Can you give us some background on why you launched The Midult?
Annabel Rivkin and I had been friends and colleagues for about 15 years. Annabel also runs her own storytelling agency called Bee Works, which works for Jo Malone and Dior and other high-profile luxury clients. Up until recently I was the deputy editor of Tatler, and before that I was the features editor of the Evening Standard, which is a London newspaper. Annabel is still the editor-at-large at Tatler, and she also does a beauty column for the Evening Standard magazine. So we cut across all the traditional media.
The reason we founded The Midult was because the conversations we were having with our friends and our colleagues in our age group just weren’t chiming with what was aimed at us in the media. And we realized that the cultural underestimation of this generation, and this demographic, had left a huge space. We decided we wanted to fill it.
Annabel is an expert in tone of voice, and I’m all about the ideas. So it’s a great combination. A lot of the stuff that we’re writing about comes from the conversations that we’re having with each other and the conversations that we’re having with women our age. We’ve realized that we are all crazed with anxiety and we want to laugh. And that the life that’s being presented to us is one full of AGAs and HRT, and that’s not what we want.
I find that idea of the gap in reaching these women really interesting. Why doesn’t a publication like this already exist?
It’s driven by the fact that midults and this generation of women are the first generation to grow old without checking out. So there has to be a shift. Because all of the products that are being made and created out there, we’re using them. And even though they might be aimed at millennials, we’re embracing them. Just look at the Snapchat numbers—30% of Snapchat users are over 35. Traditional media hasn’t caught up with that. We’ve grown up digitally literate and hyper-connected, and the messages that brands are sending us don’t ring true. They’re not uniquely focused on or targeted at us.
What are some of the forces that make this generation from this phase of life 20 or 30 years ago?
I think it’s absolutely the digital engagement and the expanding of the workplace for women. It’s not perfect, obviously. But it has changed—we’re financially confident. And I think that makes a huge difference.
We are just as likely to be talking about the latest Justin Bieber single as we are to be talking about whether we’d like to buy a new sofa, and we grew up with hip-hop and the internet. I think there’s no limit to the conversations that you can have with women these days, and I think that the media is slow to catch up. The idea that there’s just one women to market to—the “busy working woman,” the “busy working mother”—that just isn’t true anymore.
How do you try to balance the wide perspective of the range of women that fall in this age set?
Again, I think it has to do with the breadth of conversation. We’ve launched in beta, and it’s a discovery period to produce a truly authentic voice. We’re going to cover all the subjects; nothing is taboo. We’re all bound together by the desire for connection, and as well as by anxiety. And the flip side of that is laughter. Talking about things just makes you feel better, and that’s why the bedrock of The Midult is the forum, where women can go to talk about things and share their voices. We’re building a community, so it takes a village.
What has the feedback from your readers been like so far?
Overwhelmingly, it’s “Thank god you’re here.” Which is great. We’ve started doing a daily newsletter, and I’ve had people come up to me and people that email us and they say, “Oh my god, you’re saying what I’m thinking. How did you know that I was going to be worried about not making a will, or that it’s payday and we’re worried?” Or whatever it is.
We’re trying to be as authentic as possible. We have the advantage in the sense of it being just two people making decisions about things. For the moment, we don’t have to pitch ideas to 15 people and see whether or not they get through. So we’re extremely lucky in that sense. It’s fresh.