Frankie founders partner with parenting blogger to launch new magazine Lunch Lady

Lunch Lady magazineThe founders of women’s magazine Frankie have teamed up with Australian photographer and blogger Kate Berry to launch parenting-lifestyle quarterly magazine Lunch Lady.

The magazine is the first to launch out of independent publishing house We Print Nice Things founded by Louise Bannister and Lara Burke who departed Morrison Media and their female youth magazine Frankie in February last year.

Aimed at 30-49 year old food focused parents, the heavily stylised quarterly publication is a lifestyle magazine full of recipes, parenting stories, long form journalism and profile pieces, photography features, art and cooking ideas for kids and opinion pieces about parenting. It was born out of Berry’s blog of the same name.

The team are not focused on delivering big circulation numbers and do not plan to have its circulation audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

“We always have been about engaging on a one-on-one level. We’re not about to print 100,000 magazines. We’re starting off with the 15,000-20,000,” Bannister told Mumbrella.


Bannister: it’s not important to get audited

“When you get into the audit wars it’s all about how many mags you print. We’re quite transparent with our numbers to our foundation sponsors because they understand it’s all about engaging with a tight, unique audience.

“For me it’s not that important to get it audited,” she added.

“For our foundation sponsors we have such great relationships with them, it’s not why we’re doing it, for advertising dollars. Advertising is not even 10 per cent of the magazine. It’s more about the relationships.

“A lot of our foundation sponsors we help promote each other through our social media or help each other with things like freight or getting into other countries, or we’ll offer their product to our readers, or they might distribute us through their shops. It’s a real relationship we’re forming. It was never about ringing them up and saying it’s this amount of money for this page.”

For the first edition of Lunch Lady, We Print Nice Things partnered with children’s homewares brand Love Mae, all natural baby products brand Nature Baby, designer homewares Arro Home, kids toy company Kido Store and coffee brand Allpress.

Allpress' full-page ad in Lunch Lady

Allpress’ full-page ad in Lunch Lady

The ads that do make it into the magazine very much mimic the creative and design of the wider product and feel as much a part of it as does the editorial content however Bannister is adamant the publication will not be entering the native advertising space.

“We were really clear about that in the beginning. We weren’t going to hide any product in the magazine, that’s just not what we do,” she said.

On how they will mark success in the print space, Bannister said it is all about engagement with their audience.

“The level of success is someone picks up that magazine and they feel it’s friendly, warm and feel included in the conversation and they don’t feel judged or patronised about being a parent or a cook. It’s about having a bit of fun,” she said.

“The more people that talk about the magazine like it’s a person is how I measure success. You can’t buy that kind of stuff, people either feel it or they don’t.”

On how Lunch Lady fits into the parenting publishing space, Berry said: “It’s being a bit more honest and a reflection of the day-to-day reality of being a parent as well as seeing the lighter side of being a parent and having a laugh about it. That’s the difference between Lunch Lady and the conventional parenting magazines. It’s more about sharing our experiences then informing people how to do a better job.”

The magazine will be looking to grow its community, and grow its revenue, by entering the growing magazine event space, launching some “Lunch Lady Lunches” and hosting talks around parenting topics.

“Our aim is to build a community. We have our website where you can go for recipes whenever you want, we have a newsletter and we’ll have a club forming soon. Lots of little exciting things you can get involved in as a parent. We’ll bring some people out to talk on things. It’s about creating a warm, friendly parenting space,” said Bannister.

On how Frankie has helped them shape this current project, Bannister said it gave her “the wisdom from the past” coupled with the “benefits of being able to make decisions for yourself” in this independent venture.

Since leaving Frankie in February last year, Bannister and co-founder Lara Burke have been focused on growing their creative agency and content marketing business.

“We did a lot of stuff for Medibank, we did some great publications for them. We have actually just finished a book for a fashion label,” she said.

On the recent circulation declines Frankie has experienced, dropping 10.8 per cent for the January to June period compared to the same time in 2014, Bannister said it was “inevitable”.

“It was inevitable it would plateau at some stage, I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone there. It’s the nature of magazines,” she said.

Miranda Ward


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