For years my favorite magazine was Victoria. Under the editorial direction of editor-in-chief Nancy Lindemeyer it was a monthly feast for the eyes and the source of pride and encouragement it gave to women who wanted to own their own businesses.Month after month women-owned businesses (BLISS) were featured. These weren't Fortune 500 companies. Most of the enterprises featured were small--tiny--microscopic even. Just the owner, family members (moms, sisters or daughters) and/or an employee or two. Most of the businesses were "girly" in nature: food/clothing/cologne/decorating.
The magazine often sponsored workshops, teas, speakers, and trips geared toward women and their pursuit of a lovely life. Opportunities for women to meet, talk, network...connect. The photography was exceptional...even articles featuring clothes were gorgeous to behold (and I ain't no clothes horse--never had an interest in it).
The advertising was family-friendly, featuring products that women want and need. Plucked from an issue from 2000: Clorox, Spiegel, Oneida, L.L. Bean, Tums. Okay, there was also a perfume ad and one for American Express, but the editorial content outweighed the BONK-YOU-ON-THE-HEAD ads. One assumes the "Where to Shop & Buy" section, telling where you could find that couch on page 37 or the sweater on page 68 could be purchased, paid for quite a bit of the freight.
I've always preferred magazines that feature content over ads and have been willing to pay extra for them. Maybe that's why I read stuff put out by Reiman Publications (think Taste of Home magazine) and Harris Publications (Country Almanac/Collectibles/Cottage Style magazines). Much as I admire Martha Stewart (who was incarcerated for far less crimes than those in charge of Enron--DON'T GET ME STARTED), her magazine LIVING is considered highly successful because it's 40+% ads. Not in my book. I don't buy a magazine to look at ads. Sadly, too many women do.
When Nancy Lindemeyer retired as editor of Victoria, the magazine's new editor (or her management) changed everything about it, from the logo to everything inside its pages. No longer was the magazine devoted to women in business (featuring their magnificent calling/business cards) or who wanted to live a better,m ore gentile life; it became another "how-much-revenue-can-we-make-from-ads?" fiasco. The focus changed and became yet another bland decorator magazine. (Sadly, Mary Englebert's HOME COMPANION magazine has recently changed from its focus on artists and making an artful life to yet another deadly dull decorating magazine--in neutral shades. I've dropped that subscription, too.)
When Nancy Lindemeyer left, Victoria lost its focus, so it's no surprise that it soon sank into oblivion. I had already decided not to renew my subscription when suddenly instead of Victoria magazine something stark and ugly called HEALTH showed up in my mailbox (apparently aimed at 20 somethings who think nothing of botox injections and the surgical solutions to aging). I didn't order that crap. It went straight to the recycle box the minute it arrived.
I tossed the issues of Victoria that came after Nancy's guidance, but I have saved and read and reread six or seven years worth of Victoria (and wish I had more of the older issues). What a joy it is to revisit them again and again.
But all hope is not lost. Although the magazine succumbed in 2003, it's supposed to be resurrected in October 2007 by a new publisher (under rights from Hearst Publications). I'm willing to give it another chance. After all, who ever thought Star Trek The Next Generation could ever rival Classic Trek? It didn't. And it did. I hope the management at the new Victoria will consult Nancy Lindemeyer on what made the magazine great when she controlled it. And I hope the new regime will listen.