Denim entrepreneur Pepper Foster is now in the magazine business after acquiring the iconic Easyriders title.
“The co-founder with his brother of denim line Chip & Pepper, Foster last year quietly bought the monthly, founded in 1970 and aimed strictly at Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts, more specifically those who liked their bikes and gear with a side of naked women,” writes Kali Hays in WWD. “Already Pepper has redesigned the magazine, its look, ethos and frequency, to be a more inclusive outlet looking to showcase the entirety of the modern motorcycle lifestyle. And in a more upscale way.”
“We’ve taken it from what was, well, more trashy, to now being almost like a GQ for bikers,” Foster said. “It’s more lifestyle now, with a different style of shots, higher quality of photos. Women are shooting women even.”
Foster believes the iconic title (he’s been a fan since he was a kid) was never properly nurtured, and he has plans to “growth this the right way and hit the right customer.”
It seems to be working. According to Hays, Pepper says their social media is growing by the hundreds a day, and the phone keeps ringing with “off the hook” with brands and companies looking to advertise or partner with the publisher.
The magazine is now a quarterly publication, with upgraded paper to go alone with its higher-end approach, and their first issue (featuring The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus on the cover) sold out in three days. Their growth will continue by expanding their platform into other revenue channels.
“Foster sees significant business potential in licensing the Easyriders name as well as the earlier art that appeared in the magazine, like that of the late artist David Mann, who painted on the biker lifestyle,” Hays explains. “Foster is already looking at licensing Mann’s work for socks and underwear and is thinking about other brands like Vans, a popular shoe for West Coast riders. And Easyriders new chief executive officer is Charles Perez, a veteran apparel manufacturer in L.A.”
Easyriders socks and underwear? Hey, if that’s what you think your audience wants, then, by all means, let it ride.
“This is just the start,” he said. “I’m building a really boutique company that can reposition or reset some beloved brands.”
This is definitely one to watch.