In Conversation with Mel McVeigh
Mel McVeigh is VP Product, Consumer Brands, and Commerce at Conde Nast.
She leads the digital portfolio of brands: Vogue, GQ, Conde Nast Traveller, Architectural Digest, House + Garden, World of Interiors, Allure, SELF, Glamour + Tatler. She is also responsible for the commerce product platform across affiliate, unified shopping experiences and native checkout.
Mel has worked for various publishers and commerce companies including Photobox, Telegraph, Mr&MrsSmith, Lonely Planet, and TimeOut. She is a senior leader with a creative director’s mindset who transforms businesses, teams, and cultures to drive commercial performance.
How did you get into the media + publishing industry– was it by accident or design?
My career is a tapestry of moments, places, and connections that have led me to this place. I started my career in contract publishing, the internet was born, and I taught myself HTML I left my job and become a tour guide because my friend was one. I also studied photography and exhibited frequently. All these things feel disconnected but with these small actions, I joined Lonely Planet, I became a web designer, then I became a strategist and a visual storyteller and then the rest is history. Well, not history, my career is still evolving. I work hard, and each time an experience leads me to the next place. To land at Conde Nast doing what I do now is a reflection of all the diverse skills I collected and grew along the way.
So it was by serendipity and then by design.
What is the role of publishing in the world of digital media...
I reflect on this a lot. In a world with so much content, with content creators – that term didn’t even exist when I started. The need for authority, creativity, curation, and recommendation is stronger than ever. The deluge of content is overwhelming and due to algorithmic bias, it is incredibly repetitive. For views, we copy, for scale, we repeat. But there is beauty, a voice, and a need for true curation. This only comes from creativity and an intimate reflection of art rather than performance. Through all the noise of content curation, new voices, and new ideas are what shine through the most. Publishing is the one sector where curation and storytelling are key and is what makes it still a powerful medium.
So far, what’s been the biggest challenge of your career.
Balancing my creative self with my corporate self. I can switch. I do both. But this is incredibly hard to manage as they are two completely different headspaces. They are two ways to tell stories and create. For a while I stopped being a creative, I stopped being a photographer. But then I realised personally I was lost. I have spent the last 5 years, finding my way back. Then I realised that I do what I do because I am a creative. I can join threads others sometimes struggle to see and I tell stories to inspire people to change. And… for me, personally… I am making art again.
If you could change something about publishing, what would it be?
A greater appreciation for the technologies that make digital work. Print and digital are two different mediums and even after all my career, many people still forget this.
What do you think you might have done if you hadn’t taken this role.
I don’t think I am meant to be anywhere else but here right now.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
Not really, I don’t believe in regrets. Everything happened exactly as it should. Maybe I wanted to be more creative earlier, but I wasn’t ready to tell that story until now.
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