November 16, 2010

Ripple Effect: 'Attitude of Gratitude' propels magazine launch

Kim Wierman, left, and Cheryl Nordyke have launched a free online “good news” magazine
 which they hope will bring awareness and support to charitable causes while making the world a better place.
 
By CAROL ROBIDOUX
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Like all good road trips, even a journey of self discovery can be full of unexpected pit stops and detours.
So yes, Cheryl Nordyke and Kim Wierman have changed course a little in the past year, from jewelry designers to online magazine publishers. But their
 destination remains the same: Getting to a better place with their “attitude of gratitude” intact.
Only this time, they’re hoping to bring as many people with them as possible along the way.
Last year the two friends launched Waves of Gratitude, a jewelry line featuring cypress trees and ocean waves as symbols of strength, persistence and resil
ience. Former co-workers at a software company, their friendship solidified after the company downsized and they became a pair of out-of-work moms. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they turned their attention to thanking the universe for a much-needed break from the daily grind. 
Three weeks after Wierman lost her job, her husband died. 
Buoyed by the power of positivity and friendship, Wierman and Nordyke set out to reinvent themselves, taking stock in the things that really mattered — their families and other primary relationships — while peeling back the layers of superficial and unnecessary distractions in their lives. 
As they set out to market their jewelry line, they found themselves connecting with organizations and people who shared their positive outlook on life. Their daily blogs about gratitude resulted in a growing fan base of supporters who appreciated their philosophical approach to life, and marketing. 
“Honestly, we’ve given away as much jewelry as we’ve sold,” said Nordyke. “And while we still believe the jewelry line was an important part of our journey, it was really what led us to the magazine, which allows us to really spread the word about all the positive power of the universe.” 
Their virtual publication is called A Positive Ripple Effect, a free online magazine marketed exclusively through social media. In the week since launching the premiere issue, their circulation has tripled, from 350 to well over 1,000 online readers. 
“The jewelry was something we created to remind us of how to think about our lives. The magazine was the result of all the wonderful organizations we found through our Waves of Gratitude Facebook,” said Nordyke. 
After investing in software to create the magazine, Nordyke and Wierman sought a dozen contributors from the pool of good people doing good work they’d encountered and admired. 
The resulting bi-monthly 70-page publication provides readers with stories of hope and inspiration that are also instructive. 
“There are other publications out there that focus on good news, but many of them cost money. We thought if we gave something back by doing this for free, investing our own time and efforts, hopefully other people would be willing to pay it forward by taking what they would have spent on a subscription and, instead, making a small donation to one of the featured organizations in the magazine,” said Nordyke. 
Their first featured “Positive Ripple Renegade” charity is Vitamin Angels, a national organization that was launched to help people suffering from malnutrition following a California earthquake in 1994. 
“If we have 1,000 readers, and each one of those is willing to give up their $10 lunch at a restaurant and instead, donate it to an organization like Vitamin Angels, we’d raise $10,000 for that organization,” said Nordyke. 
Contributors agree to distribute the magazine through their individual social networks, spreading the word and multiplying the number of fans, which in turn, will pass along the feel-good magazine through the interlocking tentacles of online connections. 
“Our goal with the magazine was to create a positive pipeline to share stories and information with people — something to balance all the negativity of the world,” said Nordyke. “Eventually we’d like it to be monthly, and we’d love it to be our fulltime jobs.” 
After much of their original seed money for the jewelry business was spent on hiring an advertising firm that did not produce results, the women set about marketing their jewelry line on their own, with some success. While Nordyke continues to work from home as a consultant, Wierman is rejoining the workforce to sustain her family and their joint business while the two women work toward building a business plan for the magazine. 
Finding a buyer for the jewelry line, which they would like to see become a “touchstone” line – jewelry that represents important milestones in other people’s lives, such as the Lance Armstrong Livestrong bracelets — is part of the plan. 
“There’s a point in life, especially with baby boomers, where we realize it has to be about more than where we worked or how much we made; it has to be about making a difference,” said Nordyke. 
“I don’t know how the world would operate without all these people who are positive in a world doing what they do, to balance all the negativity. But we hope the name of magazine is what A Positive Ripple Effect becomes for other people,” said Nordyke. ” 

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