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PITH + VIGOR One Year Later – The State of the Paper

July 2, 2015

It is so amazing to me that just one year ago this week, I launched (with great trepidation) the indiegogo campaign that would kickoff the adventure of PITH + VIGOR – it really seems like ages ago and so much has happened in just one year (three issues done and a 4th in progress, a new website, countless technology hurdles tackled (and some overcome), a wholesale program underway, new partnerships, and lots of travelling, book signing, partying and getting to know each other is all in the record books).  All I can say is wow, and thank you for all your support – we have come so far!

As I strategize the for the future, I spent some time delving deeper into the subscriber database to see what I could learn and also to solidify what I believed to be true about who you all are.  I found a few surprises and I have some questions for you…

Check this out.

PITH + VIGOR Subscribers by REegion June 2015

Surprise # 1 – I knew that the bulk of our readers were in New England – and I often include NY and NJ in my idea of ‘the region’ – but I really had no idea that fully 1/3 of you are truly local.   This solidifies a few things in my mind – 1) that all my regional efforts at outreach are paying off and 2) that New England  – or I should say – The Northeast – is awesome (thank you!!!)

Surprise # 2 – I had expected that the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington) would be the second largest region (Reason: PacNW readers really represented in the original launch campaign so that is where my impression originated)….so I was totally surprised to see that California readership had grown so significantly and PacNW was no longer the 2nd largest region.

Surprise # 3 – There are a lot of readers between the Rocky Mountain States and the Plains states (nearly 1/4!). This defies the traditional demographics of garden design focused magazines that have been published in this country (readers are generally congregated very heavily on the coasts and not in between). I am super proud of this accomplishment and so pleased to have been able to break through this sort of odd historical barrier.

Surprise # 4 – Ummm…Alaska and Canada – I see you there being at least 5 times bigger than I would have expected – you blow my mind.

One of the reasons for putting this together (besides the fact that the nerd in me loves doing this sort of thing!) was to start to figure out where our first localized editions should be.  I am working with our printer to figure out costs and what it will take to make these editions work from a financial perspective, and I don’t see it happening until 2016, but know that planning is underway.  My goal, once I have figured all that business side out, is to perhaps run a regionalized subscription campaign (kind of like a charity drive with one of those giant thermometers) where we can all see the progress towards making any particular regionalized version a reality. Wouldn’t that be fun? (details to come!)

Studying this does bring up some questions though — here is what I am wondering:

Question # 1: What do we do with California?  It is so vast and varied that I wonder if it is better to break it down and include it with a regionalized version that represents other areas too (for example combine Southern California with Arizona and New Mexico and then maybe San Francisco with Oregon and Washington).  Or perhaps it is best to just let California be California in all its varied glory (this is what my gut says is right)?  But I don’t know.  What do you think? Californians, what do you say?

Question # 2:  As a start, I think the regions I broke this down into make sense — but if you were to make some changes, what would they be?

Question # 3: If we were to try to drive subscribers in your specific area, what would be the best way to go about it?  Your wisdom, suggestions, local knowledge and sheer cleverness mean to the world to me… I’d love to hear your thoughts.  My mom, and Leslie (our intrepid graphic designer) keep encouraging me to make old school subscription cards…. but I wonder if that is what people still do? I’m such and all in digital person, I personally would never fill out a post card and put a check in the mail. Am I missing an opportunity? Should I listen to my mom? (I totally know what you are going to say…)

Question # 4: What can I be doing differently (right now) that would extend the reach both locally and wider?

And lastly – I have heard from quite a few of you over the last year – and a common refrain is the offering of help (you all rock my world! thankyou!).  I have done my best to keep track of these notes for when the time is right, but I fear my burgeoning inbox and my ability to keep track of it all.  If you are interested in helping to make a regionalized version of P+V for your area into a reality (or helping with anything else) – please do not hesitate to email me again (and again…and again…I do not get annoyed by this). But know that I’ve heard you and I will take you up on your offer….I’m working on it!

What else do you see with this data – it is so interesting isn’t it?

I can’t wait to see where this vision leads us!




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