Carol Poon was a civil engineer, then she ran a flower shop. Now she's the publisher of a bridal magazine.
In its first year, Bride & Bloom has built circulation tenfold to 50,000 copies. The quarterly publication now runs about 200 pages. Poon publishes it from offices shared with her five full-time employees in Torrance.
The editorial position of Bride & Bloom is that a wedding should have an integrated visual design. That means the flowers, dresses and d & #233;cor should maintain a consistent color scheme. The type font on the invitation should remain the same on programs, banners and thank-you notes. Couples can even develop a logo for their marriage.
In keeping with the magazine's title, floral design plays a big role in the celebration. She decided to leave engineering and the flower shop and get into publishing after would-be brides showed her layouts from established bridal magazines as a model for their own weddings. She found the concepts dull.
"The content was all the same type of pictures. For a floral designer, it was very uninteresting and outdated," Poon recalled. "I knew brides were seeking more and vendors were seeking to know what the market was really like."
Despite newsstands cluttered with regional and national bridal publications, Poon put together a business plan and launched with national distribution in July 2006. Locally, the magazine sells at retail through Barnes & Noble, Albertsons, Borders and Target stores.
Bride & Bloom LLC caters to a dual audience of brides and professional wedding planners. The typical bridal reader is a woman in the 25 to 40 age category who expects to spend $60,000 for her big day.
The professional audience likes the photography more than the words the exact need Poon wanted her magazine to satisfy. "The Bride & Bloom has set itself apart by limiting its focus to the 'look' of the event. Many of the other bridal publications are 'soup-to-nuts,'" explained Carolyn Mason, owner of Grand Affair, an event planning firm in Los Angeles. "I also appreciate the floral information. Even though I have been an event professional for over 10 years, I still don't know the names of many flowers."
On the advertising front, Bride & Bloom attracts a lot of national travel and registry ads, Poon said. But the magazine doesn't publish regional editions, so if a dress shop in Dallas, for example, wants to advertise, it has to buy coverage for the whole country. The magazine compensates by offering a retail rate for local advertisers. National advertisers pay $8,500 for a one-time full-page, four-color insertion, while a local retailer would only pay $3,500. Poon hopes to introduce regional press runs in January 2008.
"The magazine's getting more popular and we see a dynamic change as people plan their ad budgets for next year," Poon said.
The magazine also sells ad space on its Web site, and the publisher believes a new virtual design center will increase traffic and e-commerce revenues when it launches next month.
Eventually, Poon wants her magazine to extend the design approach to the bride's registry selections, thus moving into the home d & #233;cor sector. She also would like to produce and sell wedding accessories to readers. In addition, she plans to publish idea books for the professional segment of the audience.
Poon left civil engineering when she determined that there wasn't much of a future for a female in that industry. She then trained for work as a floral design consultant.
Start-up financing for the magazine came from Poon's personal savings and the support of her husband, Herbert, who works as an in-house corporate lawyer.
"We're hoping that we'll see profits in 2008," Poon said.
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