Women in PR, Top Sites to Know and Email Marketing for the Holidays


This edition of Fashion PR Fridays is sponsored by National Publicist Day and Apartment Seven. Join @APT7 and @PRCOUTURE on Sunday evening at 6pm Eastern for the #NATPUBDAY Twitter Chat – where National Publicist Day and Apartment Seven Founder Jordanna Stephen and PR Couture Founder Crosby Noricks will be exploring the topic, “Collaboration over Competitions: How Publicists can Work Together to Achieve More.” RSVP and claim your free gift today so you don’t miss the celebration this weekend.

Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

…for the week of October 24, 2016

  • Serial journalist and media entrepreneur Lorraine Sanders (Crosby was a featured guest in her Spirit of 608 podcast) shares her journalist tips for PR folks (via Bulldog Reporter)

  • The Canadian Organization Women in PR is coming stateside. Founder Talia Beckett Davis explains why (via PR Week)
  • New websites, blogs and digital platforms you should know, according to some of most savvy style hunters around (via Taste the Style)

Fashion Publicist

Position: Fashion Publicist 
Company: Couture Public Relations
Location: Beverly Hills, CA
Learn more

PR Girls We Love: Lorinda Voges, Founder at 4Elements Media

Cape Town Fashion PR International Brand Launch

Lorinda Voges is the founder and COO of 4Elements Media, a leading national PR and events company in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2016 4EM joined forces with the Kristan Investment Group adding 20 years of media connections from the Kristan Group of media companies to its arsenal. With a client list that includes Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic, Clarins, Mugler, Convoy and South African celebrities such as Khuli Chana, Jimmy Nevis, Shashi Naidoo, Francois Hougaard, Boity Thulo, we couldn’t resist the chance to learn more about how 4em helps international brands reach a South African audience.

Name: Lorinda Voges
Title: Founder and CCO
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Agency: 4Elements Media
Instagram: @LorindasWorld_/@4elementsmedia
Twitter: @LorindasWorld/

How did you get started in the industry?

My career in this industry started in 2001. I started working as the marketing and brand manager for Café Vacca Matta in Cape Town. Soon after I joined Fashion TV South Africa as their national brand manager. I worked alongside Michal Adam, the CEO of FTV International to take the brand to new heights in Africa; we opened 11 branches in 2 years. I always had some sort of profession where I made people aware of brands, however, I started to fully focus on corporate and personal brand awareness in 2012.

What was the catalyst for starting 4Em?

In 2011 I hit a crossroad in my career at FTV and decided to list what I was passionate about in my industry. I narrowed it down to 4 different aspects, which led me to start and name my own company 4Elements Media. At that point, the elements were brand awareness, events, celebrities, and media. These days our core focus is mainly brand awareness for lifestyle, fashion, beauty and personal brands in South Africa, as well as event management.

Tell us a bit about how 4Em is structured:

Our agency consists out of myself, Founder & CCO, a CEO, Executive Strategist & Project manager, 2 PR Account Executives, a C.I.B (Celebrity, Influencer & Blogger) Account Executive and 2 interns, as well as a financial manager.

What are your responsibilities in your current role?

My role is to oversee the overall look and feel of our PR offerings, marketing, media, and branding associated with 4EM.


What is the mood like in the office? What are you working on?

We have a very driven yet casual approach. Our motto is to get things done quickly with passion and determination. Currently, we are working on the summer campaign for Vichy in South Africa, a store opening event for Diesel, and media outreach for on exciting brands such as Wan’Go, Mokai, Vichy, Skinceuticals, La Roche-Posay.

What is a success story that makes you especially proud?

Audi South Africa hosted an exclusive Driving Experience Event at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in July. The event was hosted by radio veteran Tbo Touch and Audi South Africa. A number of celebrities and influencers such as Somazi, Tshepi Vundla, LeAnne Dlamini, Lunga Shabalala, Naomi Noinyane, Tembi Seethe, Gareth Pon and Seth Sezi had the opportunity to experience the all-new Audi R8 around the legendary and newly refurbished Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit.

The day started off with an enlightening session on the theory of vehicle dynamics and then guests perfected the art of driving by practicing high-speed driving techniques, emergency situation simulations and demonstrations of the latest vehicle technologies of the new R8.


What’s the most memorable moment in your career thus far?

I have had so many highlights in the past 6 years, but one that will always stand out the most is when I worked alongside Tommy Hilfiger International with an exclusive in-story event celebrating a new store opening in Johannesburg, South Africa.

We provided Tommy Hilfiger with event management and PR services, including guest list management too. The experience sparked a whole new love for event management and offering PR for international brands, especially fashion & beauty brands.

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

I felt the most glamorous when I wore a custom made Merwe Mode Couture dress at the Mugler Alien event earlier this year. The dress was perfectly created to fit my body and worked well with the “Feel Extraordinaire” theme of the night.

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

I think the least glamorous moments are just before a major event, when you run around, setting up red carpets, bars, banners to ensure your event looks spectacular before guests arrive. So many people never get to see the behind the scenes before they enter an event.

What’s the media landscape like in South Africa? What are the top fashion/lifestyle publications, websites, influencers to know?

The media landscape in SA is by far not as big as in Europe and the States.

We have many similar international titles in SA too like GQ, Elle, Marie Claire, Glamour, Grazia, etc.

Working with international brands, I have seen that the reader demographics of region-specific magazines can differ from their international titles. Like everywhere, digital media and influencers has had a huge affect on print and traditional media. We see more brands directing their spend on influencer campaigns as opposed to print media advertising.
Some of the biggest bloggers and influencers to look out for are The Treaded ManBaked The BlogGareth Pon, and Drizzle & Drip. Personally I am a big fan of local wellness blogger Caralishious, Instagrammer Seth Sezi who also runs CapeTownBest and fashion blogger Lulama Wolf.

PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you deal?

PR and this industry taught me valuable lessons; to be thick skinned. I guess the most valuable lesson of all is to look at every failure as a lesson and an opportunity to better yourself and your services. I had to truly offer something unique and did so by staying true to myself; 4EM reflects my own personal values.

What are three must-haves essential to your job?

What’s App Web and iMessage for making life easy while I sit in front of my laptop. My iPhone for giving me daily access to everything on the go and Bookings.com for allowing me to book the best holidays.

I think the least glamorous moments are just before a major event, when you run around, setting up red carpets, bars, banners to ensure your event looks spectacular before guests arrive.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

PR is not advertising. PR is also not marketing. Working with celebrities is not always that glamorous and the entertainment industry can be soulless.


What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now?

The biggest challenge for anyone in the fashion, lifestyle industry is to stand out above the noise. People have become brands, which makes it difficult for brands itself to stand out. In order to be different, you have to be unique, creative and follow trends. Brands and individuals must be leaders while staying humble.

PR is not advertising. PR is also not marketing.

How do you stay on top of industry trends?

I am excited to see how many young millennials are becoming entrepreneurs. I have been exposed to so many creative beings the past 3 years; South Africans are making names for themselves internationally. I try to stay on top of things by not only knowing what is happening locally but internationally.

What type of person thrives at your agency?

We look for someone that is willing to work hard, take the reign, be creative and be a leader and innovator.

What would you tell someone who wants to be like you when they grow up?

Ask questions, never be afraid to fail. Say no. Stand your ground. Stay true to yourself. Remember the people that helped you when you started out at the bottom.

Any last words of advice?

Travel, as often as you can. It is an education money can never buy.

Thanks, Lorinda! 



Pro Bono PR Clients? 3 Questions to Ask First

Pro Bono PR, Free PR, PR Agency

One of the most rewarding parts of public relations is seeing a client grow and receive the exposure that helps take their business to the next level. Often, non-profits and small businesses are unable to afford the type of PR that could help them succeed and bring exposure to their cause or product and it is not uncommon for these organizations to reach out to PR agencies for free or discounted services. Adding anyone to your client roster comes with responsibilities and a time commitment, and taking on a client pro bono require serious consideration in order to ensure benefit all parties involved. Here are three things to consider when deciding whether or not to accept a pro-bono client:

Can you financially afford the non-billable time?

The first and most important question to ask yourself when considering a pro-bono client is, do we have the financial ability to provide PR services without compensation? Great intentions (and even great media hits) alone won’t cover the costs of running the business and the energy spent could take away from time spent acquiring new, paying clients. If you are already straining to keep up with your current client workload and account that doesn’t come with a financial boost to the agency bottom line will likely result in extra stress for your team and lackluster results, which isn’t fair to anyone. Similarly, if you’re operating a newer agency or your biggest client is going through some major restructuring, the timing might not be right. Speak to your accountant for any pro-bono work done for a non-profit as consulting might allow for a tax deduction.

How much time can you dedicate you the pro bono account?

Once you’ve determined the financial and resource viability, the next step is to determine the exact nature of the relationship; how much time and resources you can devote to the client and what specific services will be provided. Perhaps a full-scale PR program isn’t feasible, but a social media roadmap that can be implemented by the client would be possible. Talk to your team and find out what makes sense. Be sure to clarify the specifics with your client as well, so that everyone is aware of the situation and expectations. After accepting a pro bono client the lack of money changing hands should become a non-issue; they still require your best effort and should receive the same strategic thinking, creative ideation, communication and consistent focus as any other client.

How does the pro bono client support agency goals?

For a pro bono account to make sense, both the client and the agency need to benefit. Examine exactly how this relationship supports agency goals. Perhaps you can use the work you complete as a case study in order to expand into a new vertical, or you believe strongly that the brand has huge potential and you want to be there when the budgets get big. Choosing to bring on a pro bono client means devoting your team’s time and efforts, so it’s important that at a minimum, the brand is something your team is passionate about supporting and excited to work on.

Taking on a client, pro bono or not, is a serious responsibility and hopefully the start of a long-term relationship. Before you accept a pro bono client it’s important that you sit down with your team to discuss if you can afford to, how exactly you want to help and the benefit of adding them to your client roster. Helping an organization that can’t afford your services, whether it’s a non-profit organization that raises awareness for a cause you believe in, or an emerging designer with an incredible line, can be extremely rewarding and lead to great things. First, get clear on how the endeavor will help your business benefit beyond the bottom line.

The Future at Condé Nast, Alicia Licht Dishes About Twitter and Vogue Makes Presidential History


Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

…for the week of October 17, 2016

  • Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg‘s company memo regarding its new restructuring around five groups—business, editorial, research, technology, and creative – has been made public (via The Daily Front Row)
  • Launchmetrics explains how brands can measure influencer and social reach data with their digital platform (via Vogue UK)
  • Former DKNY PR GIRL Aliza Licht shares how Twitter can help get ahead in your communications career (via Harper’s Bazaar)
  • Luxury fashion marketers are struggling to use social data, using reach metrics when it comes to digital marketing rather than mastering retargeting and customer relations management (via Glossy)
  • Listen up! NPR ratings are up 43% thanks in part to their digital engagement and podcasts (via NPR Press Room)
  • In the latest Top 100 Brand Loyalty Leaders 20th annual survey Google takes first place, with Amazon placing second in the retail category (via WWD)
  • Vogue makes history by endorsing a presidential candidate. Yup, we are with her, too.  (via The Cut)

The Costly Mistake PR Agencies Make on Instagram

PR Agency Social Media Agency Strategy Policy Instagram

As PR agencies aim to take on more social media work, it’s a huge red flag to see them neglect a hugely important part of the puzzle; their own channels. When positioning agency or personal fluency regarding social media capabilities agency and public employee channels must function as a reflection of this expertise. The goal is to have evidence of your ability to build digitally savvy and successful brands, in part through your own company brand; to have a prospective client think, “That. I want that. I want those people working for me and representing my brand.”

Any best practices you recommend to clients should be implemented across owned company channels, from weekly themes to a style guide and monthly content calendar. On Instagram, for example, the strategy must go beyond simply republishing gorgeous images from influential accounts. It’s time to create a clear social media brand identity and to develop original content that clearly sets you apart.

Treat Your Agency Account Like a Client Account

You may choose to demonstrate your PR expertise with expert quotes, statistics, and industry tips. Or you may use your accounts share the energy and culture of your agency through depictions of themed dress days and company yoga dates.

It’s time to create a clear social media brand identity and to develop original content that clearly sets you apart.

If, in addition to PR and social media, you have strong skills in other areas – photography skills, in-house video capabilities or a law degree gathering dust – incorporate those differentiators in your content strategy. We work with people we like, so don’t be afraid to pepper in the personal interests and passions of your team into your feed. You never know when a mutual love of mini-ponies or 90s soap operas might just be the ticket to a new client relationship. In today’s world, you never know who may be listening in.

Take advantage of free and inexpensive social media tools

With tools like Canva, you no longer need a graphic design degree to create a branded, consistent look. Photo apps like Pic2Go and VSCO make it easy to mimic the style of professional photographers. Take a cue from brands who are moving away from photo shoots intended for print advertising and instead opting to invest in social image creation. Agencies must also evolve to promote and divine for new business where prospective clients are spending their time. Cut costs on expensive printed brochures, postcards and proposal print-outs and invest in your own stock photography that you can use across your online presence.

It’s common for agencies to give little weight to their own online presence simply due to time constraints; all the focus goes to client work. But just in the way that we google search, read reviews and vet everything from potential interns to new coffee makers, a shoddy online presence is simply money left on the table. As you begin to plan for 2017, make sure a company social media strategy is part of that plan.

PR Girls We Love: Jenelle Hamilton, Jenelle Hamilton PR


Spanning more than fifteen years, Jenelle Hamilton’s career has taken her to London, Milan, Paris and now New York City. She has worked working closely with VIPs and celebrities including Madonna, Tyra, Gwyneth Paltrow, and HRH The Princess Anne and worked on global accounts including Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning costume designer Bob Mackie, Simply Gum, Andre Walker Hair, The Shorty Awards and luxury brand Tom Ford Beauty. Jenelle Hamilton currently runs Jenelle Hamilton PR, a New York City-based PR firm she started six years ago with nothing but a cellphone, laptop and strong work ethic.

Jenelle Hamilton Lifestyle Tech PR NYCName: Jenelle Hamilton
Title: CEO
Education: Communications Major,
Univerity of Greenwich, London
Location: New York City, NY
Agency: Jenelle Hamilton PR 
Instagram: @jenellehamilton
Twitter: @jenellehamilton

How did you get started in PR?

I attended the University Of Greenwich in London. I studied Media & Communications, so I learned the basic how-to’s of PR such as writing and the impact of media coverage on a brand. It was a great foundation to get started and helped figure out if PR was an industry I wanted to enter.

What was your first job/internship?

My first internship was actually working with a Princess! After graduation, I got a job as a PR Assistant with a not-for-profit in the UK, for which HRH Princess Anne (the Queen of England’s daughter) was the patron. I learned so much about PR there and skills such as; minute taking, effective telephone techniques, event planning and red carpet, pitching and media monitoring. Employees were there for 10+ years, so I learned from the best veterans in the business!

What is the origin of Jenelle Hamilton PR?

I formed Jenelle Hamilton PR 6 years ago after hitting a glass ceiling as Beauty Director for a PR agency. Also, I realized I did not enjoy the working environment, as it felt like a factory and I wanted to be more creative. My motto is, “if you dread Monday mornings, you are doing the wrong thing.”I was doing the wrong thing – so I formed my own PR agency.

My first internship was actually working with a Princess!

Tell us a bit about how your agency is structured:

I create PR Strategies for client campaigns and work with my team members to execute them. It’s always so fun and exciting kicking off a new PR project. It’s like a fresh clean slate to watch things happen and watch brand grow – and sometimes explode! It’s very rewarding. I understand that sometimes getting results is difficult, so I don’t pressure my team. Instead, I work with them to figure out other creative ways to get placements. It’s a collaborative effort. 

I mainly work out of my office in Tribeca, NYC, so I have staff who work from there. I also have many virtual staff members who work from home, or other cities/countries. I think having to be in an office is tired and outdated. I can tell whether or not a publicist is putting work in from the results they produce. If they need to work from home and can get the work done, I am totally ok with that.

Credit: Kisha Batista Photography

Credit: Kisha Batista Photography

What is the mood like in the office? What are you working on?

Our office is super relaxed and non-corporate. I did not want to create a corporate environment, it is not for me. I don’t even own a full matching suit. Right now I am back and forth to LA a lot. My client Bob Mackie is working with Marilyn Monroe’s auctioneer on the sale of the infamous JFK “Happy Birthday Dress,” so we are doing a lot of press around that. We are also getting ready to launch the Andre Walker Hair collection in London. Andre Walker was Oprah Winfrey’s hairstylist for 3 decades; it’s an honor to work with them.

What is a success story that makes you especially proud?

When I landed the delivery.com (on-demand delivery company) and Shorty Awards (Oscars of Social Media!) accounts, I knew my company had “made it.” I beat out a lot of huge competitors to land those accounts, so I was very proud.

I understand that sometimes getting results is difficult, so I don’t pressure my team. Instead, I work with them to figure out other creative ways to get placements.

Most memorable moment in your career thus far?

Working the 2016 SAG Awards. I had always dreamed of being on the red carpet with a client and it was one thing on my PR bucket list I wanted to achieve. So walking with my client Bob Mackie, doing press, and being surrounded by every A-lister, from Leonardo DiCaprio and Idris Elba to Sophia Vergara, was awesome. The carpet is so huge and busy, it was very exciting!

Jenelle Hamilton PR VIP


Most glamorous moment in your career?

Bob Mackie has dressed almost EVERY A-List celebrity out there. Beyonce, Elton John, Cher, Diana Ross, the Jackson 5, Barbra Streisand and so many more, have worn his designs. One day he invited me into his showroom in LA and gifted me 25 pieces from his archive couture collection. I remember standing there while he was on his knees pinning the items on me thinking, THE Bob Mackie is fitting clothes on me right now. It was so surreal!

Least glamorous moment in your career?

Throwing out the trash and running errands for my former PR bosses as an intern. I rarely ask my team or assistant to do this; I am an adult who can walk, I can get my own stuff!

PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you deal?

I make sure I spend an hour working out each day. The Tracy Anderson Method clears my mind for a full hour. I am in the moment not thinking about anything work-related, which is good for me. I also meditate for 10 mins every morning before breakfast. Regarding rejection, after 15 years, I don’t take it personally anymore. It really doesn’t bother or phase me.

What are you really good at?

Forming a connection with people. I am really genuine and always myself. I am still a girl from Brixton, South London, whether I’m on the red carpet, or talking to the dustman. I always keep it real.

What are three must-haves essential to your job?

I need my icalendar, I would be lost without it. I love the app Skyscanner, as I travel so much for work, I need to find good flights and hotels fast and at the best price. And of course, my cellphone. I’d die without it. I recently had to get the screen fixed at the Apple store and they took it away for 2 hours. I felt lost without it! 

Regarding rejection, after 15 years, I don’t take it personally anymore. It really doesn’t bother or phase me.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

PR is not just fluff and glamor every day. You actually have to work hard. The hours are long, you sometimes miss personal events if you have to work an event or deal with a PR emergency. NYFW is always right around Valentine’s Day. Also if you are a wallflower, or cannot write well, PR is definitely not the job for you.

Jenelle Hamilton PR

Credit: Jenelle Hamilton PR

What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now?

The biggest challenge is drowning out the noise and grabbing the attention of editors. Print publications are dwindling and space is limited, so it’s tough to land a placement for a client. Competition is fierce, especially if your client doesn’t have ad dollars. My solution? I only work with high-quality clients and turn down many brands that approach me, even if they pay well. By ensuring my client list is top tier, when I pitch editors, they know I am bringing them something good. Because of this, they always return my calls, pitches or invites.

How do you stay on top of industry trends?

I am often asked to speak on panels and it’s great to hear my peers and editors speak from their perspective. I also love working with the new, younger publicists. They often come up with creative ideas and that’s cool. I always want to learn more; you have to evolve, as the industry is changing all the time.

What type of person thrives at your agency?

I look for a go-getter, someone who is hungry. If you have personality and a great sense of style and are yourself, you cannot fail.

What would you tell someone who wants to be like you when they grow up?

Don’t try to be me, Be yourself. There’s no one else like you out there, so own and kill it!

Thanks, Jenelle!



PR Industry News: The Eighth Floor, Shout PR & RPR



The Eighth Floor Strategic Communications announces it’s representation of luxury handbag line Madison Avenue Couture and Lan Yu Couture; Lan’s designs balance Chinese embroidery techniques with Western structural designs.

Shout Public Relations has added three new brands to their roster including new flip-flop brand MALVADOS, beach towel brand dock & bay and hair studio Artkiteks.

Regan Cleminson and Robbin Watson have announced the launched of RPR, a NYC and Boston-based public relations firm specializing in social media marketing, event marketing, influencer relations, and digital PR.

Do you have agency or industry news to share?
We would love to feature employee news, new client announcements, awards, partnerships and more!

Contact us at hello@prcouture.com

7 Ingredients to Create a Delicious Holiday Retail Event


Fall is upon us and with it comes a bustling season filled with media opportunities, from company party outfit ideas to New Year’s trend predictions. While most brands know that the holidays offer opportunities to secure coveted holiday gift-guides and book winter fashion and party tips on TV segments, adding a well-timed and thoughtfully produced pop-shop or trunk show can really add a spark to those end of year sales and PR results.

When thinking about making an impact with an event, consider the following.

Choose an unexpected theme

Before you dive head-first into an ugly sweater theme, consider timing your event with October and November harvest-themed festivities. For example, Halloween offers a ton of creative event opportunities for fashion & lifestyle brands. The National Retail Federation predicts revenue derived directly from Halloween decorations, costumes, parties, and greeting cards is expected to reach $8.4 billion in 2016, a sharp increase from previous years. Rather than compete in a sea of holiday gift events, strike early with a costume party, pumpkin carving or Day of the Dead event to bring shoppers and media in-store. Whatever you choose, be creative and offer attendees something more unique than your basic “shop and drink” soiree. 

Align with an Existing Event

Go after event opportunities in the largest metropolitan area possible to garner a bigger return in terms of exposure, press coverage, and sales. It’s often a better strategy to work with existing retailers in key demographics rather than creating a stand-alone pop-up shop in a different venue. Whenever possible, work with these stores to align your event with existing special shopping days, like a “First Friday” shopping night in which local businesses stay open late and strolling from door to door, is encouraged. If your host store or boutique is having a special sale, that’s a great block of time to work with. Most stores do a wonderful job of decorating for Autumn, and you can help them by coming up with a special window and instore display that fits in with their look but highlights your brand.

Find a Unique Venue

For online-only brands, or those without a strong presence in a big city like NYC, a pop-up shop offers a way to drive buzz while providing a unique chance for consumers and media to experience the product line in person. Websites like Appear Here NYC and The Storefront can help source great locations throughout North America. If you’re a smaller firm that can’t send your entire staff across country, consider partnering with an event planner, PR firm, or even a regional blogger to ease the effort a bit while relying on local expertise.

Offer something only available at the event

Fashion brands always benefit from having designs walking around on a person rather than hanging on a rack, so consider informal modeling and fashion presentations. When it comes to successful events, people want to feel as though they’re getting in on something special.  Consider creating a few special or limited-edition pieces just for the event. Jewelry designers like Stephen Dweck routinely inscribe their trunk show pieces with an engraving pen; and Christian Louboutin autographs the soles of the shoes he sells at events.  You can also monogram bags, sweaters and other garments with the buyer’s initials and sign a special label.

It’s often a better strategy to work with existing retailers in key demographics rather than creating a stand-alone pop-up shop in a different venue.

Create photo opportunities

Online event results are boosted by the social media activities of attendees; even if your guests don’t buy immediately they’ll have the image to refer to and they often will order online later, show their images to their friends, or come back at a later date and buy.

Ensure there are easy, flattering and fun spots for participants to snap and gram, as well as branded materials to include in a flat lay. Pick someone on staff whose job it is to encourage photography, take photos for guests and encourage hashtag use while educating on the product line and softly pushing purchases.

Don’t ignore the details

Whether you are hoping to capture the interest of media for PR opportunities or driving immediate sales with a consumer audience, make sure to put thought into how you will merchandise your inventory. Rather than spreading jewelry out across a table tap local influencers as possible to wear the pieces and   keep re-accessorizing and changing outfits to keep it fresh.

Have ample food and drink; consider creating a special cocktail or non-alcoholic punch that adds to your event theme but keep appetizers to easily handled finger foods that don’t drip or squish. Sweets like cookies and candy, especially this time of year are always a big draw and can double as decoration.

Small gifts are great

A small gift, like a fragrance sample, stackable ring or resuable tote is a nice way to thank your attendees for coming (and encouraging future word of mouth, social photography and free promotion). Consider limiting gifts to the first attendants to encourage early visitors and keep gifting affordable.

The holidays are a great time to spend some valuable in-person time showing customers and media a great time during a time of year when spending is up and everyone is feeling a bit extra festive. With a unique event concept and enthusiastic on-site team, a retail event is a great way to close out the year.

About Carolyn Delacorte

Carolyn is Founder and CEO at Boxwood Press, a boutique public relations and marketing agency specializing in the beauty, fashion, accessory, food, baby and gift industries.

How to Make Charitable Partners Part of Your PR Strategy

non profit PR, cause marketing brand partnerships charitable giving

Securing charity partnerships for brands opens up fosters goodwill and has the added benefit of providing a unique story angle that can lead media outreach. As you begin planning for next year, consider if a cause marketing approach should be part of your communication strategy and if yes, follow these steps to begin to explore opportunities.

Plan Charitable Partnerships Early

Developing a relationship with a non-profit takes time, so start by identifying the cause you’d like to align your brand with, how you would like to partner and when. Popular options for fashion and lifestyle brands include Breast Cancer Awareness month in April, and American Heart Month in February. Keep in mind that you not only need to have the specifics of your cause-based endeavor squared away to have time to effectively develop and promote the event or specific product but if you plan to secure any print media mentions, you’ll also need to factor in those deadlines. For a breast cancer tie-in, for example, editors generally begin sourcing products in June and July.

Don’t just partner with any charity

When evaluating different charitable opportunities, make sure there is an obvious connection between the brand and the non-profit.  For example, if you work with a beauty line that doesn’t use natural ingredients or sustainable production methods, an environmental charity might raise a few eyebrows and lead to more crisis management than cause marketing. On the other hand, if the founder of said beauty brand has an inspiring story as a woman in business, then an organization that offers grants to female-owned companies makes total sense.

The most successful partnerships are the ones where the brand truly believes in the cause of the charity, whether from personal experience or because it reflects brand values. Make sure you and your brand are well-versed in the concepts of pink-washing and greenwashing to avoid negative press.

Vet potential non-profit organizations

Make sure that the charity you are working with is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and actually gives back to where it says it does. Some great resources include Charity Navigator (which does in-depth analysis of charities and their allocation of money) as well as GuideStar or Charity Watch. Kayla Logan, Owner of Kayla Logan PR suggests that “when meeting with different organizations, ask to meet in their headquarters so that you get a feel for operations and always ask for examples of previous partnerships before agreeing to anything.”

Think beyond the “Percentage of Product” idea

Encourage your client to agree to something a bit more creative than the standard 10% of proceeds will be donated (this will go further toward media coverage as well).

When evaluating different charitable opportunities, make sure there is an obvious connection between the brand and the non-profit.

Maria Todaro, Territorial Corporate Relations Manager at The Salvation Army says, “when you are working to develop a meaningful campaign, think about how you can deepen relationships with customers, boost employee retention through engagement opportunities, and create a positive social impact story you can share and be proud of. These are some of the key components of a successful and sustainable cause marketing partnership.”

Discuss promotional language ahead of time

Draft a partnership agreement that outlines all of these specifics of the activation. This will help manage expectations and protect both parties. You’ll want to include some language around approvals for logo and name use. Pay special attention to language use; some give free reign while others are very specific on the terminology that can be used.  To avoid headaches down the line discuss language specifics, disclosure, and any confidentiality requirements, before reaching out to the media or speaking publically about the relationship.

Give generously

While it’s understandable that smaller brands cannot donate a large percentage of sales to charity, if the amount you’re giving is so small that it hardly benefits the charity it can appear to be self-serving. You don’t need to give away all of your profits, but make sure it’s enough to truly impact the nonprofit. Think beyond money as well and consider what expertise or services you might be able to provide.

Kayla often offers her own PR and social media expertise to smaller non-profits who struggle in this area. “Many charities don’t have a strong dedicated PR or marketing team to develop eye-catching creative or social media campaigns. As part of the partnership, I will develop social media templates and extend introductions to my own network to help them succeed beyond the specific client event.”

Charitable giving can boost brand perception and foster positive relationships among customers and media while having a measurable impact on a population in need.  There are many great ways to reach out to and work with charities when you choose the right organization that aligns with the values shared between a brand and its audiences.


Coach’s New Luxury Consumer, Let’s Hear it for the CoverBoy & Your New Favorite Twitter Stat


Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

…for the week of October 10, 2016

  • Coach’s strategy to reach the new luxury consumer seems to be working; annual revenue is (finally) up (via Glossy)
  • Satirical magazine Spy is celebrating 30 years in business and taking advantage of the current US presidential campaign (and the Esquire.com domain) to come back with a punch (via WWD)
  • There’s a new movement to unite entrepreneurs on the basis of who they are, rather than what they do. Are you into un-networking? (via Forbes)
  • Snapchat gets rid of its super annoying auto-advance stories feature. No more accidently seeing your ex-bff at brunch with her new gal pal – and knowing that she knows you saw it. Can you say #awkward? (via Seventeen)
  • “When a customer Tweets at a business and receives a response, they are willing to spend [up to] 20 percent more on an average priced item from that business in the future.” Now take that social media statistic to your client (via PR Daily)
  • Entertainment folks take note: the Power of Women L.A. Impact Report has been released
    – among them, DBA reminds us that “no matter what the brand or product, content always comes first” (via Variety)
  • Abercrombie & Fitch are literally wiping the slate clean (new website, new Instagram and new CEO) in an attempt to redefine their brand identity after plummeting sales (via Fashionista)
  • CoverGirl makes history, literally, by naming their first CoverBoy (via GOOD)
  • Fashion month is over but the effects of our compulsive need to overshare on social media and have everything Right Now is having a major impact on designer revenue (via New York Times)

The Writing Tool No PR Professional Should Be Without

PR Writing Tips Grammarly

Whether you’re running your own firm, a seasoned media relations pro, freelance publicist or student, we’ve found the perfect tool to help catch those embarrassing spelling and grammar errors that pop up when you’re moving a million miles a minute (we’re using it to put together this very blog post).

At PR Couture, our entire team is a huge fan of Grammarly, an easy grammar plugin for your web browser that instantly finds and corrects more than 250 types of writing mistakes. Grammarly corrects everything from repetitive words to grammar and spelling, making it an essential tool for communication pros. After all, everything we write, from email pitches to sponsor requests and client updates must be flawless.

3 big benefits of using Grammarly for Communications Pros

  • For content marketing, the genre-specific writing style checks are great for niche clients
  • For students and CEOs, the plagiarism detection is boss
  • For media relations pros, the option to find synonyms, identify overuse of the passive voice, and sentencesending with prepositions (all common “bad writer” markers) are particularly useful

The free version allows you to upload your work for review where you can then easily make edits on your grammar, spelling, and other simple mistakes (duplicate words, for example). It will also highlight your writing inside your inbox, WordPress, google docs etc, so you can easily catch any issues before pressing send, publish or share. The premium version really kicks things up a notch, and we believe it’s a critical tool, installed in every computer in the office.

Since we’ve started to use the tool life without Grammarly is unthinkable, which is why we’ve signed up as affiliates and couldn’t wait to share this not-so-secret weapon with you. Not only will this tool capture errors, over time it helps you to identify your own bad habits and improve your writing form the get-to. So go ahead and give Grammarly a shot and enjoy the benefits and confidence boost of knowing your writing is improving.

Do You Know Where the PR Jobs Are?

PR Jobs Top Cities Work Hiring Public Relations marketing

ABODO reports on the best cities for employment in the top-five fastest growing industries, including PR, communications & media.

One of the questions I get asked most often is, “Do I have to live in New York to work in Fashion PR?” Well, there is certainly a ton of value in establishing your career in its epicenter. For fashion, beauty and lifestyle public relations, that is certainly New York City followed by Los Angeles. The sheer number of PR and marketing agencies, brands and opportunities to collaborate with other professionals working in related careers simply doesn’t exist in other cities.  However, it’s not a requirement that you must choose between the subway and insane traffic to find a great communications job in an industry you love. Great brands and agencies exist everywhere, you just have to know where to look. Nordstrom is based in Seattle, Free People is in Philadelphia, Neiman Marcus is in Dallas and Addidas is in Portland.


Recently ABODO published a research report on the best cities & careers for job seekers in 2016. The report analyzes employment opportunities in the top-five fastest growing industries, including PR, communications & media, within the 25 most populous cities in the U.S. Not surprisingly, researchers uncovered the most opportunity in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, noting that “Our data shows that if you’re looking for jobs in major cities in the public relations & communications sector, your best bet is to start your search in either Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. or Seattle. Opportunity is surely available across the country, but the most opportunities are available in these five major, rapidly-growing cities.”

Overall, the market is broadening, with agencies and brands choosing to stay in places they love, and as a result, they are creating passionate pockets of industry in towns like Nashville, Atlanta and Miami. With an increased desire for flexibility among employees, agencies are also sometimes willing to retain amazing employees seeking new vistas by moving toward a more virtual working environment.

What city are you looking at for your next move?