MEDIA PROFILE: Home’s where her heart is - Sarah Bravo, editor, Real Homes

Ever since Sally O’Sullivan walked out of IPC this summer to set up her own publishing company, Cabal Communications, the media world has been waiting with baited breath to see what her first launch will be.

Ever since Sally O’Sullivan walked out of IPC this summer to set up

her own publishing company, Cabal Communications, the media world has

been waiting with baited breath to see what her first launch will

be.



They need wait no longer. It’s called Real Homes, it launches on 15

October (along with Cabal’s men’s magazine, Front) and it is edited by

Sarah Bravo.



Bravo herself is something of a O’Sullivan protegee. She started her

career as a trainee at the National Magazine Company when O’Sullivan

edited Good Housekeeping and followed her to IPC in 1996. Most recently,

she launched Living etc under O’Sullivan’s auspices at IPC and now she

is in charge of launching Cabal’s new projects. ’I will probably be on

Real Homes for the first two issues, then move across to some of the

contract titles and new launches we are planning for next year,’ she

says.



The home interest market is staggeringly buoyant, with 15 titles

competing on the newsstands and all doing well in circulation terms.

According to Bravo, these are clearly delineated into three sectors.

There are the middle-class and middle-aged titles, which include Ideal

Home and Homes and Gardens; the super cool style police, which include

Wallpaper and Elle Decoration, and there are the citrus brigade - which

Bravo defines as ’first time home owners on a low budget who decide to

paint their living rooms citrus’.



She is pitching Real Homes at a new market completely. ’Our reader is a

woman who is into her home but not obsessed by it,’ she explains. ’She

hasn’t got time for DIY and doesn’t really like it although she watches

all the home-based TV programmes. She has a part-time job to boost the

family income, probably holidays in the Caribbean and lives on a modern

estate. I expect she has been reading the women’s weeklies but finds the

current crop of rather lavish homes magazines make her feel small,’

explains Bravo.



Although she has not really dealt with PR people on a day-to-day basis

since her days as a beauty assistant on Good Housekeeping, she is keen

for them to get involved in the magazine. ’The problem we are finding is

that the PR industry is really geared up to tell us about London, its

fabulous shops and great opportunities, but that is not what I need to

know about,’ she says. ’We need to shift the basis of the magazine out

of London and to lose that rather exclusive metropolitan feel that a lot

of these magazines have. We are also keen to get involved in promotions

and give-aways because we want our readers to feel pampered by every

page.’



Sally O’Sullivan herself is fulsome in her praise of Bravo. ’She came to

Good Housekeeping on work experience and instantly shone,’ she says.



’She understands that the primary focus of a magazine editor is the

reader.’



As you would expect Bravo’s home is a monument to good taste. Her

office, however, is another matter. ’We are just moving in,’ she says,

surveying the barren rooms on Euston Road. ’We are all allowed to pick

our own furniture, which may sound great, but it means we have got some

hideous clashes. I’ll have to sort it out.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1996

Associate editor, Ideal Home

1996

Deputy editor, Ideal Home

1997

Editor, Living etc

1998

Editor, Real Home



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