BeE Magazine was created when Celine Gumbiner, the CEO and Publisher of BeE Magazine discovered a lack of magazines addressing finance and politics for women. Gumbiner believed that if someone like her, who had a literary background and minor financial exposure, could learn basic financial skills, then other women could, too. She approached Erik Velez, the president and publisher of BeE, who had worked as Vice President in charge of strategic marketing and partnerships for New York-based Family Publications. Gumbiner and Velez started their own publishing company, Femme Publications L.L.P., out of their local Starbucks, and invited Ana Castronovo to become the editor in chief of BeE. Gumbiner, Velez and Castronovo wrote the private placement memorandum for BeE with the help of consultant Samir Husni for friends and family investors.
Due to the nature of the industry, it was difficult to acquire any concrete information for research, since most of the major publishing houses are private companies. The founders read all the books they could find (How to Start a Magazine? by Kobak was a team favorite) and they spoke with professionals in the industry to determine the plan for expenses and COGS. It took a little over three months to raise the seed capital to execute the vision of BeE. They then created a prototype of the magazine, which they sent out to advertisers, hoping to create interest in the first issue. The response from advertisers was positive and enthusiastic. After thirty advertisers signed on to be placed in the first issue, they went to print with their first completed magazine.
BeE sold 80% of the company and left 20% in reserve for a second round of financing, if needed, and for management. In the publishing industry there are so many variables that change constantly, like paper and printing costs, the number of issues a retailer will take, gas prices that affect shipping costs, and, obviously, the economy affects companies' advertising budgets and disposable income for what people spend at the bookstores — all of these variables make it difficult to budget precisely. What BeE has done to protect itself is to be conservative with the limited capital available to them. This launch issue is a pivotal time, because it shows BeE if its speculations and theory hold true in the real world.
BeE Magazine is 104-page book plus 4-page cover, which is perfect bound. The dimensions are 8.375 x 10.875.The covers are 100 # chorus Art Gloss and the interior is 60 # Delmar Gloss.
The BeE reader is an active, hardworking, educated woman, 25-45. She is involved and curious. She is the mid-twenties employee who knows it's not too late to devise a sound career plan. The stay-at-home mom going back to work. The urbanite who doesn't want to waste her disposable income. The woman who wants to actively engage in conversations about world affairs. Her interests include fashion, travel and entertainment, but she comes to BeE to expand her knowledge of more unfamiliar areas. Each issue BeE writers will convey complex information in an informal tone, discuss personal finance opportunities; give short and concise information on political issues around the world; and initiate discussion on the many dimensions of women’s lives. BeE will make these subjects enjoyable by raising the design expectations above that of other magazines with this content. Yesterday, women could not find this combination in any other magazine. Today, there is BeE. BeE management decided after conducting several focus groups that the women who responded best to the magazine were those within this demographic.
Circulation will be quarterly for the first year. Planned circulation for the first year is 100,000. The second year the magazine will become a bi-monthly publication with runs of 150,000 units. In the fourth operating year BeE will move to a monthly format with press runs at 200,000 units. For the first issue BeE Magazine launched on the newsstands as an initial test copy in October 2005. BeE expects their first year to be 70% single-copy sales and 30% in subscription sales. The new publication will be displayed at the big retail chains, to increase visibility. BeE planners feel that this added visibility will increase newsstand sales, and their weekly point of sales reports seem to be confirming this projection. By the second issue, BeE will begin an intensive direct marketing campaign using targeted lists. This timing strategy emulates Hearst's marketing approach for the majority of new magazines that they test and publish. BeE's ultimate goal by year four will be to have 70% of the circulation sales from subscriptions and 30% by single-copy sales.
Circ. One is handling BeE's newsstand circulation marketing strategy, and Disticore and Small Changes will negotiate all contracts with vendors as well as arrange the physical delivery to retailers. The first issue is available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books'a'Million, Hastings, Chapters/Indigo, New Season Markets, Edmonds Book Shops, U Book Stores, and at independent newsstands in major cities. Within two-three issues Circ. One will coordinate a rollout for distribution into further retailers such as Tower Records, Safeway, Albertsons, Publix, CVS, Walgreen's, Target and Wal-Mart.
The next big challenge is selling advertising, building circulation and getting the word out about the magazine. Since BeE has a limited budget, a major advertising campaign is not an option. BeE needs to think strategically by forming partnerships, grass-roots campaigns, and having others in the industry help by supporting the magazine and its concept by informing their readers. Since management doesn't feel they have a product that mimics any other publication on the newsstands, they don't feel they are a threat and would not only appreciate any publicity they can garner but also welcome advice and constructive criticism from those in the industry. In-short founders see their next big challenge will be to take the theories in their business plan and bring them to life, going from paper and concept to