New York women will be getting a pleasant surprise on their way to work this morning. Starting today, Hearst will begin handing out copies of its newest print product, a free weekly magazine called TrendingNY, at commuter hubs throughout the city.
TrendingNY’s test run will last for four issues, with 50,000 copies of each being distributed between Mondays and Wednesdays of each week. The 48-page magazine is targeted at millennial women, whom Hearst hopes to reach at subway stations in neighborhoods popular with young professionals, like the East Village, Williamsburg and Astoria.
Launching a print brand aimed at millennials might seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but according to Hearst Magazines president Michael Clinton, the company’s research found that free titles like AM New York and Metro were actually popular with young New Yorkers looking for an easy-to-digest morning news fix. “We thought, we have an expertise in fashion and beauty in this company, and here was an opportunity in the market to produce the same kind of freemium product but with a fashion and beauty twist,” he told Adweek.
The magazine, edited by former Harper’s Bazaar and Elle U.K. editor Emily Cronin, reads like a hybrid of a style magazine and local New York newspaper, providing of-the-moment content like a weekly events calendar and a map of neighborhood hot spots chosen by tastemakers including fashion designer Misha Nonoo. In addition to the heavy emphasis on fashion and beauty (this is Hearst, after all), TrendingNY will also cover topics like work and dating.
The cover of the first issue features New York City Ballet soloist Lauren Lovette, who also stars in a fashion spread inside the magazine. Most of the women spotlighted by TrendingNY are also local New Yorkers with whom the magazine’s target audience might already be familiar, like Aliza Licht, aka DKNY PR Girl, and Erica Domesek of the DIY blog P.S. I Made This. “We want readers to identify with the women in the magazine,” said Hearst editorial director Ellen Levine.
The fashion in TrendingNY will be similarly accessible. According to Levine, the apparel and accessories featured in the magazine are both affordable (think lots of Zara and Topshop) and currently available in stores. And, even though the magazine’s test run is kicking off during New York Fashion Week, it’s not actually meant for the Lincoln Center crowd, nor will it be distributed there. “This is for the woman who’s interested in fashion, not the fashion insider,” said Levine.
The magazine’s advertisers—there are 19 ad pages in total—feature a mix of beauty brands (Estée Lauder, L’Oréal), department stores (Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Macy's) and fashion retailers (Banana Republic, Emporio Armani) looking to reach younger consumers. Overseeing the publishing side is Judi Sanders, a former sales exec at Interview, Elle and InStyle who now runs sales and marketing firm LGR Media Plus.
Hearst is encouraging readers to provide feedback via social media and an online survey. If the response to the four-issue test run proves positive enough, Hearst could bring the magazine back permanently in early 2015.