Trendylicious, a free daily e-newsletter launched by an American couple late 2006, will expand geographically after finding a niche in online infotainment.
“It’s like your coolest, hippest girlfriend who we all wish we could be,” says Stacy Kerzner with a laugh. She is the founder and publisher of the online publication along with her husband Dan. The newsletter isn’t a comprehensive guide, she explains, but more like a friend whispering in your ear.
The e-news aims at anticipating its target ladies’ questions on which make-up artist to use at their wedding; whether the scent of the new Montblanc Diamond perfume is worth a spritz; and whether the new restaurant Ginseng is the place to go Friday night. Readers go to the site, register and get the newsletter in their emails each day.
As many as 50 people work on www.trendy.in, with an editor in each city, web of freelance writers, publishing team and marketing contact. All are local talent, which Stacy said was critical to speaking to her readers, except the girl in New Zealand who updates the website. Right now, Trendylicious serves readers in Mumbai and Delhi. It plans to launch in Bangalore by April 2007 the latest.
Stacy and her husband Dan are what Americans call a ‘power couple.’ They are Ivy League educated and from the marriage of their skills, this business was born: Stacy was a journalist and Dan is in enterprise software.
In 2004, Dan had overflowing entrepreneurial energy and was on the prowl for ideas. Ironically, a business school trip to China led them to start this business in India. They were energized by the opportunity in a developing economy but the Chinese market had too many barriers, in particular language.
After spending time in India and initially looking at the higher risk online retailing business, they decided on the free, e-newsletter model that is pervasive in the US. DailyCandy, which comes daily to American 20 and 30-somethings’ inbox, is widely the topic of discussion at water coolers. And its male companion, Thrillist.com, joins a plethora of other e-newsletters that cater to varying interests. Dan mentioned his favourite Good Morning Silicon Valley, which he says is for tech geeks like himself.
As a business model, Trendylicious puts a new face and format on a good, old-fashioned revenue plan: advertising. Brands like Kaya Skin Clinic, Mexx Jewels, several Esprit lines, and Samsonite Black Label jumped on board - several of them before the October launch. But now the couple is also in talks with sponsors in the lifestyle space.
Others in this digital media industry echoed the Kerzners’ enthusiasm. Neville Taraporewalla, MD and CEO at the digital marketing company Connecturf (I), said that in the next 12 to 18 months “online media consumption habits will change”. He said, like in the US, verticals will emerge and provide advertisers more targeted ways to reach their audience. He named examples like moneycontrol.com in finance and in technology there is alootechie.com.
Stacy said they plan to build the brand, and then move into B cities and make the site more interactive.
She said, “If we provide a girl-to-girl voice for the new growing class of working women who are using the computer for email, for fun, for information, I could make a relationship with them and come to them everyday in their email inbox with a little snappily written treat, ya know, and hopefully it will catch on.”