"Almost irrationally optimistic," was how Inc. described the business plan for ReadyMade magazine two years ago ("This Hip House," October 2002). The founders of the do-it-yourself journal predicted they would gross $1 million by 2003. With sales stalled at $450,000 last year, however, the company took on an outside partner, a small Colorado publisher, in March.

Part of the problem seems to be the success of a rival, Budget Living. It boasts great PR -- BL's editor appears regularly on Good Morning America -- and a clever promotional deal with JetBlue Airways, whose clientele proved to be a good match. As a result, BL has six times as many readers as ReadyMade does.

Despite the new funding (from Interweave Press, which publishes Beadwork and Fiberarts magazines), "the question is, how much will it take to bring the circulation of ReadyMade to the circulation of Budget Living?" says Samir Husni, a University of Mississippi professor who studies the magazine business. It's a comparison that ReadyMade's founders have heard all too often.

Published on: Jul 1, 2004