Magazine publisher Jasmine Goh shares her experience in setting up and running her business.
Contributed By Foo Cechao
At just 35, Jasmine Juliana Goh is already a successful young entrepreneur; she is the director of publishing company Redtree Group Pte Ltd. The company specializes in educational kids and parenting magazines, with two popular magazines under its belt, WaWa In Kid’s World and Parents World.
WaWa In Kids World, which began publication in September 2004, is a monthly magazine. “Wawa” means “doll” for good reason: in the same way a child treasures the doll he or she carries around all the time, the magazine is meant to be a friend and companion to its young readers.
Parents World is a bi-monthly publication first published in October 2006. It addresses daily concerns and issues in parenting, educating and informing parents on ways to better understand, nurture and raise their children.
Before she founded Redtree, Goh worked in media and magazines. Her 10 years in the industry has equipped her with a wealth of experience and skills. So why did she decide on children’s and parenting titles, and not more lucrative genres such as entertainment or car magazines? “Your business has to be what you are interested in and what your speciality is. If you like cars a lot, then maybe having a car magazine will come more naturally to you, as you have a lot of knowledge about cars,” Goh states.
What differentiates her magazines from the rest in the market is its rounded approach to content. “WaWa In Kids World is an interesting educational kid’s magazine which combines knowledge, creativity and fun learning.” Parents World is one of Singapore’s top parenting lifestyle magazine. Goh says its formula for success is its “nice combination of interesting and balanced reading for parents, covering topics on parenting and as well as the well-being of parents, with the latest news on health, beauty, fashion and much more.”
According to Goh, Redtree Group’s goal is to keep producing quality magazines, and through that, capture a larger market share of the targeted readers. As magazines are evolving all the time, the director emphasizes that much goes into making her titles continually appealing to readers. This may mean covering unusual stories that pique kids’ interest, and for “Parents World, we also try to feature celebrity parents, both local and international, on our covers.”
The Nuts & Bolts Of Publishing
Dedication and teamwork are needed for the creation of a good magazine. It is a complex network and process: “We need to brainstorm for stories with the editorial team and do the layout for the magazine. At the same time, the sales people source for advertisers.” Creative juices have to be constantly flowing, and her team gets its inspiration from the newspapers, daily life experiences and through online research.
Goh and her team choose not to rest on their laurels and strive to improve the quality of their magazines and to stay relevant their readers. “We always look for new ideas, topics and do ground research on the market; we also look at our competitors,” she says. Despite the rapidly advancing tools being introduced into mass media like iPad versions of magazines, Goh remains optimistic about the relevance of paper magazine publication. “Yes, we have to look for new technologies to upgrade our publication, such as the Internet, iPad or iPhone, but print is not dead yet. At this moment, people are still drawn to the printed magazine.”
The two major challenges Goh faced in starting up her business were having sufficient resources to keep going, and to increase readership. She stood up to the challenges with an spirit of resilience and fortitude. “One must have a never-give-up attitude and keep trying. I found that engaging in events to promote the magazines was quite effective for publicity and reaching out beyond the usual audience,” she reveals. Through perseverance and hard work, her company weathered the storms and now enjoy the success they have achieved. “Our magazines are well recognized today, seven years since we started publishing in 2003. Sometimes, there are moments when you feel like giving up, but when you refuse to give up, it gives you a new perspective, and you are able to grow more as you are forced to think outside the box to remain competitive in the media industry.”
Having stabilized its core titles, Redtree Group is now coming up with a new magazine called Home And Living, which is all about home interior designs. “We noticed while publishing Parents World, that there is a viable market for lifestyle magazines like Home and Living. As our Parents World readers are mostly newly-married young couples, they are interested to find out how to create their dream home,” Goh explains.