Custom Fan Magazines – Zine Pak

zine pakKim Kaupe and Brittany Hodak took the old fan magazine (Fanzine) concept into the new millennium with Zine Pak (pronounced ZEEN PACK). The women are New York advertising execs who've taken an idea and executed it perfectly. The describe Zine Pak as an “audience engagement platform.” Basically, they put together a custom, glossy magazine for a celebrity then create and curate additional content to go along with it.

Kim and Brittany aren't just pitching a concept either, they've sold millions of dollars worth of Zine Paks for stars like Katy Perry, Justin Beiber, and Taylor Swift. Katy Perry's Zine Pak, did BIG business at Walmart and included a proprietary, collectible CD inside the glossy magazine. Their staff writes original content, with the celebrity's input, for each Zine Pak they produce.

Zine Pak can also make packages for sports stars, special events, TV Shows, movies, even corporations. Their mantra is getting fans or customers of a branded personality or entity further engaged; they want them to buy their product, too. They seem like a business that has a monopoly on a niche, and a profitable one a that. They likely want a Shark to help them leverage the Shark Tank effect to get more business.

My take on Zine Pak

I have five kids and seen many fads, teen idols, and other consumer based products come and go. Whoever produces this stuff makes a lot of money because dads like me will drop a few bucks so their kid can have “the latest.” We live in a society where pop culture is big business and the Zine Pak gals have successfully harnessed a way to deliver pop culture in a time-tested way – with a 21st century twist.

What Zine Pak does isn't new. In 1977, I sent some money in an envelope to an address on the back of a KISS album and became a member of the KISS Army. I recall receiving a package with stickers, posters, a membership card, and a KISS Army magazine. I also got a letter with tour dates periodically. In 1977, the KISS Army was doing what Zine Pak does today – giving die-hard fans a little something extra.

Like many other things these days, even fan magazines and fan clubs are outsourced and Zine Pak is the leader in that business. I probably won't rush out to buy a Taylor Swift Zine Pak, but my daughter would – just like dad did nearly 40 years ago! I may not be a customer, but I am the parent of one.

Will Sharks be Fans?

I'll bet each Shark gets a custom Zine Pak on show night. Whether that wins them over remains to be seen. The Sharks will LOVE Zine Pak's sales numbers, but will they consider it an invest-able business? I don't necessarily have an issue with the business, but the product is mainly an intellectual property play. Zine Pak needs willing celebrities with large followings to conduct their business.

Basing a business on intellectual property is not a bad idea, as Kim and Brittany proved, but it might be hard for the Sharks to get on board. The one thing the Sharks can provide, besides money, is access to celebrities. If each Shark can bring 2-4 celebrities on board, Zine Pak could quadruple their sales. With Robert's recent splash on Dancing with the Stars, he could have a marketable Zine Pak of his own.

If this business gets a deal, the money will be secondary. Zine Pak is a business looking for the cache and power of the Shark Tank effect.

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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