2016’s arrival comes with the acknowledgement that the Seattle/Bellevue metro area has joined its West Coast peers as the newest global gateway city. That was the common thinking amongst the more than 120 VIP guests who attended the January 7th release party for the all-Mandarin Seattle Luxury Living Magazine, hosted at the Starbucks Reserve on Capitol Hill. The event was attended by the publishers, featured advertisers, a collective of brokers from Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, politicians, key members from the local Chinese community and even the distinguished Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.

An evening filled with excitement and talk of the Seattle market and foreign investment began with a few remarks by John Spear, Publisher of Seattle Luxury Living:

“There are so many people to thank and I don’t want this to sound like the Oscars so here I go. I want to first thank Starbucks and Tom Douglas for hosting tonight’s event. Starbucks, as you know has a lot of stores in China and here in Seattle. I am very grateful for their partnership in distributing Seattle Luxury Living here and in China and for hosting tonight’s event!

Craig Bednar the owner of Tiger Oak Publication and Seattle magazine. I merely mentioned the idea to him and he was on board saying do it. Then Craig and I went to Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty and talked with Dean and Stacy Jones. Not only did Dean say I was brilliant, but he immediately offered to help me. And help he did by supporting editorial content and advertising with Sotheby’s International Realty affiliates. He also got me distribution in China. Next Dean had me at a 7 am breakfast with the Washington State China Relations Council. After that meeting I felt, ‘OK, this is doable.’ Next thing I knew Dean had his public relations machine going and his agents were excited and calling me, and even other real estate companies were calling me (I had to tell them that Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty had already committed to the publication). I also met with Nyhus Communications who as most of you know has an office in China as well as Washington DC. They thought the idea was fantastic as they already handle so much business going both directions Seattle to China and China to Seattle.

So I tell you all that to say so far no one said I was barking up the wrong tree. But as Craig was quick to remind me, we are not in the nonprofit business – this publication had to make some money, no matter how good the idea is. Next I did a little field reconnaissance to see if the water was warm. All three of my covers got sold that way. Tawny Papper of the Four Seasons said that is my market I have been waiting for a publication like this. Lyn Quitslund of Roche Bobois said ‘I don’t need Seattle magazine- your Mandarin Seattle Luxury Living is the market I have been trying to figure out how to reach- where do I sign!’ And Steven Goldfarb, whom I also did a custom publication for this Fall said a lifestyle magazine in Mandarin- why not! So selling the three covers in about 30 minutes told me this was going to be good. The rest is history. I hired an editor, translators, proofers, and art director and now you have this fine result.

I have to give a shout out to someone who did a giant favor for me. Luly Yang. Though we all know how admired and successful she is, I had a bit of a hard time getting her to write the letter of introduction. I thought of Luly because I have known her for years. I thought who better to have a voice welcoming the Chinese who are moving here? Her sense of style, place, business acumen and the fact she has lived on three continents and three countries and still calls Seattle her favorite place – thank you Luly.

I was challenged to be certain, but being in publishing for the last 30 years, it was fun to create content, have input on art and be a part of the amazing sea of change happening in our cities of Seattle and Bellevue. The Chinese are putting down roots, having families, attending our universities, wining, dining and buying real estate and contributing to our tax base. Seattle is a world class city! The New York Times mentions us almost every week. The President of China, Xi Jinping was here and shut down traffic as well as president Obama. The other West Coast cities were envious.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Seattle magazine. I am proud that we took a giant leap in moving forward. If you think the last 50 years have brought a lot of change to Seattle, you haven’t seen anything yet. Here is to the next 50! I would like to introduce Lou Maxon he is the art director and I loved his vision and collaborative style. Teresa Kenny was my editor and she could not be here tonight, but I love how the magazine came together as a lifestyle, cultural, and business piece. I can’t mention everyone by name, but if you are here tonight, you are part of the success and thank you for that! Please enjoy the evening.”

And enjoy the evening guests did, as they perused the final publication and connected with others who committed their efforts to the magazine. The event was a crescendo to a symphony of news releases, events and promotions highlighting the rising influence of Asian investment in the region as follows:

  • RSIR Premieres East Meets West Film Documentary (with Mandarin Subtitles):

A summary of RSIR’s initiatives was highlighted in a full page ad in today’s Puget Sound Business Journal, which also featured editorial on the trends for foreign nationals in the region and the substantial international trade enterprise that is expanding exponentially. View RSIR’s Feature Below: