Working hard behind the scenes for fashion brands like Lauren Moffatt, Paul and Joe USA, McGinn Collection and Harlyn, Caroline Rothwell has operated bicoastal fashion PR and marketing group CARO Marketing for nearly ten years. For five of those, she also co-operated Simply Stylist with sister Sarah Pollack Boyd (talk about a powerful sister duo!), and previously more than three years as the VP of Marketing at Von Dutch. These days, when she isn’t directing teams at market and fashion weeks in New York, Los Angeles and Paris, Caroline develops strategies, campaigns and materials needed to build competitive brands brands in an increasingly global marketplace.
What’s unique about CARO Marketing’s approach?
We are serious about our PR strategy development process with each client. We don’t rely on formulas, deliver both valuable feedback to our clients and also to help them make the best moves in the market to grow their sales and PR opportunities. I’d say we go above and beyond the norm to listen and develop creative ways to market our clients in very meaningful ways. We have a clear and solid connection between fashion and music that creates great synergy and authentic collaborations and styling opportunities that appeal to many of the editorially-driven books.
How have you grown business?
You know the story of the cobbler’s son with holes in his shoes? I am guilty of the same. Yes, we do social and some profiles on me or CARO in the press, but we are not a mainstream household name nor have any major network shows or appearances on the horizon, *smile*. [But], we do great work at CARO and rely very much on direct referrals, renewals and expanded programs with existing brands on our roster. Next year is CARO’s 10-year anniversary and we have lots in the works!
What’s the mood in the office right now? What are you working on?
Fresh, positive, and dialed-in with the clients and their seasonal directions. Working on many things this week: our editor presentations in our NY office, getting our new senior staffer acclimated here in our LA office, staying staying organized in the office despite the Coachella stylist pulls, finalizing a major international license deal. And tonight, [we’re] going to a Manrepeller event and Blackberry party.
What is a recent project you are particularly proud of?
The development of the Harlyn brand with Bizz Inc has been a big success and a brilliant case study for the agency. Working with the client from the start of the business, through the first sampling, shoot, launch, press preview and first delivery plotting and executing every step of the way. Together we skipped 1-2 years of “breaking in” with the collection and instead within 1 year of business dressed top tastemakers, bloggers and placed in top books and are selling immediately with strong retailers. Being a part of the full identity program from the PR and marketing perspective proves that we develop a unique level of trust with our client which is so valuable.
Cate Bosworth wearing Paul and Joe USA, C Magazine
What excites you about fashion PR these days?
The global perspective. Style.com and the myriad of online sites and trend forecasters pumping out delicious images and reports on the latest presentations, designer interviews, and editorial is amazing. Throw in the power of Moda Operandi and up to the second images and tweets from top editors and designers, we are IN it like never before and it allows truly talented NEW designers to emerge in a powerful way. This is where I like to play, emerging and re-emerging talent in the fashion and music space. I am excited just talking about it!
What are the must-have print/digital pubs on your radar?
Always on my radar are WhoWhatWear, WWD, and Style.com. Also, because we do a lot with VIP relations, Entertainment News. These keep me in the know and speak to both my client’s perspective and their audience’s interests. Aside from these three, I am always on the hunt for new issues from Another, POP, Flaunt, Sportswear International, Harpers Bazaar, Interview, V, Hollywood Reporter, W and the international copies.
How has your approach to PR changed in the last few years?
Yes, absolutely. PR has become not only about image but content. With the social pages and online editorial only increasing its influence, we pay close attention to the styling of our clients even more so than we used to and look for a wide variety of opportunities to grow content be it video, photography, interviews, marketing promotions, collaborations, events. There is a richer marketing mix and headier and more creative campaigning going on than say 3-5 years ago.
Caro Marketing clients Lauren Moffatt, Paul and Joe Usa Mcginncoll Collection and Pinky Otto Nyc featured in Zooey Magazine, styled by Kristina Van Dyk
What are a few of your secrets for growing and maintaining relationships withe the media and stylists?
Growing and maintaining relationships requires that you stay relevant and get personal. Show them you care about that relationship and respect their position and what they are able to do for your clients by customizing pitches and pull requests to fit the need. Appeal to their senses, make their lives easier, and have strong follow through. Have integrity and deliver on what you say. Don’t promise multiple exclusives or put someone in a tough spot if it can be avoided. Know what it means to be a good publicist, and surround yourself with those who know more to ensure you are always learning and improving. Also, when I am wrong- I admit it because it always takes relationships into a whole new level of rapport.
What recent product discovery are you currently obsessed with?
Although not NEW, they have been around since 2009 – Illesteva – the Lily is my favorite style, on my second pair. I’ve got my eyes on the new ones they did with Zac Posen.
Keep in touch with Caro Marketing on their Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Connect with Caroline Directly on Twitter @carogerstein. And for those looking, Caro Marketing offers ongoing fashion PR internships in their New York and Los Angeles offices.