Monday, October 27, 2014

Ideas Take Flight...


I've never been a fan of flying and being in New York City on 9/11 has made it even less desirable. But for business, I must travel - and this trip I planned in early May held a great deal of promise. As publishing has been shrinking, so have the opportunities and budgets. What once was a team of photo shoot professionals has been replaced by single bloggers whose perspectives seem fresh to advertisers and whose work comes without a price tag. Coupled with the lack of ad revenue, the need for producers, stylists, photographers and writers has gone the way of the dinosaur. Budgets for what work is left is just a 1/3 of what it was 25 years ago. I provide the whole package at this point, with lots of experience and accommodation for my clients' needs. Yet I still have many folks who laugh at my rate sheet, and this new potential partner turned out to be no exception.

I departed from the plane into the warm southern sun, found a cab, and got myself to my hotel for a brief respite. Jenny and I had worked days and days on a new proposal. Lots of visuals, a solid new concept and a real desire for me to return to my Country Home roots (I was style editor-at-large there for 12 years).  Everywhere I go, fans still lament the loss of CH and it didn't go away because it wasn't popular. Most magazines of that time were based on ad revenue from items related to the housing market. When the economy died, so did advertisers - leaving the magazines with zero revenue for production and distribution.  No longer could a title support a staff, and magazines had to close. Never was there a lack of readership or hearty interest in a title like CH.  But with the loss of these great magazines grew the voice of the humble bloggers. Ideas and images free for the taking have attracted advertisers who put money directly in the hands of bloggers who then put product endorsements front and center on their blogs. The result has been detrimental to the printed page on so many levels and has trickled down to me with zero opportunities in a once flourishing industry.

The publishers that have survived have done so on a shoe-string. My trip is to one such publisher that has gained momentum from the lack of competition out there.Their titles and production qualities have grown and they have taken a sizeable bite out of the publishing market by doing it all for less. I walked into a meeting with them with their arms open wide. They had followed my career, even hired me for some small projects, and had seen sales increase based on a few projects I had done for their covers. They wanted my new idea immediately, and beyond my proposal asked me to really dream big and let them know what I wanted. It's dangerous to ask me to dream big: because I can and I did, and my desires basically...

  
 1. A seasonal magazine about country... a return to my roots.


2. Simple design that lets real country ideals lead the way and show off all the seasons.



3. Fun and seasonal ideas are the hallmark of my style.


4. Simple and familiar... tried and true and updated. I think this magazine would have its hand on the pulse of what readers really want. 
  


10 comments:

  1. One word for these photos: delicious! It's interesting to hear your inside story about the end of our beloved Country Home magazine. Wonderful new issues come out periodically (pun not intended), but with no advertising. I'm curious about online magazines. What's your take on those, + have you considered one?

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  2. Matthew...I would buy your magazine in a minute. I loved Country Home magazine and the T.V. show...which is where I first saw your work...I just know in my heart that you and Jennifer will find a new golden opportunity. You are both talented...loving and humble people...with big hearts...and the creative world needs people like the both of you.

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  3. Always loved your style. Looking forward to following this new venture - and having another great magazine to hold in my hands and savor!

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  4. I buy and will continue to buy anything that has your name on it. :) You are my all-time favorite style editor ever, and I eagerly await any new ventures. I am so sorry this has been a difficult time for your family, and hope you are able to work for people who truly value your talents.

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  5. I agree liked the early country home and would love this. Enjoying the behind the scenes real life peeks. Warm Blessings! Amy

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  6. Alway loved Country Home magazine. I was a subscriber for many years! Best of luck ....hope that everything works out for you! It was a pleasure to meet you at the City farmhouse pop up show.

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  7. Matthew, you know that I ascribe to your decor philosophy, as well, and would be more than excited to see you with your own magazine in this vein! Wishing you only good things and MUCH success as you and Jenny press forward to make your vision a reality. You truly inspire me, sir!

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  8. Matthew, for several years I still get out my Matthew Mead Holiday Books and old Country Living magazines for new inspiration. It saddened me to hear of your troubles and only wish you and Jenny the best for 2015. Good things come to good people and I know you are in line to receive some profitable opportunities soon. Trying times really simply things in your life. Press on my friend.

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  9. Loved Country Home! Love your style! Still love magazines the most! Something to look forward to in the mailbox! Save magazines and the mail! Can't wait for any of your new products!

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  10. Love your work! Love Country Home magazine! Look forward to anything you do!!

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