The walls that used to separate editorial publications and the digital world have now been completely torn down – making way for a new entity dedicated to the “C” word – content. And when MR PORTER launched earlier this year, we were faced with an online creature that forced those already crumbled walls to turn into nothing more than mere dust. MR PORTER, a menswear e-commerce site featuring beautifully shot photographs and top-tier editorial content, made its way onto our computers and instantaneously became bookmarked. MR PORTER provided the insulation to a gap in the digital landscape that had been previously occupied by amateur how to guides, questionable voices of authority, and a constant yearning for something more…something better. At the helm is Jeremy Langmead, MR PORTER’s editor-in-chief who ensures that men (all men) are provided with a precise hub for all their sartorial inquiries. He, along with his team, turned browsers into dedicated shoppers and voyeurs into educated consumers We turned the tables of Langmead and found out how he ensures the world still exists, his favorite Malibu restaurant, and what we can expect from Jimmy Choo’s upcoming men’s line.
Life+Times: What’s your morning ritual? Before you get to the office – what gets you going?
Jeremy Langmead: I wake up, reach for my laptop and check emails and social media for MR PORTER, followed by the BBC news website and weather forecast. Once I’m assured the world’s still there, and it’s definitely worth getting up for, I fix a fruit shake; grab an outfit and reluctantly head to the gym.
L+T: It’s no surprise that MR PORTER has given the digital world a shake up – mixing e-commerce with content. You’ve pushed the boundaries and have created bang-on content.
JL: Thank you. It seems such a natural, comfortable fit: here’s something to entertain and inspire you; here’s a whole lot of useful advice and info; here’s some great product – photographed and described in great detail. Enjoy it and, if you would like, buy it. We really aim to make men’s lives easier (and life easier for the women in their lives too).
L+T: What do you view as the future marriage between digital and retail?
JL: I think the opportunities are vast; new ideas and tools to make the experience easier, quicker and more exciting are being developed every day. As a brand we are learning new things every day from our consumers that we can react to with relative speed. I see it as a long, happy and fulfilling marriage.
L+T: From the printed publication world to digital space – you’ve recently made some career changes. What’s it been like moving to a different medium? Was there anything in particular that pulled you away from printed journalism?
JL: It was exciting, and occasionally a little daunting. I had to learn a new digital language and produce content that had to work as editorial and as a shop window; it had to be marketing and search engine friendly; re-purpossable for social media and appealing to a global audience of men from 18 to 80. It is so much more multi-layered. But the immediacy and the dialogue you get with a digital space is so exhilarating and rewarding. With a print magazine, you produce it and wait a couple of months to see if it sold; and even then you don’t really know which pieces or pages they enjoyed the most and lingered over. Nor do you necessarily know if they found your style advice beneficial. Now I know straight away what was liked, which pages were read the most, revisited more frequently, and which stories were inspiring enough to lead to sales. You get to spend the whole journey with your reader.
L+T: As the Editor-in-Chief, what are your responsibilities? Take us through a day in your life.
JL: Most of the time my days are spent in the office overseeing all the content you see on the site; creating the weekly magazine; the three emails we produce each week; the social media content; working closely with the buying and marketing teams; working on special campaigns and analyzing stats to see what we are doing right and what we could be doing better. There are a lot of meetings. Luckily, we have an amazing team at MR PORTER who is both talented and funny and it’s a pleasure spending so much time with them. There is also a lot of travel involved: whether it’s a trade fair in Florence, fashion shows in Paris, buying trips to New York or hosting a dinner in LA. My life is lived on a Blackberry. And I see my kids on Facebook more than in the flesh. When I’m in London and out of the office, it’s all catch-ups and cocktails with friends.