‘Southern Living’ and Ballard Designs Launch Line for the Southern Hostess

Editors inspired tabletop items aimed at "the gracious summer hostess"

Just in time for outdoor entertaining season, Southern Living magazine and home décor retailer Ballard Designs are launching a line of tabletop products aimed at the gracious summer hostess.

While the magazine has a long history of brand extensions, ranging from plants to books, this will be only the second time that Atlanta-based Ballard Designs has collaborated with an outside brand on a product line (the company currently produces a collection with interior decorator Suzanne Kasler).

“A lot of editors—including me—are longtime Ballard customers, and we share a distinctly Southern sensibility,” said Southern Living editor in chief Lindsay Bierman. “Everything was designed with a distinctly Southern point of view.” For instance, an extra-tall glass cake dome is meant to accommodate the three-layer cakes popular in Southern homes, while a collection of wooden beverage tags with labels like “sweet” and “unsweet” will keep guests from confusing the traditional sweet tea from its sugar-free cousin. “It’s little things like that that our readers will appreciate,” Bierman explained.

The line contains 32 products, with price points ranging from $15 for the beverage tags to $249 for a solid brass bucket. “We’re mainly targeting women who want a beautiful and inviting home but can’t necessarily afford a top designer,” said Bierman. Items will be available on BallardDesigns.com starting April 27, and in Ballard Designs catalogs on May 2. A second Southern Living collection featuring holiday goods will launch in late September.

“Inspiration for all the products came from Southern Living editors,” said Ballard Designs president Ryan McKelvey, who began collaborating with Ballard’s product development staff a year ago. In addition helping with product design, Southern Living's editors also contributed content to promote the line online and in the Ballard catalog. Products will include Southern Living recipes and QR codes that link to videos of editors demonstrating them on Ballard Designs’ website. Plus, for each item within the catalog, Southern Living writers offer explanations of “why we love it” and tips on “more ways to use it.” Meanwhile, the magazine is planning to run ads for the line in its June issue, on newsstands May 25, and may even integrate the Ballard products into its own editorial content.