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Publishing Futon Life - From the Start

Publishers Forum
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Joe Tatulli

First Ten years isn't a very long time,

but in this case I am taking the liberty of calling it a milestone. When Futon Life began I was personally in a bit of a predicament. Suffice it to say that stability wasn't the earmark of my day to day routine. But, as I have been known to say, the grace of God took over and today this small quarterly stands ready to report on, educate about, and hopefully sell futon furniture to retailers eager to reap the benefits of this still growing home furnishings category.

Several people stand out in my mind as major forces that helped me make the decision to start the magazine as an independent publication. Prior to leaving (the then) FANA (Futon Association of North America, now FAI) I had contemplated trying to move the Association towards a broader based, national newsletter that would go to members and non-members alike. My desire to reach out to this broader base was probably the catalyst that caused the FANA Board to replace me with the very capable Debra Austin. They appreciated my zeal but chose a safer course for their group. Back in Rhode Island I debated my future. A friend, Ray Lannon, and several other associates and mentors encouraged me to do what I had wanted to do anyway, start a national publication. I set out and began to work on the first issue of Futon Life. Back then, with little or no computer knowledge, the process was radically different than it is today. Everything was done in the "traditional" way. Type was set in galleys, photos were turned into veloxes or paper halftones, and the entire book was put together by hand. Alton (Al) Arruda was my first printer. In fact Al had shown me how to do basic paste-up two years earlier. The first printing was only several thousand copies and we labeled them by hand. The following few issues were hand labeled by teams of people including my mom, dad, sister and friends.

When we got up to twelve to fifteen thousand copies, three years later, and as we began to use the four-color process for printing, we decided we would have to change printers. (By the way Al Arruda still does a considerable amount of printing for us.) Enter Joe and Fran Lewis and Lewis Graphics. Joe brought us up to the next level and was soon printing the entire book with the four color process. Joe also helped me with some business decisions I had to make and is also still doing a lot of printing for us.

It was at this time that I joined into a partnership with Dale Read and Dave Purdy. Both of these men helped keep the magazine on a steady course. Dale, Dave and I continue in our partnership, growing our publishing business and expanding our horizons in several other directions.

Futon Life continued to grow and as we began to print twenty-two to twenty-six thousand copies of the book we went with a web printer, Editor's Press and John Battista, who could print and mail the magazine from one location. Finally no more hand labeling. Betty and LeRoy Roth, two very good friends of ours, would no longer have to have their house and garage filled with boxes and hundreds of mail bags full of sorted magazines. And I would no longer have to borrow Jack Chiarini's pick-up truck to take all the bags to the Post Office. Also, and perhaps most importantly, I married Sharon in 1992. Her wisdom and unwavering support have been an incredible stabilizing force in my life and her proofing skills have cut typos to an all time low. (Thanks, Honey, and thanks to all!)

Many other people lent a helping hand along the way with advice and encouragement. Advertisers fuel the fire and Futon Life continues to pump out one of the best little niche magazines in the home futon furnishings industry, or any industry for that matter. The following is a year by year retrospective of futon furniture highlights and other interesting things that happened to us all in the past ten years of our "Futon" life.

follow the next page for most memorable highlights

Spring 1998
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+ Special Feature
+ The Road Not Taken
+ Industry Updates
+ Business to Business
+ Surveys and Studies
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