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Refinery29’s Erica Futterman Discusses New Role

Refinery29 has made a name for itself as a fearless publication that’s willing to experiment with the newest social trends and zines, and after a decade of publishing, it’s rocketing to even bigger horizons. The once hyper-local destination for fashion and style content is going global this year, and it’s brought in some big talent from around the Web to ensure a steady and quick blast to the top of women’s media internationally.

Erica Futterman was named managing editor at Refinery29 in April. She joined the staff from BuzzFeed after serving as managing editor since 2013, and previously held numerous roles at Rolling Stone over a six year stint. She credits her various experiences at both publications with providing her the skills necessary for further success at Refinery29.

“I had experience with implementing structure and juggling a variety of production cycles while at Rolling Stone online, but BuzzFeed was basically like being shot out of a cannon,” she said. “Helping shape it as it was growing was one of the most challenging, thrilling and rewarding experiences of my life and I feel like it was an incredible education in being able to make that happen elsewhere.”

Refinery29 has been in the news this year for a number or big announcements, including securing 50 million in financing from Scripps Network Interactive and WPP. It  also announced plans to expand globally through mobile and social distribution and teased the upcoming leap into original video content under the R29 Originals banner, which will feature tutorials, docu-series and scripted series, including a partnership with Planned Parenthood titled “Her Shorts.” The scripted film series features heavy-hitting names in young entertainment such as Lena Dunham, Emily Ratajkowski, Jenni Konner and Mae Whitman and will focus on men and women reproductive and sexual health issues.

“The overall mission of Refinery29 is to represent 360 degrees of millennial and millennial-minded women through amazing, impactful editorial and powerful, striking imagery,” Futterman said. R29 got its start as a locally-minded fashion blog known for addicting content and lists of must-have fashion and beauty items for millennials in the know.

Refinery29 is now a multi-vertical outlet covering not only fashion and beauty, but also featuring expanded lifestyle and entertainment content as well as hard-hitting news items, health and tech stories. In order to grow quickly but remain at the top of its game, the outlet needed someone with proven success with establishing a framework that can grow at the same pace.

Futterman recognizes that as one of the fastest growing destinations for young women, it’s important to strike a healthy balance between cutting-edge content and a nimble editorial structure. “My goals are to create the structure that enables Refinery29 to enter its next phase in a seamless, forward-thinking way,” she said.

“My focus is on topline editorial operations – specifically workflow and culture – and working with the edit staff and other partners across the company to create the structure that enables our mission to be realized.”

Her background at both BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone has given the experience to understand and analyze the “workflows and relationships between teams in publishing.”

She also stressed the importance of “being curious about new ways to do things and – especially in digital media – always be open and attentive to evolving your current gameplan no matter how long it’s been in place.”

Although Futterman has experience working for a fast-growing brand, she is especially excited to be focusing on content for women. “We’re creating a type of company that doesn’t yet exist, so it’s about marrying what’s going on inside the company with inspirations from our peers in media and innovative companies of all kinds are developing,” she explained. “I’m excited to be a part of the team making this brand a global one.”

Pitching Tips

Contact her via email for press materials.

“A pitch that really shows a familiarity with our site, our voice and the type of stories we’ve done in the past makes me think the publicist really knows why what he or she is pitching is a good fit for R29 to cover,” she said.

She does not wish to receive blanket email pitches.

About Laura Botham

Laura Botham writes features covering the movers and shakers in the media industry, daily updates, and Top 10 lists. She is a media researcher at Cision, specializing in Internet media. She is a freelance artist, enjoys traveling, the mountains, and can always make time for a cute animal video.

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