Since I didn’t have showroom in Manhattan, I expected that I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a fashion PR. However, I have learned that if your clients make great clothes, you can let the products speak for themselves. -Zach Weiss
Zach Weiss has been carving his own path and relying on his tenacity and talent to excel in an industry he loves since the beginning. He has landed internships at top fashion PR firms such as People’s Revolution and Lizzie Grubman PR as well as in-house with the high fashion brand Fendi. Weiss has used his experience, social connections, and social media to establish a firm of his own, Z. Weiss Public Relations. Currently, Zach balances school at Syracuse University while building his own public relations firm.
What is your background?
I got my first internship before my senior year of high school in 2009 at celebrity PR firm, Lizzie Grubman PR in Manhattan. I didn’t have any friends or family involved the PR field, so I really had to prove myself in the interview. I ended up being the youngest intern they have ever had in the office! I lived in Connecticut at the time (about 2 hours from Manhattan), and commuted to the city 3 days a week. I spent about 4 hours on the train each day, but it was totally worth it! At the same time, I began pursuing my own PR clients. I started with Tucker Blair, which makes fun, preppy needlepoint belts. I landed Tucker Blair as a client through a Tweet asking them if they needed any help with PR! Taylor Llewellyn, the company’s creator, had me start out on a trial basis, but it turned out to be a profitable venture for both Taylor and I. From there, I balanced my senior year of high school and Tucker Blair’s PR, and landed a summer internship at People's Revolution before my freshman year of college.
After this, I took off to Syracuse University to study communications, and continued to balance the PR for Tucker Blair. I noticed I had a lot of free time in my schedule at college, so I decided to expand my client roster. That year, I found my second client, Jack Robie menswear, thanks to my boss at Tucker Blair. My most recent internship was last summer at Fendi, and it was an amazing experience. I definitely encourage every fellow fashion PR to try out a corporate PR internship. This is what gave me the tools to start my own PR agency last month, Z.Weiss Public Relations. As of last week, my group of clients has grown to 5 great brands: Tucker Blair, Jack Robie, Read’s Clothing Project, Sleevecandy, and Harding Lane. The agency’s website is basic at the moment, but a new one is in the works!
Why fashion PR?
Kelly Cutrone always says she loves fashion PR because “the clothes don’t talk back.” I certainly agree with that, since dealing with the PR for another person can become a battle that gets in the way of the publicity. The clothes are also something that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, which adds a lot of fun to the job.
How did you land your position?
A simple resume submission and standard interviewing process. It’s easier than you think, you just have to follow up!
What is an example of a typical day in the office?
A typical day “at the office” for me is fielding e-mail requests for all of my clients before I head off to class in the morning. I make sure I stay on top of this between my classes on my Blackberry. I also devote one day during the weekend to pre-draft the pitches for my clients to send out to specific publications about features, shoots, etc.
What are your responsibilities?
The 3 very basic facets of Z.Weiss Public Relations are public relations (duh!), strategic partnerships (bringing my clients together with other brands), and brand development (making sure every client’s brand has a clear identity to appeal to buyers). These are very basic, and can extend as far as getting a table for a client at a restaurant!
What is a recent success story that you have been a part of?
My most recent success story, other than finally launching my own PR agency, was partnering my first client, Tucker Blair, with the well-known boutique, Opening Ceremony. I oversaw the partnership from beginning to end, and the press response to it was great. We followed this partnership up with a press day packed with meetings at different magazines and department stores around Manhattan.
What challenges are attached to your job?
I am sure that most fashion PR enthusiasts can sympathize with the fashion months getting in the way. Since I do the PR for several fashion start-ups, they aren’t getting involved in the fashion week circuses just yet. This tends to hinder my communication with editors and buyers, so during this time we usually focus on partnerships and web presence.
What aspects of the job requirements were a surprise to you?
The biggest surprise has been the awesome response my clients have received. Since I didn’t have showroom in Manhattan, I expected that I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a fashion PR. However, I have learned that if your clients make great clothes, you can let the products speak for themselves.
In a few words, how would you summarize your PR agency?
Young. Forward-thinking. Original.
*Featured image taken from Tucker Blair 2008 look book.