11 Questions for Nikki Wood

Nikki Wood

To celebrate our 10-year anniversary, we put Marin Magazine publisher Nikki Wood on the other side of the interview desk. Our readers have become familiar with her husband Jim’s POV editorial column through the years, but we thought it would be fun to learn a bit about the woman behind the magazine. No strangers to publishing, Nikki and Jim founded Coast Magazine in Orange County and operated it for 10 years before selling that publication and landing in Tiburon in 2002. Within two years they were back at it, holed up at this magazine’s Sausalito headquarters, deciding on fonts and cover lines.

1. Is there a secret to your success? In publishing a regional magazine, I believe the secret is to create a magazine that readers engage with and feel connected to. If you do that, everything else falls into place.

2. Why a print magazine? Print gives you an opportunity for lasting creative expression. The decisions that are made to produce a magazine are final — the copy, the images, editing, proofing and the layout. Once a magazine is printed, it’s cast in stone. That’s the beauty and the challenge. If it’s done well, it is very satisfying. And if it’s not, there’s another opportunity the next month to get it right.

3. Does one have to be crazy to start not one but two print magazines in one lifetime given the challenges facing some print media today? In some ways ignorance is bliss; with Coast we were younger and oblivious to the challenges. We started as a community newspaper, which evolved over the years to a glossy, perfect-bound magazine. Some may have thought we were crazy to start Coast when we knew nothing about publishing, but when we moved to Marin, we saw a real opportunity. There was no regional magazine here at the time; we missed publishing and believed we had a successful formula.

4. What is the hardest thing about launching a new magazine? As an unknown entity, selling the concept to the first advertisers. We were fortunate to have the expertise of our former business partner, Lisa Shanower. As the editorial team was busy producing content, she and her team were selling advertising using a prototype we had created at RAM Print in Mill Valley. I’m proud to say some of those original advertisers are still with us.

5. What has changed in publishing since you started Coast Magazine? Digital editions. Twenty years ago, the Internet was just coming into existence; we had no idea how it would give us such unique opportunities for growth and expression. Now, you can read almost any magazine, including Marin Magazine, in a digital format.

6. Are you on social media? I’m not so much, but the magazine is very active with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google Plus.

7. Favorite magazines? Yes, many. I love magazines. My favorites are New York magazine, Fast Company and Vanity Fair (great on a long airplane trip).

8. Any tips for working with family? It’s been great working with my daughter, Mimi, and my husband, Jim, for the past 10 years; it’s truly a gift to be able to create something together that has value and meaning. My advice would be to treat each other as you would any other staff member while “on the job.”

9. What’s your favorite drink and where do you like to drink it? A really good glass of chardonnay on our deck at home in Tiburon, or on the veranda at Cavallo Point.

10. Favorite lunch spot around the Sausalito office? Louie’s Deli.

11. Are you happy with Marin Magazine’s growth and progress during its 10 years? I am very proud of what our team has created. We have the best staff ever and most have been with us for many years. Both the editorial and sales departments have worked together to make the magazine what it is today.