FROM CONDE NAST TO KENNEL CLASS: Suzanne Donaldson spent more than 20 years as a photo editor but slowly realized that, although she was passionate about fashion, her most joyous moments were spent with her three dogs in the hours before she left for work. As she pondered her next career move from Condé Nast’s headquarters in Times Square, where she served as Glamour’s executive photo director, Donaldson soon realized that she wanted to launch a dog-centric Web site. “When you start talking to people about their animals, their whole bodies smile,” Donaldson said.
This story first appeared in the June 12, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
While most would probably keep the worlds of dogs and fashion separate, Donaldson defied conventional wisdom. She departed her gig at Glamour in April to launch MrsSizzle.com, a site billed as a “curated dog show about art and awareness.” (For those wondering about the name, Sizzle is her nickname, given to her by her stepdaughter.)
The site, which goes live Thursday, features photos of the pets of famous fashion photographers, editors and artists. Cindy Sherman, for example, took a few humorous, if not existentialist, shots of her pet parrot, Mister Frieda, in a bread box littered with crumbs, and another with the bird peering out of a window looking beyond a construction site with a cityscape in the foreground.
Donaldson leveraged her fashion contacts, tapping Glamour’s creative director to design her site’s logo, as well as contributors such as Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, William Wegman, Tim Walker and Elinor Carucci. The editor has interspersed her site with pet-friendly fashion spreads and with short interviews with other dog enthusiasts. The photographer also features brands that sell high-end pet accessories and apparel — for humans.
While Donaldson hopes to raise awareness to art, as well as pet charities and rescue shelters, the overarching goal is to become a viable business. Donaldson said she’s approached Net-a-porter to become an affiliate, in the hopes of editing its product to showcase the cool, pet-centric brands.
“I want to get into e-commerce,” she said. “I want to be the Refinery29 of dogs.”