Marie Claire keeps on outdoing itself.
Four print issues this year had set ad-sales records for their specific months when September arrived with an especially loud thud: In the middle of an arguably terrible ad-sales environment, VP, Publisher and Chief Revenue Office Nancy Berger Cardone and her team had pulled off Marie Claire's biggest-ever issue.
The brand has continued building in digital -- partnering with Chanel on the Backstage Beauty Trends iPad App, for instance -- while Marie Claire @Work, which made its debut last year as a saddle-stitched supplement, came back with bigger, perfect-bound issues this May and September. On TV, Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles appeared as a mentor on "Project Runway: All Stars," the spin-off of "Project Runway," on which Fashion Director Nina Garcia has held court as a judge for 10 seasons.
Ms. Cardone's bittersweet reward for such heat? Last month, Hearst assigned Ms. Coles to edit company flagship Cosmopolitan. But Anne Fulenwider, a Marie Claire veteran who'd decamped in 2011 to lead Conde Nast's Brides, returned to replace her. And Ms. Cardone's other reward is less conflicted: She is Ad Age 's Publisher of the Year. Marie Claire, not coincidentally, is the A-List Magazine of the Year.
Ad Age spoke with Ms. Cardone on Oct. 5 -- a date that turns out to have particular resonance for the former publisher of Gourmet.
On bouncing back: "It's very interesting that I'm talking to you on this date because Conde Nast folded Gourmet three years ago today. I think about going through that and then fast-forwarding to today, and it just shows that things do have a way of working themselves out."
On expanding Marie Claire beyond fashion and beauty: "We recognized there was no media brand that was really dedicated to helping up-and-coming women get to the next level, and so we brand-extended with Marie Claire @Work. For marketers in so many categories, it's new business for them to develop. In the fashion space, for example, it used to be there were a few companies, like Ann Taylor, that kind of owned career dressing. Now all of a sudden, there's an opportunity for companies at all different price points to start to develop new customers."
On bringing in unexpected advertisers: "My favorite example is Ruth 's Chris Steak House. They realized that there were very few women that did business entertaining in steak houses; they realized they were missing out on 50% of the market. We built a whole 360-degree concept around executing events at Ruth 's Chris Steak Houses. We bring in interesting women, like Alexa Von Tobel, the CEO of LearnVest, to have a conversation with other successful women in a particular market. All of them have been sell-out events, and they've attracted women who have probably never walked into a Ruth 's Chris Steak House in their lives."
On losing her editor-in-chief: "Joanna and I had a great time, and I think we both brought out the best in each other. But what is interesting with Anne is that she'd been one of the architects of all of these plans that we've executed -- and she edited the first edition of Marie Claire @Work -- so with her returning to Marie Claire, it's been a very seamless transition. Has she been on TV in a show? No. Will she? Of course. She's fantastic. She is such a rock star."