Joanna and Chip Give the Magazine Industry a DIY Lesson

When The Magnolia Journal launched in print just over two years ago, we knew it would be a smash. 

With 4.7 million followers on Instagram, half a million Twitter followers and a hit TV show on HGTV, striking out into print seemed like a fantastic idea. So fantastic, in fact, that their initial launch of 400,000 copies sold out the newsstands in about a week.

At the time, Chris Guilfoyle of Meredith’s women’s group had this to say about their future plans:

“Where we want to grow it is based upon consumer demand,” Guilfoyle was quoted in Folio. “That is why for the first and second issue, it is only newsstand distribution, because we really want to see what the consumer response is to the product.”

Fast forward two years, and I guess you could say consumer response was pretty solid. So good, in fact, that they’ve managed to reach an audience of 5.5 million readers, with subscriptions and newsstand sales growing like crazy.

“The Magnolia Journal, the print-exclusive publication launched by Joanna and Chip Gaines as an extension of their Magnolia brand, reports its audience has grown to 5,585,000 in just two years,” reports Melynda Fuller in MediaPost.

“Further insight shows the publication’s audience has an adult median household income of $110,867, landing it in 13thplace of all titles measured in a fall 2018 study from GfK MRI. Its audience also skews heavily female, at 4,780,000.”

It’s a fantastic example of celebrity brands thriving in the new magazine model. And it demonstrates the power of magazines to build a solid advertising base.  For Magnolia Journal, that base is competitive and limited, accepting only 25 ads per issue, from big name brands.

“[Mark] Josephson, who took over as publisher of the brand last year, has brought on new business from a slew of brands, including Café Appliances, Clinique, Dodge, Garnier, Google Nest, Heinz, Hillshire Farms, Maybelline, Neutrogena, Prudential and Target,” Fuller explains. 

“The Magnolia Journal won business from these brands based on the power and influence of Chip and Joanna Gaines and the strong editorial content of the magazine,” Josephson said.

The powerful combination of the right “face” and an audience-facing content model created a dynamo in the magazine world, with no let-up in sight. 

We knew this was a good thing when it happened. The market was ripe for this kind of success, with consumers happily paying more for content that truly met their needs. Congratulations, Magnolia Journal, for giving us all a DIY lesson in how to create an absolute stunner of a magazine – with the business model to go with it.