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Tiffany Montgomery
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Damsel: A growing startup from industry vet

By Tiffany Montgomery
January 11, 2008 6:33 AM

Launching a print magazine from scratch is expensive, nerve wracking and brave - especially in the internet age.


But Luann Petix knew she had to do it when the opportunity arose. A self-described magazine junkie, Petix has created her own magazines since high school, cutting pictures she liked from magazines and pasting them into journals.


Luann Petix, Nicole WurzellLuann Petix with Damsel Managing
Editor Nicole Wurzell

Petix first jumped into the magazine world at Lemonade, where she was editor-in-chief after working in marketing at Quiksilver and Split. When Lemonade shut its doors last year, Petix and a silent partner launched Damsel, which mixes the action sports aesthetic with high fashion. The first issue appeared in September, and action sports brands such as Stussy, Von Zipper, Billabong, Roxy and Adio are advertising their junior lines in the magazine.


"I was absolutely petrified," Luann said. "But I knew I had to do it or this would be the first time in my life that I had a regret."


The magazine is aimed teenagers and young women and features beauty advice, fashion spreads and interviews with designers, bands and artists.


"The Damsel stye is fashion forward but realistic," Luann said. "I like to mix fantasy with reality."


So far, the magazine's circulation is 45,000 each month, with most of the distribution in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. The magazine is free and carried in stores and boutiques. The January issue had 80 pages.


Luann is most proud of the January edition, which features supermodel Mini Anden on the cover, who Luann has admired for years. And Damsel Managing Editor Nicole Wurzell, above right, scored an interview with the Hives.


After such a strong month, one of Luann's challenges going forward is to continue to raise the bar, she said.


I asked Luann where she wants Damsel to be in three years. She wants more people from the "A List" - celebrities and such - in the magazine and on the cover, to quadruple the number of pages, and a circulation of 500,000.


"We have nowhere to go but up," she said.

 


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