When you can stay connected to your work while working from anywhere in the world, new career possibilities abound! Lindsay Bailey is our first virtual fashion PR intern. Despite living in Morgantown, West Virginia, Lindsay found an internship with Los Angeles-based Dream Cartel PR, effectively change the course of her career without geographic limitations. Her success story is a hopeful sign for those of us not stationed in a fashion capital of the world! For Lindsay, Dream Cartel PR was a dream come true!
My professors are always telling us to use Twitter to make connections and network with industry professionals, and I'm so glad I listened. - Lindsay Bailey
What is your background?
I was born and raised in Charleston, WV. After graduating high school, I thought I wanted to be an editor at a fashion magazine so I went to Ohio University to pursue a magazine journalism degree. It turns out that both OU and magazine journalism weren’t for me, so after two years I transferred to West Virginia University and changed my major to PR. I’m now a senior at WVU, majoring in PR and minoring in English. I’ve never regretted transferring, and I’m grateful everyday that I had the courage to make a necessary but terrifying change.
Why Fashion PR?
When I was a kid I actually hated shopping and didn’t care at all about what I wore. In high school I was awkward (who isn’t? ) and felt pretty lost in the crowd. I started dressing differently, mostly mimic 80’s and retro stuff that I bought at Wet Seal, when most people were wearing Abercrombie and Hollister (our mall doesn’t have a huge selection). I got made fun of by some people, but some people thought it was cool. Fashion became really fun for me and I loved putting together unique outfits. It gave me the confidence to not care about what other people think. I had confidence in what I was wearing, it made me happy, and I figured forget everyone else. The first time I went to an Urban Outfitters store, my mom couldn’t get me to leave. I went to NYC with my parents my junior year of high school for spring break and took a few fashion drawing classes at FIT. I fell in love. I wanted to apply for fashion design schools but struggled to come up with the necessary portfolio. I didn’t really know how to sew and I’m pretty bad at art. I’ve always been good at writing so I decided to pursue magazine journalism in hopes of one day landing a job at Vogue or Elle.
I didn’t know that fashion PR existed until Kelly Cutrone appeared on The Hills and caught my attention. Kelly is my inspiration for choosing to pursue this career path and I credit her for bringing the spotlight onto fashion public relations. I am so happy I’ve found something where I can combine my strengths and my love of clothes, accessories, shoes, purses etc. The list goes on and on.
How did you land your internship?
Dream Cartel PR actually reached out to me and let me know about this opportunity via Twitter. I frequently tweet about fashion and PR and caught their attention. My professors are always telling us to use Twitter to make connections and network with industry professionals, and I am so glad I listened. I am a huge proponent of social media (especially Twitter) as it helped me to land this great internship.
I think it is also important to have a blog. I started blogging a few months ago about fashion and PR and it has helped me make some unexpected connections with fashion industry professionals. I have learned how important it is for PR students and aspiring publicists to put themselves out there on social networking sites. You never know who might be listening!
What is exciting about your internship?
The firm is virtual so we communicate solely through email and phone calls. Lauren Francis, Dream Cartel PR’s owner, lives in Los Angeles, and her assistant Mallory Butler lives in New York City. I am a college student at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV where the opportunity to intern for a fashion PR firm is literally nonexistent. I am so lucky to be getting experience in fashion PR without having to take a semester off to move to NYC or LA. I love the work I am doing for Dream Cartel and I am getting the best of both worlds since I am able to do it all from my computer. Also, because the firm is small, I am actually receiving larger responsibilities than I have at other firms I have interned for, and that is really exciting for me.
What are your responsibilities?
So far at Dream Cartel PR, I have helped a lot with media pitching for designers, pitching to clients for our client Diedre Warhol, a men’s stylist, as well as writing media releases for firm events. I also help with searching for new clients. I have not started yet (I have only been working for Dream Cartel PR for about a month), but Lauren and I have also discussed the possibility of me helping write content for upcoming firm newsletters.
What is an example of a typical day in the office?
Since I do all my work from home there is no typical day at the office. I usually email Lauren in the morning and see what kind of help she needs for the day. Then I go to class, go to my other job, do homework and help Lauren and Mallory out in-between. Having a Blackberry helps a lot!
What is a recent success story that you have been a part of?
One of Dream Cartel PR’s clients, Tina E., recently launched a new line called “Amore.” I did a lot of pitching to bloggers and online magazines about her new line. I got several responses and Claire from The Fashion Bomb responded with a link to a story about Tina E that she had written immediately after receiving the pitch. I was so excited that I had helped our client get exposure. I have had a couple internships throughout college, but none in fashion PR, and this was this first time I had actually pitched media for a designer and secured a story. It was
just a really good feeling. I saved the blog post so I can always remember what it felt like.
What challenges are attached to your job?
I would say the hardest thing about my internships, and maybe PR for that matter, is when you pitch a story it is likely to end up at the bottom of an extremely busy fashion writer’s inbox. It is difficult to stand out in the crowd. Sometimes even finding the email of the person you want to contact is next to impossible. Actually, I just read some tips on PR Couture that really helped, like using LinkedIn and ruling out adding a lot of attachments on emails because they could end up getting categorized as spam.
Were there any aspects of the job requirements were a surprise to you?
Actually, there have not been too many surprises. Lauren is extremely organized and professional, and before I started, we signed a contract that laid down exactly what kind of work I would be doing and what responsibilities were required of me. However, I have been surprised in past internships. When I interned for Widmeyer Communications in Washington DC this past summer, I was shocked by how much time goes into searching for the right media contacts and the strategy behind it.
In a few words, how would you summarize your agency?
Dream Cartel PR is an innovative, growing firm. Having someone in NYC and LA give us the advantage of having representation on both sides of the country and in two of the biggest fashion capitols in America. We represent stylists, models, and designers, which gives Dream Cartel PR a broad understanding of the fashion industry as a whole.
The fact that The fact that the firm is small gives each client the benefit of personalized, individual treatment. Lauren and Mallory have both been so welcoming to me. Even though I have never met them in person (hopefully I will someday soon!!!), they still make me feel like part of the team.