Out of her firm's office in Santa Monica, CA, Rachel Meis works with her team and roster of jewelry clients to do the almost unthinkable in today's media climate - garner celebrity placements and editorial placement without paid partnerships or advertising dollars. This past award-show season, Rachel was behind the gold and glitz on everyone from Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway to the Beibs himself. Beyond celebrity placement at red carpet events across the country, her media savvy resulted in a April placements on a Keri Russell cover story in Women's Health, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on Vogue Brazil, just to name a few. And wondrous of all, RMC has only been around a little over a year! I always love to check out the RMC Facebook page to see the latest agency news, and was lucky enough to catch up with Rachel as my conference buddy at the recent LuckyFABB conference in Los Angeles!
Rosie Huntington Whiteley wearing Heather Gardner necklaces, Vogue Brazil, April 2013
Tell us a little bit about Rachel Meis Communications. What is your main focus?
Rachel Meis Communications is an accessories PR Firm specializing in celebrity wardrobing and editorial placement. We work with handbag and beauty brands, but jewlery is our main focus/expertise. We also help out clients with branding, web design, and product placement, important strategies that have helped grow our small brands into big names.
If you just sit on a placement what was the point of getting it in the first place!
What unique about jewelry PR?
Jewelry is timeless. Unlike fashion collections, we’re able to reuse pieces season after season. I don't think there is as much pressure on jewelry designers to create entirely new lines season after season like there is with apparel designers.
What the the purpose of celebrity placement for a brand? How does it work at RMC?
Celebrity placement gives buyers and consumers reassurance and can help encourage a sale, or drive word of mouth. When a girlfriend is wearing something we like, we're more likely to look up that designer, pay attention to them in the press and of course, purchase on of our own! Celebrity placement is implied endorsement. Celebrity style and even a celebrity stylist’s style can carry a lot of star power for a brand. If we can get our client’s jewelry worn by the celebrity, or her team, it makes a statement and helps to build brand awareness, credibility and desire.
How does a celebrity placement happen? Lots of outreach. Depending on the celebrity, I work with either their stylist or publicist. We typically lend items for certain appearances instead of just simply gifting items. If we get a great placement (or the celebrity really loves it) sometimes we let them keep the item. So far I have not had to pay for a placement, which is really rare these days, but it makes the placement that much more rewarding.
So you've got a celebrity placement, now what?
RMC was founded on the belief that a successful public relations campaign is not defined solely by product placement, but also by increased sales. These placements should be put to use, with an end goal of increasing web site traffic and sales. We encourage our clients to have great communication with their stores. As soon as a press placement comes out, we provide them with the proper materials so they can reach out and say, "Hey! Anne Hathaway just wore our earrings, you should carry them."
Anne Hathaway in LivHaley pave disc studs, Cinema Audio Society Awards, February 2013
How do you measure the success of your outreach?
If I get a reply from at least 10% of our outreach on any particular pitch I'm happy. That may sound low, but it's realistic. When you aren't throwing ad dollars around it's hard to cut through and hear back from editors.
Advertising is often considered a dirty word among publicists, what is your take on the relationship between PR coverage and paid ads?
I've had editors tell me I lost out on a placement because the ad team had to make someone happy. You just have to decide as a publicist what you are willing to pay for and if the money is worth the placement.
How do you bring new business to RMC - what do brands need in order for you to agree to work with them?
We rely almost entirely on referral for new business. I also have an ad on PR Couture which brings a lot of traffic and inquiries to my site. I work best with brands who have been doing it on their own and are looking to take that next step. Coming in with a clear brand message, actual product, and well shot images and marketing materials makes my job easier. It's harder to start with a brand who needs work, but we can make it happen.
As a PR girl - what are your jewelry essentials?
I kind of have to be a blank canvas for my client's pieces so I try to keep my everyday jewelry simple. I rarely change my earrings and I always wear my pink Sapphire tennis bracelet that my parents gave me years ago. I keep some client rings and cuffs in my bag. They are easy to throw on and can really change up an outfit when needed.
What are three newer media publications/blogs on your radar? What about each of them has captured your interest?
Style Sovereign and LeCatch are my two every day must reads. I love Cayli's stories and she has an eye for style I would love to be able to recreate. Marlien knows how to mix high and low like no ones business. With so many trends coming and going it's hard to know where to spend your money, but she really helps to break it down. Both Cayli and Marlien were editors who now blog, and I know a few more NY ladies who will soon be following down similar paths with their own sites. Possibly something to look out for in 2014? As editorial declines I think more editors will be turning to the Internet to get their voices out.
The Coveteur is my third site. The RMC girls and I love to see who is Coveteured and imagine what our pictures would look like if we were on the site!