Women’s Lifestyle Magazine Finds Success in Publishing Market

By Jane Whitttington on October 27th, 2015 / Comments

The magazine business is risky. According to University of Mississippi journalism professor and magazine guru Dr. Samir Husni, sixty percent of all magazine start-ups fail in their first year of operation. But Victoria Upton, publisher of Women’s Lifestyle, beat the odds, and has been bringing her information-, inspiration-and entertainment-packed publication to an appreciative audience since 1998 .

Upton says, “I was interested in starting my own business but wasn’t sure what that business would be.  During my research, I came across a brochure from the organization Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women about a class called ‘Minding Your Own Business’. It sounded to me like it was a crash course in entrepreneurship. “

She continues, “As I was considering my options, I started thinking about creating a magazine focusing on the interests and concerns of women in my own community. While there are many national publications of this type, I felt that I could create a magazine especially for the women of West Michigan. So that’s what I did!”

Twenty years later, Women’s Lifestyle has a circulation of 20,000 with a readership of two to three times that and a robust online presence with some 30,000 monthly visitors. They are also online with Facebook and other social media.  In addition, the magazine is syndicated in Muskegon, Lansing and Kalamazoo. These “outlier” magazines contain some of the same content as the GR version but also feature stories of local interest.

“Grand Rapids is ground zero, but our magazine, which is free, is distributed in 450 locations throughout West Michigan,” said Upton.

With a background in graphic arts and having previously worked as an art director for Publishing Services, Upton had a good idea of how she wanted her magazine to look and feel. She says, “I knew I wanted it to be engaging and reader-friendly and to be a big invitation for people to read it, enjoy it and use the information it provided.”

Every business has its ups and downs and Women’s Lifestyle is no exception. But, relying on her instincts as well as her research, Upton kept the magazine running, relevant, and responsive. For the past two years, Two Eagles Marcus has been onboard as assistant publisher. They originally met when he was an intern for Publishing Services.

With a full-time staff of five and a group of about 23 freelance writers and photographers, Women’s Lifestyle has a different theme each month with most of the content organized around that theme. Upton says, “My favorite stories are about people in local communities who are making the world a better place. We don’t just skim the surface-our stories are in-depth and wide ranging. “

She continues, “Women’s Lifestyle invites our readers to participate in the life of the community and learn more about the people and places of their hometown. We listen to our readers and bring them content that matters to them. As the community grows and changes, we grow and change along with it.”

To read the online version and check out distribution sites, go to www.womenslifestyle.com


About the Author

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Grand Rapids. A Michigan native and Michigan State University grad, she enjoys reading, travel, politics and volunteering.