Martha Stewart Redesigns Body + Soul

Body + Soul is getting a makeover with its May issue.

The magazine hits newsstands March 29 with an updated look. It is intent on entrenching itself as the editorial authority on natural living. The changes come just as circulation is up 26 percent to 275,000 from August 2004, when Martha Stewart Living bought the eight-times-a-year title.

“Our whole intent is to take it from a small book to a mass book,” said Lauren Stanich, president of publishing at Martha Stewart in New York.

Stanich oversees publications like company flagship Martha Stewart Living, Everyday Food, Martha Stewart Weddings and Kids as well as Body + Soul.

The redesign aligns the magazine with some of the signature elements common to the other sibling titles founded by Martha Stewart. There is inspirational how-to information with smarter graphics, instructive photography and a color palette unique to the magazine.

Also in the issue are three elements central to Body + Soul's attention to balanced fitness, healthy eating and home, rejuvenation, whole health and inner growth. First is an Action Plan section with goal-oriented stories on the whole living mantra. Next is Body + Soul columnists, including organic farmer MaryJane Butters and life-enrichment guru Cheryl Richardson. Finally, there is the new back section on practical ways to rejuvenate as well as a glossary of natural living.

The $4.99 magazine's paper stock also has been upgraded and the logo of Body + Soul switched to a more contemporary, cleaner look.

While ad sales at Martha Stewart Living suffered because of founder Martha Stewart's conviction and time spent in a federal prison, Body + Soul will have a 20 percent increase in display ad pages in its May issue versus the year-ago period. Among the new advertisers are spas like Rancho La Puerta, Country Life's Desert Essence and Miraval, plus food brand Terra Chips. Older advertisers include Gaiam, Kashi cereal and personal care brand Seventh Generation. A full-page ad costs $17,325.

The company, which also produces television shows and books, finds that the focus on mind, body and soul is becoming a bigger priority for women, particularly readers of Martha Stewart's titles.

Ninety percent of Body + Soul's circulation is subscription, though that is expected to drop in the coming months with a renewed push for newsstand sales. The readers are healthy-lifestyle-seeking, college-educated women with a median age of 44. The median annual household income is $80,000.

“Our editorial package is really unique in that we cover all aspects of the natural lifestyle,” said Body + Soul publisher Janesse Bruce. “We believe that women are looking for the whole package.”

In no way will the new Body + Soul shy away from its ties to its brand heritage. The masthead for the newsstand copies will boldly mention the magazine is “From the publishers of Martha Stewart Living.”

“We want to entice readers from our other magazines to also try Body + Soul,” Stanich said.

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