Publisher makes case for luxury magazine for the ultra-rich

RobbReport_May2007_h400.jpg
There's no lack of magazines out there coaching people on pinching pennies and tightening belts. And then there's the "Robb Report," which according to its publisher, David Arnold, was a different kind of animal right from it's creation in the 1970's by a man named Robb. (Image courtesy Robb Report) | Zoom
With national unemployment standing at 6.7 percent, the poverty rate at 15 percent, is it right that a magazine aimed at the ultra-rich is not only alive, but flourishing?

There's no lack of magazines out there coaching people on pinching pennies and tightening belts. And then there's the "Robb Report," which according to its publisher, David Arnold, was a different kind of animal right from it's creation in the 1970's by a man named Robb.

"His notion was to create a newsletter that would be distributed to the owners of Rolls Royce and Bentleys so they could kind of exchange ideas. It was an early social media outreach, I guess," says Arnold.

From such un-humble beginnings, it's grown into a publication targeting, "People who are largely self-made, first generation wealth, people who didn't necessarily grow up surrounded by the finer things in life, but are either curious or passionate about these things, but want to learn more about them."

While it's comforting to think that the Robb Report readers are looked down on by the old rich who don't need some vulgar $200 subscription rag to tell them about Bugatis, to me there was something galling about this magazine.

With sections dedicated just to private jets, yachts, and watches - something is just wrong, right?

No, Arnold says I shouldn't be talking about the people buying these luxury goods. Instead I should be, "talking about the importance of the luxury goods market in terms of the number of people that it employs. Someone who commissions boats to be built is going to keep 600 to 700 people employed for a couple of years."

Most of the stuff discussed in the magazine are hand-made and top of the line. It's made by real old timey-time craftsmen.

How is that more objectionable than selling cheap good pounded out by some multi-national sweatshop?

According to Arnold, "We're not "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," we're not about 'What's the shiniest thing available.' We're really about quality."

Aren't those with a lot of money entitled to their own version of "Consumer Reports?" The self-made rich didn't get there by throwing money away why shouldn't they read expert comparisons before shelling out the spondoolocks?

Good points.

Whether anyone should have so much money while others have so little is another issue. But if the poor will be with ye always - so will the rich. I guess they deserve their own magazine.


Dan Restione, KIRO Radio Managing Editor
After signing on at News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM back in the waning days of the 1980's, Dan's worked his way up from the ranks- working as Desk Assistant, Morning Editor, Afternoon Editor, and Reporter.
Top Stories

  • Workers In Danger?
    A state investigation found the 520 bridge contractor committed serious safety violations

  • Police Hackathon
    The Seattle Police Department is holding its first-ever hackathon with 35 tech experts
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.