- Dollar Shave Club laid off MEL Magazine’s editorial team on Wednesday.
- The site became a media industry darling despite being owned by a razor brand.
- MEL does not run advertising but has recently launched paid newsletters.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Dollar Shave Club is laying off the staff of MEL Magazine, its men’s lifestyle and culture website.
MEL staffers were informed of the layoffs on Wednesday. The publication is seeking a rescue buyer and faces shutting down if it doesn’t find one.
“After six years of successful partnership and transforming the men’s health and media spaces for the better, MEL and Dollar Shave Club’s financial relationship will come to an end in 60 days,” editor-in-chief Josh Schollmeyer said in a statement. “MEL will stop publishing effective Wednesday, and the complete focus will now be on finding the right new owner. This has always been a part of the plan for our brand-backed partnership, and we’re incredibly proud of what we’ve built together. We look forward to our next phase of opportunities and growth, thank our incredible team and readers for their support and can now finally create all of the razor content we’ve been dying to explore.”
A spokesperson for Dollar Shave Club did not immediately return a request for comment.
Founded in 2015, MEL won industry attention for going beyond the traditional topics of men’s media like cars and fitness, instead publishing stories about toxic masculinity alongside cultural coverage and funny material. On Wednesday, popular articles on the site included why Irish people dislike the band U2, the ethics of saving nude photos sent by an ex, and the black market for counterfeit Viagra.
Dollar Shave Club launched MEL amid a wave of brand-backed publications — projects that often ended abruptly, like in the case of Casper and Airbnb. MEL published on Medium before becoming a standalone site in 2018. While the publication covered men’s grooming, it maintained an editorial wall with Dollar Shave Club and was not a sponsored content vehicle.
That separation raised questions about how much financial sense MEL made for the razor seller. Michael Dubin, the founder and CEO of Dollar Shave Club who helped start MEL, stepped down from Dollar Shave Club earlier this year. (Unilever acquired the company in 2016 for a reported $1 billion).
“When I interviewed for the MEL job, Michael Dubin told me the project would be ‘editorially pure,’ and he kept that promise,” said John McDermott, a founding MEL writer who now works as a freelancer. “Dubin and Josh [Schollmeyer, MEL’s editor-in-chief] gave us the time and space to take risks and find our voice, which is why MEL cultivated such a loyal following.”
MEL’s site has no ads, but the publisher sells merchandise and has sought to bring in new revenue through paid newsletters, which launched this month.
Possible buyers for MEL remain unclear. “MEL never would have been as successful if we didn’t have that creative freedom early on, and I can’t imagine another business organization would provide the same level of support,” McDermott said.
The author of this story has previously written for MEL.
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