Former Editor of Shape Launches Viv With Tea, ‘Mavens’


I hate it when my husband Jon Fine, a media columnist at BusinessWeek, breaks important media news before I have a chance to brush my teeth in the morning. Oh, well, I guess I’ll just have to add my two cents now.

So, I attended this very elegant tea party on Saturday for a new digital-only magazine called Viv. I think it’s a pretty cool idea, and not only because I’ve worked with Viv‘s editor-in-chief Anne Russell, waaaaaay back when she was the tech editor at Working Woman magazine. [Incidentally, her most recent gig before Viv was as e-i-c of Shape magazine. But, I do digress.]

Here’s what makes Viv interesting to me. Viv has chosen to build readership using a very unique word-of-mouth approach. They are soliciting “mavens” in cities around the country, young women who are in the magazine’s target demographic, and asking them to become brand ambassadors to spread the word.

The tea party at Lady Grendle on Irving Place was the first of Viv‘s maven efforts. The room was packed with outspoken young women (most of whom were blonde, interestingly), who work in finance and other high-net-worth professions. Most seemed very eager to hear about Viv‘s offerings (Viv covers style, beauty, fitness, healthy eating, wellness, awareness and travel) and many expressed a willingness to help Viv get its message to their friends. The coming months will tell if Viv can gain traction. Whatever happens, I’m rooting for any media company that has the vision to build organically through community. Good luck, Anne!