Meet Laine, the indie magazine that only sells through stockists
“It's quite unusual but, for us, necessary. We're excited to see how things will evolve now that we will sell directly to customers as well.”
Laine is a “nordic knit life” magazine from Finland. Until now, the magazine has only been sold through their network of stockists around the world, rather than selling issues from the Laine website.
This, in the indie magazine world, is not a common path, as publishers typically first sell directly to customers, then move to stockists as a secondary sales step.
My sister, a knitwear designer currently based in the US, recently featured in the magazine, which brought Laine back to my attention (the small indie scene in Finland is always on my radar due to family ties).
I sent co-founder and editor, Sini Ellen, a DM on Instagram to find out more about Laine's unusual commerce path, with the team reaching a seventh issue without selling a single magazine themselves.
Dan R: I noticed you don’t sell the magazine from your website. Can I ask why that is?
Sini E: Yes, that’s correct. Until now, that has been due to limited resources. We used to be only two [people] working at Laine, then three and now four since this spring. Handling customer orders just wasn’t possible for us before. We will, however, open our own online shop [soon] through which we will sell back issues and our own products. Later this year, we will also start to sell yearly subscriptions.
DR: How did you go about getting stocked in shops from with your first issue, with no previous issues to go by?
SE: We owe a lot to Instagram! That was and still is our only marketing channel (we haven’t bought any ads on IG either, we've just been posting one photo a day). We created our account in July 2016 and started to build the hype. By the time the magazine was closer to its release, we had many shops who wanted to stock us.
We have never offered Laine to anybody, so it has always been the customer who has asked for them. So in our case, it has been about solid branding from day one.
DR: Now, as you move to selling magazines yourselves, what kinds of hurdles are you coming across?
SE: Well, for us it’s mainly about resources, meaning having someone have the time for taking and coordinating orders, sending the orders plus handling the online shop customer care.
Also, with subscriptions, keeping track of them and also sending renewal reminders is something we have to look into. That all needs careful planning but we are happy to finally take the step.
You will soon be able to buy Laine from lainemagazine.com (check out the stockists page for now) 🧶