A Synergistic Approach
Reiman Publications uses both catalogs and magazines to expertly serve its loyal base of rural consumers.
When the editors of Farm Wife News started producing T-shirts with slogans such as, “I’m proud to be a Farm Wife,” for their readers back in the early 1970s, they didn’t know that offshoot merchandise would launch a catalog business. A few years later, Country Store catalog was born, filling a niche in the rural marketplace.
Ann Kaiser, managing editor of Taste of Home and editor of Country Woman magazine, was with the company 34 years ago when the catalog concept first was developed at Reiman Publications. She recalls, “Merchandising began as byproducts of the magazines — items such as sweatshirts and T-shirts became so popular that the magazine started devoting a whole page to selling such items.”
Kaiser says that Reiman Publications’ founder Roy Reiman grew up on an Iowa farm and started Farm Wife News out of a need he saw in the marketplace. “As other big farming magazines were cutting out their women’s sections in an effort to trim pages, there was no place for farm women to turn for editorial,” she notes. “And the women were true partners in the running of farms and homes, and they needed a place to go for ideas. It was an advertising-free magazine, so the few product placements were a natural outgrowth of the publication.”
Over time, more product concepts (e.g., cookbooks, decorative porcelain plates) were dreamt up by the staff and sold well on the magazine’s pages. Kaiser recalls that the first few product placements included recipe cards, a baby minder chart, a booklet of kitchen tips from the magazine’s Food Fair column, and the famous T-shirts that Kaiser herself even modeled for the magazine. All were sold in a special section of the magazine called “Farm Wife Country Store.”