As a kid, Brandon Davis dreamed of playing in the NBA. “I’m five-foot-six and three-quarters (don’t forget the three-quarters). So, due to certain height requirements that dream was short lived,” the 28-year old Olney native said.
Davis is, however, living out a very different dream and helping others to discover their dreams too as the editor-in-chief of American Dreaming Magazine.
“Starting a magazine was not my dream but having an idea and seeing it through was and is my dream. So in that context ADM is my dream,” Davis said.
American Dreaming Magazine is a bi-monthly publication that solicits contributions from up-and-coming journalists, photographers, designers, stylists and creative minds, giving them the opportunity to gain experience before entering the workforce.
It was tragedy that led Davis to launch The Rick Foundation, a 501c (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the memory of his brother, who was shot to death in 2003.
“I wanted to do something to commemorate his life because he always pushed me to go out and make my dreams reality,” Davis said.
He would later earn his bachelor’s degree from the Fox School of Business at Temple University with hopes of furthering the foundation’s primary goal: helping young adults realize their dreams. American Dreaming Magazine is the first project to launch under the foundation’s umbrella.
“Our magazine is for everybody,” Davis said. “There are people 60 years old, working a job, but if you talk to them about their dreams they probably really want to be a painter. This magazine is that inspiration, information and instruction on how you can possibly make that transition.”
ADM began as on online publication in 2009 and then made the transition to print in April. While Davis admits this was a big risk taken at an unstable time for the magazine industry, he said there’s no shame in having a bootstrap beginning.
“Our plan was to try to get more than 5,000 people to request to receive the first issue for free. So we did a little campaign for that and we got 3,700 people to fill out forms to receive the first issue for free. We asked our parents, friends and family members, and friends for donations in order to fund the first issue of the magazine and we were actually able to raise enough to pay for the first two issues,” he said.
“After we put out the first issue, we asked people to subscribe to the magazine for $15 for six issues and we were able to retain about 2,400 subscribers.”
Within a few months, ADM’s subscribers grew to nearly 7,800. With larger readership, the publication was able to offer advertising space and Davis began reaching out for sponsors. The first major sponsor to bite was Vitamin Water.
“VitaminWater has been a huge supporter of ADM. It started off as us doing videos with their products and it grew to them actually sponsoring the magazine,” Davis said.
VitaminWater Marketing Manager Rob Norton said the partnership with ADM and Davis has great potential.
“The analog world of print is a hard business to master in this digital world, but there is something special about the touch and feel of ink on paper so I can appreciate the extra time that they put into doing it right,” he said. “Brandon is one of those people who has so many great ideas and the energy to execute them. He is young, hungry, connected and fearless, and that’s a combination you want in a partner.” READ MORE