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Lasting match: sales exec takes a chance with bridal magazine

Some matches make happy couples, others make happy careers. Lynda Jungkind found her match — her career match, that is — in Premier Bride magazine, a statewide wedding resource and planning guide that has expanded into the bridal show business.

Jungkind was selling advertising for LOVECOMM in Jackson — not even looking for a new job — when she happened upon Premier Bride and decided to take a look. She liked what she saw and bought the franchise to publish Premier Bride in Central Mississippi. Three years later, she has expanded to cover the entire state, and what started out as a two-person operation working from a small room in her home has expanded to a Jackson office with eight employees.

Jungkind knew from the start that Premier Bride was the perfect match for her. She loves weddings and all the planning that goes into them. She has directed weddings at her church, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Jackson, for years. She coordinated her daughter’s wedding long distance, then directed it when she arrived, and has directed weddings for many friends, some of whom she matched up herself.

Jungkind is also a seasoned salesperson with a long career in the field. Before LOVECOMM, she worked for Miss 103 and other radio stations and advertising agencies. This sales experience, combined with her love of weddings, seemed to be the right ingredients for Premier Bride.

She started Premier Bride of Mississippi Inc. in December 2001 and her first issue of 112 pages was published the following June. Premier Bride has steadily grown with each issue as more people were added to the staff and the magazine’s reach expanded from the Coast to North Mississippi. The most recent issue was 276 pages.

A big reason for the latest issue’s increase is Kendall Poole Hester, who joined the staff last year and hit the road in North Mississippi to sell advertising for the magazine. Hester, who calls the magazine the “bride’s bible,” used it to book every one of her vendors for her own wedding last year. She had met Jungkind at a bridal show and called her later to ask if she would hire her, which Jungkind did.

“I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” said Hester. “I felt like I could sell it because I believed in it. It’s easy to tell people how well it works.”

Premier Bride takes a bride and her family through the entire wedding process from the engagement to the honeymoon and after as they set up a new home. The magazine includes articles on which family pays for what, selecting a wedding gown, the top 50 wedding do’s and don’ts, a timeline for planning a wedding, plus a reception and banquet guide of Mississippi vendors and a service directory of local businesses.

Premier Bride’s mission is to bring brides and businesses together. Jungkind and her staff are careful about who is included in the book and potential advertisers
are turned down if they are not a good fit for the magazine.

“We check out advertisers,” said Jungkind. “We feel we’re recommending the people in the book to the bride.”

Jungkind hosted her second Hilton Jackson bridal show January 2. Just like the start of her magazine, she never intended to get into the bridal show business. Premier Bride was often an exhibitor at various shows, where Jungkind was approached repeatedly by clients who promised they would be exhibitors if she would start her own show.

Her first bridal show at the Hilton in January 2004 was a huge success, except for one small problem. She couldn’t get everyone in the door. Armed with newfound, hard-earned experience, she ran her latest Hilton show a bit differently. She hosted two shows on the same day to divide the crowd. She also added more exhibitors but gave them more space by moving the bridal show runway to another building, which gave vendors more room to meet the brides-to-be, who weren’t distracted by the fashion show.

Her first show at the Hilton was such a success, she hosted another Jackson show last summer and then another in Brookhaven. This year, she was invited to host a show February 27 at the new Oxford Conference Center and will most likely put on a summer show in Brookhaven.

Now into her fourth year, Jungkind is breathing a cautious sigh of relief. Only two-thirds of new businesses survive at least two years and about half survive at least four years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Jungkind feels her longevity is due to her emphasis on service. At her bridal shows, for example, she hires extra people to help exhibitors unload and load their wares. And if a problem arises, she takes responsibility. “It’s so important to make sure it’s right. I don’t want to jeopardize my clients or my business.”

Contact MBJ Staff Writer Kelly Ingebretsen at kelly@msbusiness.com.

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