Headed by Jeanie Pyun, who was the last editor in chief of Organic Style, Sprig will cover green lifestyle, including beauty, fashion and food, but with an eye to accessibility. "Our mantra is, it's much better to get 95 percent of the population to get 5 percent more green, rather than 5 percent become 95 percent more green," said Pyun, who has been joined by former Organic Style beauty editor Suzanne Murray. Rather than competing with green portals like Treehugger.com, which the launch presentation terms "condescending to ‘green lite' [readers]," or with print magazines' now-annual green issues ("one month per year; not experts," the presentation said), the site's backers say they hope to go head to head with CondéNet properties Style.com and Epicurious. Indeed, Goli Sheikholeslami, Sprig's vice president and general manager, was general manager at CondéNet until 2002. (WWD and CondéNet are both owned by Condé Nast Publications).
The move into the fashion and beauty space, originally pitched to chief executive officer Donald Graham by former Rodale women's group president Sara Levinson, is also clearly a bid for some of that consumer-focused advertising. "The audience will be in some ways complementary to our existing audience, in that Slate, the Washington Post, and Newsweek have high-income, well-educated readers with heavy Web use," said Whitaker. "But there's the opportunity to branch out not only with something specifically focused towards women, but also something more vertical. It didn't make a lot of sense for New Ventures to start another news site."