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Airstream Life, a quarterly full-color publication promoting the “joy of being an Airstreamer,” is being launched independently by Ferrisburg, Vt.-based Church Street Publications with the inaugural summer issue slated to be available in late June.
“This is an independent venture with no affiliation to Airstream,” said publisher Rich Luhr. “I am a long-time Airstream owner and came up with the idea for the magazine. I did approach Airstream, but they weren’t interested in a partnership.”
Airstream did, however, license the name to Luhr and is actively supportive of the project. “We have instituted a licensing program where we license the brand for various products,” said Tim Champ, director of marketing for Airstream Inc., a Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary based in Jackson Center, Ohio. “Rich came to us and we saw the magazine was a very good fit. A quarterly magazine wasn’t something that we had envisioned, but it has become a very valuable component to our overall marketing program.”
Luhr, 40, said content in the subscription-based magazine will be designed to “educate and entertain,” focusing on lifestyle with a mix of photography and articles that are a reflection of what he termed “the Airstream subculture.”
“There is a very distinct subculture with Airstream owners,” Luhr said, noting he owned a vintage 1968 Airstream Caravel. “Because of the longevity and history associated with the product, and also the sense of owning something unique, there is a particular measure of loyalty and community with Airstream owners.”
The independent Wally Byam Caravan Club International (WBCCI), a long-standing owners club, already taps into the Airstream community and publishes the Blue Beret magazine for its approximately 8,000 members. But Luhr is hoping to “broaden that audience,” citing statistics that show there are around 65,000 Airstream RVs traveling the highways today.
Marketing efforts, which have been primarily conducted over the publication’s website at www.airstreamlife.com and at RV rallies, began in early March. Luhr reported that initial feedback was “phenomenal,” and he anticipated 2,000 to 4,000 subscribers by the end of the year. Initially, the website was offering a full year subscription for $29, which would be upped to $32 after July 4.
“Realistically, I am looking at having around 10,000 subscribers,” he said, noting that he was also recruiting Airstream owners to participate editorially. “This is definitely a niche publication with a very targeted audience.”
Luhr established Church Street Publications in 1993 and has published several for-profit business-to-business newsletters. He said Airstream Life is his first magazine venture, and currently is his sole project.
“I decided that I wanted to create something that I was personally interested in,” he said. “I still RV extensively and truly enjoy the community that exists among Airstream owners. This is just a way to celebrate that lifestyle.”