All Articles Tagged "tracey ferguson"
Sometimes ideas come from the least likely places. Ask Tracey Ferguson. She conceived JONES magazine, a high fashion publication aimed at affluent women of color in Houston, during a book club meeting where she and girlfriends gathered to talk lifestyle.
Just like its aspirational audience, JONES is transitioning into a national brand, after only five years in business, thanks to a November 2009 merger with The NorthStar Group. Founded by L. Londell McMillan, NorthStar is a publishing, marketing and consulting firm that also owns The Source.
Last month, the newly formed JONES venture completed a multi-faceted launch that included a national magazine, where Ferguson continues as editor-in-chief and McMillan serves as publisher, a new website, and reality television show Keeping up with the Joneses, which airs on Centric. The Atlanta Post spoke with Ferguson and McMillan about branding, business expansion, and surviving the magazine industry.
How did you execute the idea for JONES after conceiving it during book club meetings with friends?
Tracey Ferguson: We started out very small. At the time, I had a partner, a college friend of mine, who moved from Miami to Houston to help. We took a year off from work and flew back and forth to New York, took meetings, and attended conferences. We did our research to confirm that we were targeting a viable market. We hired a graphic designer to assemble a prototype so that we could visualize the look and feel of the magazine.
What kind of research did you conduct to confirm that affluent women of color were a viable market?
TF: I had worked at African American advertising agencies and my partner worked at AOL Black Voices, so we had a lot of market research data about buying power. We also used resources like Target Market News to pull together a profile of our audience and develop a media kit for the demographic we wanted to approach.
At what point did you start planning to take JONES national? And how did you implement that plan?
TF: I always wanted to grow. The original idea was to develop several regional JONES magazines in cities like Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas so that we could take advantage of the different markets and style points while keeping the editorial germane to the area. Then, in meeting Londell, it became compelling to launch JONES as a national brand.
L. Londell McMillan: I come from the entertainment and media space and identified JONES as a brand with national and international potential. Look at the demographics of the African-American community. We’re close to $900 billion in annual spending. In 2010, we’ll be at $1.2 trillion, and the majority of this market is black women.
We have decided not to make JONES monthly unless the consumers determine that they want to see it that often. We may decide to publish bimonthly or quarterly. That’s under discussion.
In terms of distribution, we had a national platform in place. We are in every major state and store such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, Walgreens and CVS. Our rate based started at more than 150,000, which was a conservative number for us. We focused on our core demographic in terms of our distribution quantity. We also have orders in Europe and Middle East, so we expect to be international very soon.
What do you say those who claim that magazines are dying?
LM: We’re not just in print medium. That’s one of several of our platforms. In fashion and beauty, print is a very important medium. When women are under the dryer in the beauty salon, they want to look at something and put it in their hands. And nowadays, they want to go online to engage with what they’ve read.
There’s never really been a high fashion publication targeted to African American women that’s national across multiple platforms and sits on the shelves next to Vogue and Elle. I still get excited about magazines and am very excited about new media. It’s sad to see so many magazines not doing well, but times are evolving and we’re evolving with them.
You also launched a new website – www.jonesmag.com – in conjunction with the magazine’s national launch. What are your goals for attracting your audience online?
LM: Our primary goal is to provide immediate, accessible, high-quality, information around travel, beauty, fashion, and style. If you’re going to be in media today and you’re going to sell your product, you have to show measureable success online and offline. It’s important that our audience will check in and support the product that we’re producing. The website will work in tandem with our social media activities and online marketing campaigns.
We want to engage this JONES woman everywhere that she can be. Currently, the website is in phase one. We have bloggers including Tracey and her cast members from Keeping up with the Joneses, as well as women like fashion icon Beverly Johnson. In phase two, we will have a broader social media community.
TF: I’m excited about the shopping aspect of the website and being able to offer women those specific items that are highlighted in the magazine. Because the magazine was born in a book club, we want to carry on that oral tradition online where women share what we love about fashion, beauty, and travel.
(PRNewswire) — The NorthStar Group is pleased to announce the official national launch of JONES Magazine. In addition to the launch of the magazine, the newly redesigned website JONESMAG.com has gone live, providing readers an interactive 360 degree experience.
JONES Magazine initially launched as a regional publication in 2005 under the creative direction of founder and Editor-in-Chief Tracey Ferguson. “The magazine appeals to stylish and chic multicultural women and serves as a premier shopping guide,” shares Ferguson, who is thrilled about JONES becoming a national brand. From fashion to food to distinctive travel destinations to the best in home design, JONES is the go-to guide for a sophisticated consumer.
Recognizing the success and increased demand for JONES Magazine among women outside of the Houston area, founder Tracey Ferguson teamed up with famed attorney and publisher L. Londell McMillan of The NorthStar Group, who furthered Ferguson’s dream by taking JONES to national prominence. The national premiere issue, now available in-stores and on newsstands nationwide features supermodel Veronica Webb on the cover. “JONES is a fresh and exciting women’s brand across TV, web, and print. It speaks to today’s fashionably-forward women who know what they want. I’m thrilled to kick-off the national premiere issue of the magazine as its cover model,” says Webb.
With the first national issue of JONES Magazine hitting newsstands, it was only fitting to revamp the complementing website and further expand the reach of JONES. “JONESMAG.com targets savvy African-American and multicultural women who aspire to live or are living a fashion-forward lifestyle. We are setting the tone for what is hot now and what will be on trend in a 360 degree experience from print to online,” says Qianna Smith, JONESMAG.com Managing Editor.
The site provides the type of personalized experience and content that appeals to this audience, with expert advice and commentary on hair, beauty and fashion, as well as useful information on shopping, travel and events. JONESMAG.com engages the reader through a customized shopping experience, articles, commentaries, photo galleries, video and blogs. From reviews of new and exclusive travel destinations to candid interviews with fashion’s elite, JONESMAG.com will provide readers with editorial features that address their lifestyle. “We have designed a truly unique destination with content that offers the reader not only information, but a glamorous place of escape with each visit,” says Smith.
Additional highlights from the site include a “What’s Haute” Shopping Guide, which will not only inform women of the hottest trends but, more importantly, enable readers to instantly purchase these hand-picked must-have items. The site will also give readers an exclusive glimpse into the making of the magazine with behind-the-scenes video content, backstage photos and outtakes, and insider interviews. In addition, readers will be privy to the advice of noteworthy guest bloggers such as Beverly Johnson, the first African-American supermodel to grace the cover of Vogue, and Eugena Washington, finalist from season 7 of “America’s Next Top Model.”
About JONES Magazine
JONES is a national luxury lifestyle publication. The mission of JONES is to serve as the premier luxury shopping and lifestyle resource for African-American and multicultural women. Since 2005, JONES magazine has catered to fashion enthusiasts who share a penchant for what’s hot, new and yet-to-be discovered. From fashion to food to distinctive travel destinations to the best in home design, JONES is the go-to guide for a sophisticated consumer in print and online.
JONESMAG.com is the ultimate online insider’s shopping guide for women who know better. Our revamped website serves as the No. 1 destination for multicultural women to gain experiences that will push their look and fashion-forward lifestyle to the next level. Get your daily dose of fashion, beauty, shopping, events and travel advice tailored just for you at JONESMAG.com.
About The NorthStar Group
The NorthStar Group is a publishing, marketing and consulting firm specializing in music, entertainment, sports and corporate initiatives. Founded in 1997, The NorthStar Group represents some of the nation’s leading African-American celebrities, entertainers, websites and magazines including JONES Magazine, Black Girls Rock! and ARISE in North America.