“There are countless aspects to PR and none of them can be put on the back-burner. My boss works almost 24 hours a day. She has to in order to keep up with this industry. Yet somehow she manages to live a social life, run her own business, and keep all her clients happy little campers. She is such an inspiration.” – Jessica Oakes
After dabbling in multiple aspects of the fashion industry, Jessica Oakes finally found a career that allows her utilize her strengths: sociability, promotion, and of course, style. Jessica believes that the “almost” opportunities are the very ones that ultimately led her to fashion PR. Delve into her experience as an intern at xPose PR, a boutique fashion PR firm based in Los Angeles, and be inspired!
I am a California native, born and raised in the lovely city of Chino Hills. After completing high school in 2008, I moved to Provo, UT where I am about to begin my senior year of college as an advertising major and a psychology minor at Brigham Young University.
Why Fashion PR?
From a young age, I have always been interested in fashion. First, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I would spend countless hours sketching dresses but alas, I discovered that I was not the next Vera Wang. As time went on, this love for fashion evolved into one for fashion journalism. Upon taking a journalism course at BYU, I realized journalism did not drive my passion. Instead, another avenue of communications had captured my attention: advertising. I loved the creative freedom that advertising provided me. I loved being able to say so much with so little. My fascination for this emphasis grew into a fiery passion yet I could not disregard my love for fashion. I began looking for a fashion advertising based internship for the summer. After months of “almosts,” I began to expand my search to include fashion PR and here we are today!
How did you land your position?
I tirelessly stalked multiple internship websites, one of which was Free Fashion Internships. This was where I found the internship post for the position at xPose PR. After researching the company and their vibe, I wrote a specific cover letter that I believed embodied xPose. I must have done something right because a couple days later, I received an email asking if I was available for an interview. At that time, I was still in Utah. I drove home a few days later for my interview and have been in CA ever since. It is really important to connect with your interviewer in the short amount of time that you have. Be sure to do plenty of research before hand, prepare unique questions to ask during the interview, and show enthusiasm.
What is an example of a typical day in the office?
As we always say in the office, there is no such thing as a “typical day.” Because xPose is a more intimate PR firm, all members of our family are equally important. We all contribute to every aspect of xPose. Whether it be going to events to support our clients, planning fashion shows, meeting with potential clients, blogging/tweeting/facebooking, researching, pitching, sending out cold leads, leading a pull, prepping documents for meetings, checking up on existing clients, making media kits, writing press releases, we are all involved.
What are your responsibilities?
My responsibilities constantly evolved throughout the duration of my internship. I began as a normal intern, coming in about two times a week for 5 hour shifts each time. Soon enough, my boss put me to work using my skills with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create media kits and fancy documents for potential clients. At this point, I had taken on the roll of the “Do It All Doll.” I was researching, pitching, acting as my boss’s assistant, organizing, creating, managing the social media. As time went on, xPose took on more interns and as such I took on a more authoritative role as head intern. I delegated tasks according to each intern’s strengths. We were able to get things done at a much higher volume and with a higher quality.
What is a recent success story that you have been a part of?
As previously stated, I am a part of everything that goes on at xPose. As such, I’d like to think that I have been a part of every success that has occurred while being there. One success that comes to mind is how we are in the works of planning a fashion show with a magazine and a store that carries many labels. One hot day in LA, my fellow intern, Christine, and I went for a little stroll along Spring Street. We went into the said store and struck up a conversation with the boss/founder of the store. We briefly discussed PR opportunities for her company. After we left, I got a text from my boss, Shannon Funk, informing me that the founder of the store had called her and wanted to come in to discuss opportunities. It was the best feeling to discover that a simple, friendly conversation opened a new door. Now, we are in the works of brainstorming ideas for a fashion show collaboration with all the brands in that store and a certain LA magazine. Successful? Yes, to say the least.
What challenges are attached to your job?
One of the main challenges of the job is staying on top of things. Because PR is such a fast-paced industry, if you are not ahead of your work you will get lost in dust. Stay organized. Keep a planner. Do things the moment you think of them because if not, you will forget and opportunities will be lost.
What aspects of the job requirements were a surprise to you?
The biggest surprise was how much hard work it is. As cliche as that is, it is the truth. There are countless aspects to PR and none of them can be put on the back-burner. My boss works almost 24 hours a day. She has to in order to keep up with this industry. Yet somehow she manages to live a social life, run her own business, and keep all her clients happy little campers. She is such an inspiration. When I first interviewed for the position, Shannon told me to succeed I had to find a mentor to guide me. I am proud to say that I have found my mentor and role model.
In a few words, how would you summarize your agency?
xPose PR: Edgy, contemporary, bold, mind-blowingly awesome, honest, real.