This issue marks Allergic Living’s fifth anniversary. Yippee for us – and heartfelt thanks to all of you loyal readers. To be honest, back in the drawing board stages, before our first issue was published in May 2005, there were doubters. First, launching a magazine of any description had its risks. Were we, excuse the pun, nutsto launch an independent magazine? Publishing has become an industry fraught with high costs and Internet competition, with a scary track record of titles that haven’t made it.
Creating a magazine because you believe in the importance of its existence, and because you can identify a large, unserved audience are not guarantees of success. Nor is coming from several years as magazine professionals, as we did. Living with serious allergies certainly keeps the story ideas flowing, but they won’t pay bills, and even a solid business plan doesn’t make for a home run. When you don’t have government subsidies, you depend on two things: attracting a sufficient number of readers and advertisers. If you build it, you sure hope they’ll come. You work hard, you promote, but in the end, they gotta believe in your magazine.
Here’s where we have been so fortunate. Readers, from parents of kids with allergies and asthma to adults with allergies or celiac, have embraced Allergic Living magazine; they’ve understood it was aimed right at them, they’ve lauded it, thanked us profusely and repeatedly for it – and they’ve helped the magazine to grow. Readers have told schools, libraries, friends, neighbours and relatives about us. They’ve turned to Allergic Living for advocacy on issues such as air travel and allergies and begun lobbies for school accommodations on the forum at Allergicliving.com. Five years along, our relationship has become – not just magazine serving reader but – one of community. The core of our advertisers are also part of the community, they get our readers and what we mean to them. Hearty thanks for their support, which makes us able to say: yes, this idea of a health and lifestyle magazine for allergies is working.
In our five short years, it has been quite a ride. An allergist recently congratulated me on our 10th anniversary. I burst out laughing, and told him it “just feels like 10 years”. The topics we tackle, such as the Spring issue’s outstanding, 20-page section, “The Future of Allergies”, do take a ton of research. But of greater import has been the sense of gratification, the knowledge from letters and e-mails that our readers get so much out of this magazine. That makes every minute of work worthwhile.
When I speak at conferences or attend meetings, people come up to tell me about a favourite article and so often they’ll say: “I love the magazine, it makes me know that I’m not alone.” I also get asked, invariably by allergy moms: “can I give you a hug?” This still feels new: in other magazines and newspapers, no reader ever asked for hugs. To paraphrase Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own – “there’s no hugging in journalism.” But with Allergic Living there is hugging, and dammit, I like it and I get it. My readers live what I live.
So thank you so much to this community of friends. We share our fifth anniversary celebration with you, and we hope you will tell more people about Allergic Living. The more support we get, the more we can do. We look forward to serving you well in the years ahead. Keep letting us know what you think of “our” magazine.
Publisher Peter Wilmshurst and I extend congratulations on Allergic Living’s 5th anniversary to our great magazine team: Giselle Sabatini, Claire Gagné, Simon Clarke, Samantha Yaffe, Pamela Lee, Chris Gonzaga and Erin Stevenson. Special thanks to all our regular contributors and to our wonderful expert columnists: Dr. Wade Watson, Dr. Susan Waserman, Dr. Sandy Skotnicki-Grant, Shelley Case, Laurie Harada, Shauna James Ahern and Alisa Bar-Dayan. A champagne toast as well to our Allergicliving.com team: Travis Brown, technical director, and Susan Clemens, website moderator.