Builder and Developer saw its first publication in 1990 and for 25 years has continued to deliver insightful coverage of the housing industry
By Nick Slevin
Back in 1990 I had been in the magazine business for about five years, working in the advertising departments of a number of titles, initially in Dublin, then London. I moved to the States and continued working in the magazine business until I took a position with The Southern California Builder, The BIA SC publication. I made a mental note in my then 25-year-old brain that there was room for improvement in terms of builder media—in my humble opinion. I managed to convince my friend Stuart Cochrane, a media man himself from the outdoor business, to back the magazine, and so Builder and Developer was born on the coffee table of the Newport Beach apartment I shared with three Kiwi mates from the local rugby club. My roommates, a CPA, a lawyer and an engineer, would get up every day and head out the door to work. I would put on my coat and tie and head for the coffee table and a day on the phone. One of the first investments we made was a membership in the Orange County BIA, where I soon became a fixture at monthly meetings and on various committees. The savings and loan crises were front-page news. The industry was in decline. We were at war in Iraq. The economy was slowing. Best time to launch a new magazine business, born in the crucible of adversity— anything becomes possible.
By mid-1992, after publishing the first 14 or so issues of the magazine and feeling cautiously optimistic, we took an office in the Cannery Village in Newport Beach, hired 2 editors and put our sign over the door. We were being awarded consistent advertising business and developing a loyal group of contributors from within the building industry. Circulation grew and we expanded our coverage of the California home building industry to include Nevada and Arizona, followed a year later by Oregon, Washington and the Pacific Northwest. A year later we added New Mexico and the great state of Texas. We joined BIA andHBA chapters in the areas we expanded our reach into and provided subscriptions to members. Builder and Developer joined AIA and later, ULI. The magazine continued exhibiting at IBS, PCBC, mid-West Builders show and others, gathering subscribers, promoting and growing the brand a little bit at a time. All the while we reported on the business of home building. Showcasing builders and their successful projects, sharing ideas and innovations from consultants, architects, engineers, sales analysts, interior designers, trade contractors and politicians.
In May 1996 and just shortly after Vice President Gore invented the interweb, www. bdmag.com was among the first industry websites in the then pre-dot boom online. Now each title has its own web site and the e-newsletter www.builderbytes.com goes out three days a week, too. Like most media companies, we found our feet on the Internet and continue to channel our original content via our online portals, social media pages and print. After nine years we began to feel comfortable enough to roll out additional titles: OPTIONS For Today’s Fine Homes, covering the new home options and upgrades market and featuring high end, move up homes and impressive interior design came first. 50+BUILDER, Residential Contractor and Green Home Builder soon joined the roster of U.S. Home building industry titles. Circulation increased to cover the entire U.S. home building industry across the country. We named the parent company Peninsula Publishing to honor the famous Newport Beach Peninsula where the business was created. In 2007 we successfully produced a niche, boutique trade conference in Long Beach, Calif. Homex catered to senior home building management and drew just short of 2,000 attendees.
We endured the downturn and continued publishing print and digital magazines for homebuilders fortunate enough to have survived the economic crisis. Green Home Builder magazine teamed up with our friends at Southern California Edison and The Southern California Gas Company to create and develop The ABC Green Home Project; a series of affordable, buildable and certified green Zero Net Energy demonstration homes, built with Habitat For Humanity, to benefit U.S. Veterans. We continue to use our advertiser’s building materials and with the helps of our friends at The KTGY Group Architects and Planners and more recently, Danielian Associates, have designed and created these homes to showcases best practices in modern American home building, featuring attractive sustainable design, construction and technology.
The ride continues. I am still madly in love with the magazine and media business and crazy about Builder and Developer, our flagship magazine that started it all 25 years ago this month. I want to thank all of our loyal advertisers, without whom these 287 B&D magazines would not have come to life. Please support the fine businesses whose messages grace our pages each month. Our hard working subscribers, the men and women of the American Home building industry, who inspire this magazine and all of the staff who work here—thank you folks for the great work you do building wonderful homes for American families and for allowing me to share the dream within these pages.
And lastly, let me just say how grateful I am. Only in America can a young Irishman off the boat from Dublin have an idea and with effort and a lot of help along the way turn a dream into a wonderful business.
Here’s to the next 25 years.
Nick Slevin is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Builder and Developer magazine. He may be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.