Media & Entertainment

BeachMint Gets Lucky In Joint Venture With Conde Nast

Comment

E-commerce platform BeachMint announced it will take over all operations for Lucky Magazine today. The takeover is part of a newly formed joint venture between BeachMint and magazine publishing giant Conde Nast. Called The Lucky Group, it will be led by BeachMint’s Josh Berman as CEO with Lucky’s editor in chief Eva Chen and the magazine’s senior VP, Gillian Gorman Round.

A partnership like this makes sense for both BeachMint and Lucky. BeachMint already had the built-in tech to make itself an ideal candidate. Lucky provides the demographic (upper middle class professional women in their mid to late 30’s) to pull in shoppers for BeachMint’s e-commerce platform. “BeachMint has spent the last few years developing a technology platform, growing digital audiences and scaling our commerce operations,” says Berman. “Lucky magazine is about shopping. It references hundreds of brands in every issue and is already responsible for thousands of purchases every day,” he added.

Like much of the publishing world, Lucky’s focus is increasingly on digital. Conde Nast, which owns Lucky, has been promising an e-commerce platform for the mag since Gorman Round took over marketing operations 18 months ago. Lucky’s overall ad sales have continued to slump the last couple of years and there’s been some chatter about how to save the magazine. The magazine’s publisher Marcy Bloom resigned in early 2013 and Gorman Round was brought in as her replacement. Anna Wintour then came on as artistic director and soon brought in Eva Chen as EIC. Wintour will also be an advisor to the new partnership.

More recent sales numbers showed the magazine had the steepest decline out of all major fashion mags this July. Lucky was down 34 percent from last year, with just 90 ad pages, according to the latest figures. However, Gorman Round believes using those numbers to test brand health is simply naive. According to her, digital sales are up by 33 percent and digital revenue is up 47 percent. “That means our P&L (profit and loss) is much healthier than its been in a really long time,” She says.

Much of the retail and publishing world is trying to figure out the best way to monetize using content. “Everyone talks about commerce and content and they’re adding content now,” says Chen, “But we’ve had 14 years of already having content.” She listed off the unique kinds of content Lucky has been sharing. Grumpy cat was in one of its issues. Jiff, the Pomeranian from the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” music video, was in another. “That’s something ppl can look forward to on the platform as well,” Chen says. “That’s something the Instagram generation has been craving.”

Andreessen Horowitz seems to be thinking along the same content and commerce lines with the recent $50 million infusion into online content generator BuzzFeed. Chris Dixon, who will now be advising BuzzFeed, wrote on his blog about the funding announcement, “Tech is now spreading through every industry and every part of the world. The most interesting tech companies aren’t trying to sell software to other companies. They are trying to reshape industries from top to bottom.”

This reshaping is what Berman and execs at Conde Nast believe they are striving for in this partnership as well. “From a tech perspective, there’s a lot of exciting companies working on how to transition a customer from print content to digital content through mobile technology,” says Berman. Competitors to BeachMint such as Shoedazzle and JustFab continue to focus on discovery within an online subscription platform. One Kings Lane sends out a quarterly shopping publication to reach shoppers. This new partnership is sort of a natural reverse of that approach for both Lucky and BeachMint.

Berman added that all of the Mint properties, ShoeMint, JewelMint, StyleMint and BeautyMint will remain member sites within the company. Celebrity partnerships such as with Rachel Bilson and its shoe vertical will also remain intact. Berman also hinted that the new venture would be testing the idea of allowing people to buy products without going into the membership. He then added, “Just to be clear, there’s no intention for the new commerce platform we build for Lucky to have a membership commitment. Where BeachMint’s innovation was centered around subscription and endorsement, we’ll look to innovate around integrating content, commerce and community for this new platform.”

Berman, whose background includes both Myspace and News Corp., is no stranger to the publishing world, either. “It is clearly different from the start-up cultures I’ve been involved in or created.” He emphasized the need for a new kind of platform that bridges the publishing world with online shopping in a 360 degree experience from beginning to end. “The macro trend is to bring content, commerce and community together. Women aren’t just shopping online. They are sharing and creating their own content.”

Added Chen: “Lucky is a magazine you talk back to. There’s already that engagement and conversation. It’ll now feel more like a little bit both commerce and a little bit magazine.”

More TechCrunch

London-based fintech Vitesse has closed a $93 million Series C round of funding led by investment giant KKR.

Vitesse, a payments and treasury management platform for insurers, raises $93M to fuel US expansion

Zen Educate, an online marketplace that connects schools with teachers, has raised $37 million in a Series B round of funding. The raise comes amid a growing teacher shortage crisis…

Zen Educate raises $37M and acquires Aquinas Education as it tries to address the teacher shortage

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice

A new self-driving truck — manufactured by Volvo and loaded with autonomous vehicle tech developed by Aurora Innovation — could be on public highways as early as this summer.  The…

Aurora and Volvo unveil self-driving truck designed for a driverless future

The European venture capital firm raised its fourth fund as fund as climate tech “comes of age.”

ETF Partners raises €284M for climate startups that will be effective quickly — not 20 years down the road

Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, will soon be far more deeply integrated into the Windows 11 experience.

Microsoft wants to make Windows an AI operating system, launches Copilot+ PCs

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. For those who haven’t heard, the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been pushed back yet again to no earlier than…

TechCrunch Space: Star(side)liner

When I attended Automate in Chicago a few weeks back, multiple people thanked me for TechCrunch’s semi-regular robotics job report. It’s always edifying to get that feedback in person. While…

These 81 robotics companies are hiring

The top vehicle safety regulator in the U.S. has launched a formal probe into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that claimed the lives of a family…

VinFast crash that killed family of four now under federal investigation

When putting a video portal in a public park in the middle of New York City, some inappropriate behavior will likely occur. The Portal, the vision of Lithuanian artist and…

NYC-Dublin real-time video portal reopens with some fixes to prevent inappropriate behavior

Longtime New York-based seed investor, Contour Venture Partners, is making progress on its latest flagship fund after lowering its target. The firm closed on $42 million, raised from 64 backers,…

Contour Venture Partners, an early investor in Datadog and Movable Ink, lowers the target for its fifth fund

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads, and has begun hearing cases from Threads.

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

2 days ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses