Sunday, August 22, 2004

Slightly off-topic, but here's an example of leadership

Jack Yan is a friend of mine whom I met on the New Zealand discussion group. Like all kiwis he's quite understated in his way of doing things, but at the tender age of ... can't remember exactly, but early 30s ... he has grown a global, virtual business embracing the best practices of tomorrow.

While Jack Yan & Associates could be described as a global empire, it bears little resemblence to the "empire" part save in its scope. Jack's management style is one of partnership, where the people and companies he works with truly are "associates" in the best possible sense of the word.

Anyway the reason for this post is the long-awaited launch of the print version of Jack's online magazine, Lucire. Well, it's more than "Jack's Magazine" but he had a lot to do with it, y'know.

Here's the press release about it I received today:

Fashion monthly Lucire, ‘designed for agencies’, nears launch

Wellington and Auckland, August 23 (JY&A Media) On October 4, 2004, New Zealand’s first fashion monthly, Lucire, will appear on newsstands across the country. It has spawned from the world’s most successful online-only fashion title, which began in New Zealand in 1997 and claims upwards of 40,000 readers a week.

From the start, publisher Jack Yan had sought input from advertising agencies and media buyers, which helped the magazine decide on its 235 by 335 mm format, 20,000 initial run and monthly frequency.

‘I attended a meeting with a major agency in January, going in thinking we would do a quarterly. I was convinced that to provide a real alternative to Fashion Quarterly, we would have to provide advertisers with a premium-positioned monthly,’ he recalled.

‘Since we have the regular content and the country’s largest international network of fashion correspondents from our web site, I didn’t see a problem.’

Market research at Lucire had already shown consumers favoured the larger 235 by 335 mm format, similar to Urbis, over a standard A4.

The green light was given in November 2003, in the wake of the magazine’s successful L’Oréal New Zealand Fashion Week guide, distributed as an “ebook”.

On December 5, 2003, Mr Yan contacted a major advertising agency with which he had been discussing another matter, to see if Lucire could fill the gap left by Fairfax’s cancellation of Style.

By the end of January 2004, he claimed that the magazine had become ‘New Zealand fashion’s worst-kept secret,’ after convincing numerous leading players in the industry that the magazine would proceed.

Overcoming doubts
Despite publishing for 10 years online and with experience with some print contract publications, Mr Yan said he faced some doubts from those less acquainted with Lucire and the internet medium.

‘Some did not believe that New Zealand fashion could be reported as part of a global society. Others did not believe that web publishing was “credible”, even though we held the highest standards on the internet, from copyright management to a strict adherence to Hart’s Rules,’ he said.

Therefore, two prototypes of the print issue were produced. These hard copies—Mr Yan argues that they are not ‘dummies’ as they contain full, original content over their 108 pages—demonstrated that the magazine had the capability to take its international formula into print, overcoming the seasonal issue by careful trends’ coverage.

Five copies of each were digitally printed and hand-bound, and used by distributors, agencies and Lucire’s own staff. They were also made available to the public via Lucire’s web site at, which has a huge following overseas (95 per cent of its audience is offshore). The public could download the May and August 2004 issues as PDFs to critique on them.

Feedback, according to Mr Yan, was ‘phenomenal’.

‘We made mistakes on the May 2004 issue, such as having too dull a cover. We learned about scheduling and we identified the bottlenecks.

‘But the public was thrilled with the look, the writing style and the international slant to the content—and that included New Zealanders who were happy, for once, to see New Zealand fashion covered in the context of a global society, not an isolated country,’ he said.

The August 2004 issue, now available at, and in full for agencies at (7 Mbyte), received even greater acclaim. Comments on the Lucire StyleTalk forum indicates great anticipation for a US edition, which Mr Yan has promised for ‘a September 2005 launch at the earliest or a February 2006 launch.’

Mr Yan said one of the concerns he heard from the advertising community and its clients was that many wanted to see a magazine ‘evolve’ before committing. He claims that the two prototypes take care of that, so that the November issue, out October 4, will already be ‘evolved’.

He does admit that by showing his cards with the May and August issues, he has given some of the formula away to his competitors, but it is part of the transparency he wished to achieve.

One public comment from an American reader stated, ‘I love the fact that it's a global magazine for the global girl. I love the tone—it's conversational without being too casual. It's the perfect mix of Jane and Vogue. And I really love the lifestyle section, with the travel reviews. … I could go on and on. The layouts are terrific—minimalist but not bland. It has quite a European feel, but with a touch of the States thrown in somehow. I will just end by saying that this could very well be my new favorite magazine.’

Intelligent and independent
Mr Yan has insisted that the magazine speak to all women intelligently and independently—something that the web site has always done, and which the prototypes have followed. Therefore, it declines to publish puff pieces, which has earned the web site tremendous respect in New York and other centres.

To continue that formula, he insisted that he would not choose “name” editors, though a few “name” photographers work on the title, such as Metro Young Photographer of the Year 2003 Amanda Dorcil.

Nicola Brockie, a former make-up artist who has the distinction of being Dodi Al Fayed’s last personal assistant, edits the title, after being promoted from Australasian beauty editor.

Miss Brockie ‘fitted into the demographic and psychographic: a well-travelled young woman with an international mindset,’ said Mr Yan.

The magazine’s US beauty editor, Stevie Wilson, has been appointed its chief American editor.

The launch issue will feature fashion week previews from San Francisco and Stockholm (where Lucire is a media partner), Australia, New Zealand and New York. There will be exclusive sketches from designers that preview their collections, an unprecedented step for some of them. Money will be donated to plant new trees in an attempt to neutralize the carbon dioxide emissions generated in production.

Publicity seekers

Publicity for the title will include flights on radio and extensive PR, with Mr Yan believing that saturation would go against the Lucire brand which tends to be more ‘for the cognoscenti.’

Lucire’s print plans were already covered in the American fashion trade "bible" Women’s Wear Daily in June.

Press coverage on three network television shows has been scheduled, and confirmed in Australian monthly Desktop.

The October 4 launch in Auckland, called the Lucire Luxe Lounge, is being held with support from L’Oréal Paris and Lancôme, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Sarah Priddy Nails, Christina Fitzgerald, Giltrap Mercedes-Benz, SugarBaby and Dencium Compri, and will be MCed by Miss World New Zealand Amber Peebles. Guests expected include Alison Mau, Erika Takacs, Wendy Petrie, Hilary Timmins and local Miss World licensee Marina McCartney.

IMD is handling distribution. Australia will begin getting copies in November and bespoke foreign editions will begin appearing next year, said Mr Yan.

Flagship printer Format is printing, using the Spekta screening method to provide the magazine’s pages with greater depth. A gloss stock is used throughout, including a gloss seal on the cover. The first issue is being printed in Auckland; the second issue is on an eight-colour Heidelberg press in Wellington.

Lucire appears on newsstands on the first Monday of every month from October.

JY&A Media <>Creating digital media since 1994


Post a Comment

<< Home