Domino has a new name at the top of the masthead. Kate Berry, formerly executive creative director, is now the chief creative officer. The promotion comes at an important moment for the brand, as it pivots away from a print-online hybrid to focus entirely on digital media.
Domino’s 2021 summer issue, Berry tells Business of Home, will be its last regular quarterly edition. “For us, the path forward right now is really to focus on digital content, delivering what we would in print in a digital way,” she says. “[And] what can you get on digital that you can’t in print? Is it video, is it interactive? That kind of thing. [Digital media] is more immediate.”
In the months ahead, Domino will be rolling out a variety of new initiatives that reflect the change. Some of them—a new content management system, for example—will be invisible to readers. Others, including stand-alone digital issues, as well as microsites dedicated to verticals like renovations and kids, will seek to engage with the brand’s audience in new ways. The company is also staffing up to strengthen its e-commerce and affiliate team.
The pivot to a digital-first model is tied in with bigger-picture developments at Domino. In January of this year, the brand was purchased from Multiply Media by media investment firm North Equity, whose subsidiary Recurrent Ventures is the owner of 15 titles ranging from Saveur to Field & Stream and Popular Science. (Berry is also now CCO of Saveur.) The acquisition, says Berry, allows the brand to benefit from owners who can strategically invest in digital products to deploy across their entire portfolio.
“When [Recurrent Ventures] builds a product for us, it unlocks it for [our] sister publications,” she says. “We were solo before, and we had a lot of constraints. … Now we have the opportunity to actually have developers within our grasp.”
Berry, herself a print veteran who spent almost a decade at Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings, joined Domino in 2016 as style director and helped develop the brand’s signature look. Though her promotion comes on the heels of former editor in chief Jessica Romm Perez’s departure to online design platform The Expert, the replacement is not exactly like-for-like. Berry has taken on Perez’s portfolio, but not her title—in a move that reflects the shifting nature of digital media companies, where the brand’s voice is expressed across a complex variety of mediums and platforms, Domino will no longer have an editor in chief. Rather, Berry has simply taken on responsibility for the editors in addition to the creative teams.
Though the emphasis on digital is certainly a significant change, Berry says the fundamental character of Domino will stay the same. The brand, she says, has found a winning formula combining service-style journalism with storytelling and vivid personalities. It’s also an outlet that continues to champion up-and-coming creatives before they break into the mainstream. “The focus on people and new talent—that’s what we’ve always been doing. For example, Aurora James—we put her on the cover back when I first started, and now she’s started the 15 Percent initiative,” says Berry. “[Estelle Bailey-Babenzien], the creative director of Noah: Now she’s doing interior design projects.”
With new digital firepower driving the brand, and the obligation of producing a quarterly print magazine in the rearview mirror, Berry is looking to see what Domino can do in its next chapter. “We’re really focused on redoing our site and making major improvements,” she says. “It’s all editorially led, and it’s exciting.”
Homepage photo: Kate Berry | Courtesy of Kate Berry