I realized pretty quickly is that cannabis magazines weren’t coming out on that level. That kind of debunk-the-stoner mentality, I guess. Creating a magazine that was a little more friendly to everyone. One that I could give to my grandmother and OG Kush wouldn’t scare her. (Laughs)

On whether launching and creating the magazine was easy and a walk in a rose garden for her: (Laughs) I’ll be honest with you, it was a lot easier for me than it was for my content director, because they were dipping their toes in an industry full of misinformation and had to work really hard and turned a lot of money to find the correct information, to talk to the right people. We had writers spread out all over the country to contribute to our magazine and we pride ourselves on creating content that is sourced and fact-based, and credited to people who know what they’re talking about, scientists and people who have been here for a long time and have been working in the cannabis space for a while.

On why she chose print in this day and age: People will often hear me say that I call my magazine a very expensive business card. I believe in the power of tangibility. When I talk to people, getting them to look at my Instagram page or my website in a world that’s overwhelmed by digital media; I just think that it’s a lot easier for me to communicate who we are and what we can do, and what we’re capable of with our brand, if you can hold it in your hand. So, I believe in the power of tangibility.

On how she came up with the name for the magazine: My content director, Laura Yee, came up with the name. She’s a writer, of course, and she’s really great with words. We started talking about the word “toque,” obviously, I don’t know if people wear those anymore. To my knowledge, and all of the photo shoots that we do with chefs, they rarely wear a toque in the kitchen anymore, but the chef hat and the idea of “taking a toke” off of a joint and then also the definition of the word also means a bit of advice, so it was a play on words.

On the biggest challenge she’s had to face: The biggest challenge is getting people to know we’re here and getting people to pick up the magazine and to really look at what we’re doing. Yes, we’re talking about cooking with cannabis, and yes, we’re showing people how, but we’re also talking about the world of cannabis as a whole and how it affects this magazine, this idea, and this industry. We’re talking about the legalities as it moves through the United States and the world actually, and who’s doing what and medicinal stories. I think there are a lot of stories. If you ask someone, everyone has a cannabis story. Everyone. They just didn’t used to talk about it. And now we are.

On whether Kitchen Toke has a test kitchen: No, we don’t. We just have various places in this country where we have recipe-testers and they work out of their own kitchens. Right before we go into production, we have all of our recipe-testers run it by a professional recipe-tester.

On what she hopes to accomplish with Kitchen Toke within a year: I think that 2019 is going to be a big growth year. I think we’ve come leaps and bounds already from 2017. The awareness, the acceptance and the idea of cannabis being more mainstream – I just think we’ll be in a very different position than we are today. We’re going to have larger advertisers, you’ll see that in the magazine. We’re going to have people like – well, any product that has to do with your home and your kitchen, ads that are in a mainstream magazine, they’ll start coming into Kitchen Toke and they’ll start working with us. We’ll have partners with video to tell stories. I think that you’ll see more of that. I believe it will just start to be a normal thing and the more that it goes mainstream, the less of a bigger deal it will be.

On anything she’d like to add: I think the one reason to pay attention to Kitchen Toke and what we’re doing is that when you think about the cannabis landscape, we are what I call the most friendly cannabis magazine that’s around the world. Our magazine is sold in Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Whole Foods, Kroger, Lucky’s Market, Amazon brick and mortar in the United States. In Canada, we’re in Walmart, Chapters and Indigo, Nesters, and soon we’ll be in Shoppers Drug Mart, a return of 50 stores. And this winter we’ll be in Spain, the U.K., New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands. And I think recently the United Kingdom just went legal medicinally.

On what she thinks is the biggest misconception people have about her: It’s the same thing when people ask me am I a user, because I don’t look like one, whatever they perceive that “look” to be. I think I would surprise them by saying yes, I am a user. I would be doing the industry a disservice by saying oh no, I don’t use that. (Laughs) I am a user and I believe the misconception is that people think that anyone who uses cannabis is not functioning or not in a high-functioning position. If you think about corporate America, how well accepted is it to be able to be a cannabis user and still have your job?

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at her home: First, I’m not a drinker, I’d probably be sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop, talking creative with my significant other who’s also part of our Kitchen Toke team…I have a creative button that never seems to turn off, tidying up emails for the next day, always thinking ahead, and scrolling Instagram to make sure I keep up with new things and new followers. I’ve made a lot of Kitchen Toke friends on Instagram.

On what she would have tattooed upon her brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about her: That I was creative. That I was always looking for the opportunity to do something beyond creative. I’ve always said that I can make a pretty magazine anytime, but if I can make a magazine that’s pretty and can also help people…I would like to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day and think that I did something better than just create something beautiful.

On what keeps her up at night: I think about how I can get more people to know about Kitchen Toke. In a world where the laws are such that we cannot advertise, we can’t have a Facebook account, they closed down our social media accounts on Instagram here and there. If you say the wrong hashtag – you just have to be really careful. In a world that doesn’t let you really advertise a cannabis product, I think the biggest challenge and the most creative people are going to come out on top. Right now, it’s going to be really interesting to see how people can advertise their product.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Joline Rivera, founder and president, Kitchen Toke magazine.

Samir Husni: You’re entering your second year with Kitchen Toke, can you tell me a little bit about the genesis of the magazine? The whole cannabis magazine feel has mushroomed (no pun intended) in the last few years, but no one took your niche, cooking with cannabis. The others are more aimed at consumers.

Joline Rivera: I started paying attention to the cannabis industry in 2011 when they were talking about legalizing Colorado. And right around that time one of my designers’ father became ill with cancer and we tried some cannabis chocolates on him. And for the first time in years, he’s been battling the disease since about 2011 to 2015 before he tried these chocolates, and we got to watch them work; we watched him eat them and we watched the effect that they had within about 30 minutes. He started to feel less pain; he started to eat; he was able to enjoy his grandkids. He hadn’t been eating at all because his lymph nodes were swelling up and literally blocking his airways. And he had been in a lot of pain. So, I got to see firsthand the positive effects of cannabis and what it can do for someone who medically might need that. And who didn’t have access to it.

Shortly after that, he passed away in 2016 and it affected all of us who I worked with. So, I had been doing magazines for 20 years, cooking magazines, cookbooks; I’d worked for the Food Network and McDonald’s Corp., so taking this ingredient and applying it to something that I was already familiar with, producing food products and being in the food industry, was simple for myself, rather than for someone who hadn’t been doing it, I guess.

And when he passed away, it was clearly on my mind. I was watching a Vice show; have you heard of the rapper, Action Bronson?

Samir Husni: Yes.

Joline Rivera: I was watching one of his shows and he was getting high, smoking a joint while he was cooking. And I kept thinking why is he smoking while he’s cooking? (Laughs) And I just kept thinking about it: he’s getting high while he’s cooking. And I called my editor and said he’s getting high and he’s cooking food. She said why doesn’t he just get high while he’s eating his food and I said exactly! (Laughs again)

Then we had the idea of coming up with a magazine to teach people how to step away from smoking, it’s not healthy, but also being able to medicate yourself in a helpful way. So, we decided to look into the legalities of launching a magazine that teaches people how to cook with cannabis for health and wellness. And that started in early 2016 and we launched in November 2017.

Samir Husni: Why did you decide on the format? An upscale, expensive, elegant print magazine? Even from the very first issue, the magazine called the attention of anybody who observes or looks after magazines or media in general. Why did you opt for the more upscale look, feel and price, rather than just a more mass, less elegant magazine?

Joline Rivera: I had been used to producing magazines like that; I had been designing a magazine called “Uncrate” for a while and a magazine called “Sweet Paul” for about nine years. I do another magazine called “Gluten Free Forever.” I have been doing those Indie pubs and those upscale-looking magazines for a while. And so when I looked at the cannabis space, and you look at magazines like “High Times” or “Cannabis Now” or “Dope,” they all have a great audience and those magazines are great for that purpose, but one thing I realized pretty quickly is that cannabis magazines weren’t coming out on that level. That kind of debunk-the-stoner mentality, I guess. Creating a magazine that was a little more friendly to everyone. One that I could give to my grandmother and OG Kush wouldn’t scare her. (Laughs)

I wanted to create a magazine that was cannabis-friendly, approachable, something that someone could learn from. And the cannabis magazines that were out were directed at the cannabis space already. I wanted to direct a magazine to people who were more curious about it, but might be intimidated by it. I also know that food magazines; if you go look at the shelves in the food space, every magazine has a food image on the cover. And while I don’t think cannabis magazines necessarily were striving to look beautiful, I don’t think that food magazines were striving to take risks, so I tried to flip that upside down for us and do exactly that.

Samir Husni: As the founder of the magazine and an art director/creative director, was your journey to create Kitchen Toke a walk in a rose garden? You brought your knowledge of food, cooking and design to the magazine, was it simply easy for you?

Joline Rivera: (Laughs) I’ll be honest with you, it was a lot easier for me than it was for my content director, because they were dipping their toes in an industry full of misinformation and had to work really hard and turned a lot of money to find the correct information, to talk to the right people. We had writers spread out all over the country to contribute to our magazine and we pride ourselves on creating content that is sourced and fact-based, and credited to people who know what they’re talking about, scientists and people who have been here for a long time and have been working in the cannabis space for a while.

We talk to growers and scientists, lab testers and we work with a lot of chefs, James Beard nominated and award-winning chefs, so cannabis is another ingredient, although there is a lot of information that is to be learned about the profiles of cannabis and how it can be used in food. So, it takes a lot of work to find those people, and we spend most of our time doing that. And that’s the hard part. For me to create a pretty magazine, that’s something that was a lot easier for me than it was for my editorial staff, I will say that.

Samir Husni: While you have an online presence and the website, why did you choose print for the magazine in this day and age?

Joline Rivera: People will often hear me say that I call my magazine a very expensive business card. I believe in the power of tangibility. When I talk to people, getting them to look at my Instagram page or my website in a world that’s overwhelmed by digital media; I just think that it’s a lot easier for me to communicate who we are and what we can do, and what we’re capable of with our brand, if you can hold it in your hand. So, I believe in the power of tangibility. Will I always have a print magazine? Maybe, maybe not.

We’re working on some other legs of our company now. We have the digital aspect; we’re working on our YouTube channel and we have some other things coming up that I’m not at liberty to discuss at the moment, but this is just one leg of our company. Kitchen Toke is a brand, it has a magazine, but it will also have other things.

Samir Husni: How did you come up with the name?

Joline Rivera: My content director, Laura Yee, came up with the name. She’s a writer, of course, and she’s really great with words. We started talking about the word “toque,” obviously, I don’t know if people wear those anymore. To my knowledge, and all of the photo shoots that we do with chefs, they rarely wear a toque in the kitchen anymore, but the chef hat and the idea of “taking a toke” off of a joint and then also the definition of the word also means a bit of advice, so it was a play on words.

Samir Husni: When my friend, Jeremy Leslie asked you to define Kitchen Toke magazine in three words, you told him cooking with cannabis. How simple of a tagline that really identifies the USP of the magazine.

Joline Rivera: Exactly. Cooking with cannabis; cannabis food and health, yes that’s it.

Samir Husni: What has been the biggest stumbling block and challenge and how did you overcome it?

Joline Rivera: The biggest challenge is getting people to know we’re here and getting people to pick up the magazine and to really look at what we’re doing. Yes, we’re talking about cooking with cannabis, and yes, we’re showing people how, but we’re also talking about the world of cannabis as a whole and how it affects this magazine, this idea, and this industry. We’re talking about the legalities as it moves through the United States and the world actually, and who’s doing what and medicinal stories. I think there are a lot of stories. If you ask someone, everyone has a cannabis story. Everyone. They just didn’t used to talk about it. And now we are.

I think our biggest obstacle is really just getting people to look at us and not be afraid of what cannabis can do for them, especially the people who aren’t already cannabis users.

Samir Husni: Do you have a test kitchen?

Joline Rivera: No, we don’t. We just have various places in this country where we have recipe-testers and they work out of their own kitchens. Right before we go into production, we have all of our recipe-testers run it by a professional recipe-tester.

Samir Husni: If you and I are chatting a year from now, what would you hope to tell me that you had accomplished in 2019 with Kitchen Toke?

Joline Rivera: I think that 2019 is going to be a big growth year. I think we’ve come leaps and bounds already from 2017. The awareness, the acceptance and the idea of cannabis being more mainstream – I just think we’ll be in a very different position than we are today. We’re going to have larger advertisers, you’ll see that in the magazine. We’re going to have people like – well, any product that has to do with your home and your kitchen, ads that are in a mainstream magazine, they’ll start coming into Kitchen Toke and they’ll start working with us. We’ll have partners with video to tell stories. I think that you’ll see more of that. I believe it will just start to be a normal thing and the more that it goes mainstream, the less of a bigger deal it will be.

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

Joline Rivera: I think the one reason to pay attention to Kitchen Toke and what we’re doing is that when you think about the cannabis landscape, we are what I call the most friendly cannabis magazine that’s around the world. Our magazine is sold in Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Whole Foods, Kroger, Lucky’s Market, Amazon brick and mortar in the United States. In Canada, we’re in Walmart, Chapters and Indigo, Nesters, and soon we’ll be in Shoppers Drug Mart, a return of 50 stores. And this winter we’ll be in Spain, the U.K., New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands. And I think recently the United Kingdom just went legal medicinally.

When you think about Kitchen Toke, you think about something that can really teach you what’s happening in the industry, that’s getting away from all of that misinformation. The idea that we’ve been lied to for so long about such an amazing plant. Kitchen Toke is the most friendly cannabis magazine around the world.

Samir Husni: What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about you?

Joline Rivera: It’s the same thing when people ask me am I a user, because I don’t look like one, whatever they perceive that “look” to be. I think I would surprise them by saying yes, I am a user. I would be doing the industry a disservice by saying oh no, I don’t use that. (Laughs) I am a user and I believe the misconception is that people think that anyone who uses cannabis is not functioning or not in a high-functioning position. If you think about corporate America, how well accepted is it to be able to be a cannabis user and still have your job?

When I think about chatting with you in a year or two years from now, I believe moms are going to move away from wine and get into cannabis. There are a lot of wine moms, so to speak; they’re going to realize that there is a weight loss benefit and a healthful benefit to use cannabis to destress and decompress, rather than drinking wine every night. I can imagine people getting up and getting into their cupboards and taking an edible as a vitamin or in place of their vitamin every day.

We recently just sent the next issue to press and it will hit shelves in early December. The issue’s theme is the future is now. We believe that if you’re not here, you’re already late. It’s happening all around us and I think the future of cannabis is happening right now, this year in 2019.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing? Having a glass of wine; reading a magazine; cooking; watching TV; or something else? How do you unwind?

Joline Rivera: First, I’m not a drinker, I’d probably be sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop, talking creative with my significant other who’s also part of our Kitchen Toke team…I have a creative button that never seems to turn off, tidying up emails for the next day, always thinking ahead, and scrolling Instagram to make sure I keep up with new things and new followers. I’ve made a lot of Kitchen Toke friends on Instagram.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Joline Rivera: That I was creative. That I was always looking for the opportunity to do something beyond creative. I’ve always said that I can make a pretty magazine anytime, but if I can make a magazine that’s pretty and can also help people…I would like to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day and think that I did something better than just create something beautiful.

I also believe that as we legalize cannabis, we have a social responsibility to pay attention to the things that have happened because of this drug. I think as Illinois or any other state begins to legalize, we have a responsibility to pay attention to what has happened to people of color as a result of having cannabis that white people get to do with impunity. And if I don’t pay attention to that, I’m no better than any other corporate giant coming into the industry just to make money. The social awareness is very important to me, especially in Chicago, people on the Southside and west side of Chicago have suffered terribly and been punished for having a dime bag of cannabis. And they’re still in jail.

To be honest with you, I think that if there was more political courage in Chicago that would have happened by now. And throughout the entire country. There are many reasons to legalize marijuana, people need it medically, they do. I think we have a social responsibility that we cannot ignore. We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people are doing with impunity.

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

Joline Rivera: I think about how I can get more people to know about Kitchen Toke. In a world where the laws are such that we cannot advertise, we can’t have a Facebook account, they closed down our social media accounts on Instagram here and there. If you say the wrong hashtag – you just have to be really careful. In a world that doesn’t let you really advertise a cannabis product, I think the biggest challenge and the most creative people are going to come out on top. Right now, it’s going to be really interesting to see how people can advertise their product.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor: 15 New Magazines Arrive In October…

November 1, 2018

From the burnished yellows and bronzes of Autumn to the beautiful varied covers of the new magazines this month, October was definitely a breathtaking 31 days of fantastic entertainment and information.

I was beyond excited to see two new titles that showcased their exclusive premier issues this month from the same publisher: Bed & Breakfast and Chateaux & Castles, two magazines that present humble, but fantastic, photography and great content in both. And isn’t it wonderful to see a publisher coming out of the gates with two new magazines in the race. Kudos to Colette Publications in Carson City, Nevada!

And along came a really intriguing new travel magazine themed around a single destination with each issue. The premier features Mexico City and is absolutely wonderful with riveting photos that are earthy and raw with the emotion of the region. According to the Kickstarter definition, where publisher Abby Rapoport began the first issue: Stranger’s Guide is a nonprofit magazine redefining travel writing by bringing in voices from across the globe and giving a holistic view of locales. And it’s a great addition to the newsstands.

And of course, our other 12 titles are just as amazing. So, enjoy October’s offerings and we’ll see you in November for another bountiful harvest of new titles.

Until then…

See you at the newsstands…

******And please remember, if Mr. Magazine™ can’t physically hold, touch and purchase the magazine, it does not enter the monthly counts. And counts now include only the titles with a regular frequency that are either new, first-seen on Mr. Magazine’s™ radar, or arriving to the national newsstands for the first time.

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Good Company Magazine: Where Creativity Meets Business & You’ll Always Find Yourself in “Good Company” – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Grace Bonney, Founder…

September 17, 2018

“I’ve really come to love the web for its immediacy and its flexibility, but it’s a place I find that people have a harder time guiding into more serious topics. As Design Sponge (Grace’s blog) evolved and I got more into print projects that were about the people behind the design, I found that people on the Internet weren’t coming to read longer form pieces or to talk about things that might be a bit more complicated. So, that’s where I find print really excels over other mediums because when you hold something in your hand and you have time to spend with it, you’re more likely to sink your teeth into something that’s a little longer and a little more serious.” Grace Bonney…

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

When you’re in “good company,” you know it. From the moment I spoke to Grace Bonney, author, blogger, and entrepreneur, I knew that the name of her brand new magazine, Good Company, was most fortuitous for both of us. Grace believes that everyone deserves a chance to follow their dreams, no matter what stratosphere of life they come from. And her dream was to create a magazine. And that she did.

Good Company magazine was inspired by a book she wrote called “In the Company of Women” and it focuses on marginalized communities of people who run their own creative practices and businesses and continues the conversations she started in the book. I spoke with Grace recently and we talked about her own challenges and triumphs and about how she wants to highlight other people’s dreams and challenges in the magazine. Grace believes there are many different paths to take to success and everyone’s story is worth telling and listening to, no matter who you are.

Published twice a year (so far), the magazine is another platform where she feels the conversations can be deeper and longer than the content she shares weekly on her blog “Design Sponge,” which she has been doing for 14 years. And soon she will add a Good Company podcast to the mix. To say Grace Bonney is focused would be true, but to say she is dedicated to offering quality content that is meant for more than just the mainstream would be more accurate. She is a woman determined to tell as many stories as she can that inspire, uplift, and showcase people from all walks of life.

And now the Mr. Magazine™ interview with a woman who thinks everyone deserves the title “Good Company,” Grace Bonney, founder of Good Company magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On why she wanted to add a printed magazine to her other platforms: That’s such a good question and I think about that a lot; you know, what medium is best for what story? I’ve really come to love the web for its immediacy and its flexibility, but it’s a place I find that people have a harder time guiding into more serious topics. As Design Sponge (Grace’s blog) evolved and I got more into print projects that were about the people behind the design, I found that people on the Internet weren’t coming to read longer form pieces or to talk about things that might be a bit more complicated. So, that’s where I find print really excels over other mediums because when you hold something in your hand and you have time to spend with it, you’re more likely to sink your teeth into something that’s a little longer and a little more serious.

On the moment that she knew she needed to do a magazine: “In the Company of Women” was the last book that I did and Good Company magazine is essentially the next step in that path. I love “In the Company of Women,” but it’s more of a short form encyclopedia of the concept, and so I wanted to keep those conversations going in a more regular way so that I wouldn’t have to wait every two years to release an addition of that and I wanted a place to stretch them out. The book had a very singular format that we repeated with each person, so the magazine gives us more room to embrace different formats. We have miniature zines and group Q&A’s, just all kinds of different things that we can do in a regular magazine that we wouldn’t be able to do in the book format.

On the concept of the magazine, merging creativity and business: I came to this work, in general, from a design perspective and creativity. When I started out I didn’t think of creativity as anything other than all the fun parts of art and design, making things and being inspired, colors and patterns. About 10 years into running Design Sponge I realized that the pure artistic end of things wasn’t as fulfilling to me as it used to be. And I found that the more that I talked to people one on one and heard about their lives behind all of the pretty things, I actually ended up finding that more inspiring.

On whether 14 years ago, when she started her blog, she expected to be where she is today: Definitely not. I started my blog as a way to hopefully get another job, I thought if I started a blog it could maybe help me get a job at a magazine one day, because I didn’t have a journalism degree and it seemed like it would be impossible for me to ever get work at a magazine, which was all I ever wanted to do. So, I thought the blog would be a sort of online resume, in a way.

On who she is trying to reach with Good Company magazine: I’m trying to reach anybody who is interested in the worlds of art and commerce, because I think that so often the design world in particular has a very particular audience that tends to be wealthy, it tends to be white, it tends to be someone in their 30s and 40s. And when we’re talking about the business world and in particular finance publications, those tend to be geared toward men. And even though Good Company is primarily focused on people who identify as women, I’m hoping that it’s not as gendered as the works I’ve done before. And I’m just trying to talk to anybody that I think is interested in picking a little bit deeper into what it is that makes a creative life successful.

On whether the launch of Good Company has been a walk in a rose garden or she has had stumbling blocks along the way: (Laughs) It’s been a walk through a very thorny road. It’s been really hard; for sure the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my career. But that’s good in one way. It’s kind of fascinating to see how you can be a part of a community for so long and then discover this one aspect of it that you had no idea would be so challenging.

On the theory behind the $18 cover price: I think the cover price covers the depth of information. You can find a lot of books in the store that has fewer pages than our magazine that will have a higher price. And you’re definitely not going to find an independent magazine that pays people that’s charging less than that. Most indie magazines these days, whether it’s a fashion magazine or even just some of the other ones in the market like Cherry Bombe and Kinfolk and Monocle, and things like that, that’s a pretty common cover price.

On whether the decision for the magazine to be ad-free was intentional: Yes, it was. The first two issues are ad free; we’re kind of weighing the idea of ads for the third one right now. Capping them at like two or three per issue. But we haven’t made that decision yet. I think that it would make it a lot more profitable to have ads, but I really enjoy it being an ad free magazine whenever possible, but I think now that I’m deep into the business side of the magazine, it’s really hard to make a magazine ad free because it’s so expensive to produce.

On anything she’d like to add: I just want everybody to know that I think that this is a magazine that looks different and sounds different than what they’ll see in the market right now, especially in the creative sphere and in the business sphere. This is a publication where about 90 percent of the content is written by and about people from marginalized communities.

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at her home: You will find me sitting with one eye facing my wife who cooks dinner and then one eye watching one of the Real Housewives of something franchise on television. (Laughs) Usually there’s some sort of guilty pleasure on TV and then I’m trying to help out with dinner as it’s cooking.

On what she would have tattooed upon her brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about her: That’s a hard one. The first thing that comes to my mind is actually inspired by a tattoo that my wife has, which is just an “and” symbol, and it’s something that I think about a lot, the word “and,” because I think that so often bloggers and writers, and people in general, we want to put each other into these boxes where you’re either this or that, and you believe this or that, and this is something that my wife Julia really taught me, it’s never about “or,” it’s always about “and.”

On what keeps her up at night: (Laughs) Songs that are stuck in my head. My guilty pleasure is always ending the day with old reruns of RuPaul’s Drag Race, so usually I have some sort of cheesy dance song in my head that I can’t get out. So, let that be my biggest problem, that I have dance songs stuck in my head. (Laughs again)

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Grace Bonney, founder, Good Company magazine.

Samir Husni: Grace, you seem to be all over the place. You’re a daily blogger, you have books in the marketplace, and now you’ve entered the world of magazines. What do you think a magazine will add to all of your other platforms?

Grace Bonney: That’s such a good question and I think about that a lot; you know, what medium is best for what story? I’ve really come to love the web for its immediacy and its flexibility, but it’s a place I find that people have a harder time guiding into more serious topics. As Design Sponge (Grace’s blog) evolved and I got more into print projects that were about the people behind the design, I found that people on the Internet weren’t coming to read longer form pieces or to talk about things that might be a bit more complicated.

So, that’s where I find print really excels over other mediums because when you hold something in your hand and you have time to spend with it, you’re more likely to sink your teeth into something that’s a little longer and a little more serious. That’s why I wanted to move these particular stories into print. And my hope was that people would hold them in their hands, go back to them when they had time to read the full piece and really sink their teeth into it.

Samir Husni: You’ve published two books: “In the Company of Women” and “Design Sponge at Home.” Can you tell me more about the genesis of Good Company? When was that moment of conception when you knew that you needed to do this?

Grace Bonney: “In the Company of Women” was the last book that I did and Good Company magazine is essentially the next step in that path. I love “In the Company of Women,” but it’s more of a short form encyclopedia of the concept, and so I wanted to keep those conversations going in a more regular way so that I wouldn’t have to wait every two years to release an addition of that and I wanted a place to stretch them out. The book had a very singular format that we repeated with each person, so the magazine gives us more room to embrace different formats. We have miniature zines and group Q&A’s, just all kinds of different things that we can do in a regular magazine that we wouldn’t be able to do in the book format.

So, the magazine is really just an extension of what we started with the book, and for me it’s just always about how do we keep picking away at all of those layers of things that are part of being a creative, whether we’re talking about how to balance life and work or how to pay for things or how to support yourself; I just wanted a place to have deeper conversations, so that’s where the magazine came in.

Samir Husni: You merged creativity and business; you want Good Company to be the place where creativity and business intersect. Can you expand a little bit on that concept?

Grace Bonney: I came to this work, in general, from a design perspective and creativity. When I started out I didn’t think of creativity as anything other than all the fun parts of art and design, making things and being inspired, colors and patterns. About 10 years into running Design Sponge I realized that the pure artistic end of things wasn’t as fulfilling to me as it used to be. And I found that the more that I talked to people one on one and heard about their lives behind all of the pretty things, I actually ended up finding that more inspiring.

So, I started interviewing people. I started a podcast that I ran for a few years and those conversations became more interesting and I kept realizing there’s this one layer of art and design, and that’s great, but the deeper we dig and we talk about how business affects things, your race, your age, where you live in the country; all of these different factors that are intersectional, how those things affect your work, that was fascinating to me. And those weren’t conversations that were happening as much, especially not online.

For me this evolution has always been about how do we get deeper; how do we connect all of these things, because creativity isn’t creativity without business behind it. If you don’t put marketing and thought and plan and pricing into place, people can’t access that creativity. So, I think it’s important to keep pulling those two things back together.

Samir Husni: As a creative/businessperson, you started your career in your mid-twenties and with your blog in 2004. Did you expect that 14 years later you would be where you are today?

Grace Bonney: Definitely not. I started my blog as a way to hopefully get another job, I thought if I started a blog it could maybe help me get a job at a magazine one day, because I didn’t have a journalism degree and it seemed like it would be impossible for me to ever get work at a magazine, which was all I ever wanted to do. So, I thought the blog would be a sort of online resume, in a way.

And I had no idea that blogs were going to be what they were, kind of at their apex. I think the whole time the blog has been a way for me to explore creatively what I like to write about, the community that I find most inspiring, and it’s really allowed me to do so many different things. And because I’ve stayed small, we don’t have investment money or backers or anything like that. I think staying small has allowed us to stay nimble and that’s meant writing books, or having events, doing podcasts, and we’re now starting the magazine.

Staying small in some ways is actually what’s allowed us to stay sustainable, because it’s easier for us to pivot quickly and try something new without taking a huge financial risk. So, I’m definitely surprised that I’m still doing this Design Sponge project as an umbrella, and I’m grateful to have it every year, but it’s been really fun to try something new. It makes me stretch and challenge myself, which is ultimately what keeps me going every day.

Samir Husni: Tell me more about you. I flipped through the pages of the magazine and read your bio; you have a really diverse world of women featured in the magazine. Who is your audience? If someone asked you who you were trying to reach with Good Company, what would you say?

Grace Bonney: I’m trying to reach anybody who is interested in the worlds of art and commerce, because I think that so often the design world in particular has a very particular audience that tends to be wealthy, it tends to be white, it tends to be someone in their 30s and 40s. And when we’re talking about the business world and in particular finance publications, those tend to be geared toward men. And even though Good Company is primarily focused on people who identify as women, I’m hoping that it’s not as gendered as the works I’ve done before. And I’m just trying to talk to anybody that I think is interested in picking a little bit deeper into what it is that makes a creative life successful.

So, our first two issues are dedicated to those topics of fear and failure, and how you build community, because I think those are the things that keep a creative career going long-term. In terms of age-range, anybody who is interested in starting an artistic career of any type, whether you’re a writer, a painter, a designer, I think there’s something in there for you.

And in particular, with Good Company, we’re trying to make sure that we speak to an age-range that’s much more diverse than you see online, because the Internet is really kind of obsessed with millennials and folks under 30. But I think there’s so much more life and business in people who have lived longer lives, so the magazine in particular is talking to people who have more life experience, who are over 50 and 60. I think bringing in that larger range of ages is really important, because to me that’s what’s missing from the Internet when it comes to talking about creative business. We tend to hear from people who are in their 20s and they have great startups and exciting ideas, but I want to hear from people who have been around a little bit longer because they’ve been through more hurdles.

Samir Husni: Has your journey with the launch of Good Company been a walk in a rose garden or have you encountered some stumbling blocks along the way?

Grace Bonney: (Laughs) It’s been a walk through a very thorny road. It’s been really hard; for sure the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my career. But that’s good in one way. It’s kind of fascinating to see how you can be a part of a community for so long and then discover this one aspect of it that you had no idea would be so challenging.

The magazine business in general is incredibly difficult to make profitable and so I think it’s important that people talk about that openly because you don’t want to charge this kind of money for a magazine, but you also need to pay the people involved. Having been someone who has worked with magazines since the beginning of my career so far, I know how often creative talent gets devalued. I wanted to wait to do this project until I could find someone to work with that would help us fund this, because I think it’s important to pay the people who create content fairly.

And since this magazine primarily focuses on people from marginalized communities, whether they’re people of color, career people, or women, I think it’s really important that those people are paid. So for me, this project has been great to have a partner like Artisan, because they let me support people financially and they’ve also given us this kind of freedom to talk about things that most magazines don’t talk about.

It’s been a real challenge. I think it would be easier if we focused on celebrities or people with really huge names because that’s kind of how you make a splash, but I wanted to work really hard to make sure this magazine championed regular people who don’t have millions of followers, like the support of a television show or a movie. It’s kind of a balance and how you can textualize people who might be better known versus people who maybe should be better known.

So, it’s a daily challenge, but I think 14 years of working online has prepared me for what it’s like to have frequent ups and downs at work. I can handle it.

Samir Husni: With an $18 cover price per issue, some folks might tell you for that amount of money they could get an entire year’s subscription, if not two, of some of the magazines out there. What’s the theory behind the high cover price?

Grace Bonney: I think the cover price covers the depth of information. You can find a lot of books in the store that has fewer pages than our magazine that will have a higher price. And you’re definitely not going to find an independent magazine that pays people that’s charging less than that. Most indie magazines these days, whether it’s a fashion magazine or even just some of the other ones in the market like Cherry Bombe and Kinfolk and Monocle, and things like that, that’s a pretty common cover price.

That was something that I took into consideration, because I think that it’s always a balance between how do you respect the quality that’s inside this, and also still understand that people have to be able to afford what you’re putting out there. I think of Good Company as a part of a wide range of offerings that we have, from something free like Design Sponge, to something on the higher end like the books, which are like $30 plus. So, I think of this as kind of a mid-range option.

And to be honest, the magazine actually has more content than the book does, but a lower price-point. So, I always think of the magazine as a miniature book. It comes out twice a year and it’s something that I hope people will consider saving up for and investing in, and not consider it something that you would get that’s $3 as you check out at the grocery store and then you end up throwing it out after you’ve read it. This is something I hope the reader keeps and invests in and holds onto.

As independent magazines continue to have these communities that support them, I think the price tag is something that people will get a little bit more used to. It’s really not anything we’ve gotten any pushback on. I think that the amount of pages and the quality of the material is something that people understand. But I absolutely don’t expect everybody to go out and buy a million copies when I know it’s not a $4 magazine. But I feel really good about the content inside being worth way more than $18.

Samir Husni: I always say that the future’s business plan is about customers who count rather than counting customers.

Grace Bonney: Exactly. That’s a great way to put it. And I would feel differently if I didn’t have Design Sponge because a lot of Good Company’s content gets shared on Design Sponge, and Design Sponge is free, always will be and always has been for almost 15 years. So, I feel like if you’re not somebody who can afford the magazine, I still want to support you and provide content that I think is great and high quality, but is free. If the magazine isn’t in someone’s budget, they can access really similar content on a weekly basis at Design Sponge or listen to our podcast, which we’re about to launch for Good Company in the very near future. And that will be free.

So, I think it’s important to offer a range so that if people want that content but can’t afford the magazine, they can still get some of it. I feel okay offering a range as long as we keep listening to people and if we get feedback that it’s too much, we’ll readjust. Right now I think people understand how that price tag correlates to paying all of the contributors really fairly for their work.

Samir Husni: I’m going to assume the decision to go ad free in the magazine was intentional.

Grace Bonney: Yes, it was. The first two issues are ad free; we’re kind of weighing the idea of ads for the third one right now. Capping them at like two or three per issue. But we haven’t made that decision yet. I think that it would make it a lot more profitable to have ads, but I really enjoy it being an ad free magazine whenever possible, but I think now that I’m deep into the business side of the magazine, it’s really hard to make a magazine ad free because it’s so expensive to produce.

And something I didn’t know until we got into this was the return rate for magazines. I’m used to books, which have a lower return rate, and magazine return rates for big stores are like 60 percent. So, if you’re printing these independently, I don’t know how anybody weathers that return rate. And as a publisher I know it’s difficult for our publisher to handle that too. Ads are not something that I’m 100 percent against, but I like keeping them as minimal as possible because I just don’t want to have a magazine that’s flooded with things that don’t have any connection to what the content is. It’s really difficult to work with advertisers and have control over the creative and the messaging, so I think if that’s something we’ll do, we’ll do it very limited and very carefully.

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

Grace Bonney: I just want everybody to know that I think that this is a magazine that looks different and sounds different than what they’ll see in the market right now, especially in the creative sphere and in the business sphere. This is a publication where about 90 percent of the content is written by and about people from marginalized communities.

And mainstream magazines, even independent magazines, still primarily focus on this kind of expected mass look of white people, rich people; people who are young, people who are thin, people who are able-bodied, and I think that community has had so much coverage. And this is something completely different. For me, this project has nothing to do with me and all to do with the community that I think hasn’t been served well by the creative community. So, I hope people will open it up and really look and take in all of these stories and pictures and people that they haven’t really heard enough about so far.

And I think that the issues that are coming up in particular really celebrate all of these people who deserve to have the attention they haven’t gotten in the creative community yet. So, I hope people will dive into it and enjoy all of these talented and new, hopefully just new to us, faces.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing? Having a glass of wine; reading a magazine; cooking; watching TV; or something else? How do you unwind?

Grace Bonney: You will find me sitting with one eye facing my wife who cooks dinner and then one eye watching one of the Real Housewives of something franchise on television. (Laughs) Usually there’s some sort of guilty pleasure on TV and then I’m trying to help out with dinner as it’s cooking.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Grace Bonney: That’s a hard one. The first thing that comes to my mind is actually inspired by a tattoo that my wife has, which is just an “and” symbol, and it’s something that I think about a lot, the word “and,” because I think that so often bloggers and writers, and people in general, we want to put each other into these boxes where you’re either this or that, and you believe this or that, and this is something that my wife Julia really taught me, it’s never about “or,” it’s always about “and.”

And I think all of the work that I do is to try and embrace things that are contradictory, things that are complicated, to try and embrace all of the pretty, superficial fun parts of design and all of the parts that are difficult and messy, that we have to talk about and kind of dig apart a little bit. So, I hope if anything people will just remember that I tried with all of the work that we’ve done as a community to talk about all the ends of the spectrum and not just the pretty, easy, fun ones.

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

Grace Bonney: (Laughs) Songs that are stuck in my head. My guilty pleasure is always ending the day with old reruns of RuPaul’s Drag Race, so usually I have some sort of cheesy dance song in my head that I can’t get out. So, let that be my biggest problem, that I have dance songs stuck in my head. (Laughs again)

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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Launch Monitor: August Gave Us 19 New Titles For An Amazing Summer Wrap-Up

September 4, 2018

The hottest new online video game out there deserves two new magazines devoted to it in the month of August – Fortnite has an “Ultimate Guide” and an “Independent & Unofficial Guide.” Choices for the avid player, no doubt, and available at your newsstands.

Another hot topic in the forefront of the marketplace is cannabis and its many uses. From medical to recreational, as more states come to terms with the legalization of marijuana, magazines dealing with the culture and the growing industry abound. Ember is the latest offering from a collaboration from the teams over at Paper and MedMen. It’s an interesting look at incorporating cannabis into anyone’s lifestyle and making it as matter-of-fact as lighting a candle. And it has a feel of artsy-ness abouti it that can’t be ignored.

And other new titles such as Retro Fan, a new title that revisits the CRAZY, COOL CULTURE WE GREW UP WITH in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, or so the tagline insists. And since Mr. Magazine™ interviewed the editor of the new title, Michael Eury, I can tell you that’s exactly what it does. From The Hulk to The Andy Griffith Show, this new magazine hits the mark when it comes to our TV and cartoon memories of yesterday. Good Company also joins the ranks, a magazine inspired by Grace Bonney’s latest book, “In the Company of Women”provides motivation, inspiration, practical advice, and a vital sense of connection and community.

So, I hope that you enjoy our beautiful August covers and are awaiting a splendid September as anxiously as Mr. Magazine™ is. So, until next time…

See you at the newsstands…

******And please remember, if Mr. Magazine™ can’t physically hold, touch and purchase the magazine, it does not enter the monthly counts. And counts now include only the titles with a regular frequency that are either new, first-seen on Mr. Magazine’s™ radar, or arriving to the national newsstands for the first time.

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