Ariel Foxman left InStyle as editorial director and editor-in-chief over a year ago, and the industry eagerly awaited his next act. Over the summer, Foxman announced he was entering newish territory, as the chief brand officer of philanthropic e-commerce site, Olivela. We catch up!
You left Time Inc. about a year ago. How did you fight boredom?
[Laughs] I was never bored! I’ve been taking time for myself, getting off of the 24/7 pace with emails and deadlines. I traveled a bit, and took tennis and dance lessons. My husband kept saying, “Why don’t you just wake up and do nothing today?” I knew I was going to resign from my role two to three months beforehand, and during that time I created a list of the things I would do if ever didn’t have a job. So, tennis lessons, travel, dance lessons, writing. The day you think is infinite is not. I would see my nieces and nephews and have a dance class and then the day was gone. If you can come from the pace like my job at InStyle and not have to be anywhere any given day and feel like the day flew by, that’s partly personality.
Did you get to binge on daytime TV?
I would wake up, roll over, pick up the remote, and watch everything. I binged Stranger Things and I watched every food documentary on Netflix, good, bad, or otherwise.
When did that routine get old?
Two to three months in, I wanted to get my hands into some new type of work, be it consulting for digital content, retail, or philanthropy. I took on a couple of consultation jobs, short- and long-term. Conversations took place earlier this year with Olivela, and the actual work started in February. I got to know the team, mission, and philosophy leading up to the launch in June. I worked with their team on branding and content for a good six months before I took on a full-time role.
What’s up with your new gig at Olivela?
As chief brand officer, I’m responsible for the way in which our story is being told, whether it’s to new brands we bring on, other causes we might be speaking with, and our customers. I work on the right balance of stories being told in the press—whether about our CEO, the brand, the causes, or the innovation. I work with the marketing team to make sure every touch point with the customer is one that speaks to the duality of our project—luxury, fashion, style, and making an impact. I work on content—storytelling, captions, visuals, videos, or posts. I’m making sure we have the right cadence of shopping images and inspiring stories and narratives. I’m also working with our brands to make sure we’re aligned with their marketing goals and the causes.
What was the appeal?
I left my post in magazines not because I don’t love magazines or fashion, not because I was tired of working at a company or having a full-time job. I wanted my day-to-day to involve new ways of storytelling when it comes to style and inspiring women to make purchases confidently. That’s what I loved about my role at InStyle—knowing that every bit of content we put out there helped women who already love style and fashion have a confidence in their purchase. The deal clinchers were, I wanted to make sure it was in a brand new growth mode digital environment and I wanted it to be meaningful. I can work in fashion, content, digital, and at the end of the day, everything that we do goes goes toward something that’s helping children of the world. When you go online and look at the products, you see exactly the impact that purchase of a bag or a pair of shoes is going to have. Plus, the people here are the nicest, but they’re not pushovers. Everyone is at the top of their game. This is truly a dream gig. I can use my expertise, I can learn, and I can help an organization make a true impact. I don’t know what else you could want.
Have you missed anything about InStyle or publishing?
I love storytelling and the relationship between the reader, the user, and the customer. I was missing that, and I have that at Olivela. Of course, I miss the people at InStyle. There are lots whom I still see. The nice thing about long-term work relationships is that they survive big changes.
What are your thoughts on InStyle today?
I’m so excited to see the energy and the enthusiasm and the fun factor. It’s a brand that has always celebrated fashion and style and demystified those worlds. I love the energy with which that team is still creating and promoting that brand. It’s fantastic.