Elle Communications has raised the bar for fashion PR in San Diego, recently expanding into Los Angeles and handling the production and marketing of indie-fashion event THREAD show (recently expanded into Phoenix and Orange county). Dara Bu came on as an intern and was recently promoted to Relationship Engineer, a title that incorporates media relations, community relations and social media.
"I made an effort to demonstrate dedication and exceed expectations whenever possible...when it was time to hire, I had made a positive impression." - Dara Bu
What is your background?
I received my Bachelor of Arts in Communications at UCSD but I got my PR kicks from loads of networking, volunteering and internships. My PR know-how stems from working at San Diego public relations firms. At ChicExecs PR, I learned to land product placement on celebrities (from Hilary Duff, Hayden Panettiere to Adam Sandler) and assisted in securing placement in top-tier media outlets like Redbook and People. I learned the essential foundations of PR from strategic pitching, tracking coverage to monitoring media opportunities at Allison & Partners, a national PR firm. In addition to agency experience, I interned on the media side, implementing marketing initiatives for San Diego Magazine, Exquisite Weddings, MTV Tr3s, and The UCSD Guardian. As far as the fashion side or “Fashion PR”, I was exposed to local industry through my work at San Diego Model Management, FashionCalendar.com, FashionStreetSD.com. and La Jolla Fashion Festival.
Why Fashion PR?
Coincidentally, I discovered fashion PR through PR Couture. My former internship supervisor, Fred Sweet, founder of San Diego Model Management introduced me to the inspiring website. From there on, I was set on being part of the alluring world of fashion PR. Through Twitter, I met a former Elle intern who led introduced me to its founder, me to Danielle Gano. As an intern at Elle, I was exposed to the execution of the complete PR strategy for THREAD Show, a multi-city fashion and design event. This experience solidified my passion for the fast-paced nature of fashion PR. That internship eventually led to a full-time position at Elle.
How did you land your internship/entry level position?
I took every relevant internship and volunteer opportunity. In addition to taking the opportunities, I made an effort to demonstrate dedication and exceed expectations whenever possible. By consistently showing my passion for the job, when it was time to hire, I had made a positive impression.
What is a recent success story that you have been a part of?
When I was officially hired as a “Relationship Engineer” (Publicist/Social Media Strategist) at Elle, I had the pleasure of kicking off the PR plan for Jedidiah, a humanitarian apparel brand that partners with a different non-profit each season to complete projects that positively impact the world. Since working with them, we’ve landed placement in 944, Refinery29, DiscoverSD and have lots of glossy features in the works for holiday gift guides. In addition to securing media, we’ve been successful in placing Jedidiah on cast members of Glee, The Buried Life, Reid Ewing from Modern Family, and few more notables. Elle has also played an integral role in leading Jedidiah to the finals for “Philanthropic Small Business of the Year” for the Classy Awards. Fingers-crossed, we get to be part on their win!
What challenges are attached to your job?
Public relations is a lifestyle career path so you have to absolutely love the job because a good publicist is tied to their email 24/7. While public relations involves a lot of fun events, from shopping soirees, dining at high-end restaurants, to traveling to trade shows, a majority of the job is spent in front of a computer screen.
What is exciting about your job?
There are so many exciting elements of fashion PR - the feeling of landing a story in a top-tier outlet and seeing it come to fruition in print or online, styling a fashion news segment, developing innovative social media campaigns to new client kick-off meetings.
What is an example of a typical day in the office?
Every publicist will tell you that there is no such thing as a typical day. Each day is consists of serious time management and constant re-prioritization. The responsibilities listed below embody parts of a “typical day”.
What are your responsibilities?
- Monitoring media opportunities
- Building media lists
- Managing editorial calendars
- Tracking awards opportunities
- Community Relations
- Writing press releases
- Creative pitching
- Media follow-up
- Tracking coverage
- Social media management
- Client meetings
- Media meetings
- Compiling status reports
- Drafting new business proposals
- Event planning
- Lots and lots of emails
What aspects of the job were a surprise to you?
Internships are a genuine preview of what a job will be like but when you become a full-time team member, you’re introduced to a handful of additional responsibilities. Because I work for a boutique PR firm, I was surprised to take the lead on several projects within just a few months.
In a few words, how would you summarize your agency?
The team at Elle consistently throws out the rules to create boundary-breaking public relations, marketing and event campaigns for our clients. We believe that no goal is too high and no audience unreachable. We stray far from the box and we don’t believe in following all the rules.