Monocle Magazine Funds Hong Kong Bureau Through Tote Bag Sales, Not Twitter

Monocle, a three-year-old globally distributed glossy culture and design magazine, is set to open a Hong Kong bureau funded by the sales of tote bags. The totes were sold online as well as through Monocle shops in London and Los Angeles, which have collectively sold about 8,000 bags. The magazine’s website has also proven lucrative, boasting steady sales of merchandise like the aformentioned bags and Monocle BlackBerrys.

The magazine’s founder, Tyler Brûlé, who also founded Wallpaper*, offers his subscribers $112 USD for 10 issues — a savings from the magazine’s regular cover price of about $7.50 USD — regardless of where in the world they live.

His next step in creating a multimedia brand around the publication is a BBC series that will “mirror the interests of the magazine.”

Just don’t expect the brand to expand into social media anytime soon. Says Brûlé, via old-timey telegram:

Media owners don’t want to be seen as old farts and feel they need to be Twittering under the table. If you want journalism across six different platforms then something’s got to give and there’s a lot of mediocrity across six platforms.

Brûlé is not incorrect, sitting, rather tophatted, in his quite expensive dirigible. In fact, as many social networking sites prove trendy and with relatively short lifespans, Brûlé’s current business model (1. Cater to your readers’ interests in print and on television, and 2. have wealthy readers) may continue to prove effective.