THEN: 1993 Sales: $1 million plus
The publishing world has a glamorous reputation, right? Well, Vicki DeArmon got her start in the industry in 1985 by printing a history of the San Francisco 49ers, paying for the whole thing with her credit cards. Glamorous? Hardly, considering she was deep in debt. But the success of that book led Petaluma, California, Foghorn Press to publish more sports-related books, as well as some regional recreational and travel guides. By 1993, the business had a staff of 10 and published 33 titles annually . . . but that's not the end of the story.
NOW: 1996 Sales: $2 million
Here's the plot twist: Foghorn Press no longer publishes sports books; in the past several years, DeArmon has whittled down her list of titles to outdoor recreation guidebooks. Among the bestsellers are California Camping and the Dog Lovers' Companion series, which gives canine aficionados the inside scoop on where they can frolic with their furry friends.
Narrowing down Foghorn's title list did a lot to make the publishing house a success. "There's a shakeout in the publishing industry. You need a very focused publishing program to make it," explains DeArmon, 38.
Another chapter in this success story was switching to a "virtual workplace." The company has one fewer employee than in 1993, but with its CFO, editors and production people all working from their homes in Northern California's Bay Area, DeArmon says productivity has actually improved.
To achieve her goal of being the country's leading outdoor recreation guidebook publisher by the year 2000, DeArmon intends to customize the California Camping and Dog Lovers' formats to different parts of the country. Says DeArmon, "We're taking our show on the road."