It’s the end of June already and Pride is here in the Twin Cities. June 23rd marked my two-year anniversary as Managing Editor at Lavender Media and I love celebrating it with a huge party. Documenting and covering the goings-on of this community is an extremely rewarding vocation and there’s no time better than Pride to really feel both the challenge and the jackpot of what we do here at Lavender. Some of you are new to the readership, having joined us during the marriage equality coverage or after picking up the Pride Issue. Others have been with us since the beginning in 1995. Now seems like a good time to offer a little orientation into what Lavender is, a refresher of sorts.
Lavender is an independently published magazine for the GLBT community in Minnesota and surrounding states, as well as on the internet which serves a global audience. The umbrella of Lavender Media covers Lavender Magazine which is a glossy magazine and published every two weeks; the online magazine which is available via the internet as well as Newsstand for iPads and iPhones; the website at www.LavenderMagazine.com; podcasts including “Elevating the Everyday with Ross Sveback” and “Big Gay News;” and the Big Gay News news feed which just blew past 53,000 followers on Twitter. We’re small and busy with a big reach.
What’s better is that Lavender is free and can also be accessed anonymously. People can casually pick one up at one of the hundreds of distribution sites in Minnesota or access it online from the comfort of their electronic devices. Depending upon whether a person is out of the closet or not, this can be an important facet in having an outlet to the greater GLBT community. Also, the fact that it’s free is crucial in making it accessible for a community that changes from day to day.
What keeps it free are our advertisers. Lavender’s mission is to connect our readers to what’s going on in the GLBT community, and to connect the GLBT community with our advertisers. That’s what enables the rest of the publication to happen. Lavender has been supported by this community since 1995 and Lavender has succeeded with a solid business model–we don’t publish more than is paid for. And, the companies that advertise with what is still considered a “special interest” publication get plenty of kudos for doing so–as do you. We’re grateful that you patronize the advertisers in our pages which is why they continue to advertise with us. It’s a harmonious symbiotic relationship.
I was thinking of a pretty solid analogy for what Lavender is, and a coffee shop came to mind.
If we were a coffee shop, you could sit in our incongruously situated location in a former Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses at 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis and enjoy the free coffee and pastries we’re serving. Our clientele is queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, straight, questioning, and everything in between…young and old, in the closet and out. What we offer–coffee and pastries with some special events and shows–tends to be mostly locally sourced with some national and global varieties available as well. Everything is free, thanks to our advertisers. We’ve got open mic night and sometimes get political which means that some people love the debates and some people avoid them. Likewise, some of the brews are not tastes that fit everyone’s palate, but that’s why we try to offer as many as we can.
Our inventory changes every two weeks so there’s sure to be something new to taste with regularity–26 rotating menus a year–always including what will be of interest to the GLBT community. Our calendar is set to attract people to specific topics so that we can continue to provide readers with free coffee and pastries as well as to match people up with advertisers who can provide them with products or services they’d like to buy. When we have specials like the Wedding Issue and Pride Issue, we have more advertising that pays for more goodies for everyone to enjoy–special guests are brought in and we serve a greater variety of flavors, and we have plans to expand the specials to be more frequent with more variety.
The clientele is diverse and we like to leave a suggestion box out there for input. We’ve got a calendar of events online that serves as our bulletin board where anyone can post any of their events that are of interest to the community for free. And, our Facebook page is a place where we highlight special features or events as well as take feedback and respond to some questions. Our owner is onsite, I guess I’d be the manager, and a small crew of dedicated people make this place work and produce what we present to you with pride.
Unlike most coffee shops, Lavender is always open–24 hours a day, 7 days a week–providing the GLBT community with dedicated and safe space for discussion, food for thought, and flavors to suit a great number of tastes.
So, welcome to Lavender. Or, if you’ve been here before, thank you for your continued patronage.
I hope to see you at Pride.