Twenty years ago, I took a skill set I’d always had a passion for—marketing, branding, events and bring- ing people together—and moved down to South Beach, Fla., with $5,000 to my name and a dream of starting a magazine called Ocean Drive. (I cofounded the magazine, which ultimately moved under the Niche Media umbrella.) Eventually, I moved back to New York to relaunch Hamptons magazine and build upon what became a national network of publications. The brand and the business model were unstoppable. Over the next two decades, I was fortunate enough to conceptualize and bring to life, under the Niche banner, more than a dozen luxury lifestyle titles in top markets across the country. It was a wild ride, and I had the privilege to work with some of the most prominent individuals and prestigious brands in the world.
But what could come next? As I grew up and started thinking about family and a deeper foundation, I wondered what would be next for me professionally, too. There were many suitors interested in buying my company, and Greenspun Media Group seemed the best equipped to respect Niche’s core values. When you sell, you sell. Your baby is no longer yours alone, so it became time to explore life’s many possibilities. In 2010 I was lucky to meet a man who would help me with the discovery. That man is Kevin Ryan, one of the foremost authorities on the digital environment and founder and CEO of Gilt Groupe. Kevin is second to none, not just in the business world, but also as a friend and family man. He had taken DoubleClick from a 20-person start-up to a company that was eventually sold to Google for $3.1 billion. As the CEO, he has led Gilt to more than $600 million in annual sales. There was an immediate connection between us, and he became my mentor, as I entered stage two of my professional path. I became chief adviser to the brand, and because of Kevin, I learned to appreciate the Internet from a different perspective. I was exposed to a new level of engagement between consumer and marketer. All those buzzwords had been a big part of my vocabulary during my 20 years in print, but the Internet provided a whole new dimension to this experience. While I never thought print was going away, I realized that it needed to be refined and retuned.
And that’s where DuJour comes in.
By simultaneously creating this magazine and this digital product, we acknowledge that there is just as much of a desire to touch and feel pages filled with beautiful imagery and one-of-a-kind content as there is to have an engaging experience online. The print mag- azine can live on your coffee table for the next three months while the digital experience keeps it current, intimate and immediate. The transition between print, Web, tablet and mobile is seamless. Consumers will have the ability to click through every editorial and ad- vertising page directly to our partners’ sites. I realized this model would win the hearts and minds of readers as well as top luxury brands around the country.
It was at this time that I turned to a pair of friends and confidants of 15 years, Lisa and Jimmy Cohen: two people who have been an integral part of the publishing community as the owners of Hudson Media Group and the largest shareholders in Dufry (leaders in global sales of luxury goods). I saw the perfect storm face me head-on and I would stop at nothing to sail into it.
When I started Ocean Drive, it was my dream to have Bruce Weber shoot the cover of my first issue with Niki Taylor. That dream was never realized. So you can imagine how it felt to have Bruce agree, 20 years later, to photograph Christy Turlington Burns for the premiere issue of DuJour. As I wrote this letter, I received a note that was messengered to me by Bruce Weber. I can only smile when I read, “The girl who interviewed me from your magazine for the Contributors page asked me what my favorite soup du jour was—I laughed and said fresh split-pea (chilled)—but what I really wanted to say is that what DuJour means for me is hope. That things will be better for all of us for a new day.”
P.S. Without the love and support of my wife, Haley, and my children (above left—my favorite Binn shot!), what you are about to see on these pages would not be possible. They are my partners for life.