When Donald E. Welch started Budget Living, he was told by many big publishers that a magazine with the word “budget” in the title would never succeed in a country hooked on glamour and luxury. He disagreed. “Part of being tasteful is not being a sucker in what you buy,” he said.
His magazine, of course, was started on a shoestring and runs frugally. Budget Living suggests that to a new generation of adult consumers, the only thing embarrassing in searching for a good deal is not finding one.
Most of the magazine racks will continue to be reserved for lifestyle voyeurism, with fanciful goods arrayed over impossibly beautiful people. But the success of Budget Living suggests that readers will want to read those magazines while sitting in a recliner that looks like a million bucks and costs a fraction of retail.
Budget Living is perhaps the only magazine I have blogged since the day it was announced through its multiple “start up of the year” awards and now when it wins its first Ellie. As I said when the magazine began, its success is due in no small part to the skills and savvy of Donald Welsh, who David Carr’s article may make sound like an “outsider” but whose track record (notably, starting Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel) helped give credibility to this magazine’s original concept and solid execution.
(A side note: When I looked up Donald Welsh’s bio on the Budget Living website, I was (no-irony alert, I’m being serious here) deeply inspired that two members of the company’s management team, including the president, came from the company Digital Convergence. I am sincerely impressed by their ability to move onto such a brilliant success with Budget Living after what surely must have been a very humbling experience trying to launch what I’ve implied numerous times on this weblog is perhaps one of the most, uh, how should I put this?, misguided products I’ve ever seen, the cue-cat.)