As the director of public relations for Keep, Dria Murphy is at the forefront of the fashion-tech craze.
She draws on her connections and experience working for brands like TopShop, Ralph Lauren and Bottega Veneta to position the platform–which is sort of like a fashion-focused, shoppable version of Pinterest–as the social media channel of choice for the style-obsessed. She spends her days meeting with bloggers, influencers and major magazines, and creating campaigns that have included a way to shop fashion editor’s outfits during New York Fashion Week.
Also, her wardrobe is ridiculous.
Here, Dria tells us about how she got her start in the super-competitive world of high-fashion PR, her run in with a half-naked Zac Efron, the style words she lives by, and more
You’re currently the PR Director at KEEP, which is kind of like a shoppable version of Pinterest, and for fashion, beauty & home décor only. What drew you to the role?
I have always been interested in the digital side of fashion. I had the chance to work under then-CMO Justin Cooke when I was at Topshop. He had such a digital vision for the company and I was able to work on the initiatives he brought to Topshop during London Fashion Week. Everything from live-streaming runway shows to being the first fashion brand to use Google+ hangouts to engage with customers and fans, to customizing the catwalk for purchase. This experience inspired me to learn more about the digital world and how I could become a part of it. When the role at Keep came to my attention I was nervous but saw it as an exciting and challenging opportunity. Digital is the future as we all know, and Keep has given me the opportunity to be a part of that future in a new and innovative way.
What’s a typical day on the job like? What are your responsibilities?
It is always exciting working for a startup! Downtime does not exist so I am constantly motivated. I am in and out of the office a lot, meeting with and entertaining influencers in the fashion, beauty, and home décor world. I develop fresh ideas and actively pitch them to the press, spreading the word and raising awareness about the utility of Keep! For New York Fashion Week I executed the concept of making fashion editors’ outfits shoppable. We teamed up with Glamour Magazine and on Keep made their editors’ daily street style outfits shoppable. This was a great way to not only utilize Keep in a real way within the fashion industry, but it was also fun to bring more of a reality to fashion week that most of us outside of New York want and need. I act somewhat as “biz dev” type liaison and project manager when press outreach turns into partnership programs and integration events. Our most recent partnership was with DailyCandy and Kate Spade Saturday.
What’s it like working at a Fashion Tech Startup? Is everyone super-stylish?
To be honest, our office consists more of flannels and jeans! It is a great environment and everyone feels comfortable being themselves. A suit wouldn’t feel right in here! We all dress according to our own personalities and what feels best for us to work in.
Prior to your current role, your worked in PR for Topshop, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta, What is it like to work for such well-known brands?
It was such great experience working for established and well known fashion brands, especially when I was just starting my career. I was able work on major campaigns and help produce high-pressure fashion shows and events. Learning from the best is always an amazing way to start out because you get to learn all the fundamentals from the experts.
How did you break into the Fashion Industry?
I moved to New York City the summer before I graduated college and started interning immediately. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Giorgio Armani internship program where I learned what doing PR for a big fashion house meant. I had the most amazing mentor there who really taught and exposed me to all elements of the industry. To finish the summer I interned in communications at Bottega Veneta. It was another great experience where I had lots of responsibilities and worked closely with the small communications team.
Do you have an advice for others looking to follow in your career footsteps?
Intern and network! I would not be where I am in my career today if I didn’t intern for free and go beyond what was asked of me. You can make your internship whatever you want it to be. I chose to work hard, learn as much as possible from my mentors. My mentor at Giorgio Armani years later became my boss at Calvin Klein. Relationships are so important to build in the early years of your career.
What have you been your career highlights so far? Any pinch-me moments on the job?
I was once was introduced to Zac Efron while he was in nothing but his Calvins! I threw a dinner party for Kate Bosworth to celebrate her second collection with Topshop. She hugged me and told me how much she loved it. I also have a voicemail from Apris Apfel thanking me for a gift and asking me to lunch. I will never delete it. I have to say, working alongside our CEO, Scott Kurnit, who founded About.com, is a daily pinch-me moment. I feel so grateful having the opportunity to work in the same office as him. I am constantly learning and constantly motivated.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do? How do you keep a work-life balance?
I enjoy trying new restaurants with friends and in New York there is never a shortage of this. I love Soulcycle and classes at Equinox. Of course I love to shop and working at Keep has made my shopping addiction worse, if that was even possible.
What Spring fashion trends is everyone currently loving on KEEP?
Our keepers love the pastel and floral trends! I know everyone is ready for spring in a major way!
Last but not least, what style words do you live by?
- Don’t be afraid to make a statement.
- Make your own trends.
- Heels are always the better choice.