Fishbowl Five With Lucky Group President Gillian Gorman Round

A discussion on a Lucky brand in transition

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Gillian-Gorman-RoundInterestingly, we interviewed The Lucky Group president Gillian Gorman Round before the news of a round of layoffs — about 15 in total — was reported, initially by the Post’s Keith Kelly, and further analyzed by Chavie Lieber at Racked. (As a recap, Condé Nast created a joint venture* between Lucky and Beachmint last fall and the now-independent brand calls itself The Lucky Group.)

Among the recent revelations were that the former employees, some of whom had worked for Condé Nast for up to 16 years, may have been handed their walking papers conveniently after severance package agreements had lapsed on Feb. 1 and were offered only two weeks’ pay. Gorman Round declined to address the claims when FishbowlNY reached out for comment this week.

She did, however, comment on rumors that the print magazine would be folded, which have persisted since editor-in-chief Eva Chen took the helm from Brandon Holley in June 2013. Gorman Round told us via a publicist that “Print will continue to exist! Women love and trust Lucky; it’s their shopping companion.”

As for a statement on the layoffs themselves, she had this to say:

We are evolving our business to meet the needs of the original promise of Lucky: truly shoppable content. In addition to the print magazine Lucky has launched LuckyShops.com that fulfills this original promise by integrating content and commerce in a beautifully seamless way. We have made changes to the team to accommodate this addition to our brand.

Its new ecommerce platform, which went live on Feb. 9 and is an extension of the popular promotional pages in the print mag, is precisely what Gorman Round discussed with us. Here, she fills us in on that and more.

FBNY: Tell us how the Lucky brand has changed since branching off from Condé Nast.

Gorman Round: Well, we became an independent company with Condé Nast as majority investors on the 1st of September, and to our consumers, they haven’t seen any real difference yet. Obviously, Eva and her team are continuing to create the most marvelous print products.

There’s been no change in the core mission of Lucky, which has always been the media brand about shopping. We have always, since our launch 14 years ago, focused purely on informing and helping and educating the really affluent and dynamic consumer with products in fashion, beauty and accessory space. So that hasn’t changed at all.

The big change that people will see is when we [went] live with our new, fully integrated content-to-commerce digital platform. And for us on a working basis, everything has changed. We’ve moved offices, we’ve hired new teams, we’ve integrated teams, we’ve been working behind the scenes on the development of the new Web platform.

FBNY: Give us the rundown on LuckyShops.com.

Gorman Round: This is a place for a fashion-and-beauty-obsessed woman to be entertained, to discover new products, to read stories from our fantastic editors on what’s new, what’s hot, what’s great, new products, new brands, new styles, new designers — just great content all around. And that content will lead directly to product and they’ll be able to shop [for it].

What I love about this is the experience can be different things to different people, and that’s really important when it comes to engaging, maintaining and growing an audience. Some of our audience will just simply want to be entertained. They’ll come to us via social channels, they’ll come to us via email channels and they’ll just engage in fantastic content — which could be anything from the hottest dress on the SAG red carpet through to great new tips and tricks from the beauty world — and they won’t enter the commerce world at all. But if they want to, if they want to take that next step on, they can. So the journey is a very simple one, but it all starts with the content from the editors.

FBNY: Who are those editors behind the platform?

Gorman Round: We have a dedicated digital editorial team. Obviously the cadence of content to the digital platform is very different from print. You know, these guys will be responsible for putting out over 40 to 45 fresh pieces of exclusive content every day to LuckyShops.com. But there will be overlap with the print editors too. It’s absolutely one team, and we’ve hired many new and talented individuals to join our digital team, and actually, they’re very excited to work with some of the great and venerable names we have on our print team, just as our print team are excited to work with digital.

FBNY: What is an average day like for you?

Gorman Round: There is absolutely no such thing in my life as an average day. I have responsibility for all the revenue across the company, whether that is advertising revenue from print or digital or ecommerce revenue. I also have responsibility for all marketing, all branding, all audience growth and development and a few other bits. So an average might see me doing everything between meeting with clients and selling with the sales team through to working with our creative solutions team on a brand event, through to working with our audience development team on what the email strategy looks like, as well as managing the P&L and liaising constantly with our Santa Monica office, where our tech team is. So it’s really a combination and a balance of all of those things, but it means that it is incredibly varied. The grass doesn’t grow under your feet because you’re simply not in one place long enough for that to happen.

FBNY: Finally, what’s your favorite part of New York?

Gorman Round: It’s such a cliché, but it’s Central Park in the spring with my kids. When you’re not in your snow boots anymore, but you’re not worried about dehydrating either, you get those magical two weeks where the evenings are getting longer and it’s just fantastic. You’re in this most wonderful park, but look up at every angle, and it’s so urban. The skyline is majestic, so you have this amazing juxtaposition between the park and the city, and that’s what I love about it.

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post indicated that Condé Nast sold Lucky to Beachmint. It did not.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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