If you represent a fashion brand, chances are your client would sing Pharrell’s “Happy” for days if you landed them in the pages of People Stylewatch magazine. For the last twelve years, StyleWatch has been the newsstands’ freshest shopping guide to fashion and celebrity style. With a print circulation of 825,000 (that’s almost 6 million readers) and a website that averages 150 million page views per month, Stylewatch makes fashion accessible and it moves serious merchandise! Since PR Couture has such an affinity toward this Time, Inc. publication (we interviewed Rachel back in 2012), we asked fashion editor Rachel Aschenbrand back for more questioning!
Name: Rachel Aschenbrand
Title: Fashion Editor
Publication: People Stylewatch
Magazine Circulation: 825,000 monthly with 10 issues per year
Do you read all of your email pitches?
I try to, but if I can tell right off they are not my market, I’ll forward them to the appropriate editor!
What email subject lines capture your attention?
Anything that has price points in the subject line, since a lot of my market is the "Under $100" and "Look for Less" arena. Also anything that says "new" or "launch" catches my attention for our news pages. The clearer the subject-line the better. If I can tell right away what it is about and whom it should be directed to (if it’s not for me), then it has a better chance of success!
Is it more important to have the brand name or the story idea in the email subject?
Brand is more important, for sure. Generally we will figure out where and how an item fits into our own story concepts. It does occasionally happen, but it's less likely that we will use a story idea exactly as it came pitched. Most of the time that is if it is pitched as a news or "scoop" item.
Would a fun postcard or mailer make it to your desk? And would you suggest this as a good tactic for a brand trying to gain your attention?
Everything I get in the mail makes it to my desk! Anything that isn't too bulky and gets the basic points across quickly is more likely to gain my attention. Less is definitely more!
Do you accept unsolicited samples? Or should we bother?
In general, I think unsolicited samples are a waste of everyone's time and money. If we are interested in samples, we will send a request for specific pieces. Even samples that could be relevant for a certain issue can get overlooked if they show up randomly at the wrong time!
A well- executed PDF line sheet or press release has the same desired effect [as a sample] without the carbon footprint.
Are you ok with people following up with another email or phone call to an unanswered pitch?
I am fine with it, but there is definitely a limit! I tend to mark things as unread in my emails so that I can follow up if I don't have time. A gentle reminder is always welcome, but relentless follow-up emails and calls become off-putting very easily.
What is the best way for a line to land a full page "Line We Love" page or collaborate on an exclusive PSW discount?
Discounts are always welcome as long as we have shot the item somewhere in the issue already. The more we can satisfy our readers, the better! A full page “Line We Love” feature tends to go to brands who:
1) are a style our readers can relate to and already love to shop
2) have their own ecommerce set up
3) have a well rounded variety of available silhouettes (tops, skirts, dresses and/or jewelry and accessories).
It should kind of feel like a one-stop shop. It also tends to go to lines with a contemporary price point that can’t necessarily participate in "In Stores Now" opportunities because they don't have their own freestanding stores.
What types of items/pitches do you always need more of?
We always need more items that are good for figure fixing or shape stories. Our readers love solutions; a skirt that slims you, jeans that flatter your butt, bras that lift. They want it all! Also, stylish and affordable plus-size clothing is always welcome. Our plus readers want to feel like they can shop the same way everyone else does and that they don't have to sacrifice style for fit.