What a year 2020 has been – a year truly like no other. Whilst things may be looking, and feeling, very different to how they were in January last year, we wanted to take the time to reflect on the year we had at Condé Nast Worldwide News.
A year undoubtedly filled with challenges, and yet still filled with achievements we are proud of.
Condé Nast Worldwide News x Westminster University
Let’s begin with February 2020, our first event of the year.
London Fashion Week brings with it a particular buzz of excitement to the walls of Vogue House. We always feel lucky to be situated right in the heart of one of the most iconic buildings in fashion, but during Fashion Week we can’t help but feel it even more. Whilst our showroom is home to magazines from all around the globe, we would be lying if we said our London routes didn’t make us particularly proud.
Condé Nast has always been a proponent of championing the best voices, visions, and talents throughout the fashion industry. For the team at Condé Nast Worldwide News, seeing emerging talent come up through the ranks is always exciting to see in the pages of our magazines. And so, we thought what better way to champion these young emerging talents, than to give them a chance to show off their final year collections, during Fashion Week, in one of the most iconic buildings in fashion?
We were so happy to host this collaboration between ourselves and the fashion students at Westminster University. We hosted a window takeover showcasing the students work all throughout our iconic showroom.
We were able to see them work through initial ideas, fabric swatches, mock-ups, all the way through to final designs on the runway. Not only this – but the students also worked alongside Commune East to create incredible Instagram filters especially for this event, rendering their designs into digital playgrounds.
The CNWN Swap
After the success of our Westminster collaboration, we couldn’t wait to share our showroom with our readers again.
As the only physical store presence globally for Condé Nast, it was paramount for us as a team to align ourselves with the company’s wider sustainability goals. We also knew there were steps we could take as a showroom to ensure we were moving forward in our operations as sustainably as we could. We knew these improvements could come from aspects all across our operations – from something as simple as eliminating our plastic carrier bags, to how far we can lengthen the ‘life’ of our magazines.
We are always so excited to see the new issues come in monthly from our titles, but we knew that didn’t stop us, or our readers, from still finding joy in older issues. A first step was expanding our back issue capacity from four months up six, but we knew we could find another way to champion our older issues. “The CNWN Swap” was a way we felt we could share our older issues with readers and collectors we knew would give them another lease of life. The premise was simple: give a magazine, to get a magazine.
As this was the first ever CNWN Swap, we were very excited to launch the event with a very special panel discussion featuring three incredible speakers working from various aspects of the sustainable fashion industry: Jemma from Stories Behind Things, alongside Khandiz and Alice from Novel Beings.
We were honoured to have these three join us for the launch of The CNWN Swap. Each were able to offer such incredible perspectives and insights as to how they believe the print and fashion industry can move forward to create a more positive impact.
Whilst sadly the pandemic and our closures meant that we could not replicate this event safely, we are really looking forward to the day when we can host our next CNWN Swap.
The Magazine Mix Up
In August, our doors reopened after being closed due to the national lockdown. As soon as it was safe to do so, we were ready welcome our readers back into the magic of the showroom.
Our doors may have been closed, but the editorial teams around the Condé Nast world hadn’t stopped. They all adapted to the pandemic, to continuing to deliver inspiring issues, month after month. When we were finally able to reopen our doors, we knew we needed to find a way to share this content with our readers.
We created the ‘Magazine Mix Up,’ a bundle of five randomly selected back issues from the team at CNWN. A chance for our customers to catch up on issues they may have missed, and indeed try out some new titles too. The bundles could be organised by country of publication, category of magazine, or completely random.
Our customers were just as excited as we were to be back with all of our incredible magazines.
Online Store Launch
Adjusting to the pandemic was admittedly challenging at times. Our main priority was operating in a way which ensured the maximum safety for both our customers and our team. However, it was still key for us to ensure that our readers could access their favourite magazines, no matter where they were in the world.
And so, after a few months of planning, September brought along the very exciting, and long awaited, creation of our online store. CNWN online is an extension of our London showroom – a place where all of our incredible titles can be seen under one virtual roof.
The launch of our online store has made ordering from us so much easier for our customers.
- Facilitating PayPal payments has created an alternative to secure over phone payments. Whilst we are still able to process phone payments, we understand that PayPal has made the process much easier for our customers for many reasons – whether this be down to language barriers, or indeed for audibly impaired customers, or even for those in different time zones.
- Online back issues – our Back Issue sales are some of the most highly anticipated events of our year, however, sadly the experience was often limited to those able to visit our London showroom. Launching these sales on our online shop has enabled all of our customers, whether based in Bristol or Brazil, to take advantage of the incredible magazines on offer.
- Exclusive stock – lockdown has changed the way many stockists can work, and we realise how lucky we are that we were able to adapt our operations to online, still enabling our customers to reach us. Our online store presence has meant that, for example, people were still able to get their hands on The WIRED World 2021 during a time when usual stockists were closed.
Through the launch of our online store we were able to reach more readers than ever before. As the months go by, we're delivering to new and exciting places that we've never delivered to before. We’re so glad we can help our readers get their hands on their favourite titles, no matter where in the world they're based.
CNWN Magazine Hunt
Heading into the final month of 2020, our Christmas definitely looked a little different than usual. With lockdown restrictions in place again, our showroom sadly didn’t see as many faces as it normally would in the lead up to Christmas, but this didn’t stop us from spreading festive cheer wherever we could.
We introduced the ‘CNWN Magazine Hunt;’ the return of our CNWN Advent giveaway, this time with a little twist. Throughout December, our followers on Instagram were in with the chance of winning three incredible giveaways.
We were thrilled to be joined by three incredible brands to collaborate on the prizes: War Paint for Men, Sisley Paris, and Fornasetti. The competition was open worldwide, and it was our biggest giveaway yet. After a year filled with challenges, our team were glad to find a way to say thank you to our customers, for their continued support.
Whilst the year ahead of us still remains uncertain in what it may bring, we can assure you the team here at CNWN are still set on making this our best year yet. Whether this means finally getting to open our doors again properly, or ensuring you can still feel the magic of CNWN online, we are working hard to ensure that our showroom grows as much as it did in 2020.