Nylon Media staffers were caught off guard Friday when they were called into a 10 a.m. meeting with the company’s top brass, WWD has learned.
Despite being assured that their jobs were intact after more than a year of changes that included merging with FashionIndie, being sold to Diversis LLC and Backbone LLC and experiencing various masthead changes, management informed them that 13 staffers were being let go.
This story first appeared in the October 5, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Nylon did not respond to calls seeking comment on Friday, but on Sunday a spokeswoman issued a statement from chief executive officer Paul Greenberg: “At Nylon we constantly evaluate our staffing mix to ensure we have the best people in the right roles as we focus on the growth engines of our business. In this case, we have consolidated and eliminated a few positions in part of our business, but we have added a number of positions and resources to support the very rapid growth in the digital and influencer segments of our business. We are very proud of the work our team has done to build the wonderful foundation we now have, and we look forward to a very bright future at Nylon.”
The spokeswoman declined to provide details of the number of positions eliminated or added.
But insiders told WWD that the layoffs amounted to one-third of the magazine’s staff. Nylon executive vice president, chief revenue officer and publisher Dana Fields was let go, as well as various advertising sales positions, and assistants on the business side. On the editorial side, layoffs included two fashion editors, two writers and a TV producer who was poached from Condé Nast, where she worked on Vogue’s “73 Questions” Web series.
Even though sibling magazine Nylon Guys went all-digital earlier in March, and Nylon-owned Socialyte split from Nylon (but remained part of the company) two months earlier, staffers had been told repeatedly not to worry, that there would be “no layoffs” this year.
The staff, which is estimated to be about 30 to 40 people, has been slowly adding digital jobs, while eliminating “redundant” print positions.
For the time being, on the print side, there are three fashion editors and a photo and art editor. Typically, editors who had worked on just print saw their jobs eliminated, as the company beefed up digital staff.
Insiders predicted that it is only a matter of time until Nylon, which publishes ten times a year, goes all-digital, too. This could spell trouble for new-ish editor in chief Michelle Lee, who comes from a print-centric background having served as editor in chief of In Touch. But one source noted that Lee also serves as chief marketing officer, making her more valuable. Still, the dual role is perhaps more telling of cost saving measures at Nylon.
“The magazine has not been selling,” a source with knowledge of the situation offered. “Budgets [for print] don’t exist anymore.”