At PR Couture, we love a Getting In story with gumption, and Bollare founder and principal Alle Fister's reads like the pilot of a television show we wish we could be watching. As she told Glitter Guide last summer, Alle landed her first gig straight out of college, at Shopbop, by reaching out "to the brand via a ‘Customer Comments’ section on the site outlining why I would be a great member of the team and my thoughts on future executions to grow the brand. After receiving a call from Bob Lamey, one of the company founders, I packed up my convertible and moved from Malibu to Madison, WI."
These days Bollare Communications, Alle's firm, has settled back into fashion's epicenter, with offices on both the west and east coast, boasting some of the most enviable fashion accounts.
How did you get started in Fashion PR?
Interning interning interning! Public Relations, as it lives in the fashion space, really isn't a profession you can 'learn in school'. Time on the ground interning at boutique and large scale firms, as well as in house at tow premier labels, provided my first understanding of the space.
I was able to leverage learnings from my preliminary experiences into my role for women's online retailer, Shopbop. As one of the initial team members of Shopbop, my role was multi-faceted, from managing photos shoots to writing product descriptions to crafting our public relations strategy. By maintaining the thought process that I always wanted to be a 'resource' to editors, I was able to garner some initial wins for us from a press perspective, and turn my passion for spreading the word on Shopbop into my full time focus.
After years at Shopbop, and celebrating profile pieces with the New York Times to fashion features with Lucky, Shopbop was acquired by Amazon. In this transition, I loved the entrepreneurial spirit cultivated with the early Shobbop days, as mentored by Shopbop founder, Bob Lamey, and set to start my own consulting agency, Bollare, with Shopbop as my first client…and so the Bollare story began…!
Today the Bollare business oversees communications strategy for Fornasetti, ghd, Dita, MINKPINK, Smythe, Quiksilver, and Vans between offices in New York and Los Angeles.
What do you love about your job?
Each day is truly a new adventure, understanding different businesses and how the public relations mechanism can help make them tick! The creative, entrepreneurial, team and positive energy needed for successes is truly something I thrive on and love! At the end of the day, holding a press clipping in my hands that has positively impacted a business is such a thrill! Also, I love the team mentorship; meeting young members of the Bollare team, seeing them learn, grow and thrive…I love it.
What is your least favorite part?
Being at the helm of the agency, if there is a type of work or energy that I don't love and find inspiring, we'll often move from it. At Bollare, our senior team really aims to create a positive, professional and upbeat atmosphere, where we focus on the can do and what we love…sounds hokey, but it true!
What role does product placement play in the work Bollare does for clients? What about celebrity outreach?
Product and celebrity placements are huge drivers in our business. Being a resource of cool to key editors, stylists, publicists and celebrities has led to a fluidity of wins for our clients that I am truly proud of the team for achieving!
How have you seen fashion PR evolve since you started in the industry?
The focus, understanding and appreciation of digital. We have a truly awesome digital team at Bollare. The creativity of the digital (blogger + social media) arm of the business juxtaposed with the hyper-measureabality makes it really interesting. Coming from a more 'traditional' public relations background, it is a great asset to be able to offset the 'glossiness' of our industry with analytics, as provided by digital wins.
What's the biggest difference between people who work in fashion PR in LA vs NY?
Realms of focus, LA tends to be driven more by the lifestyle and the celebrity whereas NYC is driven by the editorial and fashion pulses.
What advice do you provide clients with regard to building their brands through social media?
Know 'you' and know whom is interested in knowing 'you'. With this in mind we can create tone, messaging and tools to best connect the two!
How does working with editors and bloggers differ?
Working with any individual SHOULD differ- having an endemic understanding of the recipient helps best craft the message or ask to lead to the result you're looking for.
What are some of the perks of the job?
Previewing next season's collections – whether in lifestyle, fashion or beaut. The privileged peek into the newest of the new never loses its luster for yours truly!
What are three emerging trends either in PR or in fashion that you are excited about right now?
- The next generation of digital and the industry respect and focus for it
- Crowd sourcing
- The tie between commerce and content
What are your daily reads?
- PR Couture – truly, so honored to be included
- The New York Post- who can turn down news as described with the Post's voice…!??!
3 tips to help brands to make the most out of their agency relationship
- Find an agency and agency rep with whom you truly connect
- Communicate with them- it's a two way street and an agency can only share as much as they're privy to!
- Set goals for success and communicate if/when successes truly are of impact, so the agency can work to repeat wins and sidestep those that didn't resonate as projected!