Archive for the ‘New Launches’ Category

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WOTH Magazine: “Wonderful Things” Happen Between The Pages Of This New Dutch Launch – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Publisher, Toon Lauwen & Founding Editor, Mary Hessing

September 22, 2016

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

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“We decided to make a print magazine because we wanted it to be a beautiful thing and we thought about design and designers and the way they work, for them materials are very important. We also thought about their skills and the stories behind their ideas for the product. We figured for the magazine, for the media in which we’re telling these stories, it’s the same. So, this is something that you want to hold in your hands, something that materializes. It’s not that we don’t want to have any digital additions, but we want it to be something that you can cherish and keep and something that you can hold and feel the paper, because it’s the same with design.” Mary Hessing

“We also want to reach out to a larger community than the Dutch one, because that’s the reason we took it into an English version too, to have a larger exposure and make it possible to be more European. And that’s also a twist of the necessary optimism it takes to move forward. We tried to show the quality of the magazine with the paper, the lettering and the typeface, etc.” Toon Lauwen

Woth Wonderful Things is a new lifestyle magazine focused on interiors and design, but one done in a more personal way, with strong visuals and content about people and objects that are so interesting they make you wonder about them and the innovative creativity they display that stirs imaginations.

Real-life couple, Toon Lauwen and Mary Hessing, who are based in The Hague in the Netherlands, created this beautiful new publication, and between their support network of longstanding Dutch designers and professionals they have both been involved with for decades, Mary is a former editor in chief for Dutch design magazine Eigen Huis & Interieur, and her partner Toon has been in the business for decades, they started a crowdfunding campaign and made the design dream magazine a reality.

00000663portraitmaryhessingvoorinternet-photo-brenda-van-leeuwenI spoke with both Toon and Mary recently and we talked about their vision for this outstanding new magazine. The deep sentiments of a personal relationship with both the reader and the subject matter that Mary so strongly believes in, and the focus on good content and magnificent writing that Toon strives for with each and every word and page; it’s clear the two of them have a passion for Woth that will only grow and flourish.

So, I hope you enjoy this Mr. Magazine™ interview with two people who made a dream into a reality with hard work, creative ideas and superb content, and a network of people who believe in this magazine as much as they do, Toon Lauwen, Publisher, and Founding Editor, Mary Hessing, Woth Wonderful Things Magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On the idea behind the magazine and why they decided on a print product (Mary Hessing): We decided to make a print magazine because we wanted it to be a beautiful thing and we thought about design and designers and the way they work, for them materials are very important. We also thought about their skills and the stories behind their ideas for the product. We figured for the magazine, for the media in which we’re telling these stories, it’s the same. So, this is something that you want to hold in your hands, something that materializes.

On why they chose to publish it in an English version (Mary Hessing): Because we have very good connections in Holland with Dutch designers. And Dutch designers are worldwide and that’s very important in this industry. And I think that we have the best commitment for making good content. And we’re trying to broaden our scope and bring it to the world, not only to Holland.

jwk_1653On whether it was easy to market the magazine (Toon Lauwen): Initially we started out with an idea, so we made a crowdfunding campaign, Indiegogo. So, we did interviews and Mary did that to engage our public with the new idea of this magazine. As an independent, we had to start out using a network that we already had. I have been doing this for over 20 years. Mary is the figurehead, so to speak, and she has actually done a lot of good footwork with those designers and brands in Italy and all over Europe to make all of those connections, also with the advertisers.

On any stumbling blocks they had to face and how they overcame them (Mary Hessing): What was really difficult was we started out with no money, with just this idea, so we asked a lot of people to help us. We did the crowdfunding campaign, but even before that we had been asking people from our network if they would help us out with the content. And I received all positive responses, everyone was really supportive and really thought we should do the magazine. Everybody felt there was a need for a project like this and that it would definitely get off the ground. Then we did the crowdfunding campaign, and I also asked the people I used to work with, most of them are freelancers now, to help us out with making the magazine.

On how difficult it was as a couple working together (Toon Lauwen): We’ve worked together before, of course. But then I was writing for a former magazine, but now we’re really teaming up because we’re both responsible for getting it to the printer and getting the bills paid, etc. We’re a business team. And that does take some adjustment, but on the other hand it’s also something we like to do. With our house, we did it together.

On what they hope the magazine has achieved in one year (Mary Hessing): I would really like the magazine to have a solid base and have a strong and healthy existence. And that it has secured its right to exist. And I want it to stand out independently from other magazines.

01coverengOn anything else they’d like to add (Mary Hessing): I’d like to emphasize that Dutch Designer Gert Dumbar made our logo. He’s an old family friend of mine and he did this as a favor to us. And I’m really proud of it. It’s so funny because I asked this really elderly gentleman to make something really bold and daring and fantastic, and when I asked him for the logo for “Wonderful Things,” he thought the word Woth was a strange and intriguing word. It’s such a strong logo and I think in a way there’s a little bit of the 1980s influence there, and I think it’s interesting because everybody is now looking at the ‘80s for inspiration and we have the real thing.

On what someone would find them doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at their home (Mary Hessing): I would probably be putting my children to bed which takes forever. (Laughs) I always like to make up with them for all of the things I missed during the day, so that takes time.

On what someone would find them doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at their home (Toon Lauwen): I might be watching a documentary or reading a book. I read about history a lot.

On what keeps them up at night (Mary Hessing): Living up to expectations from other people, not normally, but especially about this project.

On what keeps them up at night (Toon Lauwen): I’m always reasoning in my head about a tagline, or just some small thing. I’ve been a worrier since I was young; it’s my nature. (Laughs)

ton-of-hollandspreadAnd now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Toon Lauwen, Publisher, and Founding Editor, Mary Hessing, Woth Wonderful Things Magazine.

Samir Husni: Tell me the idea behind the magazine and why you decided to launch a print publication in this digital age?

Mary Hessing: We decided to make a print magazine because we wanted it to be a beautiful thing and we thought about design and designers and the way they work, for them materials are very important. We also thought about their skills and the stories behind their ideas for the product. We figured for the magazine, for the media in which we’re telling these stories, it’s the same. So, this is something that you want to hold in your hands, something that materializes. It’s not that we don’t want to have any digital additions, but we want it to be something that you can cherish and keep and something that you can hold and feel the paper, because it’s the same with design.

Samir Husni: And why did you publish in an English version as well?

Mary Hessing: Because we have very good connections in Holland with Dutch designers. And Dutch designers are worldwide and that’s very important in this industry. And I think that we have the best commitment for making good content. And we’re trying to broaden our scope and bring it to the world, not only to Holland.

Samir Husni: Toon, as the publisher, how easy was it for you to market the magazine? You’re a great team and you have a known editor and the Dutch design is known all over the world. What was the reaction when you first went and tried to sell an ad or tried to get some sponsorship for the magazine?

Toon Lauwen: Initially we started out with an idea, so we made a crowdfunding campaign, Indiegogo. So, we did interviews and Mary did that to engage our public with the new idea of this magazine. As an independent, we had to start out using a network that we already had. I have been doing this for over 20 years. Mary is the figurehead, so to speak, and she has actually done a lot of good footwork with those designers and brands in Italy and all over Europe to make all of those connections, also with the advertisers.

That footwork really enabled us to make direct contact with the advertisers, the bosses of those brands, to ask them to support our magazine in the middle of the year, because we started out in May or June. So, our campaign was concentrated in mid-season, summer. It wasn’t a piece of cake, that’s for sure.

But nevertheless, we’ve found a true optimism with the people and an involvement with them at the brands, helping us out, buying advertisements, and also with the readership through subscriptions and single issues, just based on a campaign or an idea and largely dependent on an image that Mary put out as an editor in chief of the title that she worked at before.

Samir Husni: Was it all just a stroll through a rose garden, or should I say; a tulip walk…

Toon Lauwen: (Laughs).

Samir Husni: …that you had no stumbling blocks and no problems? Or did you have stumbling blocks, and if so, what were they and how did you overcome them?

portretten-ronald-vd-kempMary Hessing: What was really difficult was we started out with no money, with just this idea, so we asked a lot of people to help us. We did the crowdfunding campaign, but even before that we had been asking people from our network if they would help us out with the content. And I received all positive responses, everyone was really supportive and really thought we should do the magazine. Everybody felt there was a need for a project like this and that it would definitely get off the ground. Then we did the crowdfunding campaign, and I also asked the people I used to work with, most of them are freelancers now, to help us out with making the magazine.

So, we had the contacts and the crowdfunding. Then we had to actually make the pages. And everyone helped us for as long as they could, but at the end of the day we’re the only ones responsible for getting it to the printers. We are really grateful and happy that everybody was so supportive and helpful, but it can only stretch so far.

Samir Husni: How difficult is it for you as a couple to work together?

Toon Lauwen: It’s really easy because I’m writing a lot, so my concentration is totally different. To begin with, I work best in the mornings and Mary works at night, until 2 or 3:00 a.m. I’m always reasoning in my head what to write, which usually takes a lot of time and concentration for me. But now there was no time for that. We had to produce a lot of text.

Mary Hessing: You are two different people in your thought patterns, but also on energy levels as well. So, I work at night and normally I sleep very well. But these days, with the magazine, sleep was very difficult, so I was awake a lot. I would go to bed late and rise really early because I knew there were things we had to do for the magazine. So I would just do it.

Toon Lauwen: We’ve worked together before, of course. But then I was writing for a former magazine, but now we’re really teaming up because we’re both responsible for getting it to the printer and getting the bills paid, etc. We’re a business team. And that does take some adjustment, but on the other hand it’s also something we like to do. With our house, we did it together.

Mary Hessing: We renovated 15,000 squares and we’re still together, so I think we can argue, but we will manage. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: If we’re talking one year from now about the magazine; what do you hope you could tell me that Woth had achieved in that year?

Mary Hessing: I would really like the magazine to have a solid base and have a strong and healthy existence. And that it has secured its right to exist. And I want it to stand out independently from other magazines.

Toon Lauwen: We started out as a new title, typically niche, since it’s about design. And the name itself, calling it “Wonderful Things,” we want it to reach out to people with its ideas and its motivation of people who work with design, but not only designers, just anyone creative in general, chefs and any other professions. So, we made the format a bit broader that just the theory of design only. That’s what we were trying to do with the title, “Wonderful Things,” and the brand.

mary437defbwphotokasiagatkowskaMary Hessing: Also, I wrote for many years for two other design titles and working with design can be difficult. When you look at all of the living magazines around the world, a lot are based on the same formula and it’s very difficult to make it personal, so we’re really trying to find a way to make Woth personal. And we’re doing this by focusing on the creatives. Whatever we do we want to put them central. And in a way I think this could be like a human interest idea for a design and interior decorating magazine. I think people are interested in these people in the magazine; they’re superstars in a way, and they have a very nice way of living and great view of the world, so we really want to speak to them on a personal level.

This is what we’re aiming for. We want it to be personal. What I get back from people is the way it’s written, it is really personal.

Toon Lauwen: We also want to reach out to a larger community than the Dutch one, because that’s the reason we took it into an English version too, to have a larger exposure and make it possible to be more European. And that’s also a twist of the necessary optimism it takes to move forward. We tried to show the quality of the magazine with the paper, the lettering and the typeface, etc.

So, we hope that we can answer your question about where we’ll be in a year by saying we have evolved from a local niche magazine to bit more European, and that we even have a global reach.

Mary Hessing: Because of my work, I’ve been visiting countries and people everywhere and there is this connection between people, the way that they look at their lives, the way they live them. The people I work with, the agents and photographers internationally; these are all very nice and interesting people. I feel like there’s already a connection and I’d really like this magazine to be a magnet for that as well

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

Mary Hessing: I’d like to emphasize that Dutch Designer Gert Dumbar made our logo. He’s an old family friend of mine and he did this as a favor to us. And I’m really proud of it.

Samir Husni: It really looks good.

Mary Hessing: It’s so funny because I asked this really elderly gentleman to make something really bold and daring and fantastic, and when I asked him for the logo for “Wonderful Things,” he thought the word Woth was a strange and intriguing word. It’s such a strong logo and I think in a way there’s a little bit of the 1980s influence there, and I think it’s interesting because everybody is now looking at the ‘80s for inspiration and we have the real thing. He’s from the spirit, so I think this is very interesting that all these other people are copying this idea and we have the real thing.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly to your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing; would you be reading a magazine, your iPad, watching television, or something else?

Mary Hessing: I would probably be putting my children to bed which takes forever. (Laughs) I always like to make up with them for all of the things I missed during the day, so that takes time.

Toon Lauwen: I might be watching a documentary or reading a book. I read about history a lot.

Mary Hessing: He’s also a great cook and he always says that he cooks and it’s his gift to us and it is. But actually it’s his hobby, his way to relax.

Samir Husni: And you’re based in The Hague, correct?

Mary Hessing: Yes, we are.

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

Mary Hessing: Living up to expectations from other people, not normally, but especially about this project.

Toon Lauwen: I’m always reasoning in my head about a tagline, or just some small thing. I’ve been a worrier since I was young; it’s my nature. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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The Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor: August 2016 Vs. August 2015

September 2, 2016

Launch Monitor August 2016 vs 2015

To see all the new titles of 2016 so far please click here.

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An Auspicious August As We Welcome 66 New Titles To The Newsstand…19 With Promised Frequency

September 1, 2016

As summer winds down and fall approaches, thoughts of cooler temps, football, and of course new magazines, are at the forefront of everyone’s mind, or at least they are mine. August brought us another diverse delivery of entertaining and informative reading. From frequency titles like “Spoonful,” a magazine with the tagline: a guide to food & laughter, to a magazine called “Kazoo” that was started by a mom, her daughter and a Kickstarter campaign when they couldn’t find a magazine they liked to read together; the month of August produced some very memorable magazine moments, with many more promised from these new titles in the months to come.

So, enjoy these beautiful covers and until next month – happy magazine reading!

Up first, our frequency titles:

Billy Voyage swanky Spoonful sous Self Reliance permaculture Object Minecraft Mayhem kazoo jae Hue Journal hola heros farmville Down for Life 1 Dallas Colorful Escapes Color Magic

 

And now our specials, bookazines & annuals:

50 impact players Ali All-Season Throws American Girl animal kingdom Best of Urban Farm bigger bucks Bohemian Home British STyle Celebrate the Seasons Colorways Cottage Country Cottage Home Style 1 dot to dot Drinks & Snacks Eat CHeap eats Fantasy Football FIlm Noir French Home Fresg Garden Recipes Great Trains West Guide to Fall Gardening Guide to Slow Cooking 3 Inside World War II Mac & Cheese Modern Family Monster & Scale Trucks New Realism Organic Life Queen Elizabeth Real SImple Southern Settings star trek Stress-free seamless crochet The Most Influential The Science of Relationships TheNFL Book tim duncan Tomato Recipes 1 Tomato Recipes Vintage Crochet WEED USA Weeknight Dinners 1 WIne and Spirits yoga lifeSmall Space Style

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New Magazines Are Here To Stay: Mr. Magazine’s Study Shows An Increase In Survival Rates Of Magazine Launches 2006 – 2015.

August 18, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 11.16.03 AMSurvival rates of new magazines are on the up.  More magazines are remaining in business after ten years of publishing despite all the news of doom and gloom some try to project.

Almost two out of every ten new magazines launched ten years ago are still in business today.  That rate of survival has been the domain of magazines launched four years ago.  The survival rate after four years is now at three out of ten titles remain in business.

The chart below looks at all the new magazine launched since 2006 until the end of 2015 with an intended frequency of four times or more (needless to say I have them all and they all fit my definition of what is a magazine, yes, you guessed it, ink on paper…)

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni’s

New Magazine Launches and Survival Rates 2006 – 2015*

__________________________________________________________

Year                            Total                  Total                  Survival

Launched                   Launches           Survived            Percentage

 2006:                           332                     57                       17.17%    

2007:                           245                    56                       22.86%

2008:                           195                    38                       19.49%

2009:                           197                     37                       18.78%

2010:                           190                     56                       29.47%

2011:                           176                     51                       28.98%

2012:                           237                     71                       29.96%

2013:                           195                     61                       31.28%

2014:                           232                     83                       35.78%

2015:                           236                     106                     44.92%

____________________________________________________

Total:                          2235                   616                     27.57%

*Source: Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni’s Guide to New Magazines and Mr. Magazine’s Launch Monitor.

Numbers above represent magazines that were launched since 2006 with an intended frequency of 4 times or more.  The survival numbers reflect those magazines that are still being published as of August 15, 2016.

 

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From My Vault Of Classic “New” Magazines – Real Needs And TIME. Part 1.

August 10, 2016
A Mr. Magazine™ Musing
Starting today, I am going to go ahead and open my classic “new” magazines’ vault and start reporting on some words of wisdom editors, publishers, marketers and circulation folks used to write to introduce their new magazines, their readers, and their advertisers.
Consider this an informative journey down memory lane, for there is much we can learn from these masters; things we can either repeat or avoid in today’s marketplace.

My first two magazines are Real Needs from 1916 and TIME from 1923. Enjoy.

Real NeedsReal Needs: A Magazine of Co-Ordination Vol. 1, Number 1, March 2016

Edited by Charles A. Lindbergh

Magazines are permanent

“The first number of this Magazine, though published in December, bears the date of March. That is because it is to be a permanent publication, and it will take until March to do the organizing.”

Magazines are real information providers

“As the Magazine is published mainly for the purpose of furnishing information that is usually kept from the public, and which should be known by everybody, I ask those who believe in the work to aid in giving it circulation. After reading a copy, unless you desire to preserve it, hand it to someone else to read.”

Magazine’s Ad/Ed ratio

“This magazine will be published in the form of a small book, suitable to carry in a coat side pocket… Only 16 pages can be allowed for advertising out of 192 pages in each issue, so better get the space early.

TIMETIME: The Weekly News-Magazine Vol. 1, No. 1 March 3, 1923

From the Masthead:

TIME, the Weekly News-Paper. Editors – Briton Hadden and Henry R. Luce.

The Magazine’s Audience

Roy E. Larsen, Circulation Manager of the magazine reports in the first issue:

“Time The Weekly News-Magazine

  • the man who wants the fact
  • the man who wants to do his own thinking after he has the facts
  • the busy man

Is there such a man?”

“The response to the announcement of the News-Magazine idea has supplied the answer. Such a man exists.”

Audience Psychographics and Demographics Circ. 1923

“Who is he? Is he merely a distinguished citizen? Is he necessarily President of a great university? or an Ambassador? or a Magnate? or a Bishop? or a Member of the United States Senate? As a matter of fact the man was found in Ohio, among the lesser nobility. It is also discovered in flight to Florida. His twin-likeness was tracked down in Boston, and the postmaster reported his alias – in Chicago.”

“He must live somewhere! Of that there is no possible doubt, no possible probable shadow of doubt, no possible doubt whatever. Furthermore, he is not as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel, nor as extinct as the Dodo.”

Until next time, stay tuned!

 

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Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor: July Held Strong With 60 New Titles – 10 With Regular Frequency

August 1, 2016

Summertime brings hot temps, great tans, super vacations & awesome magazines to accompany us on those funfilled, beach-driven days. And July proved true to that statement, with 10 new titles promising regular frequency. From adult coloring to home remedies and special herbs – July was a month that gave us some wonderful summer magazine reading.

And it was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, when it came to the special issues. Commemorative, beautiful covers that walked us down galaxy lane as we relived the many different faces of the TV show and the films. Along with our friends from across the Milky Way, July specials also featured the human fascination with what we put in our bodies, with delectable epicurean magazines loaded with covers that made our mouths water and new healthy-living magazines that showed us how to eat right, while never losing that great taste.

And, as always, a quick reminder that if I do not have a physical copy of the first issue, you will not see it in the launch monitor.  So, if I missed your launch please send me a copy of your first issue to:

<strong>Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni</strong>

<strong>P.O. Box 1062</strong>

<strong>Oxford, MS 38655</strong>

To see the July launches or those that arrived on the stands for the first time click here.

 

 

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Niépi Magazine Launches In The U.S. – Teaching Us Cuisine & The Art Of Living As Only The French Can – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Peter S. Walsh, Publisher, Niépi Magazine, U.S.A.

July 21, 2016

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 7.15.43 PM “I’m a huge believer that print helps to monetize the digital audience. And as evidence of that is the fact that All Recipes was digital-only and then launched print.” Peter S. Walsh

(On whether he believes newsstands are dead or dying) “I would never use those words because I have too much respect for all of the good people who are in the newsstand industry, whether it’s retailer, distributor, national distributor, wholesaler, or publishers. We’re all aware over the last 25 years how much things have changed, in that the amount of magazines that are being distributed through the system has grown tremendously, but the amount of space for display has not. Yet, the largest and the most sophisticated and healthiest publishers like Meredith, like Condé Nast, like Hearst; they continue to launch magazines in print.” Peter S. Walsh

 Niépi – defined as a Balinese ceremony held on the night of New Year’s during which noise is made to scare away demons and our own fears. Niépi Magazine embraces that definition – only from a food state of mind.

The magazine was created and founded by Frédérique Barral and her daughter, who were both diagnosed as gluten intolerant. A native of France, Frédérique decided that she and her daughter needed to take control of the ingredients that went into their bodies, learn about them and decide what went into their foods. And it was in that mindset the idea for Niépi magazine was born and began publishing a French language version in France and Belgium in 2014.

Peter S. Walsh is a businessman who knows quite a bit about the magazine media business, from circulation to distribution to print production, Peter has done it all for many, many years. And he knew a great title when he saw it. That’s why when he was approached about publishing an English language version of the magazine, he did his research and Niépi magazine was born in the United States. It’s scheduled to debut on newsstands in early September.

I spoke with Peter recently and we talked about the magazine; about its origins; its name, and its future. Oh, and if you’re trying to tie the meaning of the name in with the food category – think about it this way: learning to live free of the demons that can affect our bodies, or in Peter’s words, “It’s teaching its readers about sustainable, organic food and showing people ways to eat so that it enhances their health and wellbeing.” And it’s extremely memorable and the tagline totally befitting: Cuisine & the Art of Living.

So, make some noise and create your own “Niépi” as you read and enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Peter S. Walsh, Publisher, Niépi Magazine, U.S.

But first the sound-bites:

Peter Walsh Head Shot 7_17_16On why he decided to launch a print magazine in the food space in today’s digital age: I’m a huge believer that print helps to monetize the digital audience. And as evidence of that is the fact that All Recipes was digital-only and then launched print. I thought there was a really great opportunity in the marketplace for a magazine that sets out up front that it’s covering organic, natural foods, sustainably-sourced foods, etc.

On what Niépi brings to the marketplace that isn’t already there: Our editorial mission is to show people beautiful food and recipes so that they’re eating things that are healthy and natural, which increases their wellbeing and overall health. And we’re covering it from the viewpoint and through the prism of the French people, or in particular, this French editor.

On his expectations for the magazine: In terms of the newsstands, like all magazines, I want to put it where I believe the readers are. And we believe that overwhelmingly the readers are female and we believe that we’ll attract an audience that is younger than, let’s say, Bon Appétit’s audience. So, what I want to do is, and am accomplishing this now with the help of Curtis Circulation, is get into Whole Foods and Kroger and Mariano’s Fresh Market and other great markets. The first order of business is bringing it into those retailers that are really devoting space to organic produce and foods.

On whether he feels the newsstand is dead or dying: I would never use those words because I have too much respect for all of the good people who are in the newsstand industry, whether it’s retailer, distributor, national distributor, wholesaler, or publishers. We’re all aware over the last 25 years how much things have changed, in that the amount of magazines that are being distributed through the system has grown tremendously, but the amount of space for display has not. Yet, the largest and the most sophisticated and healthiest publishers like Meredith, like Condé Nast, like Hearst; they continue to launch magazines in print.

On anything else he’d like to add: I hope that I defined it correctly as sustainable, organic food and showing people ways to eat so that it enhances their health and wellbeing.

On what motivates him to get out of bed in the morning: I tell people all of the time that I am a bit of a magazine geek. And I’ve been involved with magazines since 1981 when I started with ICF, a division of the Hearst Corporation here in Chicago. Over the years I’ve worked for companies such as Hearst and ADS Publisher Services. And I am somebody who just finds magazines one of the greatest media out there. I enjoy the format.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up at his home one evening after work unexpectedly: You’d probably catch me at my desk or on my couch. I read a lot of magazines and also I wear a lot of different hats in my business. I am one of the owners of Niépi, that’s part of it. I am an owner.

On whether this is the first time he’s been a magazine owner: It is, yes. For 35 years I’ve either been a circulator or a consultant to publishers. And I continue to do that and I specialize in circulation and I also, over the last 10 years, have specialized in print production, because I currently do a lot of graphic design and printing projects. I print catalogs as well as I print magazines. So, to a small publisher I have been functioning as the circulation department and the production department.

On whether it makes a difference that he’s an owner this time around, rather than a hired consultant: Of course it does. It makes me want to work harder and obviously over the last three or four months I’ve had to set up many, many different parts of the structure, including the postal and the fulfillment, e-commerce, the website and social media.

On what keeps him up at night: To be brutally honest, what keeps me up is will our editorial be compelling enough to attract readers and to have them return and repeat purchase, whether that’s on the newsstand or subscription, because I tell people all of the time as good a circulator as I am; I can print it and make it look beautiful, but I cannot make people buy the magazine. And that’s the Catch-22.

 

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Peter S. Walsh, Publisher, Niépi Magazine, U.S.

Samir Husni: How did you reach the decision to launch a print magazine, especially in the food space, in this digital age?

cover01-2Peter S. Walsh: I’m a huge believer that print helps to monetize the digital audience. And as evidence of that is the fact that All Recipes was digital-only and then launched print.

What happened in this particular case was that I am a consultant and a long-time circulator, and a gentleman who was an American, but lives in the south of France, met this couple that had started this magazine in 2014. He met them within just the last year. And when he met them he thought it was a beautiful magazine and he realized that they produced it in French, in France and Belgium, and he asked them would they be open to a co-publishing or royalty agreement where we would do it in English, and so we’re calling this the International version – English language version, of Niépi.

So, John, my financial partner, found me after poking around the newsstand business a little and realized that he needed someone to kind of steer the ship. And some people referred him to me. We sat down and talked. I was very impressed with the magazine and even though I knew the category of cuisine and food titles well, I wasn’t recently familiar with it, but I did a lot of research after John and I talked. I thought there was a really great opportunity in the marketplace for a magazine that sets out up front that it’s covering organic, natural foods, sustainably-sourced foods, etc.

And of course, we see how the supermarket industry has been doing in the last few years, where more or less the largest supermarkets have plateaued or flattened. And the ones that are growing are the ones that are devoting more space in their produce department to organic foods.

Samir Husni: What’s the expectations? Food has become the sex category of the 21st century in magazines; we have more food titles in the marketplace than ever before. You name the specialty and it’s there. What does this new magazine bring to the market that’s not already there?

Peter S. Walsh: You’re right. Years ago we had the very large food titles like Bon Appétit, Gourmet, which obviously Condé Nast folded years ago in 2009, and Food & Wine. And they’re all very large. And as you indicated, in recent years the category has fragmented into subject-specific food titles, such as gluten-free or sugar-free, etc. And I believe those are all covered in what we’re doing.

Our editorial mission is to show people beautiful food and recipes so that they’re eating things that are healthy and natural, which increases their wellbeing and overall health. And we’re covering it from the viewpoint and through the prism of the French people, or in particular, this French editor.

Samir Husni: You’ve been involved before with the magazine Naked Food and you’ve done other things in this category, so you’re no stranger to the niche. Now, if you would please put your newsstand cap on and tell me about a magazine with a French name, one that has gorgeous pictures in it; what do you think your expectations should be? Do you think that people are going to stop in their tracks and say: what’s this?

Peter S. Walsh: Actually, the name Niépi is not French. It’s French spelling because the couple that founded the magazine is from the south of France. The name Niépi is from the island of Bali and they have sort of a New Year’s celebration that goes on for about a week. And in the middle of it, they call one evening of the festivities Niépi. And what they do is people go outside and bang on pots and pans and make lots of noise and you may have heard about this in other cultures as well. The idea is that they’re casting out evil spirits and starting the New Year fresh.

It’s also a bit of an allegory of embracing our lives and casting away fear and living a little more fearlessly. And in the case of our magazine, the couple liked the theme and then they changed it to a French spelling, but the idea is that food and the way people approach it, it just so happened that this couple, Frédérique Barral and her daughter, were having some health issues, They became diagnosed as gluten intolerant, so they started the magazine talking about gluten-free, and again, it’s the two of them saying to the readership: take control of your diet. Take control of the ingredients in the food that you put into your body. So, that’s the reason behind the name.

When I was introduced to the magazine I thought: OK, it’s not an English language word. We’ll immediately need to spell that out to the reader, so if they see it on the newsstand they’ll know what it is. But with that said, I still liked the name Niépi because it’s short and cute, and because it’s memorable. People can remember it very quickly. And what we did is add the tagline right below it, which is Cuisine & the Art of Living.

In terms of the newsstands, like all magazines, I want to put it where I believe the readers are. And we believe that overwhelmingly the readers are female and we believe that we’ll attract an audience that is younger than, let’s say, Bon Appétit’s audience. So, what I want to do is, and am accomplishing this now with the help of Curtis Circulation, is get into Whole Foods and Kroger and Mariano’s Fresh Market and other great markets. The first order of business is bringing it into those retailers that are really devoting space to organic produce and foods. Of course, we’ll also be in every Barnes & Noble because we pay the promotional fee. Also, like most food titles, we’ll have a lot more subscriptions than we will have newsstand sales.

Samir Husni: I noticed that you have a hefty cover price.

Peter S. Walsh: Yes, $9.95. And that’s quarterly.

 Samir Husni: People keep telling us that the newsstand is dead or dying; is it?

Peter S. Walsh: I would never use those words because I have too much respect for all of the good people who are in the newsstand industry, whether it’s retailer, distributor, national distributor, wholesaler, or publishers. We’re all aware over the last 25 years how much things have changed, in that the amount of magazines that are being distributed through the system has grown tremendously, but the amount of space for display has not.

Yet, the largest and the most sophisticated and healthiest publishers like Meredith, like Condé Nast, like Hearst; they continue to launch magazines in print. And what we try to do is just basically be targeted and be very vigilant about where the copies go, because I like high sell-through. I want to get a 50% sell-through and I remember years ago when 50% was a low sell-through, so that shows you my age. (Laughs)

There was also a study recently that I read, which I was very interested in, and it showed that when people have great discounts off of their newsstand price; when they sell subscriptions at discounts of 50% or 60%, or more, then that’s connected to lower sell-throughs on the newsstand. And I thought that was really insightful and intriguing.

Cover prices have obviously gone higher. We’re printing a magazine that will be on heavier paper and it’ll be thicker than most of the other magazines that are in the space. And we know that quarterly $10 is not too much. Our basic subscription is $29.95, so that’s 25% off the newsstand. And if we increase frequency, I hope we can do six issues next year in 2017, and if things are profitable and the marketplace wants more, we’ll increase it to maybe 8, 9, or 10 issues in 2018. We’ll lower the cover price a bit if we increase frequency.

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

Peter S. Walsh: I hope that I defined it correctly as sustainable, organic food and showing people ways to eat so that it enhances their health and wellbeing.

Samir Husni: And the first issue will hit newsstands when?

Peter S. Walsh: Around September 1, 2016. We’re shipping around August 15th.

Samir Husni: What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

Peter S. Walsh: I tell people all of the time that I am a bit of a magazine geek. And I’ve been involved with magazines since 1981 when I started with ICF, a division of the Hearst Corporation here in Chicago. Over the years I’ve worked for companies such as Hearst and ADS Publisher Services. And I am somebody who just finds magazines one of the greatest media out there. I enjoy the format.

When I was with Times Mirror Magazines, I was the guy who got cross-merchandising into Wal-Mart and Kmart. So, we put hunting and fishing magazines in the hunting and fishing departments, rather than the mainline and it was shortly followed by craft magazines, etc. I’m a great magazine devotee. I literally touched or worked on hundreds of magazines. I’ve been able to catch lightning in a bottle a few different times and I really like talking about magazines, whether it’s the operations or whether I’m selling advertising, which I am starting to do with this magazine.

Samir Husni: If I showed up at your house one evening unexpectedly, what would I find you doing; reading a magazine; reading your iPad; watching television; or something else?

Peter S. Walsh: You’d probably catch me at my desk or on my couch. I read a lot of magazines and also I wear a lot of different hats in my business. I am one of the owners of Niépi, that’s part of it. I am an owner.

Samir Husni: Is that a first for you, being an owner?

Peter S. Walsh: It is, yes. For 35 years I’ve either been a circulator or a consultant to publishers. And I continue to do that and I specialize in circulation and I also, over the last 10 years, have specialized in print production, because I currently do a lot of graphic design and printing projects. I print catalogs as well as I print magazines. So, to a small publisher I have been functioning as the circulation department and the production department.

Every facet of magazine publishing is interesting to me and I’m not an editor; I’m not trained as an editor, but I hire editors and designers. As far as the business side of publishing magazines, that’s really my passion. It really is.

Samir Husni: Does it make a difference that you’re an owner this time around, rather than a hired consultant?

Peter S. Walsh: Of course it does. It makes me want to work harder and obviously over the last three or four months I’ve had to set up many, many different parts of the structure, including the postal and the fulfillment, e-commerce, the website and social media.

Of course, being an owner and having partners; I have people to answer to and I’m giving this 110% of my time.

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

Peter S. Walsh: To be brutally honest, what keeps me up is will our editorial be compelling enough to attract readers and to have them return and repeat purchase, whether that’s on the newsstand or subscription, because I tell people all of the time as good a circulator as I am; I can print it and make it look beautiful, but I cannot make people buy the magazine. And that’s the Catch-22.

I believe that the editorial mission and the brand that comes from editorial and the design together; that is what drives a magazine. All great magazines; people can instantly tell. What is Rolling Stone about editorially? Well, we all know it’s rock and roll, but it’s also politics and it’s liberal. And that’s a voice that’s been going on since Jann Wenner was throwing the bundles off the back of his station wagon in San Francisco in 1967, same thing with Time or Playboy.

I think that if we want to be a great magazine and be around for the long term, we have to be compelling editorially and be of service to our readers. The proof is in the pudding and we’ll see when we get out there.

Samir Husni: Thank you

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