A fashion and lifestyle publisher founded in Russia that claims to be the “new face of luxury media” has opened a head office in London, praising the “incredible publishing talent” on offer in the capital.
Buro Global’s office opened in Soho in March ahead of the launch next year of its revamped international website – Buro24/7.com – targeting luxury lifestyle content at wealthy millennials in emerging markets.
According to Buro Global chief executive Nick Smith, a former editor-in-chief of GQ Australia, the move to London is “symbolic “for the company and represents its first foray into Western Europe.
It has built a web presence in eight markets – including Singapore, Mexico and Kazakhstan – since it was first established seven years ago. It does not offer any printed publications.
Said Smith: “It has been running as a startup, but now with maturity realises that it needs to move into audiences with scale.
“I was given the choice to launch in New York or London, and I thought London was a fantastic place to launch because incredible publishing talent is here.
“We also needed to launch a flagship site in Western Europe because that’s where our advertisers are.”
The new website will be manned by 25 staff working across editorial, marketing and commercial departments.
Its editorial team is still being put together, but will include editors, four staff writers supported by freelances, designers and social media producers.
Buro has confirmed that is recruiting locally in the UK, with some applications still open for certain roles (apply to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Smith said Buro Global was also looking at expanding its existing presence in Asia, with an eye on Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.
He claimed that the group’s existing websites had a reach of 10m to 15m readers a month, with about 57-66 per cent of its audience identified as millennials.
“We’ve always focused on millennials,” says Smith. “The content is really driven by how millennials are consuming, or how they see a luxury lifestyle, and they view luxury as an experience.
“For them, the purchase of a Chanel handbag is as important as a night out to a hot new restaurant with their friends and being able to share that on social media.
“Millennials don’t mind spending a bit of money in that process, and it’s led the luxury industry to have to reinvent itself.”
Smith said millennials are “willing to pay for great stuff” having grown accustomed to spend on services such as Netflix and a “premium subscription to Linkedin”.
“That age group between 18 and 30 is going to be the largest consumer of luxury goods,” he added.
Smith said he does not see Buro 24/7 matching the readerships of big brand lifestyle publications in terms of scale, but said he believed it could definitely build a more engaged readership.
“Because we’re digital native, a lot of our insights into the millennial market comes from data-driven editorials,” he said.
“Our editors work in a very different way. They might have a chart on a big screen in front of them so they can see, minute-by-minute, what the trends are.”
Buro 24/7 will not operate behind a paywall, but will rely on advertising revenue alongside selling services to luxury brands and pulls in cash from its own restaurants, cafes and beauty salons.
Explained Smith: “In Kazakhstan, our founder is almost a cultural attaché for that country. She helps brands understand the landscape and understand the culture there.
“In terms of the luxury brands, few have offices in countries like that, so in some of our smaller countries, we offer a sort of consultation service in terms of saying this is how we would strategise.”
He added: “In Moscow we have a new restaurant called Buro in Moscow’s version of Selfridges. We also have a cafe and then we also own beauty salons.
“That has been really great because millennial audiences love the digital brand, but then they also want to interact with it offline.
“I think that’s our second phase of what we’re doing – we want to build engaged audiences and open up the opportunity to sell them stuff.”
Smith, also a former prestige and lifestyle director at News Corp Australia, confirmed that the outlets owned by Buro receive coverage on the website.
He said the new-look flagship website, set to go live in 2019, would “redefine emotion, experience and engagement in premium publishing – these are the three most important metrics to connect with millennial audiences. We are the new face of luxury media.”
The group recently hired Hearst UK digital group head Crystal Malachias as its commercial director.