She thought her EastWest concept might be ahead of its time back in 2003, so Anita Malik was prudent and tested the content online before launching the print magazine.
Present conflicts aside, globalization, instant communication, and convenient transportation encourage the blending of Eastern and Western cultures. That trend produced a market that;back in 2003;Anita Malik viewed as an opportunity. "We saw an underserved market and had a magazine concept," she says."But we needed to prove that the concept was viable."
That process,moving from vision to viability. exemplifies the indefatigable entrepreneurial spirit of the industry and makes Malik a representative on this year's Folio: 40 of all publishing entrepreneurs.
Malik began as an IT consultant; she still runs a small consulting firm on the side; and switched careers after earning a master's degree in journalism. She decided to start online, then seek investment money to launch the print magazine.
Launching EastWest online allowed Malik to measure traffic and analyze what stories people were reading. Results proved that people were interested in the content, and further defined the type of articles to offer. Just as important, the online product attracted industry leaders who liked the content and offered to help get the magazine off the ground. After eight online "issues," the print magazine was born.
EastWest began in print as a women's magazine, but Malik quickly realized that was too restrictive. "Crafting what EastWest means to our readers, which has changed over the years, has been the biggest challenge," says Malik, "but I think we're finally in our groove. We understand our readers and are delivering what they want to read."
Today, advertising and circulation are both growing at double-digit annual rates. Initially, small companies bought the bulk of the advertising, but large national companies are now showing interest in reaching the audience. And to boost circulation in certain markets, a current "Tour of Cities" program integrates cover stories on major cities with targeted newsstand promotions.
"We're a small company, and there's still a lot more that we want to do," says Malik. "But so far we're definitely happy with the trend."
EastWest circulation has increased about 20 percent per year to its current 20,000 (45 percent subscribers); advertising has grown at a consistent rate of 30 percent per year since year one.