MEDIA PROFILE: Lifestyle title promotes smart spending for the rich-thinking

For many who grew used to last decade's good life, the state of the stock market has been a wake-up call. For Budget Living, it's an opportunity to help them stay in style.

For many who grew used to last decade's good life, the state of the stock market has been a wake-up call. For Budget Living, it's an opportunity to help them stay in style.

No, the publisher of Budget Living is not insane. Given the sluggish economy, low ad revenues, tough competition, and closures of popular titles such as Talk, it is not a prime time to launch a consumer lifestyle magazine. But with the tagline "Spend smart, live rich," the people at Budget Living may just be insane enough to use the economy to their advantage. "People need to be creative in the economy right now," says Claudine Gumbel of Think PR, who pitched fashion client Brilliant to Budget Living. "What they're doing is smart." This appears especially true when the namesake of one of the leading lifestyle titles, Martha Stewart Living, may have her attention diverted for the moment. Budget Living's website says, "The current crop of design and lifestyle magazines is too calm, staid, and quiet to feed the aesthetic obsessions and good-life aspirations of a generation that grew up on a steady diet of MTV-manufactured eye candy." The key is to integrate smart financial living with the rich lifestyle of the 1990s, for the purpose of delivering tips for entertaining, investing, decorating, and dressing in style. The bimonthly magazine launched officially on October 8, so it's too early to estimate circulation, but publisher Don Welsh and editor Sarah Gray Miller are looking to reach young, affluent, educated, trendsetting men and women. Projected demographics say that readership is 70% female and 30% male. Readers are between the ages of 25 and 45 with an average household income of $70,000. Ninety percent have a college education. So far, the introduction has been successful. When The New York Times wrote of the slated launch, many PR practitioners tried to pitch the premiere issue. After Miller appeared on Today, the magazine was number one on Seeking to help people live stylishly on the cheap is no small undertaking, and therefore requires a lot of help from PR practitioners, according to associate editor Alison Alfandre, who handles most of the pitches. Because of the huge range of products and venues that the magazine serves, almost any product has a place. "We're looking for the budget angle," she says. "It doesn't have to be dirt cheap. That's not so much the concern. But we want a good story and good value - something surprising and neat." With sections such as Style, Finance, Entertaining, Travel, Shopping, and Making It, there is room for everything from furniture to fashion to food. A front section, Loose Change, is a collection of smaller stories with an edgier, newsier angle, while the main sections feature spreads and guides to everything from chairs to recipes to retirement savings. The only thing you will not find in Budget Living is a beauty product. "We don't want to cut the guys out yet," says Alfandre. "We're assuming our readers are mostly women, but men respond too." A priority for any of the sections is to find something different and interesting. "We love to get the secret companies that nobody knows about," says Alfandre. "Things that are off the beaten track are just as great because they're not known about and generally cheaper." Before pitching Budget Living, which has a lead time of three or four months, be sure to check out its comprehensive website or look at a copy to get a feel for the voice. Alfandre says pitches are best received by e-mail in the magazine's general editorial box, so they can be sorted and answered quickly and appropriately. The editors have already formed a working relationship with some pitchers, which is important at the beginning of a magazine's life. Whitley Bouma of Magnet Communications is one such PR pro. She saw the Times article and hunted down editors to pitch client Crate & Barrel for its holiday gift guide. "They were really receptive," Bouma says of Alfandre and style editor Natalie Warady. "They loved getting look books and digital images, and seemed really enthusiastic." While working with editors for the February/March issue, Bouma says executive editor Alex Bhattacharji would frequently call to ask about the design history of a particular product, and encourages prospective pitchers to do the same. Bouma says another tip is to pitch items that are not ordinarily well promoted, sighting the fact that she found a great placement for a Crate & Barrel ice bucket in the December/January issue. "A lot of times, people come to the magazine with front-end products," she says. "They are very interested in the bottom end, because those are better bargains." ------------ Budget Living Address 317 Madison Ave., Suite 2300, New York, NY 10017 Phone (212) 687-6060 Fax (212) 687-5222 Web Email Editor-in-chief Sarah Gray Miller Executive editor Alex Bhattacharji Style editor Natalie Warady Associate editor Alison Alfandre

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