Interview: Brandusa Niro

Brandusa Niro, editor-in-chief and founder of IMG publications' The Daily Front Row, www.fashionweekdaily.com, and the Fashion Mini, discusses her career, the success of her publications, and the role of fashion in society today.

Brandusa Niro, editor-in-chief and founder of IMG publications' The Daily Front Row, www.fashionweekdaily.com, and the Fashion Mini, discusses her career, the success of her publications, and the role of fashion in society today.

PRWeek: Tell me a little bit about your background and how you came to your current position.

Brandusa Niro: I grew up in Bucharest, Romania, and I moved to Paris. I began my editorial career there and continued [it] in Canada. Before my job here at IMG, I had been a senior consultant for the New Yorker for the business side on developing their fashion issues. That was under [former publisher] Tom Florio and [former editor] Tina Brown. Immediately after that, I founded and created Fashion Wire Daily in 1998, which was really very much the idea of addressing fashion insiders and fashion elite in a language with a certain irreverence and a certain sense of news and that was chic and fun. I was very preoccupied with this idea of the appetite that exists…among consumers and people outside the fashion world. Then, after Fashion Wire Daily, I came to the idea of creating the same sort of concept I was doing for online, developing it greatly…in print.

PRWeek: Why the Daily Mini?

Niro: The Daily Mini, which has now been renamed Fashion Mini, has been very successful and sort of a cult thing from the start. [The Daily] comes out during fashion week. We publish a glossy magazine overnight literally, eight times in a row. It has anywhere between 32 and 50 pages. People obviously adore this because it's about them and it's for them. So first we launched fashionweekdaily.com precisely to fuel and satisfy this desire. Then, [readers] still wanted a magazine that would come out more frequently in between fashion week, so we launched the Daily Mini. Because the fashion world embraced the Daily Mini so quickly and it hit the spot with them, we decided to rename it Fashion Mini simply because we were getting a great number of readers who were coming from the outside world.

PRWeek: Who are your readers for fashionweekdaily.com?

Niro: Fashionweekdaily.com has 200,000 unique visitors and very loyal readers who keep coming back several times a day. I think the first 50,000 or 60,000 were just pure-play fashion insiders of people who go to the shows and love the Daily in print and who therefore want to continue dialogue with the Daily the rest of the year. Then again, we started getting a lot of people interested in fashion who may not be in the fashion world or part of the fashion elite who have been following us around in our publishing universe.

PRWeek: Why do you think there's this growing desire to read fashion news and magazines?

Niro: I predicted this for the past 10 years. It was bound to happen. Look at Vogue. There is nobody more iconic in the fashion world than the editor-in-chief of Vogue. She is truly the absolute goddess of style. So it is only normal that people who shape the way we look, and the way we exist, and the way we put ourselves together, that these style makers are going to become the people we're most obsessed with. What we're doing is cultivating a new readership and online is incredibly beneficial for that. Instead of killing magazines, I think it's fueling the desire for content and for style, and it makes everyone more confident, more ready to communicate and gives everyone more desire and ability to read and to write. We're actually having a relationship with the written word again through the online effort.

PRWeek: Some say that fashion is late too new to social media and Web 2.0. What's your take on that?

Niro: Yeah, I think it probably is late…[but] certainly you see more fashion community on the Web than ever before. I think there's been reluctance to it because really the people who shape content are traditional editors. They come from the old school of journalists. There is sort of a snob factor in fashion too, which means exclusivity. There's this kind of distance because of the hierarchy and traditions of exclusivity in fashion coming predominantly from Europe.

PRWeek: As someone who's intricate to the brand, how do you balance your editorial and marketing duties?

Niro: Well, I really don't have marketing duties. I do run the enterprise, so everyone reports to me, if you're talking organizationally…I'm good friends obviously with some of the top editors who are admired greatly who I hope to become like or be like at some point, and who run magazines from an editorial perspective and who are fantastic business people. I don't think we can exist in an ivory tower. Those days are gone.

PRWeek: Which of your three publications would you call the most successful?

Niro: I think definitely The Daily, which is our first baby and is now completely established. It's the oldest. We run about 500 pages of advertising in two weeks of the year - not bad, you know. We're sort of like Conde Nast; we're not discounting the rates. We're doing it the right way. [Regarding] Fashionweekdaily.com., it's very hard to compare our online with print. I'd say now our online is about 15% of our business which is not bad at all.

PRWeek: How do you differentiate fashionweekdaily.com from other fashion magazines and blogs?

Niro: Well, it's really great to be among the first who have been here because you have a great deal of loyalty from the readership. We have a relatively large group of people working on it; we really get some of the best scoops possible.

PRWeek: How do you get them?

Niro: I'm a news person. I live and breathe this. For me, there's nothing more exciting than getting the scoop. We have about eight reporters who are out all the time. People also trust us with things because we've never been mean to anybody. It's not in our DNA. We've always looked at it from a positive perspective. This is fashion. Nobody's starting a war anywhere unless it's between a Fendi and Dior bag.

PRWeek: What is your interaction with PR people?

Niro: I get maybe 15 to 20 things a day just from the top-level people. I would certainly say that it really helps us have our business stay very focused on the right things.
The fun thing about Internet space is it's opened up so much…we don't have a finite space. If someone has a fun pitch, we can always run it. In PR, there is a great melody to actually pitching and pitching and pitching because the more you pitch the more you get.

PRWeek: What's one piece of advice you could offer a PR person pitching your magazines?

Niro: I hate to be pitched something that isn't new or fresh or that has run somewhere else. I love a PR person who really understands what we are about and what is the angle that applies to us.

Name: Brandusa Niro

Title: Editor-in-chief and founder

Outlet: The Daily Front Row, fashionweekdaily.com, and Fashion Mini

Preferred contact method: editor@fashionweekdaily.com.

Web site: fashionweekdaily.com

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