Retail shop owner launches fashion magazine: High-end audience drawing myriad advertisers; model could be used to launch other publications nationwide

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Mark Koplow doesn’t wait for his customers to come to him. And instead of relying solely on mainstream media channels to carry his company’s message, he has created his own.

Koplow, who owns Raleigh Limited, a high-end men’s clothing store at Keystone at the Crossing, two years ago began publishing a targeted, free magazine aimed at the same clientele his store serves.

Raleigh Limited Magazine is published twice a year and mailed to 15,000 homes and businesses on the store’s private mailing list. Koplow plans to broaden the reach to about 30,000 in the coming year, though, through exclusive mailing lists provided by some of the magazine’s highend advertisers.

The controlled-circulation model employed by Raleigh has been a staple of trade publishers for years and seems to be making its way into high-end generalinterest magazines, said Greg Lindsay, a media analyst and free-lance writer in Brooklyn. He called the broader application one of “publishing’s hot ideas for 2005.”

But it’s difficult to put advertising vehicles like Raleigh Limited in the same category as independent publications, said Howard Polskin, vice president of communications for New York-based Magazine Publishers of America.

“Shopping magazines are a big trend right now,” Polskin said. Similar ventures have been launched by car makers Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, but rarely by smaller firms like Raleigh.

Raleigh has signed advertising deals with some of the nation’s top clothing, jewelry and automobile manufacturers. In addition, a number of local companies, including Aronstam Fine Jewelers, Moyer Fine Jewelers, Tom Wood Lexus and Estridge Custom Homes, have advertised in the magazine.

“The decision to advertise in this publication was all about demographics,” said J.R. Hage, Tom Wood Lexus general manager “Raleigh is reaching a high-end clientele and that’s a good fit for us. And the relatively low cost of advertising in the magazine has kept us.”

Raleigh charges $1,450 for a full-page advertisement, about one-fourth the cost of a general interest magazine in the Indianapolis area, said Todd Tufts, the magazine’s publisher and editor.

“The magazine is so finely targeted, that’s our advantage,” Tufts said. “We’re not using some general mailing list or just setting the magazine out somewhere.”

The publication is not a profit center for Koplow’s retail store, instead serving primarily as a marketing tool. That approach, Tufts said, keeps ad rates low. Story content is a mix of automotive, travel and leisure, and business fare and, of course, plenty of fashion trend news.

Tufts, president of Anderson-based Tufts Communications, started doing brochure work for Koplow’s store several years ago. Koplow and Tufts sought to work closely with Raleigh’s fashion vendors in New York. Vendors such as Ike Behar, Armani and Corneliani began asking to include more of their own photos and the endeavor evolved into a fashion magazine.

The magazine’s audience mirrors the retail store’s-primarily men with an annual income above $135,000.

“It’s an audience we quickly realized would be attractive to other advertisers,” Tufts said.

When John Klausner, a Raleigh shopper, got his first issue in the mail, he thought his company might strengthen its brand and gain customers by advertising in the publication.

“When you look at Raleigh Limited’s clientele, that’s some of the same people we do or would like to do business with,” said Klausner, partner in Klausner & Duffy Investment Group, a division within New York-based UBS Financial Services.

The magazine’s budget has increased fivefold in the two years since the first issue was published.

“This project has really exploded in a short period of time,” Tufts said. “We think this is a model that could work in other markets, and we’re already looking at Charlotte, Houston, San Diego, Memphis, New Jersey and San Francisco. We think we could create a network for regional and national advertisers looking for a specialized advertising channel.”

Raleigh Limited’s high-end clothing suppliers have insisted the magazine’s production be top-shelf. Koplow

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