‘Veranda’ Tiptoes Into Commerce

New editor puts her stamp on design magazine

Veranda, Hearst’s lush home-decor magazine, is making its most visible changes since Dara Caponigro took over in April 2010 from Lisa Newsom, who founded the magazine 25 years ago.

Veranda is one of Hearst’s smaller and more luxury-focused magazines (its readers have a median HHI of $102,884). While the industry faces circulation and ad page declines, Veranda’s first-half newsstand increased 2.3 percent to 95,513 while total circ rose 2.5 percent to 461,488. Ad pages grew 17 percent to 550 for the year, per Media Industry Newsletter. But Veranda has new competition in the building since Hearst became the owner of upscale Elle Décor as part of its Lagardère magazines purchase.

The Southern-tinged magazine will continue to showcase elegant homes and expensive jewelry, but Caponigro, late of the defunct Domino and House Beautiful, has added more luxury accessories and people to liven up the pages. Those changes will be more visible with the January/February issue, which will add Elements of Style as one of three new front-of-book departments.

In what may come as a surprise to traditionalists, Caponigro has also started adding price and sourcing information next to items. She decided to expand it to personal luxury items with the March/April issue after some internal discussion.

“We were afraid it was going to be a turnoff to people because some of it is so expensive,” she said. “But we agreed, if you’re shopping and the information isn’t there, it’s a deterrent.”

Veranda is also tiptoeing into e-commerce. It has run sales on One Kings Lane and Gilt Groupe and will have a storefront on Dering Hall, an online design store backed by Hearst. But while other luxury titles have become more price-conscious in a nod to the recession, Caponigro insisted Veranda wouldn’t go down the bargain route, noting that the Gilt items were full-priced. “Veranda,” she said, “is not a discount brand.”