Cristina Pearlstein is the Market Editor at REDBOOK, a leading magazine that caters to the lifestyle of the real woman. Rising up the ranks in the fashion department over the years, Cristina is a seasoned fashion editor, who has a keen eye for spotting what the REDBOOK reader wants. She kindly shared her advice on how to forge a relationship with her, along with her best pitching tips.
How do you prefer to receive pitches?
The best way to send me a pitch is to email me a brief message that includes a short description of the brand, images/pdf of the items in the collection, and the retail prices (or at least the price range of the collection). I get upwards of 200 emails a day, so spending time crafting the perfect (lengthy) pitch is wasted on me! I need to be able to glance at an email and get what I need out of it quickly.
How far in advance do you work?
We usually work about 3 months ahead of time, but we often plan the content of future issues as far out as 4-5 months.
What is the best time to send pitches?
I actually don't have a preference for this.
What types stories/pitches are you looking for?
I'm constantly on the hunt for cute and affordable apparel and accessories, usually that fall under $200—clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, scarves, the list goes on. I handle the market for all of those categories, believe it or not. In fact, every month we run a story called "Fashion Under $50," which means I am ALWAYS looking for great items that retail at $49.99 or less.
What makes a great pitch?
I hate to say it, but sometimes, the brand speaks for itself. I've been at REDBOOK for almost 9 years and at this point, I know our reader like the back of my hand. I can usually tell whether she'll like something within the first 5 seconds of looking at an email, no matter how catchy or witty the pitch may be. The most important thing for me is that the email is clear, concise, contains images, and includes retail prices. But truthfully you have to know your editor—Redbook is a magazine that prides itself on providing women with stylish options that are affordable, but not all books care as much as we do about prices. Do a little research to familiarize yourself with the mag you're pitching to and give that editor what you think she wants.
The most important thing for me is that the email is clear, concise, contains images, and includes retail prices.
If you are interested, what do you need to move forward?
Usually, the next step for me is to get in samples, and it's usually a pretty quick turnaround. If I have 4 days to do market for a story, that's a lot. Most requests I send out are for samples to be shipped via overnight delivery. It's just the nature of the beast!
What is the best way for a publicist to build a relationship with you?
This might sound obvious, but just be normal. I have to deal with so many personalities and egos every day, so simply being nice can speak volumes. Also, one cannot overestimate the value of putting in some face time—if your brand doesn't have the budget for an event, come by my office for a deskside. You'd be surprised how much bonding can happen over a 15-20 min meeting in my conference room!
...one cannot overestimate the value of putting in some face time—if your brand doesn't have the budget for an event, come by my office for a deskside.
What is a guarantee that a publicist will never hear back from you?
My biggest pet peeve is when publicists follow up way too much. I'm talking excessive stalking. For example, someone who emails me every single day about an event that's still a month away, or calling my desk ten minutes after sending their pitch via email to "make sure I received it,” and then on top of that emailing me again the next morning. As I mentioned above, I get more than 200 emails a day, so you have to give me a chance to get back to you. I might not respond right away, but I really try the best I can.