[This interview originally appeared as on Vox Pop PR Careers, a careers website for young PRs. It’s a great resource for anyone in the field, and worth checking out! -CN]
When Crosby Noricks could not find information on fashion PR in 2006, she created PRCouture.com, an award-winning resource about fashion PR. In this interview, Crosby lets us know how she built her online powerhouse.
1) When you started PR Couture, did you have any idea that it would be so popular and even get you an award as blogger of the year?
Absolutely not. I knew I wanted to create a space online to talk about fashion PR, because when I was writing my Master’s thesis it was really hard to find any research – academic or anecdotal about the profession. I knew that there was nothing like what I wanted to create out there already but certainly at the start I had no real long-term goals or sense of how long I would stick with it. I went through a period of questioning if I was the right person to do this – but I also had this tiny voice saying, “well, why NOT you?” and that was the one I tried to listen to.
2) How important is PR to fashion brands?
Many fashion brands often turn to PR because 1) they don’t have large budgets to sustain advertising campaigns and 2) there is more perceived credibility when say, a dress shows up in the Editor’s picks section of Lucky Magazine, rather than in a full page ad that so many people just skip through to get to the real content of the magazine. Fashion is all about the story and how a particular piece fits in to a larger trend, even certain societal and cultural movements, PR is key to telling that story effectively and over time.
3) How has social media transformed fashion brands in your opinion?
Social media requires fashion brands to be accessible to their customers at an unprecedented level. I think it’s also helped designers and all the people working behind the scenes connect more authentically with customers. Social media marketing, community building, blogger outreach – these are new channels where fashion brands can build a base of influencers, solve customer service questions, and leverage the creativity and brand passion of their fans for new content and greater brand affinity.
4) If you want to work in fashion PR, what are the most important cities to live in within the US to get your career going?
Obviously New York or LA, but I think there are also opportunities in places like Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, Portland, Seattle.
5) So many aspiring PRs would love to be at Chanel or YSL as a PR, but don’t have the contacts. What tips can you give for networking in fashion?
Leverage social media tools to build your own personal brand and engage with people who work in fashion PR or who work at companies you are interested in. Participate in weekly chats with other pro’s to learn about the issues and contribute your ideas. Starting a blog is a great way to build a writing portfolio and showcase your personal point of view. Attend local fashion networking events, volunteer at fashion events – and if there aren’t any where you are, start your own!
6) What would you say to critics who think that fashion PR is not a serious sector in PR?
Research that I compiled in my thesis demonstrated that fashion PR is every bit as strategic as corporate PR. We develop strategic plans, measure results, provide media training, contribute our thinking across multiple departments etc. Fashion is by nature, visual – so yes, media relations and media placement is a core focus of the outreach – but this isn’t the whole job, and I would argue that cultivating and maintaining relationships with fashion editors who are facing extremely tough times and continually coming up with new and innovative way to pitch and promote is an extremely difficult and tenuous job.
7) What has been the garland or crowning moment of your career thus far?
I suppose being sponsored by Microsoft Windows Phone to attend Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in September, 2009 was a wonderful experience, but being recognized among my peers in my town as Blogger of the Year possibly takes the cake.