The Weekly Wrinkle was conceived when businesswoman Carolyn Hadden-Paton noticed how often her 20-something colleagues were looking at the Daily Candy, a site for young women that is an up-to-date guide of what to wear, where to go and how to enjoy life in a variety of cities.
“I thought it was great, but it wasn’t especially relevant to me, which made me realise there was a gap in the market,” says Carolyn. “I decided to do something similar for women in the hopelessly neglected 40+ age bracket.”
With her friend Lotte Lorimer, they came up with a site for London women. “I’m absolutely no good at computing, so I was the benchmark for how the site design functioned,” says Lotte. “If I could navigate it, we felt anyone could.” The result is a clean, stylish and technophobe-friendly newsletter with an informal conversational style and a title that bucks any coyness about the reality of (whisper it softly) growing older.
Every Weekly Wrinkle article is tailored to middle-aged concerns, whether enjoyable or worrying. “We feel that women want to eat and live well, be inspired, look after their bodies – in and out – and have a really good laugh along the way,” says Carolyn. “But we also don’t shy away from tackling darker subjects such as our parents dying, divorce, loneliness, cancer; all the things that crop up at this age.”
When they started the newsletter, they encouraged tips and views in a dialogue with readers. That soon developed into a Black Book section listing recommendations for everything from fashion and cosmetic deals to restaurants, dentists and plastic surgeons. “PR companies bombard us with things they would like us to promote, but we never, ever recommend anything our readers haven’t championed, or we have not checked out for ourselves, or met with the doctors involved.
“Our hope is that we are perceived as people with taste and that our regulars can trust our tone.”
Weekly Wrinkle editorials are short and punchy, with titles like ‘What the f*** should I eat?’ and ‘Nightmare at Christmas’. Particularly popular are the more candid pieces like ‘Dinner party drugs’ and ‘Is an affair ever acceptable?’, which provoke huge increases in visitors to the site. Readers then offer comments, which inspire further articles.
“What I love about the internet,” says Carolyn, “is that people are so generous with advice. It has totally changed the way we learn of things.”
Their ambition is to follow the path forged by the Daily Candy and roll out the Weekly Wrinkle to cover British cities beyond London. “It’s all very hands on, so we would need to franchise it,” says Lotte.
With readership rising 15 per cent every month, it looks like it won’t be long before they are making woman laugh and share hometown secrets from Edinburgh to Brighton via Liverpool – unless there aren’t any 40-year-olds outside the M25.
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