How One Struggling Writer Built a Popular Lifestyle Resource for Women

A creative writing graduate from Brown University, Dany Levy got her start at a New York magazine for which she wrote about style and bargains. She quit in 1998, however, feeling stifled as her pieces were being heavily edited all the time. As Levy put it, “I had a total crisis of confidence.”

The next couple of years saw Levy working freelance and serving short stints at other publications. In 2000, she founded DailyCandy, an email newsletter packed with insider tips on fashion, food, and things to do in New York. DailyCandy provided Levy with the breathing space she very much needed and allowed her to gain her confidence back. According to her, launching the service made her realize that there were people out there who responded to her voice.

Levy describes herself as “shameless” during the early days of DailyCandy. To promote her venture, she left postcards and stickers in public restrooms and talked about it to other people in elevators. Once, she even almost got arrested for placing a sticker on a mailbox in NYC.

Her go-getter attitude would serve her again during the dot com crash, when advertisers were skirting around their dues. After not having much luck on the phone, Levy made some in-person collection calls, staying in the waiting area until she received the check.

Though Levy eventually sold DailyCandy to Comcast in 2008 for a reported $125 million, she still remains on the company’s team as chairman and editorial director. As the “ultimate woman’s lifestyle resource”, the DailyCandy website presents information on everything from home to travel to fashion to beauty to deals. With readers across the US and abroad, it currently delivers over 3 million subscriptions via 28 editions.

On maintaining DailyCandy’s position as industry leader, Levy believes in sticking to what you’re good at. When people suggested that DailyCandy should also cater to men, she dismissed the idea. “We’re really good at speaking to women and so why try to be something else.”

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