Editor of Vogue.com, Dolly Jones, took time out of her busy schedule to tell creative graduates at Futurising how she bagged one of the most enviable jobs in fashion journalism, how it’s all about hard-work, and where the future of the Vogue brand lies.
Dolly Jones can be credited with creating Vogue.com. From its inception in the early noughties as simply a fashion news website, Jones began working on the site, turning it into an extension of the iconic magazine, which designers and advertisers alike scramble to be associated with- a big change from the early days. Jones says that whilst Conde Nast and editor Alexandra Shulman have been forward thinking in the online world, designers have been scared to venture there.
Combining the ‘geeky’ technical and business aspects of running a website, with the more traditional editorial content, it was her ability to increase traffic to the site, show designers its brand building potential, and grow the site as an extension of the magazine which has lead to her success. And that success is certainly hard work!
Jones is in the office by 7.30am checking emails, a habit from the early days when news stories would have to be up by 8.30am. A working day might involve anything, from working on content, forecasting traffic for the next year, working with the technical team planning sections of the site, meetings at Claridges, and when it is Show season, it is entirely different again.
When discussing how graduates can break into fashion journalism, she says it is this hard-work and dedication that is required to make it in the industry more than anything else, and it is a work ethic she herself learnt on work experience placements at the Telegraph and Vogue after graduating from Manchester university in 1998.
Dollys work experience advice….Hard work, hard work, and more hard work.
Do the menial work like making tea! It might be very little writing, but the placement will be good for other things too.
Be pro-active and look for things to do.
The more you do, the more you’ll be asked to do.
You need to show something they are looking for.
Ask if you don’t know.
Get there early and stay late.
Get people on your side- be nice to everyone, especially PAs.
Be confident and brave- even though it is scary!
Do a little work experience, but don’t set a precedent by working for free.
Getting contacts is the most important thing.
Don’t be afraid to ask people questions- flattering their ego rather than annoying them.
Have a good knowledge and passion of the subject.
Be inventive with contacts.
Find your USP
Don’t’ give up!
Print Vs digital.
The growth of the digital side of vogue is representative of the publishing industry, but Jones doesn’t see the end of print journalism. Reading Vogue is an experience, she says, people still want to own it. Online lacks permanence, and the Vogue catalogue is a historical archive, not just of fashion.
It is a testament to the prestige of the Vogue brand that readers still desire the magazines physical form, and despite the growth of Vogues online presence, Shulman is still gatekeeper of the carefully constructed Vogue brand.
The sites coverage of Glastonbury fashion went up on Monday morning, immediately ready for those returning from the festival, such is the immediacy of online reporting, but Jones points out that 10 years ago the event would have been completely off brand. Along with fashion collaborations between high street and designer, from the likes of H&M and Lagerfeld, and the medium of online, she believes fashion has become less elitist.
Jones will be at the helm of Vogue.com for a while yet it seems, saying she can see no other reason to move elsewhere. As for the future, a pay wall on the site is not likely to happen- readers are able to find content in other places, so why charge. Jones hints at an exciting future, with new projects soon to go live, and the I-pad a device Conde Nast want to be working with.
Dolly Jones’ career at Vogue just goes to show why online is the exciting place to do journalism. It’s a constantly changing, growing and innovative arena to work in- if you put in the hard work. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?