Garden & Gun Shoots and Scores in First Year
In a year in which the number of magazine launches are down significantly according Dr. Samir Husni (Mr. Magazine), Garden & Gun magazine is capturing the attention of readers and advertisers alike in its first year. Published by Charleston, S.C.-based Evening Post Publishing Co., which owns the South’s oldest daily newspaper, Garden & Gun celebrates Southern lifestyle through the Southern U.S. and the Caribbean. Husni recently named the magazine one of the “15 hottest launches” of the year.
Publishing Executive Inbox spoke with President and Publisher Rebecca Darwin about the magazine’s first year. Darwin is spearheading the Garden & Gun launch after serving as the first female publisher of The New Yorker and a successful stint at GQ earlier in her career.
INBOX: According to Dr. Husni, more than 60 percent of new launches fail to make it through their second year these days. To what do you attribute Garden & Gun’s early success despite these odds?
REBECCA DARWIN: I think that great magazines have a strong editorial mission—beyond just carving out a market niche. True, we identified a need; we felt that there were a group of people who either lived in the South or had a love for the South and the sporting lifestyle. But, the important thing was that the magazine struck a chord with readers. It all starts with the editorial product and the readers. We are producing a well-written, artistically beautiful magazine on a relevant subject: “21st Century Southern America,” and readers and advertisers are responding. They are proud that such an excellent product is coming out of the South and featuring one of the South’s greatest assets—its writers!
INBOX: How much research and planning went into the launch—prior to your first issue?
DARWIN: Garden & Gun was really just a name and a germ of an idea when I was approached to gauge its viability in February 2006. I spent about four months developing a business plan not only for Garden & Gun but also for the creation of a new magazine division for Evening Post Publishing Company (EPPC). Most of the summer was spent tweaking and vetting the business plan and meeting with the Board of EPPC to gain their approval and confidence. We also created a launch brochure and a dummy issue during that time. We officially started the business with three employees in September 2006 and published our premiere issue in Spring 2007—about six months later. It was a whirlwind, but exciting.