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Photo credit: Kristin Teig
Interview

Kim France

01.26.15

Most people recognize Kim France’s name from her long and storied career in print journalism. Her resume is vast and highly acclaimed, and includes titles such as Sassy, New York Magazine, and Elle before joining Lucky in 2000 as its founding editor. After more than a decade with the shopping magazine, she stepped away from print and founded her own venture in the digital space, Girls of a Certain Age, four years ago. The voice is strong, uncompromising (in a delightfully honest and refreshing way), and unique. France working as a one-woman team covers just about everything: fashion, home décor, beauty. Plus, other cool, interesting things you didn’t know you wanted to know. Even though the title implies a target audience, you must not let it deter you!

Interview

How did your experiences in traditional print media inform your digital voice?

I’ve always aimed for a voice that is accessible and immediate, and the digital realm is all about being accessible and immediate, so that was helpful. Having said that, my first attempts at blog posts were disastrous. It’s very much its own medium.

What are the similarities and differences to approaching a blog versus a magazine?

Oh, they’re two totally different beasts! First of all, there’s no lead-time in blogging—you work three months in advance in magazine-land, whereas with the blog I can have an idea and 20 minutes later it’s a post. Which is wonderful and immediate (that word again!) and fun. Reader feedback is immediate too, and analytics are so precise and allow me to get a very clear sense very quickly of what readers are and are not responding to. Unlike magazines, I have no budget to speak of now, but of course I don’t really need one.

The voice and tone of Girls of a Certain Age feels so authentic and fresh in the crowded digital space – was this your intention?

Absolutely. I didn’t launch the blog until I was certain I had something new to bring to the party.

The title implies a target audience – has this been at all limiting or do readers of all ages find content to relate to?

Not at all—I’ve got as many readers in their 30s as I do in their 40s, much to my surprise and delight.

How big is your team? Are you the sole contributor?

I am the team.

As someone who works from home, how has this influenced your wardrobe?

I’ve got a rack in my closet full of very pretty dresses that don’t get much play anymore, but just because I don’t dress “office nice” anymore doesn’t mean I don’t make an effort. Today was just a kick-around day but I threw on my leather Maria Cornejo trousers just to put a little spring in my step.

Where are some of your favorite places to shop online? What do you think makes an e-commerce site most inviting?

Net-A-Porter—their same-day Manhattan delivery is like heroin. And Shopbop, which has improved visually so much over the past couple of years. Also: La Garconne, Zara, and J Crew.

Strong, clear photography is the most important thing to me on any commerce site: I like to see a piece on a model but then also in still-life, and the more angles on the model the better. A lot of the sites I visit do their own fashion editorial and some of it is really strong—I don’t think that 10 years ago anyone would imagine that e-commerce sites would be producing such strong editorial. But having said that, I’ll add that I rarely check them out.

When do you think a girl is considered a “certain age”?

I’ll say what I always say: it’s a state of mind.

What are your daily reads? Weekly?

I do links on the site almost every day, so I check out a lot of sites constantly, everything from AV Club to Slate to Flavorwire. I look at New York Magazine’s site daily. And Go Fug Yourself and the Times.

Are you a print or digital girl?

Digital. I get really impatient reading magazines now. It’s an attention span thing, and I’m not especially proud of this fact.

Where do you see the blog in the next few years? Are you actively working on expansion?

Sometimes I think about expanding or inviting other writers to post, or even trying to find a partner or buyer. But for now I really do enjoy the lo-fi experience.

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