If you live in the Midwest, chances are you’ve heard of and probably even subscribe to Country Woman Magazine. Its colorful pages are full of great ideas for those women who love the country lifestyle. That doesn’t mean that if you live in New York City you won’t enjoy it! Country Woman’s subscriber base includes those who are living the life, those that have roots in the country, and even those who just enjoy the gorgeous eye candy amongst its pages.
The magazine, owned by Reiman Publications, a Reader’s Digest company, started in 1972 as Farm Wife News. According to Country Woman Magazine’s Editor, Lori Grzybowski, most farm magazines in that time period were discontinuing their women’s sections. Reiman saw the potential, and while others were closing their sections, Farm Wife News picked up the slack and thrived. According to Farm & Ranch Living, another Reiman publication, “the staff soon learned that farm husbands were reading Farm Wife News. The men obviously enjoyed the change of pace offered by the articles in FWN.” Farm & Ranch Living was born in 1978 to fill that need.
In the early years, Farm Wife News was geared at those women that were living on full working farms, searching for great recipes and ways to enrich their farming lives. Much of the content was submitted by its readers, especially the recipes, and shared with the ever growing subscriber base. In the 80′s, the magazine began to evolve and eventually changed its name to Farm Woman. The publishers realized that the audience was broader than just those women living on working farms. It was rapidly expanding to those with family farm roots and even those who dreamt of the country life but had never actually lived on a farm. One year later, in 1987, the magazine officially changed its name to Country Woman Magazine to recognize the diverse reach of its readers.
Because it is much less advertisement reliant than most, the magazine is filled with color rich photographs and country life stories. You won’t find a sponsor ad on every other page. Instead you’ll find pages filled with fresh herbs and vegetables, gorgeously simple craft projects, and delicious recipes you can make in your kitchen.
From beekeeping to raising chickens, growing your own produce to adding simple touches to your home, there’s a little something for everyone.
I of course love the craft projects and the recipes look amazing, but my favorite part of the magazine are the stories. Each month they feature a “country woman” and tell her story. I love to read how each of these women have found what they are looking for and are living their dreams.
In fact, you may recognize Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, as one of their cover women. Ree was featured in the October/November 2011 issue and is the epitome of a country woman success story.
In this difficult publishing climate, Country Woman Magazine has been expanding their reach to the internet. They have a wonderfully vibrant website at www.countrywomanmagazine.com, you can find them on Facebook and Pinterest as well. Making themselves available through social media has opened up an exciting world for the magazine’s editors. While they have always received mail and submissions from their readers, the internet has made it possible for CWM to interact directly with their fans.
With their focus evolving to reach more women, the magazine is very excited about recent interactions with their audience and the potential to reach even more. This interaction has allowed them to truly deliver what the readers want. They have found that their craft area is extremely popular (no surprise!) and that fresh, new ideas come in daily.
Their Craft Editor, Shalana Frisby says that while they still receive many ideas from their readers, the magazine has recently been reaching out to talented craft bloggers as well. She’s constantly scouring Pinterest, has subscribed to many different craft blogs, and also finds inspiration from some of their archived projects. Their goal is to provide fresh and trendy craft ideas that are easy to create at home. To stay up on the latest colors and styles, Shalana does a lot of research on trending, including staying up to date on the Pantone color releases and attending trade shows to see what the latest products are in all realms of the crafting world.
Shalana occupies a rather impressive space at Country Woman, with plenty of room for crafting! This huge craft room, complete with photo tent for step by step shots and tables as far as the eye can see, Shalana definitely has plenty of room to create. That’s important since she is busy developing roughly 15 projects every month for Country Woman and several of the special interest publications run by their sister mag, Taste of Home Magazine. So next time you pick up one of those little TOH booklets in the grocery store line and you see a craft project, chances are it was created here.
Shalana is a talented multi-crafter with knowledge in crochet, home decor, general crafting, scrapbooking and more. Just take a look at the fun way she dressed up her office with a can of spray paint, some plastic inboxes and file trays, and recycled cans. It’s no wonder she handles all craft related items for this magazine and beyond.
If you would like to go on a tour with me and Shalana behind the scenes at Country Woman, head over to AmandaFormaro.com where I share a collection of backstage photos!
Country Woman Magazine’s Editor, Lori Grzybowski hopes to reach out to more readers, bringing a broader awareness to their growing publication. The beautiful pages truly speak for themselves and it’s easy to see how subscribers, just like me, can’t wait for the new issue to hit the stands.
You can subscribe to the print version of Country Woman Magazine directly from their website ($5 lower than Amazon)
Find their Digital Editions here (i.e. Nook, Kindle)
By Amanda Formaro