In the red

In 2001 Barbara Cardy saw a gap in the market for women-friendly erotica. Armed with a firm belief in the concept and a fertile imagination, Barbara launched In The Buff. Over the next three issues Barbara will retrace her footsteps from launch to the present day. Does it have a happy ending? Watch this space …

By Barbara Cardy

March 2001

Ski season has ended which means that sales for my fantastic invention – The Ski Strap – are dwindling. Thank God it was featured in the Sunday Times Good Gear Guide as would have made a loss after spending a fortune on advertising. Need a new business idea.

Have just been dumped by boyfriend! Rather than wallow in self pity will take revenge by writing a spanking story - with him being on the receiving end of the punishment of course!

Felt quite chuffed with my handiwork, so sent it off to a ‘top shelf’ magazine.

April 2001

They published it! The thrill! Perhaps I could earn a living writing smut…?

Need to research who the potential procurers of naughty stories are, so went to local newsagent to buy some magazines. The whole experience was really rather embarrassing. Had to loiter by the stand, waiting until there was no one watching, ready to grab a handful of mags from the top shelf. Was wearing high heels – fortunately! - so could actually reach them and grabbed as many as I could without being caught. Ran to the till and placed the magazines face down on the counter.

Spend all evening leafing through them to glean a flavour of house style. I am, unsurprisingly, struck by the fact that they are marketing themselves at an exclusively male audience and are crammed full of adverts for sex phone lines advertising 30 second cums. If only! But what about the women? 50% of the population hasn’t been catered for! There’s nothing for us or those men who can read and don't think that cementing a relationship with Jordan means sticking the pages together!

Eureka! That’s it! I’m going to be a millionaire!!! I’m going to create a women’s erotic magazine! It will become a household name and sit on coffee tables right next to Woman’s Weekly. No legs akimbo shots, just pure hot and steamy erotic literature, confessions and fantasies. Different in appearance as well; discreetly presented - which has the added advantage that you can read it on the train in the morning and everyone thinks it's an instruction manual.

May 2001

Have called the mag In The Buff – great pun as will have buff covers too! Have gone for spiral binding for extra disguise and it’s a perfect handbag size at A5. Subs price is £34.95 for 8 issues (£4.36 per copy). Print cost = £2.00 per copy, p&p = 66p. Profit per subscription = £13. All I need is 5,000 subscribers and will be rich!

Adverts have been placed in adult magazines and women’s glossies, website is up and running and have written three stories and six confessions under various pseudonyms to keep costs down. Have also created an agony aunt, an ‘embarrassing moments’ page and some saucy word puzzles. Have enough material for 100 pages.

June 2001

My mag’s back from printers (had 200 copies printed and will print more as necessary) and adverts are due to appear in various mags any day now. Have scraped together 23 subscriptions from family and friends and am waiting for the thousands of frustrated women to call, desperate for some classy porn to come through their door. Just think of all the marriages which will get an extra dose of lust zapped right into the bedroom. Am a saviour to all relationships!

July 2001

Have only had 19 phone calls and one internet order so far. Have spent about £2,500 on advertising. Perhaps I shouldn’t have paid up-front for the 3 month deal or fallen for the "you’ve got to run it for three issues before you can expect responses" line.

Need another marketing method that’s free, so send review copies to all the mainstream men’s and women’s glossies.

August 2001

Have been quite successful with coverage and about four mags review it, but three of them won’t give my subscription line tel number, only my web address.

Need more free publicity and have offered myself up as a ‘Sexpert’. Terrible burden to have on one’s shoulders but it must be done as I know I have a brilliant product and one that I really believe in - I just need to tell people where to get it.

Chris Tarrant, John Peel and Jenni Murray all declined my offer to be a guest on their radio shows as did daytime TV programme Loose Women. Kilroy however did ask me to go on their show to discuss ‘sex in later life’, but cancelled the day before as they said I was too young!

October 2001

Have done loads of snippets for a variety of mags and subscriptions have improved, although have made a loss of exactly £853.50! Cannot let subscribers down and fold the magazine. Apart from which it’s a brilliant concept, but need to take some drastic action or will not be able to feed sons!

What measures will I be forced into taking? Find out next issue!