Fashion PR Pros: Interview with Janice McCafferty Communications

jmc.jpgI first noticed Janice McCafferty when, as myspace friends, I read her bulletins communicating recent media hits for clients. Impressed by her use of myspace as a PR communication tool, as well as her profile, I asked her to share a bit about her background and how she uses social networking in her work.

PR: What is your background?

JM: I have served as a publicist for the past 24 years. During this time, I represented numerous companies in the beauty, entertainment, health and fashion industries in addition to several hairdressers and charities. As a licensed cosmetologist in Illinois and working in several high end salons, I devoted a major portion of my career serving as a board of director for one of the industries largest hairdressing associations (Cosmetologist Chicago). After almost nine years on the board, I was elected president and served a 2 year term. I also have a background in the medical profession and business management.

PR:What is Janice McCafferty Communications all about?

JM: Janice McCafferty Communication is all about providing media exposure and brand recognition. No client wants to be the best kept secret. In stead, our clients thrive with press exposure.

PR:What makes Janice McCafferty Communications unique?

JM: JMC provides each client a one on one attention. Since we are a boutique agency, our clients are not lost within the confines of a huge firm. We provide the “big” results, but with a personal touch.

PR: What are Janice McCafferty Communications areas of expertise?

JM: JMC has a broad stream of experience in the fields of beauty, hair, nails, skin, makeup, health, education, entertainment, non-profit and fashion. With this extensive foundation, we are able to tailor a detailed and results driven PR campaign regardless of the client’s industry.

PR: Who is on the Janice McCafferty Communications client roster?

JM: Our clients include/ed: David Babaii for WildAid (with actress Kate Hudson), David Babaii (Celebrity Hairdresser) FHI Heat, Farouk Systems (Manufacturers of CHI and BioSilk), CHI Magazine, pHormulate, Pivot Point Beauty School’s Cares for Kids, ImagiNail, Zestra for Women, Jason Kearns (Salon Owner and Hairdresser), Metromamma, ProSilk, Hoss Sauce, Xenon, XenScience, Xenon Foundation, Vi3 (Recoding Group), MCA Records, Lil Fizz from B2K, Lord & Cliff and Sta-Dri Collar.
I have also served on the PR teams for NSYNC’s Challenge for the Children (3 years) and NBA Alls Star’s MidSummer Night’s Dream (2006).
Currently, I am speaking with Chicago Fashion Week about handling their PR needs for the Fall 2008 Collections.

PR: How do you leverage social media tools like myspace for your clients? What about agency promotion?

JM: We just started utilizing myspace for our agency. It has been welcomed with a great response. With millions of users on daily, it is amazing how you can reach new audiences and potential consumers with bulletins, blogs, comments, and messaging. First, it is important to create a solid friends list of companies and individuals with similar interest as your client. This will ensure your message is taken in by the user. We construct bulletins for our agency and client each time we achieve new press exposure. Myspace is so interactive and must take this into account before you consider a new posting. However, this can be extremely time-consuming to maintain and update regularly.

PR: How do you educate your clients about the importance of developing a presence online? Is this a challenge?

JM: We have taken many steps to educate and explain the importance of web exposure. However, this has been a challenge. Many simply do not understand this new media source. They are still from the old school of wanting their brand in print or on air.

PR: How do you measure your success for clients? What about personal success?

JM: Their success as well as mine is measured when I receive a phone call from them saying, “Since you have come on board, we have experienced a noticeable increase in sales!”

PR: Do you believe that fashion PR is a glamour profession? Why/why not?

JM: I just love fashion. I always keep up to date with the latest trends coming off the runways. Since beauty and fashion go hand in hand, I hooked up FHI Heat with sponsorships for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. It is definitely a glamorous side of PR. Where else can find such substance and style in one industry?

PR: What makes you great at what you do?

JM: I have a strong passion for achieving great things for my clients. Their goals become my goals and their dreams become my dreams. Relationship building especially with the media is one of my greatest assets.

PR: What is your proudest PR moment?

JM: My proudest moment, besides winning several awards, was a 2006 National and International distributor meeting for one of my clients. After presenting my PR achievements through a comprehensive power point and video presentation, I received a standing ovation. From a personal point, my proudest PR moment will take place this June. My daughter Jessica will be graduating from college. She finishes with honors and her degree in Public Communication. This is truly a parent’s proudest moment when your child decides to follow in your footsteps.

PR: What are three upcoming trends (can be cultural, industry, media, or fashion related) on your radar? 1. I feel company’s and/or products turning “green” will be making news
2. I feel we will become more conscious of our environment and health
3. As far as beauty and fashion, I see a trend toward “old” Hollywood coming back with a stronger emphasis on looking glamorous.

About This Author

Known as the “fashion publicist’s most powerful accessory,” (San Diego Union-Tribune) and the “West Coast ‘It’ girl of fashion PR,” (YFS Magazine) Crosby Noricks put fashion public relations on the digital map when she launched PR Couture in 2006. She is the author of Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR, available on Amazon. Crosby spends her time managing PR Couture and mentoring fashion publicists through PRISM and Instappable, as well as the biannual NYC workshop, Fashion PR Confidential. Occasionally, she opens up limited consulting spots for emerging brands through her signature offering, The Brand Elixir.