Darling is an empowering, classy, and uplifting new-wave media company for millennials that broadens the definition of beauty and seeks to instill purpose and character into women’s lives. Darling embraces women of different ethnicities and body types, and as such, none of its photographs are retouched to alter faces or bodies. The company aims to fill a niche in an influential market where there are too few identifiable brands for the millennial demographic that seek all-inclusive and meaningful content.
Darling produces a quarterly print women’s magazine focused on the empowerment of women. Darling Magazine was launched in May 2012 after raising funds via a Kickstarter campaign for its first print issue. Since the launch, Darling Magazine has published 19 issues, including digital copies, and has built a strong membership base with print circulation having increased at an average rate of 57% per year from 2012 to 2016.
Darling Magazine includes articles about self-empowerment, self-improvement, career, relationships, style, and travel. It also includes interviews, features, and stories from a pool of selected creative contributors and celebrities.
In addition to the print magazine, Darling has four other verticals: Darling Studios, DarlingMagazine.org, @Darling, and Darling Events.
• Darling Studios: A Studios division with a slate of custom creative shows expanding on the art of being a woman and are promoted across the digital space.
• DarlingMagazine.org: A website with relevant, deep, and authentic content for millennial women; digital copies of the magazine are also available through the website
• @Darling: Social media platform that promotes a broad definition of “beauty”
• Darling Events: National events, dinners, and retreats to bring the Darling message to life
Darling’s mission is to be a catalyst for positive change; leading women to discover beauty apart from vanity, influence apart from manipulation, style apart from materialism, sweetness apart from passivity, and womanhood without degradation.
“Darling is… the art of being a woman. Darling holds the modern mold of women up to the fire to evoke a discussion on femininity and re-shape an authentic design. Darling is a catalyst for positive change; leading women to discover beauty apart from vanity, influence apart from manipulation, style apart from materialism, sweetness apart from passivity, and womanhood without degradation. Darling leads women to practice the arts of virtue, wit, modesty, and wisdom – all while creating beauty and embodying love. Darling says women are not only interesting, but original, not only good enough, but exceptional – not just here, but here for a purpose.”
Darling is launching a Studios division in 2017 with a schedule of custom, creative shows that expand on “the art of being a woman” and will be promoted across its digital platform. Studios will give existing Darling readers, followers, and new fans alike more of the authentic, high-quality content on which the publication has been built. It will be comprised of original programming, with a variety of talent, influencers, and brands producing shows focused on love, beauty, adventure, culture, fashion, and more.
• #SQUAD (10 episodes, 22 min. each): An unscripted documentary series that follows five fabulous and influential women around the world as they explore relevant issues that millennial women face today.
• Darling Daily (200 episodes, 12 min. each): A pre-taped daily variety series covering a broad range of topics and issues that matter to millennial women. The fast-paced four-woman show will include catchy mobile-friendly segments featuring celebrity and musical guests.
• Edition (48 episodes, 5 min. each): A video magazine with in-depth features and behind the scenes view of Darling’s quarterly print publication. Each video magazine will include a minimum of 12 weekly episodes that will lead up to and follow each Darling Magazine quarterly release.
• ABCD – Anything Boys Can Do (10 episodes, 22 min. each): A show featuring adventurous women who push the boundaries of what the world thinks women can do. Each episode begins with a hidden camera “con” where unsuspecting men are pitted against undercover world class female athletes and pros that comedically challenge gender gap biases.
• Staples (12 episodes, 15 min. each): A seasonal show that highlights affordable fashion pieces that can transform a woman’s wardrobe.
• Adulting (52 episodes, 5 min. each): An engaging re-imagination of the home economics classes of yesteryear, featuring comedic hosts that stumble into great tips, tricks, and hacks on how to “adult.”
• Busted (26 episodes, 15 min. each): A show that will explore and expose popular beauty myths and provide easy, healthy alternatives.
• Aware (26 episodes, 15 min. each): A show featuring award-winning female journalists, leaders, and celebrity activists. Aware will frame challenging global issues that women face around the world in an engaging and participatory format for Millennial audiences.
• Happyest (10 episodes, 22 min. each): A show that explores the different definitions of joy around the world. Featuring wisdom from authors, experts, and spiritual leaders, Happyest will provide a personal and practical guide to lasting happiness.
• Pioneers (13 episodes, 22 min. each): A show that reveals the untold stories of powerful influential women, who they are, where they came from, and how they got to where they are today.
• National retailers including Whole Foods and Barnes & Noble as well as more than 400 other boutiques and specialty stores carry Darling Magazine
• In Q1 2017, Darling generated nearly $417,000 ─ its best quarter to date ─ up roughly 46% from Q1 2016
• Over 350,000 social media followers, which is growing at an average rate of 5,000 new followers per month
• On Instagram, there are over 10 million photos tagged with the hashtags #thatsdarling and #darlingmovement
• Advertising campaigns with brands such as Aerie, LuisaViaRoma, Madewell (J. Crew), and CB2
Darling plans to use proceeds to scale its vertical market segments to compete with the large players in the women’s media industry that already have full-time specialized staff.
Darling’s growth strategy in each of its verticals involves the following:
• Darling Magazine: License deals to position Darling Magazine in international markets; expand into UK, Scandinavia, and Australia, as well as translate versions for Japan, Korea, and China
• Darlingmagazine.org: Expand website as a premiere destination for women to compete with other major women’s digital publishers
• @Darling Social Media: Grow and monetize Darling’s social media channels
• Darling Events: Increase partnerships with large brands for sponsored events, establish an annual Darling Conference, and expand Darling Retreats
• Darling Studios: Develop Darling-branded digital and TV content
Print copies of the Darling Magazine retail for $20. Digital copies of the magazine cost $4.99. A one-year, four-issue print subscription costs $60, and includes access to all prior digital issues.
Additionally, Darling monetizes its platform through advertiser campaigns across multiple verticals. The digital platform occasionally uses affiliate marketing links and receives a commission based upon sales made from the links.
Darling is experiencing growth across several verticals. The Darling magazine has a readership of over 40,000. Circulation for the print magazine has increased at an average rate of 57% per year from 2012 to 2016. The magazine’s demographic is 91% female, 61% single, and 65% young adults (between ages 21-40). National retailers including Whole Foods, Anthropologie, and Barnes & Noble as well as more than 400 other boutiques and specialty stores. Darling Magazine is also available through retailers in Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand.
Darling has more than 350,000 social media followers, which is growing at an average rate of 5,000 new followers per month. On Instagram, there are over 10 million photos tagged with the hashtags #thatsdarling and #darlingmovement.
In addition, Darling has gained the attention of major news outlets. Darling has been the subject of a CNN feature story as well as an NBC News spotlight segment, and was recently featured in Fast Company.
Darling has run advertising campaigns with recognizable brands and companies such as Aerie, LuisViaRoma, Madewell, CB2, and several others.
American Eagle has worked with Darling to promote its real-beauty brand Aerie. Similarly, J.Crew has marketed its Madewell brand through Darling.
Sarah Dubbeldam Co-Founder, Editor in Chief, and Creative Director
Sarah has a background that includes more than seven years of experience as a professional model and actress with Wilhelmina, a top agency in Los Angeles. She has modeled in national campaigns for Target, InStyle Magazine, Budweiser, and many more. In this industry, she found a passion to broaden the idea of “beauty” and has now brought her extensive knowledge of photo shoots to Darling ─ creating a magazine that does not retouch women’s bodies or skin and is a cultural leader in representation of all sizes of women. Sarah has been interviewed on outlets such as CNN, NBC, Refinery 29, and Huffington Post, and speaks nationally on the movement of Darling.
Steve Dubbeldam Co-founder, CEO, and Brand Director
Over the last ten years, Steve has founded six brands in the fashion, publishing, digital, and experiential design industries in partnership with international brands such as Hudson Jeans and large digital platforms such as Uncrate.com. His brands have been featured in GQ, Details, Nylon Magazine, Vogue, Seventeen, and many more. Steve has a background in building consumer brands with loyal and passionate followers, implementing disruptive and innovative marketing campaigns, and foreseeing new opportunities in the market.
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