Damez Magalog Relies on Star Power

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Leveraging relationships with Hollywood celebrities was an important part of Kristi Kaylor's formula in launching the magalog Damez, which drops tomorrow.


The 60-page 2001 fall/holiday debut issue features celebrity interviews. Actress Drew Barrymore discusses her movie "Riding in Cars with Boys" while Kristin Davis of "Sex and the City" answers questions submitted at www.damezmag.com. There's also advertising and 150 products targeting college-age females, though recipients include women up to age 35.


"I looked at Alloy and Delia's and I thought they were quite brilliant, but I felt that I could expand them by including content and editorials along with fashion shoots with celebrities in which you can purchase the products," said Kaylor, president/CEO of Damez Media, Hermosa Beach, CA, who began outlining the book's business plan in March. "It's like a mixture of InStyle magazine and the Alloy catalog. I wanted to be Delia's' older sister. I wanted more than just cute boys and beauty tips."


The more serious elements include a first-person piece by Elisa Donovan of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" that begins, "My uncle died of AIDS when I was in junior high school." A "Girls Speak Out" section includes items dealing with child molestation and eating disorders.


There's no charge for the magalog, which had a print run of 250,000. Of those, 100,000 went to people who signed up after learning about the book through promotions and online campaigns. The rest will be distributed at stores and sororities nationwide.


Kaylor launched Voxxy.com, an online network for teen-age girls that uses actress Jennifer Aniston as a spokeswoman, two years ago. But her introduction to the entertainment industry began in the early 1990s when she produced a pilot for a reality TV show.


"Once you work with one celebrity, you gain their trust and you get friendly with their managers, agents and publicists," she said. "You hang out with these people. Your friends who were struggling actors are now stars."


Each issue will have a multi-page celebrity feature that mixes an interview with apparel for sale.


"We're providing the experience of telling the reader that they don't have to spend $3,000 for that outfit," Kaylor said.


Pages 29-34 feature Tangi Miller of the WB's "Felicity." Copy promotes T-shirts, jeans and other clothes. She's shown wearing a $72 black dress with copy that reads, "This dress we love! So does Tangi! Very vintage looking with clean simple style. Perfect for holiday parties to spy the perfect boy!"


The bottom of each page contains Damez's URL and a toll-free number to order. Pink butterflies with the message "order now" are sprinkled throughout the magalog, and an order form is included in the back of the book.


Kaylor's message to young women is that they can be beautiful and smart.


"Women will always shop, but women want to read about more than just shopping," she said. "And many of our readers in Middle America may not be able to get these products. In some small towns they might have just a Wal-Mart or basic stores in a mall."


The order form includes separate areas for the shipping address and the credit cardholder's address.


"We expect about 1 percent to buy, and our average order size will be $100 [from the first issue]," Kaylor said. "In our first year, we are hoping for $2 million from the sale of product and advertising. We raised venture capital to start Damez, and the goal is for advertising to cover overhead and production so that by the second year we are in the black. Six issues will be published in the first year."


Kaylor's buyer is already shopping for spring apparel for the February issue. Kaylor does not expect to be hurt by the sluggish economy.


"Girls always need to shop, and it's the holidays," she said. "Our products may be priced a few dollars above Alloy or delia's, but I think our price points are reasonable, and girls always need makeup and shoes for school."


Postage costs totaled 32 cents per piece, Kaylor said. The printer was Color Graphics, Los Angeles, and her creative director is Ophelia Chong.


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