Washington, D.C., is known for its power players and government workers – they fuel the local economy and drive growth. The lesbian and bisexual women’s community is no different, with a cohort of women that frequent women’s bars and “ladies” nights at gay clubs. Thrown into the mix of D.C. LGBTQ media that includes Metro Weekly and the Washington Blade is Tagg Magazine, a bi-monthly glossy that serves primarily women who like women and the transgender community.
Managing editor and co-owner Ebone Bell had mulled over the idea of creating a women’s magazine for a few years, but it was in December 2011 that she sat down and decided it was time. It took a little over a year for the magazine to launch, with the first edition hitting street corners in January. Before launching Tagg, she worked in the digital strategies department at AARP, and helped put together the organization’s first LGBT page on its website. She also runs a promotion company, B.O.I. Marketing and Promotions, which throws events throughout the LGBT community.
Bell characterizes the magazine under “lifestyle” and says it lists women’s-only events, and reports on everything from home and family life to the social scene.
The publication is currently operating with mostly volunteer writers, with Bell, an intern and another editor – she hopes to expand the business to eventually hire on paid freelance writers and graphic designers.
Tagg caters to a demographic of women who are out and about on the town – from business owners to young professionals, and advertisers are awaking to that.
“As a startup, not everyone is going to run to your door if you don’t have the product to start out with,” Bell said. “Advertising is always an issue, and getting people to believe in the product, but we’ve done well in cultivating our advertisers, especially over the last few months.”
Bell acknowledges it is a volatile time for print publications, but she said she was confident the women’s community would respond, citing feedback from friends that Metro Weekly and the Washington Blade did not have as much LBT content.
“The Blade and Metro Weekly are great publications and I have a lot of respect for them and what they’ve done,” Bell said. “But after being involved for such a long time, you don’t see a lot of the LBT in some of our local and national publications. Sometimes, when you have a certain readership, that’s what happens.” Tagg also is different, Bell said, in that it does not cover as much news events or politics.
The website that accompanies the magazine currently has around 30,000 monthly visitors, but Bell hopes to double that number in coming months.
Upcoming stories include a June feature on lesbian artists and a monthly feature on “Women You Should Meet” on influential women in the area.
Tagg is People magazine meets the lesbian community, as Bell says, and, “if you pick It up and don’t know it’s geared toward women, it’s like any other pub you pick up, there are cool recipes or tips on how to find a date and feature stories. Our goal is to make sure we do a good job in the metro area, couple years to get support, move across the country and have Tagg in other major cities.”