We almost missed our own party.
Some brands spend months celebrating a major milestone like 70 years in business. For our own anniversary, the hard-charging team at FN has been so busy pushing forward, expanding, redesigning, digitizing and embracing our new and rapidly growing consumer audience that we’ve barely had time to take a thoughtful look back at seven decades of remarkable history.
Since being acquired last year by Penske Media, FN’s growth trajectory has amplified dramatically. One could argue that the most recent seven-plus months have been the most important and transformative in FN’s long run.
Last December’s launch of Footwearnews.com was hands down the biggest move in the history of the brand. In one day, we transitioned from a channel page on our sister publication’s website, WWD.com, to a full-fledged consumer site that addresses everything shoe-related, from business news to celebrity red-carpet moments.
Retaining our status as the industry’s bible, we have taken that insider knowledge to the masses, offering the consumer a guide to all things footwear. This powerful move has resulted in an audience increase of over 500 percent in the space of a few months. And we’ve only just begun.
The site launch came just a step ahead of a major redesign and upgrade of the print weekly in January. With better paper, stronger photography and edgier fashion, today’s FN is a faster, more insightful read and an even more important trend guide for the industry insider.
The combined force of our new print product and a dramatically boosted digital imprint puts us in a prime position to command incredible growth in the marketplace moving forward.
As the consumer appetite for all things shoe-related increases, we will push further to meet the endless global fascination with shoes and the creative forces behind them.
That fascination has only grown during my watch. This last decade has seen the rise of online shopping, the globalization of brands, a dazzling new designer class and the extraordinary strength and power of an athletic industry that now touches every level of the market.
With each new turn of the road, our audience and influence has expanded, thanks to an incredible team of talented editors that constantly move the needle. I cannot thank them enough for their wisdom, prodding and creativity as we chart new ground on a daily basis. The ultimate testament to their hard work and perseverance: this big, beautiful issue chronicling FN’s wildly interesting seven decades.
I won’t spend this precious space regaling you with tales of my ride at the top of the masthead for a small part of that storied history. That’s for another column (or book!) at another point in time.
Let’s just say this is a business that never disappoints as it continues to transform itself, providing a compelling narrative and a powerful, interesting, quirky mix of great personalities to document.
As we head into mid-2015, the industry has never had more magic, more interesting stories, more energy and more eyes upon it than right now.
After 70 short years, we are striking while the iron is red-hot.
It’s a happy — and very busy — birthday.