POM Public Relations is a lifestyle and event PR firm based in Austin, TX. After spending seven years specializing in regional and national media relations, Kristen Chin established this new venture in the summer of 2010. POM PR currently works with Elevé Cosmetics, kiki nass, FOUND, Shaesby, Austin Fashion Week, the 30th Annual AIA Austin Homes Tour, and Fashion X Dallas, among others. From 2008 to 2010, Chin worked at a small Austin firm as an Account Director managing an array of cultural arts, non-profit, entertainment, and special event clients. Prior to that, Chin was an Account Supervisor at B|W|R Public Relations, where she worked on a wide range of corporate entertainment, hospitality, and special event clients. Before B|W|R, Chin was an account executive at Chasen & Company Public Relations, where she handled personal publicity for music and film heavyweights including music producer Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette) and Dave Stewart (The Eurhythmics).
Name: Kristen Chin
Company: POM Public Relations
Education: BA University of California, San Diego and JD University of San Francisco
How did you get started in PR?
Being a History and Political Science double major, I had always enjoyed research and writing. I moved to LA after graduate school because I was searching for a creative job within the entertainment industry. After stints at a record label (Universal Music Group) and then a talent agency (ICM), I landed my first PR job with the inimitable Ronni Chasen. She took a chance on me, was an incredible mentor, and helped me build my PR skill set – everything from media clipping on the Xerox machine to pitching Page Six via Fax!
How did you get the job you have now?
When I eventually moved on from Chasen & Company, I worked at B|W|R Public Relations and had an extraordinary experience working with a great team of publicists. My projects varied from Oscar parties and museum openings to destination hotels and denim brands. Moving to Austin, nearly a decade ago, I craved the type of clients that I had the opportunity to work with in LA. While there were a handful of entertainment and hospitality firms, nothing was focused specifically on retail, fashion, beauty and e-commerce. With the encouragement of several other PR pros around town, I founded POM PR.
What are your primary responsibilities?
Being a boss! Seriously though, being a boss is a part of the gig. I enjoy managing and teaching the team, but I am also entrenched in handling day-to-day PR activities and client relationships. I love being involved in all aspects from growing my relationships with media to brainstorming about new business. On the operations side, I have some outside support, but ultimately I’m still responsible for the accounting too.
Tell us a bit about how different communication departments are structured at your company.
I personally handle much of the PR and marketing for the clients. As the line between editorial and advertorial has blended, particularly with blogs and social, I find that having one point person to determine both is helpful. Our Account Executive, Mandy Mayekawa, heads up PR as well as Social Media, and we have a rock star Graphic Designer Pam Caperton. To accommodate for the ebbs and flows of our business in Austin, we have two to four support team members at any given time. We’re uniquely situated in our market as we’re not a large firm, but we’re also not a one-person show. It allows us to be nimble and work with the type of clients we love.
What is the mood like in the office?
Our current office playlist includes Coeur de Pirate, The Weeknd, Jay-Z, and the new Maxwell album.
What are you currently working on?
We’re busy rolling out new products for an all-natural make up line Elevé Cosmetics; finding placements for fine jewelry line Shaesby’s latest diamond slice collection; and planning for Fashion X Dallas, among other things.
What are you really good at?
Faces and names.
What is a recent success story that makes you especially proud?
Recently, we reconnected with a past retail/boutique client. It’s always nice to hear that sales were stronger while we were on board helping with PR and Marketing. Knowing that our involvement does affect bottom line is incredibly rewarding as we’re helping other business owners succeed.
Most memorable and meaningful moments in your career thus far?
My most memorable would have to be covering interviews with Bono during Awards Season in LA and helping Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart win a Golden Globe!
Most meaningful would be working on Stand Up To Cancer. Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way, and the scale of that event is massive, so you really feel you’re making an impact and pushing research forward.
My most rewarding project by far has been Austin Fashion Week. Aside from founder Matt Swinney, I’m the only other team member who’s been on the project since its inception in 2009. We’ve been able to create and build something unique and special for not only the Austin community but also for independent designers seeking a platform to show their work. Seeing each incarnation has been incredibly fulfilling.
Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?
Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?
Killing a wasps’ nest outside our office door!
What’s a big challenge facing communicators right now?
For us, one of the biggest hurdles out there is how affiliate programs have affected social media opportunities for local brands and boutiques that aren’t a part of an affiliate program. We understand that big box retailers and affiliates are how bloggers are making a living, but we also feel there is a space for locally-owned shops with a point of view. Consumers should have a choice when shopping.
We’ve been able to create and build something unique and special for not only the Austin community but also for independent designers seeking a platform to show their work.
PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you deal?
A friend once told me, “It’s PR, not ER.” I have friends who are doctors and lawyers, and at the end of the day, their outcomes can seriously affect lives. Our business is about promotion, and if a certain press hit doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world. We’ll find other opportunities.
What are three must-have tools, apps, or products that are essential to your job?
What do you wish more people understood about your job?
PR trends are always changing – how do you keep up?
We’re fortunate that we are based in Austin, as SXSW and SXstyle, in particular, have been helpful in terms of discovery, connection, and learning about new industry trends. We also read WWD religiously!
What type of person thrives at your company?
What would you tell someone who wants to be you when they grow up?