Corner Office: Founder Ann Marie Gardner Discusses the Launch of Quarterly Magazine Modern Farmer
I knew it had to be a coordinated effort. It couldn't just be a blog, because no one was going to read it. It had to be a completely holistic effort where there were the modern farmers in the middle and you had spokes: you had print, you had the digital, you had products around it so people could really engage with the brand, and eventually events.
Really the pictures I drew of how this business looked two years ago is exactly where we're at. But I wasn't expecting it to be welcomed with such open arms. I feel the reaction of people has been so strongly positive that they must have been a little bit like me—waiting for this information to be presented. People write in and say, "I never knew agriculture was relevant to me." That's the biggest compliment we can get.
What gave you confidence that you could handle the business side of publishing?
First of all, my personality is pretty relentless. As a journalist, I don't like to be told no. And I know that's one of the qualities you need to be an entrepreneur. So I never questioned whether I was going to be able to do it or not. I just had the vision so clear. I knew what I was going to do. One of my closest friends Natalie Massenet started Net-A-Porter and I was on her original advisory board eleven years ago when she was a startup. She's been a real inspiration to me and I pretty much watched her in every phase of her business and knew what she went through.
Did you ever have a moment of doubt?
I never ever considered whether I could do it or not. It wasn't an option. I was just going to do it. But I also think that my vision was extremely clear. I knew exactly what I was trying to do, who I was trying to go after. You have to be clear about it because everybody is going to tell you no and everybody is going to tell you it can't be done, and everybody is going to tell you there isn't an audience, it's not scalable. I heard it all.
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.