Apr 14, 2010

The truth about magazine features.

As some of you will know a while ago I was featured in Cosmopolitan Pregnancy Magazine. I am writing this post as I want to be really honest about everything...this blog is in part about the highs and lows of running an ethical handmade business from home...this has been a little bit if a low... but with a very lovely silver lining...

When I found this out there was much fan fare and excitment in chunkychooky land - we celebrated, we rejoiced- we ohh and ahhed at the potential... well for about 24 hours.... then the panic set in... I wondered what does this mean? What if nothing happens? what will I do ? What will I think? how will I feel? what if I get so busy it becomes really stressful? What if I do not sell a single thing? Shall I just give up? Has it all been for nothing....???

Prior to this apprearance in Cosmo preggars I was under the perhaps misguided idea that a feature in a huge magazine was the be all and end all and would surely lead to fame, fortune and world wide domination.( insert evil laugh here)  I am hear to tell you this has not been the case at all. In fact to date, with the magazine coming out early March I have sold absolutely nothing, zero, zilch from the cosmo feature. Nothing. Not. One. thing. How do I know this? Well, I set up a big cartel shop specifically for it and sales have been steady but not amazing. I have pretty much just finished emailing everyone who has bought something from me via big cartel since March and not one person said it was from the cosmo spot. Not one.

Which has lead me to several conclusions:
1. It was a very small feature and I was on a page with a lot of other things right at the end of the mag. Maybe I was skipped over...
2. It is a pregnancy mag and maybe people are not really focusing on rattles...when they have to buy stuff like prams and cots etc etc..
3. Cosmo is not  my target audience... since Cosmo is basically a womens beauty/  fashion magazine full of brand names and cosmetics...well it's not really the chunkychooky target audience...
4. there are no details about the rattle - for example that its made from 100% organic fabrics, eco felt etc....
5. Big cartel has no feedback feature and yes, you don't have to sign up but I wonder if people are use to a feedback feature... (I know others do really well with bigcartel and lots about it is great but I am struggleing with three shops)
6. chunkychooky is not really pretty enough for Cosmo readers. No pink and blue in my shop, the fabric I use is for grown ups... not really baby stuff...

So, I am closing my big cartel shop soon,( I am downsizing it)  and sticking to madeit and etsy which both work well for me. However, the upside to this whole post is this:

The feature in Peppermint Magazine has been amazing!! I have already had a lot of sales directly because of it and even a couple of wholesale enquiries. Which makes sense insofaras Peppermint Magazine is where chunkychooky is at- earth friendly,  a little bit left of centre... perfect for chunkychooky and its paying off...

I guess the moral of this story is - a magazine feature isn't everything if the magazine doesn't really suit your product. I am aiming for more magazine features.... but I will be much more focused on my target audience: treehuggers!!!


  1. Dear Chooky,

    I have written quite a few short stories and opinion features for magazines in return for a (very small) plug for my latest book - and it rarely results in a peak in sales. I think magazines just use freelance authors to fill up empty space. The only way books ever sell is if the publisher pays the retailer to put the books in the window or beside the door. I am thinking of setting up my own publishing company if nothing major happens in the next two years. Publishing has been dominated by a small handful of names for the last decade - and the book covers don't always reflect the nature of the book. Retail really is a tough business. Somedays I wish I worked in a cafe...

    Your owl rattle is gorgeous, by the way. The French look is very big right now - sorbet shades - would that be a sideline for you? My daughter won't buy anything that doesn't have vintage roses on it.

    Good luck!!!
    Kindest regards,

  2. Hi I was wondering do you go to the magazine or did they come to you about the feature I am fairly new at selling my stuff and just wondering? Thanks

  3. Oh wow that's really enlightening...you're right, stick to your values & philosophy behind your product, that's where the demand is,that's who wants your goodies. Good to know, & I wish you good luck & great success..(still, nice to get a gig I bet) x

  4. Cath, I always love reading your blog - did you know that? I don't know if I say these things enough. Every time I come over here (and whenever you visit me) I am struck by how real and honest you are. This post is a perfect example of that.

    I feel you will get some amazing responses to this post too - I've already learnt something I never knew from Sharon Owens, above, for example.

    Keep plugging away at it and stay true - good things will keep flowing to you, I am certain.


  5. Hi Cath, i totally hear you. I had products on 4 pages in that issue & only a few direct sales, so don't worry, it's what happens. I think i mentioned at the time it can go either way, but rarely a huge feature or little one would result in more than 5 sales per item. I think i also said it's more 'business kudos' that anything else, yes, people think you're famous as you're in a magazine & your name it out there, alas, not so, will hold off buying that mansion this week!! Love & hugs, don't give up, i've been in business for 10 years & magazine features are merely glossy icing on my hard work. Love Posie

  6. i used to buy cosmo preggers when i was pregnant and it is a pretty mag but yes, i used it as a resource - those lists of everything that you must have sorted before the bub comes - nursery furniture, what to include in your hospital bag etc....i wasn't buying rattles.

  7. I think it's about building your brand and getting your name out there. So while the piece might not have generated (m)any sales, it's about gaining that brand recognition. It's a slow build and it does take a long time, but I can promise you it's not in vain. If it only cost you the price of postage, then all is not in vain.

    I bought Cosmo Pregnacy when I had Noah, and I still have that issue. I still reference it from time to time (ok not that often any more).

    Plus, to have that tear sheet to show to potential stockists/wholesaler is an excellent marketing tool. If they see you actively promote your products, a lot of the time they will buy your product because they deem that as supporting their business too..

    Hope this all makes sense.

    Great news about Peppermint magazine. Like you say, completely different publication and audience!


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