Many media brands are increasing brand awareness via totes bearing their name, especially as they look at ways to make money outside of traditional advertising revenues.
Now, Air Mail, Graydon Carter’s Saturday-morning blend of digital news focusing on the arts, culture, travel and intriguing individuals, is jumping on the bandwagon as it dives deeper into e-commerce territory.
On Saturday, it’s launching 100 limited-edition, hand-numbered, hand-printed totes featuring an original print by Air Mail contributor and artist Donald Robertson in collaboration with New York-based brand Kule.
The oversize totes will be available on Kule.com, as well as Air Mail’s e-commerce site Air Supply and will retail for $248 with a percentage of the proceeds going to Elephant Family, a nonprofit committed to nature conservation.
“[Donald Robertson] is a personal friend of Graydon Carter and he is part of the Air Mail family. They brought all of this to us. They had it all lined up and when they presented it I could not say no,” Kule founder Nikki Kule said, adding that the whole process took around six months.
Kule has worked on clothing collaborations before, but this is the first time it has collaborated on totes, as well as with a media brand. “I’m excited to be in touch with that audience, as well and for them to be introduced to our brand through his limited-edition tote,” said Kule.
As for Air Mail, since its launch in 2019, e-commerce has become an increasingly important part of the business and unlike Air Mail, Air Supply, which features curated products across men’s and women’s fashion, books, tech, home and automotive, does not have a paywall.
David Foxley, executive editor of Air Mail and head of Air Supply, said: “The traction’s been incredible. We’ve really been surprised in a very good way by the reception. Of course, Air Supply, unlike Air Mail, isn’t behind a paywall so a lot of the visitors to Air Supply aren’t necessarily our readers. They come to us organically through other means and then end up falling in love with Air Mail fortunately. The response has been really great.”
Air Mail has had one prior product collab, when it teamed up with shoemaker Stubbs and Wootton on a limited-edition collection of footwear.
On its latest collab, Foxley added that Kule is a very young and hip brand, but also has this “sort of old-world aesthetic that really marries well with Air Mail’s direction for design so it just felt like a natural fit from the beginning.”
Earlier this year, a rep for Air Mail told WWD that the title’s subscription revenue was up over 183 percent in the first quarter of 2021 compared to a year ago and that advertising revenue was up over 50 percent (Air Mail has one advertiser per issue). She concluded that it’s not yet profitable, but the hope is that it will be in about three years.
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