Bethanie is the founder and MD of Huge Promotions Ltd and represents clients from across the fashion, lifestyle and beauty industries. Bethanie’s first role in the industry was as a journalist for the regional lifestyle magazine, 69. During this time, Bethanie also wrote fashion and beauty articles for various media publications. From 69, she moved on to the PR department at Boots’ head office in Nottingham. This role involved acting as a media liaison officer, organising photo shoots, copy writing and finding new ways to promote products, where she managed accounts including: French Connection, Mikey, Kangol, No7 Cosmetics, and Nuxe. Bethanie soon discovered, however, that she had too many of her own ideas and decided to branch out. At 23, she carried out market research and identified a niche for a PR company that offered more than just PR. ‘Huge’ now concentrates on PR, events and fashion styling. Beth manages a Central London office with major plans to launch a showroom to showcase client samples later year. She is also a guest lecture at Colleges and Universities across the UK, and recently at the London College of Fashion. Visit Huge PR on Myspace.
PR: Does a career in Fashion PR have credibility in the UK? Within the fashion industry? Within PR at-large?
BL: Fashion PR in the UK is a growing industry, it is thriving at present and with so much competition, labels are starting to realize the value of PR and how it can help them outstand their competitors.
PR: What are most of your clients looking for from a PR campaign?
BL: Common objectives are an increase in sales and awareness. Ultimately the two work together.
PR: What are 3 tips for running a successful PR business?
1. Communicate! It what PR’s do – so do it regularly and effectively.
2. Work in an industry where your passion lies – your drive and desire will bring in great results naturally!
3. Be realistic – don’t expect glamour, it is a challenging industry and you need to work hard to prove yourself and to not only meet but exceed your clients expectations.
PR: Do you work strategically? What does the idea of working strategically mean to you?
BL: Yes – it is important to use a strategy in order to address the objectives and be focused in your approach. If you lose sight of why you are doing what you are doing, it is aimless. Always have a strategy in order to get the most out of each campaign.
PR: What are the connections between fashion styling and PR – can you give an example of how your skills in both areas worked together successfully for a client?
BL: The two services work well together when a brand requires styling for imagery for their look book, website, PR reasons etc. Then they need to use PR in order to get those images seen and heard – for instance, sending them to the media for release.
PR: What strategies have proven the most effective for marketing Huge PR?
BL: It always boils down to keeping the client’s objectives in mind. We always ask – ‘What are your aims’? ‘What do you want to be?' Then, as long as they are realistic in terms of expectation and time scale, we form strategies to make them happen.
PR: What inspired the desire to launch a showroom?
BL: This is something I am looking to do later this year - there is a demand for businesses to showcase their collections to customers and industry alike in an accessible and affordable way.
PR: Are UK fashion editors receptive to Fashion PR pitches, or is this a challenging aspect of the job? Are you most successful using traditional methods (press kit, samples), email pitching, or a combination of both?
BL: We use a combination of forward thinking campaigns and traditional methods to target press – but it’s all about focusing on publications and writers as individuals and focusing on how our client’s products are relevant to them specifically as opposed to a round robin approach.
PR: What particular skills do you need to throw a successful PR event?
BL: Initiative, good contacts, organization, time management, insight, patience and a good sense of humour!
PR: You do a lot of education and outreach about Fashion PR. What are some common misconceptions students have about the profession?
BL: They feel it is very glamorous due to the events and celebrity connections, as well as working with magazines – but I correct them quickly! It can be glam and exciting but it is hard work!
PR: Do you work with US media at all? If so, what has been your experience compared to UK media?
BL: Where applicable, we often work with international press. I think the UK media is very different to that of any other country. Their main interests can differ greatly. For instance, US media loves to support new business and love a success story but UK media tend to favour the more established [fashion brands] although this is changing.
PR: Part of the mission of PR Couture is to encourage dialogue around the legitimacy of the Fashion PR specialty, do you have any thoughts on this mission, personal experiences?
BL: I think Fashion PR is being taken seriously in the UK. The [fashion] industry is so competitive [that] people, firms, designers and such are now realizing that PR is one way to help them differentiate themselves from their competitors. I would say this movement is fairly recent and have noticed a true improvement in perception over the last two years.
PR: Is it still possible for unknown designers to get their name out there? How do you coach a new designer just starting to think about PR?
BL: I actually have a sister company, Flair Ltd, which is a fashion consultancy. It offers designers, especially those who are new to the industry, a consultation that identifies their aims and then provides them with training, contacts, information – whatever it is they need to succeed. Flair makes information and skills in the fashion industry more accessible and also provides exhibitions, fashion shows and networking events where we pull people from all levels of the fashion industry together. This makes the inaccessible more accessible. It gives people and businesses the know-how to succeed.
PR: Have fashion blogs changed PR?
BL: I think blogs act as a platform to publicize individuals, products and companies but they are never going to be as targeted, personable or strategic as PR. They act as another tool of promotion, so blogs are beneficial.
PR: What are some of your favorite fashion blogs?