A Magazine All About You

Low prices + high quality = how does LifetimesMAG do it?

10 October 2017

The Scribbler heard that the LifetimesMAG team had a whale of a time at the recent National Wedding Shows at London Olympia and the NEC in Birmingham.

They were thrilled to meet dozens upon dozens of new customers – with whom we’re really looking forward to providing an incredible keepsake that they will truly treasure – as well as countless friendly folk who love the idea of a LifetimesMAG and we hope to hear from in the future.

However, The Scribbler heard that there was one question that kept cropping up again and again when the team explained that prices start at just £129 and you can place an order, for example, for 40 copies of a 12-page magazine for just £199…

“How is the price so reasonable?”

For anyone who has organised a wedding, finding something that is amazing value for money is a rare treat.

Of course, when someone sees a LifetimesMAG in the flesh – with beautifully-scripted articles and sparkling images in a stunning design – it will only inspire confidence about the quality.

And it is worth remembering that we create LifetimesMAGs for all of the occasions below, meaning we do not have the wedding ‘premium’ on the price that you might find with some other suppliers.

-          Weddings

-          Anniversaries

-          Birthdays

-          Retirements

-          College/graduations

-          Naming ceremonies (Christenings, Baptisms, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs etc.)

-          Memory Mag (This can include anything from a life memoir to a hen or stag do to a chronicle of a trip of a lifetime)

However, for those who were not at the shows and have therefore not had the opportunity to flick through the glorious silk pages of a stunning personalised LifetimesMAG and imagine their own special occasion captured on those pages, it is easy to see why there might be questions about the production process and the level of work that goes into making each magazine.

After all, the team repeatedly heard at the show that they would have expected the prices for the service to be at least £600 to £700. Starting at £129, are the prices too good to be true? 

The short answer is: NO!

Rest assured that each LifetimesMAG is a labour of love for our team, we feel privileged to work on every single one and we simply want to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible for every customer to get their hands on their own amazing magazine.

So, this is how each LifetimesMAG is created...

For the customer, it is an easy five-step process that in itself is enjoyable as the individuals involved relive the memories of the special occasion before getting the thrill of seeing their big day in print:

1)     Select the style and package for your occasion.

2)     Place the order and receive a unique code, which can be shared with friends and family.

3)     Use the code to answer questions (tailored for the occasion and the different contributors) on our website.

4)     Email us all of the pictures you’d like to see in the magazine.

5)     Check out the magazine pages when they are emailed over two weeks later, suggest any alterations and then approve the magazine for printing.

That’s it! The customer receives the hard copies within 15 days of approval.

However, a huge amount of work from the LifetimesMAG team is put into every single order, ensuring that each magazine that rolls off the production line is crafted to perfection.

Whereas it’s an easy five-step process for the customer, it is an extraordinary 21-stage process for our team to create a magazine of memories that will last a lifetime.

Here is our production process for EVERY SINGLE LifetimesMAG order. Take a deep breath… 

1)     One of our writers receives the customer’s answers to questions about the occasion and then carefully sifts through the various comments, not just by the person or people at the heart of the day, but also up to eight family members and friends.

2)     The writer pulls the key snippets of information out of the answers to create the ‘roll of honour’ on the back page.

3)     The writer then creates what we call a ‘structure plan’ for the magazine, deciding on which stories are so good they should be prioritised and amplified, as well as the key themes of the occasion.

4)     Then comes the most difficult part for any writer – crafting the perfect introduction. It may only be two or three sentences long, but it needs to capture the mood of the overall occasion whilst providing an ideal platform for a heartfelt series of stories about the life event.

5)     With each magazine featuring between three and five articles of varying lengths (not counting any additional snippets or anecdotes) the quotes from the different contributors are arranged into the appropriate sections so there is a nice ‘flow’ to each article.

6)     The articles are then written – usually focusing on the main events of the day. With a Wedding LifetimesMAG, for example, the articles would focus on, as a starting point: a) the proposal and preparations, plus the feelings of the couple on the morning of the wedding; b) the service and the multitude of emotions before, during and after; c) the reception, the party and the thoughts of friends and family – not only about the day, but also about the couple; d) the couple aside from the wedding, including a story of their relationship so far and their hopes for the future.

7)     Once the articles are written, they are sub-edited by a different writer with the aim of hitting a specific word count so they will slot into the magazine template. The articles are then submitted to one of our designers.

8)     The designer simultaneously arranges the pictures from the selection submitted by the customer – whilst taking into account any specific instructions – and the articles, to make sure the images and words complement each other in the best possible way. The designer will also look out for any particular ‘money shots’ that are referenced in the answers. With certain styles, like Rustic or Sleek, the designer may tinker with the pictures to fit the feel and add certain effects, like subtle fading, for example.

9)     The designer will liaise with our print house to double-check whether certain pictures are of a sufficient resolution to be used for certain pages. If there are any doubts, we will always err on the side of caution, as there’s nothing worse than a blurry pic!

10) Once the pages have been designed with the articles and the pictures, they are sent back to a sub-editor so that any articles that are creeping over the word limit – what we call ‘over-matter’ - can be cut back down to shape.

11) The pages are then sent on to one of our keen-eyed proofreaders, who will pick up even the most difficult-to-see stray comma.

12) The production manager, in collaboration with the original writer, will consider any changes suggested by the proofreader, and will update the pages accordingly.

13) The designed pages are converted into low-resolution PDFs and then emailed by the production manager to the customer for approval – all within two weeks of the answers and pictures having been provided.

14) If there are any ‘gaps’ in the information that we can’t resolve, or any comments from guests that need to be clarified, the writer will include these in clear bullet points when the pages of the magazine are emailed over to the customer for approval.

15) The production manager then updates the magazine with any final changes suggested by the customer – usually a detail here or there – and answer any questions they may have.

16) The production manager converts the magazine pages to ‘print-ready’ high-resolution PDFs with the appropriate design specifications, colour codes and production ‘bleed’ marks around the edges of the pages and then sends them on to our print house.

17) Our print house creates templates of the pages, which the production manager will check one final time at the so-called ‘pre-press’ stage, and then the pages are approved for printing!

18) Within 15 days of the pages being approved for printing, the magazines are ready to pick up. Our production manager goes through the magazines to double-check the quality of the production – including a ‘feel’ test of the silk paper, a forensic look at the colours and picture resolutions and even a check of the positioning of the staples holding the magazine together.

19) Our distribution manager will inform the customer that the magazines are ready and will ask when he or she would like us to pop them in the post for first-class delivery – which should arrive the following day.

20) Our distribution manager packages together the required number of magazines, seals them in a sturdy and secure box, adds a cover letter and posts them first-class to our customer.

21) Finally, our distribution manager will send a quick courtesy email to the customer, informing them that the magazines have been put in the post… so they can expect a very special delivery in just a few hours’ time!

Of course, the above is for a Template option through the website; we haven’t even mentioned the Bespoke option, which involves more in-depth telephone-based interviews and considerably more work for our team than the above, and starts at £499.

Whatever the customer opts for, it goes without saying that we are always on hand to respond quickly to any questions or queries.

For our team, quality is paramount throughout the 21 stages – but above all we want the customer to enjoy the whole process, at the end of which their special occasion will be immortalised for ever in the pages of a unique memoir.

So, yes, our prices are extremely ‘reasonable’… but the quality of each and every LifetimesMAG is anything but ‘cheap’!