communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.


Why (do) I think Harper's Bazaar in Romania is pointless

There's two questions in this title. One refers to the targetless-ness of HB Romania and the other to my own inability to understand this targetless-ness.

1. Targetless magazine: I buy it and feel like throwing it out from the first leaf; it's filled with this phrase "price on demand" which drives me insane. It means that the item is SOOOO outrageously expensive, the seller would rather not print the price and perform some sweet talking in store to get it sold.
Three things cross my mind: this is a rather thick magazine, and although it looks like most of what it prints is materials from other foreign editions - so they don't really have production costs other than print material - I fail to see the monetizing and distribution strategy. You find it in on the street newspaper stands. ????? While I think there is a good number of women who may afford these outfits that HB prints, I doubt they drive up to a newsstand to buy HB. So why even have it there? Just mail it directly to their houses. Two, even though I can understand how upper mainstream brands like Mango or Musette might want to pinch a bit of the Prada-hungry home market, I still think that, for HB, this is peanuts advertising money compared to what you need to pay to print the mag and distribute it. Thirdly, why advertise Chanel in the magazine? To my knowledge there is no place in Bucharest - no public place that is - where Chanel is available. You get Chanel from little, by-invitation-only boutiques run by someone's bored wife and her entrepreneurial sister. So WTF?

2. It annoys me that I cannot simply enjoy the seeing of haute couture in action. My newly found affection of capitalism drives me to want to acquire everything I see and like, so leafing through HB annoys me because I will not be able to afford those things. Maybe the entire concept of haute couture, of fashion which is not truly wearable, but an experiment in fabric and color management, is lost on Romanians, or simply on me, forced out by the need to own a lot, as opposed to before when you could own nothing. I have not learned to go to a store without needing to buy something. Some people will tell you that is not the point of going to a store. But leafing through HB Romania makes it a thinkable option: you could never buy or wear those things so they must be just for watching.



dan said...

I think it's just like some car magazines. people who can only afford 10k EUR cars buy them to drool over 100k EUR cars. why not. makes sense. or like playboy, but I will not go into detail there.

Diana said...

Oh come on…I think you might want to fight the entire glossy segment here (or most of it anyway). I don’t think anyone expects to actually buy even half the stuff they see in those magazines and Dan might have a point in his comment there, simply because, as with most luxury products, you’re targeting the aspirational side rather than the realistic, down-to-earth affordable, which would really be beside the point wouldn’t it? And plus, this is Romania, people, the country where we see BMWs parked in front of communist blocks of flats in poor neighborhoods and where people make loans to go on holidays in the Maldives or other exotic places (I know a few of these people, their salaries do not go much beyond average). So I think HB is just to the point as, say, the LV store in Bucharest.

Bogdana Butnar said...

well, i don;t rally agree with you Diana. I am a hungry consumer of glossies and a bunch of them have a great mix of down to earth suggestions with some haute couture crap. Marie Claire is the best example of how it can be done. Also some of the A5 formats like Bolero, Look, etc. Tabu used to be like that too and now it got all "concept store"ish. So, no, I don;t think the entire glossy segment is questionable. Plus there's degrees of aspiration...frankly, I will NEVER aspire to a Galliano...I'd bee embarrassed when my mom is a teacher and makes 800 euros a month

Corina Bordeianu said...

Some months ago you wrote smth ab books that are available only on amazon for us. this is the case also. we need to see what happens abroad. new designers need to have this information at their disposal anytime and we need it because people should be more educated ab this (or else we will see everywhere only "cooperativa" stuff). Recently I found a "Romanian glossy fashion blog" also and I was soo happy for .ro (

Bogdana Butnar said...

hmmm, there may be a point here but then WHY make a Romanian version of it, Why not simply import an english one :-)

Anonymous said...

pentru inca unu-doua locuri de munca

dan said...

why make a Romanian one? how else can you take the money of Romanian advertisers? by selling space in the NY one? I don't think so.

Bogdana Butnar said...

so, I understand you all agree with me that it's pointless :-)

Anonymous said...

I don't agree. It's not pointless to have a magazine that will already be established on the market when the big advertisers will come to Romania. It might not stand a chance to Vogue, a magazine that is only published in a country with big advertisers and big designers. When VogueRO will be launched, HB Ro will have a very nice experience and market share.
I do think it's pointless to start a blog in English if you don't master the language. And it is pointless to talk about fashion if you confuse all luxury clothing products whit haute couture.
Designer-wear is divided in two categories: ready-to-wear/prêt-à-porter("regular" clothes) and Haute couture(what you mistakenly call "fashion which is not truly wearable"). HR Romania, as well as most other fashion magazines, Romanian or foreign, publishes mostly prêt-à-porter.

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