Corner Office: Founder Ann Marie Gardner Discusses the Launch of Quarterly Magazine Modern Farmer
Are your readers the type of people you anticipated or have there been some surprises?
That was always the question from my investors—they would always say, "Who is it for?" And I had this simple formula in my initial presentations. Basically I said there's the modern eater—people that want the food they eat to have a good story behind it. These are people that shop at farmer's markets, they care where their food comes from. Those were the people I really wanted to go for. But also the people that wanted to grow things. So maybe they were the armchair farmer or they are these young farmers or there are people that want to leave their jobs and farm. There are a lot of those people but they hadn't been collected or spoken to in one group.
Do you find you have different audiences in print and digital?
There is a lot of crossover, but not completely. Not as much as you'd think. People just find us in different ways. They're reading us online and then they find the magazine. But I think that's a testament to the strength of our digital and print—they can totally live separately, but they're completely complimentary to each other. And once that audience gets hooked, then of course they want to buy the t-shirts and the hats and they're engaged with the brand in every way.
Do you anticipate publishing in print more frequently than quarterly?
We'll never go more than quarterly. There's no reason because we see ourselves as a digital brand. We're a content platform and that's where we see our future. And print is just one element of this expression of our brand.
We're going to really build out the website in the next year. And we're going to have our first Modern Farmer farm show—it will be an annual event. It'll be to bring the pages of the magazine to life. It's going to be fun. We're going to have tractors you can ride, food exhibitions, panel discussions, outdoor movies, a farmers market, people showing you how to make jam, weave wool.
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.