Laura Kosann’s first — and only — juice cleanse was a bust. It lasted just seven hours.
“I got hungry,” the 25-year-old cofounder of the The New Potato said. In a story for the site, she recalled picturing her dog as a “little pork chop” and a failed attempt to put juice in a wine glass “to try and make the experience more pleasurable.”
This story first appeared in the November 4, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It was a strange thing for the founder of a food site to admit about the latest culinary fad. But in a short time, The New Potato has clicked with readers as anything but a traditional food site.
Mixing earnest first-person essays, high-impact food porn photography and interviews with everyone from Jessica Alba to Bobbi Brown, the site that sisters Laura and Danielle Kosann created has become, in a year and a half, fashion’s go-to “non-fashion” destination online. Today, they are giving the site a facelift — the site’s signature clean aesthetic is still there, but images on the home page are now bigger and bolder and readers can more easily navigate trending stories.
Though fashion runs in their blood — accessories designer Monica Rich Kosann is their mother — 28-year-old Danielle and Laura describe themselves as “antifoodie foodies,” and they have worked hard to create a destination where the line between fashion, entertainment and food is blurred. On their site, Alain Ducasse gets the same star billing as Kris Jenner.
“Most people in fashion will say that this is the place they go when they don’t want to go to a ‘fashion site,’” the older Kosann said.
By now, their publishing schedule has grown to consist of five to seven stories a week and only about half of the content falls somewhere within the fashion realm. This could range from a photo shoot and interview with Rebecca Minkoff (one of the site’s first high-profile fashion personalities) to British Vogue’s editor in chief Alexandra Shulman to a feature with up-and-coming designer Rosie Assoulin, who was selected specifically for today’s relaunch.
Even if they aren’t featuring a designer, model or editor, it’s often a chef, actor or fitness buff that’s talking about style. Plus, there are the recipes, tons and tons of recipes — almost a thousand, from a variety of sources, such as crab cakes with gingered grapefruit and avocado from star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten to birthday cake truffles from Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi — as well as tastemaker-chosen City Guides for food destinations around the world.
At the moment, the Kosanns have a three-pronged approach to revenue — traditional advertising, brand collaborations (an Instagram takeover with Coach) and native advertising (editorials created in partnership with Le Creuset, Madewell or ABC Carpet & Home, for instance) and affiliates, which will become a more meaningful part of the business thanks to a redesigned “shop” section. But going forward, nothing is off limits, and they want to cultivate — pun very much intended — The New Potato into something bigger.
“We would like it to be a full-scale media company,” the younger, antijuice-cleanse Laura said. “The brand is there, and we’ve created silos that can grow into different things — books, product lines and TV.”