Happy 1st Birthday, WB Lifestyle!

West Bloomfield Lifestyle co-publishers, Maria and Russ Ragone, share the magazine’s “birth story” and tell how the first year went.

Before Maria got laid off from a job in automotive, she was not only unhappy and feeling like the corporate world was not for her, but she was already looking into other career possibilities. 

“I now view the layoff as a blessing in disguise as I was already considering Lifestyle Publications,” explained Maria, one of West Bloomfield Lifestyle Magazine publishers. “I really wanted to do something where I could be a part of my community and help other businesses. Both my husband and I grew up in West Bloomfield, and we know the area well. I also wanted to have more flexibility to spend time with my family. Yes, I work at weird times of the day, and I put in a lot of hours now, but because I’m working for myself, it doesn’t feel like work.”

With West Bloomfield Lifestyle celebrating its one-year anniversary this month, we spotlighted Maria, as well as her husband and now co-publisher, Russ, to hear how year one panned out. 

Maria Ragone

WHAT DOES WEST BLOOMFIELD LIFESTYLE DO FOR THE COMMUNITY? Through West Bloomfield Lifestyle we like to think that we bring our diverse community together, and we do our best to incorporate editorial that is not only focused on sharing the good news but stories that will resonate with everyone in the community, too.

HOW DO YOU AND RUSS DIVVY UP THE PUBLISHER TASKS? I handle editorial, business development and marketing where Russ takes care of ad sales and business partnership relations.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY AS CO-PUBLISHER SO FAR? I have two: meeting different people in the community as I never knew that I was going to have the opportunity to get to know so many. and making the snowmen for our December issue’s cover. Not only were they cute, but they tasted great and made a really awesome cover photo, too!

SO, HOW IS IT WORKING WITH THE HUBBY? It’s honestly really good. I like it a lot. I think we work well together and have delegated our tasks in a good way that utilizes our strengths. We do what we know needs to get done, and ever since he’s joined on, things have been better. I’d say the only bad thing is that the magazine is all we talk about. Oh, and we also need to figure out the layout of our shared office a bit better, as it can be really loud!

Russ Ragone

AS THE OWNER OF A HOME INSPECTION BUSINESS, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN THE WEST BLOOMFIELD LIFESTYLE TEAM AS A CO-PUBLISHER? I initially hopped onboard because Maria told me a lot about the magazine, and I was always supportive of her starting her own business. And, the more I talked to her, the more it sounded like it’d be a good opportunity to invest more time into. At seven months pregnant, she really needed the help with sales as it was becoming more and more difficult for her to get to in-person meetings. Winter is my slow season for the inspection business, so I felt comfortable with my time allotment to join the magazine business at that point.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY AS CO-PUBLISHER SO FAR? Shooting the July cover photo of my avid wake surfing friends, Andrea and Dan Shelton, with one of our photographers, Joe Lease.

HOW HAS IT BEEN WORKING WITH YOUR WIFE? It honestly has not been as difficult as a lot of people think it would be. We definitely need to have clear defining lines of responsibility, so we don’t step on each others’ toes. Both of us are headstrong and boss-minded, but we let each other be the boss of the parts that we are each responsible for. 

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