For our first issue, we talked to a number of Eastside startups and received some great advice from people who successfully launched and grew their own businesses.
All the talk about startups got us thinking about our own startup story. Since we’ve shared everyone else’s, we felt it was time to share ours.
Premier Media Group was started by Josh Dunn in 2001 with his first magazines, the annual Premier Bride and bi-monthly Premier Home and Garden. The wedding and event publication was sold in 2008 to fund 425 magazine, and South Sound Home and Garden was rebranded during the same year to become South Sound magazine.
425 Business was conceived approximately two years ago in response to a void in the marketplace.
“There was a tremendous void of opportunity for so many great stories to be told, shared, explored, and captured,” Dunn says. “Who is the business authority on the Eastside? No one. Why not us?”
During the process of creating the bi-monthly 425 magazine, editor in chief Lisa Patterson noticed there were many business stories that were not being told.
“It called for its own publication to focus on business and the changing face of business on the Eastside,” Patterson says. “With how much the area has grown over the past eight years, it made sense.”
Dunn found the editor in chief he was searching for to run a new publication in Jeff Burlingame, an award-winning author and journalist.
“We’d been talking about different projects for a while,” Burlingame says. “I didn’t want to come on board unless it was a perfect match.”
Burlingame says he already knew the people at PMG and was familiar with the culture, so when the right challenge lined up he jumped on board.
425 magazine’s advertising director, Scott Paine, was part of Premier Media Group when 425 launched in 2006 and said there was a stark difference in starting a new magazine this time.
“425 Business was more defined in its target and niche,” Paine says. “We had a greater level of certainty in terms of content, design, concept, and readership. We had a better sense of what it was going to be for the reader.”
Dunn hired veteran account executive Gary Rubin to run 425 Business’ sales team. Rubin was director of sales and corporate support for KCTS public television in Seattle prior to coming on board.
“I loved the brand PMG had built with its lifestyle publications and the prospect of being able to start on the ground floor to create something similar for the business community was intriguing,” Rubin says.
Every print product is faced with a very specific challenge: can it sell ads? Based on the reputation of Premier Media Group and 425 magazine, Paine says ads were sold into 425 Business before the magazine existed based on trust.
“It was based on a high level of trust on this company’s ability to produce a high-quality product,” Paine says.
The bottom line is similar to that of how many startups begin: Dunn had a vision and ran with it. He didn’t look back. And he has some advice to others who aspire to start their own business.
“No matter how great your idea is, you have to sell it,” Dunn says. “You have to get out and knock on doors and sell your product. It won’t sell itself.”