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Guns DIY & DIY Guns: What’s In A Name In The Wonderful World Of Magazines?

August 30, 2019

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

Growing up, I always believed that magazines were magical, from the contents inside the pages to the “secret” locations where they were created. To my childlike wonder, these sweet spots where all things magically magazine were maintained, was like the Land of Oz. It had its heroes; it had its villains; and it had its spies (what did you think those Flying Monkeys were doing for the Wicked Witch anyway?).

That being said, when two magazines from two entirely different “Wizards” comes around with very similar covers, contents, or names, my thoughts are always traveling down that path of least resistance: my childhood imaginations of how magazines worked.

Take, for example, when back in the last century, Family Circle shows up on the newsstands with a beautiful cover showcasing a delicious-looking pasta dish and then days later, Woman’s Day is sitting there next to it with basically the same cover. Or there is no major news story or catastrophe going on in the free world and TIME magazine and Newsweek are sporting the same cover story.

Well, bearing that in mind, Mr. Magazine™ would like to present to you two premiere issues of two new titles that will definitely cause you to do two double takes(regardless of the subject matter of both magazines): FMG Publications’ DIY Guns  and F+W’s Guns DIY. And no, those are not typos.

DIY Guns is for the gun enthusiast who likes to tinker with their own firearms. From the American Handgunner brand, this title covers handguns heavily, but also touches on some long-gun endeavors that will surely keep the rifle, shotgun-lover busy as well.

Guns DIY stresses in its first editor’s letter: America’s DIY Firearm Heritage Lives! Customization and modification are the two mainstays of this new title and offers readers the opportunity to make these firearm transformations at home.

So, basically, two different “Wizards” have created two different magazines with titles that are hauntingly similar and content that, in some ways, could be considered very familiar to each other.

This caused Mr. Magazine™ to ask himself what’s in a name in the world of magazines anyway? As long as there is room on newsstands for both of these titles (or any others out there already or coming up) new magazines are the life’s blood of this industry. And these two new titles from long-time publishing companies may or may not have known about each other, but obviously, it’s a given; great minds think alike… that, or one of them left the windows open and the Flying Monkeys had a field day.

Until the next time…

See you at the newsstands….

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Beau: The Man’s Magazine Of The 1920s… Defining Upscale Audiences While Fighting Censorship… A Mr. Magazine™ Blast From The Past

August 28, 2019

Beau addresses itself to those who live well, dine well, dress well, play well, read well, work well, sleep well and die well. It is distinctly a magazine for moderns, for epicureans, for sophisticates. It is written with masculine vigor and strength; for, though Beau professes itself the friend of the ladies, it regrets the almost exclusive attention paid by magazine editors to the feminine taste. So Beau declares itself a magazine dedicated to the male point of view, though willing, even anxious to welcome the ladies as readers. (Beau, Volume One, Number One, October 1926)

The more I dig into the old magazines, the more I discover personalities and magazine makers that somehow during my studies of publishing history, and my professors’ teachings, were either marginalized or were not mentioned enough, in terms of the role they played in the American magazine industry.

One such person I’m discovering is Samuel Roth, who published at least five different magazines during his tenure from the 1920s all the way to the 1950s, including Two Worlds Monthly and one that really caught my attention, which he referred to as the man’s magazine, Beau. (See Mr. Roth’s concept for the magazine above). Beau was a magazine that, almost like all of his other titles, was very high-priced, almost 50 cents per issue. His reason for that was because he didn’t want his magazines to be bought by common folks. In fact, he would have preferred his magazines to be sold only to doctors, lawyers, and other upper-echelon professionals.

As he mentioned in one of his editorials, after his February 1927 issue was banned from distribution in New York City, his man’s magazine was devoted to the comforts and luxuries of living.  His argument for that line of thinking was that he didn’t want common people to get “cheap thrills” from his magazine; it was for the sophisticated only. That he wasn’t appealing to the baser natures of mankind, but rather the more educated and elite of society.

What follows are some quotes that he wrote in an editorial from March 1927 after the February issue of Beau from that same year was banned from distribution in New York City, and the fascinating description of what the magazine was all about:

“Two Worlds Monthly and Beau are written and published for the sophisticated only, that neither by lewd pictures or lewd contents do we make appeal to the baser passions of mankind.”

 “Two Worlds Monthly was quite alright, he said (he being, John Sumner, secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice), and we could go ahead distributing it immediately, but Beau, ah, that was a different story. It was absolutely unthinkable to let Beau go out on the harmless newsstands dripping with nudes, which any little boy may purchase for fifteen cents. No, said Mr. Sumner, he did not approve Beau and if I dared to issue it of my own accord he would unfailingly prosecute me.”

 Here is a small excerpt from that March 1927 editorial:

Here, cried my friends, is your opportunity for plenty of publicity – publicity that will create a vast demand for your magazines. But strange as it may seem, I did not follow their advice, I did not take the matter into court with Mr. Sumner. Such publicity, I felt, would bring many readers to Two Worlds Monthly and Beau, but not the sort of readers I want. Such publicity would bring me readers who look to magazines for filth whereas all we have to offer is wit, beauty, and gaiety. It would be taking an unfair advantage of the poor dubs.

But I want the readers of Beau to judge between myself and Mr. Sumner. Mr. Sumner characterizes as filth the famous suppressed Franklin letter To The Academy of Brussels,and the Paul Morand story Finding Your Woman in Paris, whereas I regard them as exquisite satirical compositions calculated to enrich the life of every man or woman capable of reading them.

What is more, I think the suppressed number of Beau probably the most beautiful copy of any magazine ever printed in America.

Samuel Roth

I physically own the particular copy of Beauthat caused this bit of controversy. Ironically, there is no nudity, such as Sumner speaks of with the description: “dripping with nudes.”  But Samuel Roth is definitely a gentleman from that past that made his mark known in the word of magazines, and nudity in his other titles was prevalent.

We’ll discover more about Mr. Roth in the future as I delve more into his past and the magazines he published.

Until the next time…

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The First Presidential Televised Press Conference… A Mr. Magazine™ Blast From The Past…

August 22, 2019

Are you looking for someone to blame or thank for the origination of the presidential televised press conferences? Well, search no more.  It was President Dwight Eisenhower who was the first president to experiment with televised press conferences and he liked what he saw.

A news item in Tempo magazine from Feb. 7, 1955 under the heading: First of a Series (and boy, were they right)… read:

I hope it doesn’t prove to be a disturbing influence,”said Pres. Eisenhower, glancing at the batteries of lights and cameras. But when the experiment was over he was so pleased with it that he decided to make the televised press conference part of the regular schedule.

Now, you know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would have said.

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The Joyful Life: A New Magazine That Provides “Heart & Home Inspiration For Christian Women” – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Sandi Sutton, Founder, Editor, & Creative Director…

August 21, 2019

“I think there is so much. One of the criteria for things that we use and put into the magazine is whether or not it’s timeless. And I really believe that our readers are intentionally looking for more deliberate, inspiring, and engaging content. I have at different times compared it to a fast food meal versus a feast. A fast food meal will nourish your body and you can take it in small bites and it will give you the fuel that you need momentarily, but when you sit down to a feast it’s an experience and it’s something you share with people. It’s relational. I see our publication as something that’s truly feeding women’s hearts and souls and it will have a measureable impact on, not just their lives, but their families’ lives too.” Sandi Sutton (On what print provides that digital can’t)…

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

In today’s world of chaos and mayhem, The Joyful Life is a new publication that seeks to inspire Christian women to rekindle their relationship with God and find the pure joy and peace that reconnection can bring in their everyday lives. Sandi Sutton is the founder, editor and creative director of the magazine and cherishes the mission of the ink on paper title, while understanding the sometimes-overwhelming job creating a new magazine can be.

I spoke with Sandi recently and we talked about The Joyful Life and the God-inspired path she believes her magazine is on. Sandi describes having an ink on paper magazine versus just a digital entity as comparing a feast to a fast food meal, and Mr. Magazine™ would have to agree. Sitting down to The Joyful Life in its print form is an experience that looking at a website just can’t compete with. The magazine is beautifully done and a “joy” to hold and read.

So, I hope that you enjoy this Mr. Magazine™ interview with a woman who has answered her own calling in life and strives to give all Christian women that same “Joyful” experience. And now Mr. Magazine™ talks to Sandi Sutton, founder, editor & creative director, The Joyful Life magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

On the story behind The Joyful Life: It was about two years in the making, as far as research and considering whether or not it was something I was actually going to do. I had been a photographer for 12 years prior to that and I had always had a dream of starting a magazine. I had initially planned to start a photography magazine, because I was so immersed in that industry. So my initial research and planning was leaning in that direction, but then about a year into that process…and I hadn’t pulled anything together, it was more just the research phase, but about a year into that I just felt this really strong calling from God that it needed to be a Christian magazine. It was about two years in the making, as far as research and considering whether or not it was something I was actually going to do. I had been a photographer for 12 years prior to that and I had always had a dream of starting a magazine. I had initially planned to start a photography magazine, because I was so immersed in that industry. So my initial research and planning was leaning in that direction, but then about a year into that process…and I hadn’t pulled anything together, it was more just the research phase, but about a year into that I just felt this really strong calling from God that it needed to be a Christian magazine.

On where the name “The Joyful Life” came from: Once I decided that it was going to be a Christian magazine, which took about a year, it was going to be called Joy in the Daily. So, for that first year of planning it was going to be called Joy in the Daily. And I had done all of the branding for it and I had acquired all of the social media. It was not until less than a week before I launched on social media that I changed the name to The Joyful Life. And I was literally sitting in my bathroom and getting ready, putting my makeup on, when I had this total epiphany that the magazine needed to be called The Joyful Life. I would say that it came from God because that wasn’t even on my radar.

On the elevator pitch for the magazine: Overall, the magazine is to remind women of their worth in Christ; to remind women of the joy that is found only in Him. We have so many magazines that we can turn to for just inspiration for our homes or our lives. There seemed to be this very missing piece, a void in magazines. One that brought really solid content that was going to be convicting and encouraging at the same time, but also mixed with something that was really beautiful and inspiring for their everyday lives. I think part of what women need to be reminded of is that a relationship with God affects every area of our lives. It’s not just this compartmentalized thing.

 On what she hopes to accomplish a year from now: I decided early on that we needed to build a really strong community around the magazine and I think being a faith-based publication, that has been something women have been longing for in their lives. So, we have built a really amazing community and our plans, not necessarily for 2020, but sometime in the next few years, we plan to extend to having an annual conference where we’ll bring in speakers. The conference will be heart and home inspiration as well. We’ll have speakers and workshops. So, we do plan on going in that direction, but as far as just the magazine itself, for 2020 we are going to make just a few changes to the magazine, more in design than anything.

On what she can do in print that digital can’t provide: I think there is so much. One of the criteria for things that we use and put into the magazine is whether or not it’s timeless. And I really believe that our readers are intentionally looking for more deliberate, inspiring, and engaging content. I have at different times compared it to a fast food meal versus a feast. A fast food meal will nourish your body and you can take it in small bites and it will give you the fuel that you need momentarily, but when you sit down to a feast it’s an experience and it’s something you share with people. It’s relational. I see our publication as something that’s truly feeding women’s hearts and souls and it will have a measureable impact on, not just their lives, but their families’ lives too.

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at her home: Definitely cooking. (Laughs) I love to cook and it’s something that relaxes me. It’s just life-giving to me. So, cooking for my family is something that I try to be really intentional about. I have five kids and three of them are grown and out of the house, but cooking is something that I do often. And for me, I love my work so much, and obviously I’m blessed to be able to work from home, my office is at home. So, a lot of times in the evening I’m still just pouring into the business in one way or another, but the relaxation side of the work is more just engaging with our community in the evenings. I don’t see that side as work; it’s just a joy to me.

On the biggest misconception she thinks people have about her: Probably that I am very organized and have it all together. (Laughs) I think there’s probably some truth to that. You have to be somewhat organized and kind of have things together a bit to be able to run a business that is this busy and deadline-focused, but at the same time it’s not something that comes naturally to me at all. And so I have to be very intentional about it.

On what keeps her up at night: Nothing keeps me up at night these days. (Laughs) And that is the honest truth. I spent many years just really experiencing anxiety at night and stress, particularly when I was doing my photography business. And I feel like I probably hung onto that longer than I should have. It was a very busy business and I was blessed and thankful for it, but it was stressful. The first year of the magazine was certainly a lot of work that I always felt was left undone, like I had way too much to do, but I hired three new employees in January 2019 and I have told them many times, to me they represent, one of them is the project manager and I feel like she represents my brain; the managing editor, she is my writer and editor heart; and then my community manager is such a representation of my heart toward our community.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Sandi Sutton, founder, editor & creative director, The Joyful Life.

Samir Husni: Tell me the story behind The Joyful Life. Why did you decide to come up with this beautiful print product in this digital age?

Sandi Sutton: It was about two years in the making, as far as research and considering whether or not it was something I was actually going to do. I had been a photographer for 12 years prior to that and I had always had a dream of starting a magazine. I had initially planned to start a photography magazine, because I was so immersed in that industry. So my initial research and planning was leaning in that direction, but then about a year into that process…and I hadn’t pulled anything together, it was more just the research phase, but about a year into that I just felt this really strong calling from God that it needed to be a Christian magazine.

.So, I spent several months just wrestling with that, and whether or not I felt there was going to be a market for it, but stepping away from my photography business and moving into this, I knew that was the direction that I needed to go.

I’ve always been a writer and I’ve always loved photography, so I knew that I wanted to create something that was going to be very visually appealing. Initially I had thought it would be something that I would do on my own, I really wasn’t prepared from the beginning to have teams of people working on it. And it just became something from really early on that made me realize if I was going to do this well and if I was going to do it with the standards that I wanted it to be done with, I was going to need help from a lot of people. And it just kind of came together in what I feel were miraculous ways.

Samir Husni: I was going to add, you probably needed help from above plus all those people.

Sandi Sutton: Oh yes, it’s been a huge faith walk. Had I known in the early stages even a fraction of the work involved, I may have been far too fearful, but it was something that I felt God was leading me to do. We have about 50 volunteers that work with us in addition to my staff. It has really become an amazing community effort.

Samir Husni: As you solidified your plans and put that first issue together, where did the name come from “The Joyful Life?” And the tagline: Heart & Home, inspiration for Christian women? How did all of the pieces of the puzzle come together?

Sandi Sutton: Once I decided that it was going to be a Christian magazine, which took about a year, it was going to be called Joy in the Daily. So, for that first year of planning it was going to be called Joy in the Daily. And I had done all of the branding for it and I had acquired all of the social media. It was not until less than a week before I launched on social media that I changed the name to The Joyful Life. And I was literally sitting in my bathroom and getting ready, putting my makeup on, when I had this total epiphany that the magazine needed to be called The Joyful Life. I would say that it came from God because that wasn’t even on my radar.

I was a little bit overwhelmed at the prospect of having to change everything, I knew I would need a different logo – all of it was going to have to change. The launch was already planned. But I did it, I just knew that The Joyful Life was what it needed to be. And in hindsight I feel like that was such a good decision because the name really does encompass everything that we are trying to promote through our publication. So, it was a good move.

The tagline kind of evolved over time as well. Initially, we had a longer tagline that was more descriptive of the overall premise of the magazine. And it was probably about four or five months in that I decided to condense it when we were in the process of designing the cover for the first issue. We initially launched our social media several months in advance of the first issue coming out. So, that first issue was a little bit more raw. (Laughs) It was put together a little differently than what we do now. There were a lot of things in that first issue that we were just trying out. And our tagline was a last minute decision, but again I just felt at peace about it and that it encompassed everything we were trying to promote and the mission behind what we’re doing.

Samir Husni: So, the magazine is out and the Summer issue is the first one on the newsstands; if someone came up to you somewhere and asked you to give them the elevator pitch for The Joyful Life, what would you tell them? What is the magazine?

Sandi Sutton: For me, the whole purpose of starting this magazine is because I feel like within Christianity, in the last couple of decades, there has been a slow disconnect from God with Christian women. When I look back on the trajectory of my life and the friends I’ve had for years, I think that we’ve just become so inundated with destructions. And in all the ways that we’re more connected as a society, we’re disconnected in our relationships. And that extends to our relationship with God as well.

Being in my forties with older kids as well as younger kids, their ages run the gamut, I just felt like women needed a reminder of their worth in Christ. And that we needed to just make that relationship with him a priority again.

Overall, the magazine is to remind women of their worth in Christ; to remind women of the joy that is found only in Him. We have so many magazines that we can turn to for inspiration for our homes and lives. There just seemed to be this very missing piece, a void in magazines. One that brought really solid content that was going to be convicting and encouraging at the same time, but also mixed with something that was really beautiful and inspiring for their everyday lives. I think part of what women need to be reminded of is that a relationship with God affects every area of our lives. It’s not just this compartmentalized thing.

I just felt there was a real void in the market for that and some of the other Christian magazines are either focused on lighter content or go much deeper theologically. I felt really strongly that it needed to be a beautiful combination of the two. That’s not my elevator pitch, that’s a really long response. (Laughs) The tagline is representative of that. We want their hearts to be inspired to rekindle their relationship with Christ and we want them to take that relationship with Him and allow it to permeate every area of their lives, including their homes. It really is heart and home inspiration.

Samir Husni: Two years after the planning, a year after you have four issues under your belt, if you and I are talking about The Joyful Life one year from now, what would you hope to tell me you had accomplished?

Sandi Sutton: My team is flying out here next month so that we can do some planning for 2020. One of the things that we’ve done with the magazine is we decided not to do traditional distribution in the way that most magazines do. Our magazine is too high-end of a publication cost-wise to make it reasonable ($24 cover price). It just wasn’t going to work to do traditional distribution. We do have one distributor and that is probably where you picked it up. We have it in a few retail places, and we have relationships with some wholesalers, so we have it out there a bit, but it’s not a magazine that I felt like people were going to just see on a shelf and pick up, especially when it’s considerably higher priced than other magazines.

I decided early on that we needed to build a really strong community around the magazine and I think being a faith-based publication, that has been something women have been longing for in their lives. So, we have built a really amazing community and our plans, not necessarily for 2020, but sometime in the next few years, we plan to extend to having an annual conference where we’ll bring in speakers. The conference will be heart and home inspiration as well. We’ll have speakers and workshops. So, we do plan on going in that direction, but as far as just the magazine itself, for 2020 we are going to make just a few changes to the magazine, more in design than anything.

And we’re promoting it through somewhat untraditional ways and we just hope to continue to see it grow. Our communities are growing and they’re thriving, and we do quarterly Bible studies as well. We have just a really great community of women that are investing in this; on the reader side and with our volunteers. It’s just a beautiful thing that God is doing with all of it.

Samir Husni: Being a writer, photographer and now a magazine publisher, what do you think that you can do in print that you cannot do in digital or social media?

Sandi Sutton: I think there is so much. One of the criteria for things that we use and put into the magazine is whether or not it’s timeless. And I really believe that our readers are intentionally looking for more deliberate, inspiring, and engaging content. I have at different times compared it to a fast food meal versus a feast. A fast food meal will nourish your body and you can take it in small bites and it will give you the fuel that you need momentarily, but when you sit down to a feast it’s an experience and it’s something you share with people. It’s relational. I see our publication as something that’s truly feeding women’s hearts and souls and it will have a measureable impact on, not just their lives, but their families’ lives too.

The content that we put into the publication is really timeless, even from quarter to quarter. There is certainly content in the magazine that is seasonally focused, but you could pick up any one of our issues at any time of the year and you will find things that apply to you. And I believe that will be true 10 years from now.

We also publish on our blog once a week, sometimes twice a week. And we post devotions every day on Instagram. A lot of our blog content has a timeless feel to it as well, but any time something is more currently relevant we would put it on the blog.

But I just believe that if women aren’t seeking it out right now, they still feel the pull of getting away from screens and seeing the value in just stepping away from their computer, stepping away from their phones; it’s like we’re bouncing back. We went the direction of everything being digital and everything being on our screens, but now we’re breaking the consequences of doing that. We’re seeing the repercussions of that being such a major factor in our lives, and now I feel that women are wanting to step back. I remember what life felt like when I used to make the time for just sitting down and reading. To just sit and be.

We are very intentional about making sure our publication is something that women will be able to spend time reading and walk away feeling like they’re full and nourished, and like they just had a reprieve and a chance to pause from the busyness of life going on around them.

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

Sandi Sutton: Definitely cooking. (Laughs) I love to cook and it’s something that relaxes me. It’s just life-giving to me. So, cooking for my family is something that I try to be really intentional about. I have five kids and three of them are grown and out of the house, but cooking is something that I do often. And for me, I love my work so much, and obviously I’m blessed to be able to work from home, my office is at home. So, a lot of times in the evening I’m still just pouring into the business in one way or another, but the relaxation side of the work is more just engaging with our community in the evenings. I don’t see that side as work; it’s just a joy to me.

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

Sandi Sutton: Probably that I am very organized and have it all together. (Laughs) I think there’s probably some truth to that. You have to be somewhat organized and kind of have things together a bit to be able to run a business that is this busy and deadline-focused, but at the same time it’s not something that comes naturally to me at all. And so I have to be very intentional about it.

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

Sandi Sutton: Nothing keeps me up at night these days. (Laughs) And that is the honest truth. I spent many years just really experiencing anxiety at night and stress, particularly when I was doing my photography business. And I feel like I probably hung onto that longer than I should have. It was a very busy business and I was blessed and thankful for it, but it was stressful. The first year of the magazine was certainly a lot of work that I always felt was left undone, like I had way too much to do, but I hired three new employees in January 2019 and I have told them many times, to me they represent, one of them is the project manager and I feel like she represents my brain; the managing editor, she is my writer and editor heart; and then my community manager is such a representation of my heart toward our community.

I feel like all of these women have come into my life and have invested so much in the business alongside me that I just don’t have that same kind of feeling of things not being done. And I just feel like we’re at a place right now that is so peaceful. I am so in awe of everything God has done with this publication in such a short time. I am experiencing, at this point right now, the peace and the joy that comes from so many months and years of hard work. It’s just a blessing.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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The Pioneers Of Chicago Blazed A Selling Trail That’s Still Visible Today…A Mr. Magazine™ Blast From The Past, Circa April, 1953

August 15, 2019

Once again Mr. Magazine™ has been exploring the past, still in that wondrous year known as 1953 (the year of my birth, don’t you know) and I ran across this story in Grafic, which was the Sunday Chicago Tribune’s magazine at the time. The history and the inspiration of this story had to bolster Chicago’s own spirit when it ran on April 19, 1953. The pioneers of the Windy City were the epitome of entrepreneurs. From William Wrigley Jr., who only had $32 in his pockets when he set out to teach the world to chew gum, to Montgomery Ward, who had the world’s first mail order house, Chicago certainly has something to brag about when it comes to the humble beginnings that certainly blazed the trail for what it is today – a major metropolitan destination.

And print was there in 1953 to showcase it! The story is amazingly historical without being preachy and does what ink on paper still does so brilliantly – tells a unique story in a format that can be archived and drawn upon in any generation. That’s one of the things that Mr. Magazine™ loves about ink on paper: if you decide you want to go diving into 1953 or any other year, the information is still there. It hasn’t disappeared into the realms of cyberspace, never to be seen again.

In fact, in the book I’m working on about the magazines of March 1953, I chose my birth year and month (Feb. or April will do if I can’t find a March issue or if the magazine was bimonthly) to concentrate on and physically have 532 magazines to hold in my hands and touch and do research from – all from that month. Amazing! I dare you to find 532 websites out there from 1953… (Mr. Magazine™ feels safe in offering that dare). So, enjoy this Blast From the Past and let me know what you think of the story and the idea that ink on paper lasts forever – even from way back in 1953…

SELLING – it helped to build Chicago

By Otis Carney

April 19, 1953

 

The City’s Pioneers Were Men with Ideas; They Introduced Merchandising Ways that Made a Metropolis of Frontier Town

“In Chicago,” Potter Palmer once said, “you’ve got to think big!”

The young dreamers thought big, all right, too big for the small towns whence they’d come. But in Chicago, they saw a new kind of place…a place where you could sell a dream and mass produce it to the world.

It was a salesman’s town and they flocked to it, launching the ideas which one day would shower mankind with vast new comforts, conveniences, and pleasures…and even, upon occasion, change the course of history.

The Chicago they found was a city of shacks and plank roads rising out of a stinking morass of mud.

“Queen of the Lake?” shuddered novelist Frederika Bremer in 1853. “Chicago’s not a queen, she’s a huckstress, an ugly confusion of stores and shops. People come here to trade, to make money, not to live.”

Yet the people kept coming, settling. Rail traffic boomed, land values multiplied a hundred times almost overnight. Twenty years old in 1853, the huckstress boasted one salesman to every 92 inhabitants!

But a young Virginian named Cyrus H. McCormick had gotten there before the crowd, and the kind of selling he would do was soon to revolutionize the economy of the nation. Following the westward-shifting grain belt, he settled in Chicago in 1847, and by 1850 was mass producing the reapers he’d experimented with in the east. By the time he was producing 1,600 machines a year, McCormick had already amazed his competition by merchandising directly to the farmers…men whom his critics said would be too terrified of the new invention to buy it!

To get more reapers into the field, he extended liberal credit, begging the farmers at least to try the machine and then pay for it out of money it would earn. Again and again he entered his Virginia reaper in public contests, in 1851 capturing world fame by winning at the Crystal Palace exposition in England.

Within 10 years, his dream became a million dollar business and a vital weapon in the Civil War. Said Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s secretary of war: “The reaper is to the north what slavery is to the south. It releases regiments of young men from the western harvest fields and at the same time keeps up the supply of bread to our armies. Without McCormick’s invention, the north could not win, and the Union would be dismembered.”

Meanwhile, other dreams were changing the face of Chicago, raising great department stores and shaping the city into a mid-continental market place.

A quiet newcomer from Conway, Mass., had begun to show the world a new kind of selling. If the lady didn’t get what she wanted, she could take it back and her money would be returned. Tho a startling innovation at the time, the cash refund seemed perfectly logical to the instinctive salesman, Marshall Field…as logical, for instance, as his display window technique to attract passing customers.

With the pace of business increasing all over the nation, a young contractor began to dream of a way to make train journeys more comfortable and less tedious. In 1858, George M. Pullman remodeled his first coach into a sleeping car.

Railroad presidents scoffed: putting carpets on the floor of a train was a useless extravagance; as far as playing chambermaid to a lot of clean sheets and pillowcases…ridiculous. The passengers, they claimed, would get into bed with their boots on. Think of the laundry bills! Think of the moral aspects, cried others! A moving vehicle carrying men and women thru the night could only end up a place of sin.

Pullman then organized his own company. He’d be the chambermaid himself, and would rent out his service. In 1865 he built Pioneer A, and installed it on the Chicago and Alton, soon afterward hooking it on the train which brought Lincoln’s body to Springfield.

The public swarmed to the new hotel cars… “a queen’s boudoir could hardly excel them”…and Pullman’s idea swept across the railroads of the world.

By 1875, another young Chicago pioneer had devised an equally ingenious use of the rails. Gustavus Swift, arriving that year from Massachusetts, realized that he could sell meat cheaper if, instead of shipping cattle east, he could slaughter them in Chicago, dress the cuts there, and send them on by refrigerated railroad cars. In 1879, he turned his dream into reality, breaking all precedents by shipping a car of dressed beef to Boston.

The railroads immediately attacked him. Fearing they’d lose their beef traffic, they refused to give him cars. He countered by building his own. Following this, they boycotted the hauling of dressed beef shipments, at which Swift turned to a smaller road and concluded a profitable agreement. In time, pressure of competition forced the big lines to capitulate, and the packing business went on wheels for keeps. Swift also became the first to sell cuts of meat which were formerly discarded, and thus reduced the cost of dressed meat on American tables. By the time of his death in 1903, he had mushroomed Swift & Company into an organization 80 times its original size.

As the nation’s population center inched slowly west, salesmen from Chicago rushed out to meet it. One of them was a 28-year-old storekeeper from Michigan, a man who, from his years as a drummer in the middle west, had recognized the vast potential of the rural market. If the farmers couldn’t get to the city, Montgomery Ward resolved to get the city to them, and this he did thru the mail order catalog and the world’s first mail order house.

He called it “Golden Rule Selling,” guaranteed that his customers would always be treated fairly, and in cases where they were dissatisfied, their money would be refunded at once.

Hard on the heels of Ward were two more newcomers to the city…Richard Sears, a station agent in Minnesota, and A.C. Roebuck, raised on a farm in Indiana. In 1895, Julius Rosenwald, a clothing manufacturer, joined this team and Sears, Roebuck & Co. was born, becoming eventually a multi-billion dollar merchandising empire.

From that point on, there was no stopping Chicago’s salesmen. William Wrigley Jr., coming to the city at the age of 29, had only $32 in his pockets when he set out to teach the world to chew gum. Gifted with rare insight into volume selling, he continually merchandised his product to wholesalers and retailers, countering bad times by increasing advertising and promotion. In the midst of the panic in 1907, his tremendous campaign for Spearmint made it the country’s largest selling gum within three years.

Chicago’s proud record in the selling field will be honored next Friday night, April 24, at the International amphitheater. In a Salute to Selling, 12,000 leading sales figures from all over the nation will pay tribute to the men and the dreams which, in a scant hundred years, transformed a muddy shack town into one of the great market places of the world.

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“Garment” Never Disappoints – The Student-Created Magazine From The Amsterdam Fashion Institute Showcases New Ideas To The World Of Fashion Brilliantly

August 13, 2019

Garment, a student-produced magazine from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, is a whimsically creative publication that Mr. Magazine™ has been delighting in now for 16 years. My friend and fellow educator, Frank Jurgen Wijlens, recently sent me the latest issue and as usual it does not disappoint.

The theme from these incredibly passionate and ambitious students this go-round is “underwear.” You can let your imagination take you away from there, because the students certainly did! The magazine cover is incredible, with a die cut center that as the students who created this issue say:

“… encourages you to interact with your inner fantasies and define your own identity in society through underwear.”

Editor in Chief Sophie Hendriks writes in her editorial:

Glad to see our magazine has made its way into your possession. With Garment 2019 – The Underwear Issue, we found a way of you to experience your wildest dreams in print. For a few moments, we hope to take you to another realm of self-exploration and tactile explosions. This year’s editorial team wants to make private matters public. We want to shed light on underwear – a garment that spends way too much time in the dark. We want to tingle your curiosity by exploring all kinds of peculiar garments that people you know might be hiding under their clothes.

Frank, along with the stunning new issue, sent me a lovely note expressing how these students love of print is really visible in the quality of the production of this edition:

Dear Samir, I hope all is well! We’re still going strong and I’m happy to send you this year’s version of Garment Magazine. I guess the students’ love for print is really visible in the quality cover, the special binding, and the size of the magazine. Hope you enjoy it!

And the oversized format just invites a long, leisurely sit-down with this great title.

Which is what Mr. Magazine™ is about to do…

So, grab your inner fantasies and check out the website for the magazine and enjoy these students’ magical minds.

garmentmagazine.com

Until the next time…

See you at the newsstands…

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Back To The Future: The Birth Of Mr. Magazine™… Memoirs From Lebanon.

August 5, 2019

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

At age 10 when I bought my first magazine: Superman

Recently, I returned from a visit to Lebanon, my birthplace and where most of my relatives live. It’s always a touching and memorable reunion with family and old friends. And besides the human version of that term, “old friends” can also include memorabilia that takes you back to a different time. A time when your world was younger and just beginning. And in my case, a time (unbeknownst to me then) when Mr. Magazine™ was born.

The first issue of Superman magazine published in Jan. 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon

While I was in Lebanon, I was gifted the first 13 issues of the Arabic Superman (1964) by one of those “old” and dear friends I mentioned above. These issues are so important to me as they started this relationship I have with ink on paper. It was so much fun rereading those magazines that got me hooked on the feel and smell of ink on paper, storytelling, and journalism. They’re still as amazing today as they were 55 years ago, if not even more.

Being back where it all began, this magazine journey that I love so much and have such a vibrant  passion for, my mind shifted into reverse and the years began to unravel and fall away.

My name for the first time in a magazine masthead.

After my journey with Superman, my memories went to Music magazine. For the first time in my journalism career my name had appeared on the masthead of Music magazine (circa 1972 /1973). I was so excited to be on an actual masthead of a magazine that I did not even ask to be paid (and, for that matter, I was not paid). A great training experience in which I was translating, editing, and designing the pages of the magazine. My first editorial appeared in issue 18. Needless to say, I was on cloud nine. (I circled my name in red for illustration purposes only… the magazine was in Arabic).

I ended up being the managing editor of Film magazine.

Film magazine was my second stop on my journey of journalism. After almost a year at Music magazine, I was offered a job later in 1973 at the new movie magazine Film. I started as a reporter and editor and ended up being the managing editor of the Arabic edition of the magazine in 1974.

For Film, I created the people’s opinion page in which I took a photographer with me every week to a different movie theater and asked people as they exited their opinions about the movie.

It was a great job that lasted 30 weeks, when the magazine’s owner decided to suspend the publication in search of more funding. Nothing new under the sun when it comes to the folding of most magazines; the number one reason for magazine failure was, is, and will continue to be money.

First job as editor in chief…

During my sophomore year in college, and among the many journalistic jobs I was involved in, I edited a weekly 4-page tabloid newspaper Sout Al-Bilad (the Voice Of the Country) devoted to college news. The paper was published from November 1974 until the beginning of the civil war in April 1975.

It was my first experience in being an editor in chief and learning the entire process of publishing from letterpress and typesetting to printing and distribution.

My journalism ventures continued in Lebanon between my home town, Tripoli, and the capital of Lebanon, Beirut, where I was attending college. My hobby was already changing to my profession before it was my education.

Reporting for the daily newspaper Al-Kifah Al-Arabi, at a news conference with the Lebanese and Syrian prime ministers in Damascus, Syria, 1976.

Next in my Lebanese journalistic journey was a daily newspaper Al-Kifah Al-Arabi that was launched on March 25, 1975. I was a junior in college and assumed the role of managing editor for design, with a few reporting jobs here and there. The Lebanese civil war broke out on April 13, less than three weeks from the launch of the paper.

Needless to say journalism at a daily newspaper during a civil war makes for a very intriguing job. Single and loving what I did, who could ask for a better way to make a living?

As the war raged on, so did the work. In 1976, a cease fire took place and I was able to finish my last year in college and ended up the number one student in my class.

The daily paper changed to a weekly magazine in 1978 and I continued my work there, in addition to being a reporter and designer at another weekly and an art director for a monthly, The Arab Economist, which was published both in English and French.

Upon graduating from the Lebanese University in 1977, I ended up being the top student in my class and in 1978 I was offered a scholarship to come to the United States to pursue  a Ph.D. in journalism.  On August 31, 1978, my wife and I left Lebanon and came to the United States of America.  And, now you know the rest of the story….

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