Fearlessly Launching A Womens’ Mag In Tough Times

headshot-RG.jpgEven a recession can’t stop an entrepreneur from launching a magazine. Just ask Rachelle Gauthier, the brains behind newly launched online women’s magazine Vain.

Gauthier came up with the concept for Vain about a year and a half ago, just as the economy was starting to become a real cause for concern. “I was picking up a bunch of magazines — like O, Essence and Cosmo — and I realized that even after reading all these magazines front to back I still felt unfulfilled,” she said of her reasons for developing Vain. “Where were the real women who were doing important things who weren’t celebrities?”

An industry vet herself, Gauthier assembled a ten-person team of magazine professionals who were willing to donate their time to help make her vision a reality. She pumped over $10,000 of her own money into the project and enlisted the help of the Wise Group, an custom communications company based in Ohio, who handle design and production for Vain.

Vain is really speaking to the average woman,” Gauthier explained. “It celebrates the uncelebrated girl, but it also has celebrities, and it’s a real service magazine. I was able to assemble a really great team but I couldn’t believe that so many people wanted to try something so new…I let everyone know from the beginning that it was a pure passion project. Editors, writers and photographers, they all offered to work for free.”

After several weeks of work, Gauthier and her team had a whole issue of Vain completed and waiting at the printer. However, she held off on actually producing it for the newsstand because the economy had started to tank.

“I didn’t want to put out the magazine knowing what we were facing,” Gauthier said. “I knew women were worried about being laid off so I didn’t know if they would want to buy the magazine. I didn’t want to waste the dollars of people who believed in the vision.”

So, Gauthier took all her content and put it online, creating VainMag.com, which launched a few weeks ago. Putting it all online “totally broke my heart,” she said. “It was a really, really big decision for me but the magazine would have needed an online component anyway.”

Now, Gauthier is in talks with publishers for a fall/winter edition of the magazine in print and she hopes to make it quarterly after that. She also spends her days developing content for the Vain TV component of the Web site.

To gain publicity for the magazine and earn some money, Gauthier is planning to hold events, seminars and workshops. The first event will be in August, with proceeds going the charity The Girl Effect.

When it launches, Vain will be on sale at newsstands, specialty boutiques, college campuses, spas and the like in select markets.

Since she seems to have a good thing going, we just had to ask: what’s with the name? “Women are very proud of what we do and what we invest in,” she said. “We invest in brands, people and things we believe in. It started as just an idea, just conversation I had with my girlfriends and former colleagues, and here it is.”

Earlier: VAIN, A Magazine For Women, Launches