This morning, at the Waterworks showroom in New York’s Flatiron district, Jane Pratt presided over the launch party for her new beauty site, xoVain, wearing a bathrobe. It’s not an outfit you’d expect to find Pratt wearing in public, but the founder of the legendary Sassy magazine isn’t known for being coy: Her current project, Say Media-owned blog xoJane, is an over-sharer’s dream. (Recent posts include “Tales from an Ornery Vag: Tips for Curing Persistent Lady Infections, Yo!” and “Getting Pregnant With Michelle Tea: Medication, Feelings and Chocolate Benders.”)
Despite these attention-grabbing headlines, it was xoJane’s beauty content that proved the most popular with readers since its launch almost two years ago. The new spinoff, xoVain, will cater to its sister site’s most beauty-obsessed readers with reviews, how-tos, and stories written in xoJane’s trademark open-book style. The site features some writers new to the xoJane family, as well as existing xoJane scribes that will work on both sites. (According to Pratt, xoJane will continue to run its own brand of “edgy” beauty stories.) One of the hallmarks of xoJane, said Pratt, is that its readers "become really connected with our writers. ... They care if [the writer] was up late the night before and has a big meeting in the morning."
Pratt highlighted xoVain’s personal nature at its launch event, where each of its writers—who wore actual clothing, unlike the bathrobe-clad Pratt and her army of cute-guy waiters—had been asked to create a display mirroring her own bathroom counter (that is, if she happens to own a similar $4,000 Waterworks vanity), complete with a jumble of favorite beauty and skin-care products. Pratt's own beauty routine was described as "all or nothing"—"I either take two minutes in the morning, or I sit down and take hours to do a full face of makeup and then wear it for four days," she said.
Attendees were asked to tweet about the event with the hashtag #NoBeautySecrets, which also happens to be the site's tagline. And the site’s first stories—like “I Don’t Shoot Up; I Just Have Eczema” and “My Glamorous Beauty Mark Has a Very Unglamorous Hair Growing Out Of It”— reflect the same “nothing-off-limits” ethos.
XoVain also includes a heavy focus on e-commerce—something that Say Media president Kim Kelleher was especially excited to talk about during the event. At the end of each xoVain story, readers will find a list of “shoppables”—items mentioned in the article—which they can click on to purchase from a third-party retailer. (It’s especially helpful for tracking down niche products that aren’t readily available at drugstores or department stores.) In addition to getting a cut of the proceeds from its shoppable items, xoVain will rely on advertising and branded sponsorships, like that of its launch sponsor, Maybelline.