fashion PR career public relations free course get a PR job

This is the biggest reason we leave our jobs (and one way to fix it)

Like many of you, I have had some great PR jobs, and some really terrible ones. Looking back, the career opportunities that drove me to perform at my best, demonstrate incredible loyalty to a company (like, willing to work for less even, just because I loved it so much) and become an advocate for that company (name-dropping on panels, helping to recruit new talent) all come down to two things: the quality of the leadership and opportunities for recognition.

My experience is consistent with the research. The Aon Hewitt, 2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement study found that career opportunities, recognition, and organization reputation are consistently top engagement drivers. A Gallup poll conducted in 2016 found that it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored. And that experience increases turnover. Employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.

Just like the marketing adage that its easier to keep a customer than go out and get a new one, it’s is often much better for business to keep a great employee than to have to scramble to fill an unexpected opening. Constantly hiring replacements is costly and keeps us all from being able to focus and complete the work in front of us. And yet the Aberdeen Group found that only 14% of organizations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition.

So let me make it easy on you.

Recognition can happen through small, yet meaningful acts – giving credit where credit is due in a meeting, a Zappos gift card as thanks for a particularly harrowing networking event (I still smile when I think of that one), a hand-written thank you note. But those small acts are also a bit small time;  a bigger means to truly celebrate your team, one with lifetime career value, is through industry awards.

As BCA Judge Dara Elliott put it so eloquently, “We work so hard dreaming up incredible campaigns and bringing them to life. Oftentimes we’re moving so fast, we forget to step back and appreciate not only what we’ve built, but how far we’ve come as an industry!”

46% of senior managers view recognition programs as an investment rather than an expense, and we agree. But we also know a good deal when we see one.

I’d love for PR Couture to be a part of how you differentiate yourself from the rest, attract bigger and better opportunities and ensure long-term loyalty from employees and partners.

To celebrate the incredible minds that are part of your organization, consider applying for one of the following awards:

  • Agency of the Year or Startup Agency of the Year
  • Best Digital/Social Team
  • Work/Life/Balance/Culture
  • The Bloom Award – Top Communicator of the Year
  • The Blush Award – Emerging Communicator of the Year

Come check out the BCAs now!

Celebrate PR Couture’s 10-year anniversary (all Year Long)

Hello my lovely PR Couture reader,

I'm not sure if you noticed, but this week we went dark on the blog for the first time in TEN YEARS. As in, no posts published, at all.

While the decision was necessary for the team to gear up for some BIG announcements coming your way in the next few weeks, it gave me one of those "holy shit" moments.

As in, holy shit: I have been publishing articles on PR Couture, often five days a week, for TEN YEARS.

In December 2006 I spent a weekend teaching myself the basics of WordPress, enlisted a friend to help with a logo and published my first blog post.

It used to be that most of you knew our origin story. It used to be that my own name was synonymous with PR Couture.

That's changed.

So, please indulge me a bit as I take this opportunity to quickly share a bit about where we've been, where we are, and where we are headed.


PR Couture 2006-2016

I discovered public relations in graduate school and was immediately drawn to the intersection of business strategy, writing and creativity required. After combining this newfound discovery with a copywriting job that had quickly turned into running a PR and marketing department (along with a lifelong love of clothing and fashion), I wrote the very first academic thesis on the subject of fashion public relations.

After graduating, I started PR Couture as a means to both share what I had learned and as a platform to learn more.

Back then, fashion blogging was just getting started, most PR agencies had nothing more than a phone number on a splash page (if you were lucky). There was no Instagram (gasp!), there wasn't even Twitter. The whole Girl Boss/Boss Babe/Digital Entrepreneur "build your brand online" thing was years away.

As that all changed, my own career grew alongside PR Couture for years in a sort of symbiosis. PR Couture became the oh so necessary creative outlet for a girl who hadn't quite figured out that she was a Boss at heart.


PR Couture became the oh so necessary creative outlet for a girl who hadn't quite figured out that she was a Boss at heart.

Celebrating 10 years PR Couture

In 2013, PR Couture + consulting became my full-time gig. In 2016 I launched our most comprehensive redesign to-date, added two amazing women to help me out, taught two sections of JMS-0496 Fashion Public Relations at San Diego State University, one Fashion PR Confidential workshop in NYC and two live PRISM courses online (surrounded by palm trees in my San Diego backyard - heaven!). Oh, and had a baby. It was kind of a big year.

My goal has always been for PR Couture to be a shared platform and brand that facilitates community and a sense belonging that can be sorely lacking in our industry. I am proud that we focus on subjects relevant to those of us just starting out in the industry, like our Getting IN series, as well as those of us with several years of experience, like our PR Girls We Love series.

Today, PR Couture has evolved from a blog into your go-to industry sourcebook, and we are just getting started.

Before we head into a year's worth of anniversary celebrations, however, I invite you to join me in not simply reflecting on the evolution above, but on your own growth in the last decade. It's been amazing to participate alongside you as digital communications has altered our industry so significantly. How lucky we are to live in a time where incredible connections can be facilitated with the swipe of a finger, where an idea and an online presence can be the start of something huge.

I've been re-watching a lot of Parks & Rec lately. In addition to wishing Leslie Knope was my best friend (or business partner!), one quote from the show sticks out:

None of us achieves anything alone.

So thank you.

You keep me inspired, motivated and you help me to support my family. That is some serious stuff, kitten. More than myself however, you have indirectly helped your fellow readers find dream jobs, connected agencies with clients who are perfect for one another, helped women launch freelance careers, and so many others experience life-changing moments, friendships and opportunities.

Yup, you did that.

So thank you, thank you for being a part of my team.





PS: If you have a PR Couture-related memory I'd love to hear it! Email me using the envelope link in my bio below, or share on social media with the hashtag PRCx10






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.


Heineken Wins Advertising, Working less accomplishes more & Top Fashion Brands on Instagram

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the week of April 24, 2017









  • Heineken just released an ad that explores people’s differences and how they overcome them and everyone is into it. Watch it for yourself and decide (via Ad Week)


What Beauty Brands Can Learn from the SheaMoisture Crisis

Written by Scarlett Rocourt, Founder Wonder Curl

On Tuesday morning, April 25th, I watched my Facebook timeline blow up about people leaving 1 star reviews on the SheaMoisture Facebook page. I went to investigate what was going on and read a lot of disappointed customers in their latest ad campaign. I did a quick search and YouTube showed this controversial ad.

I watched the ad, and right away I saw what was wrong with it. My first thought was, where are WE?

To be fair, SheaMoisture had previously produced a series of ads about Hair Hate with black women discussing their pain around embracing their natural texture.

Perhaps the company considered this latest campaign as an extension to the original series, in which the series would include white women's experiences into the conversation around loving your hair. I'm guessing SheaMoisture didn’t anticipate the amount of backlash they would have received and, to their credit, posted an apology on their Facebook page.

What can we, as business owners and communicators on behalf of fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, learn from this clear misstep?

From my perspective as a black, woman business owner with a loyal black customer base, it's all about keeping your core base happy. For generations, in this country, black women have felt ignored by beauty brands, even though they outspend the general market by 80%.

African American women have long held the belief that we ‘can’t have anything for ourselves’ and so when a company like SheaMoisture comes around, we have a deep affinity towards that brand, largely because finally, we have something ‘for us by us’.

Where did SheaMoisture go wrong and how can other businesses avoid making the same disastrous mistake?

Here are 3 key takeaways brands can learn from the SheaMoisture debacle.

Don't whitewash

Don’t ‘white wash’ your messaging to appeal to another demographic. According to Nielsen, 73% of non-Hispanic whites and 67% of Hispanics believe that African-Americans influence mainstream culture. If we consider how TV shows with a strong lead black character, such as Olivia Pope in Scandal, can cross over to a large audience, then brands should understand that there is no need to move away from core brand identity in order to broaden appeal. “In my experience white women are more open to trying a product whether it is targeted to them or not.” says Terrinique Pennerman, Founder & CEO of Kurlee Belle.

Context matters

History and context a lot. For black women, our hair is political and historically the center of controversy and ridicule. I discuss in more detail just why so many of us were mad at the SheaMoisture ads on HuffingtonPost, but basically, SheaMoisture went wrong by bringing white women into a very controversial and deeply painful conversation about hair hate. While everyone has bad hair days, a white woman lamenting that she doesn’t know what to do with her straight hair angers black women when they’ve had to endure painful chemical relaxers to conform to societal norms.

consider race

Culture and racism are very real concerns in the Black Community. 73 percent of African Americans age 16 to 24 agree that their roots and heritage are more important to them now vs. five years ago,  and 88 percen agree that discrimination is still part of their day-to-day lives. Cultural appropriation is an ongoing concern, vastly troubling to our community. And it keeps happening. Recently, Vogue came under fire for calling model Karlie Kloss look as ‘fresh and new,’ though her look had been done for years by black people in New York City. Preserving Black Culture and understanding racism are very real concerns, and brands should consider how a particular campaign, look or language might be perceived.

Simply put, we are discriminated against for our hair. So, if you want to talk to black women about hair hate, it is important to listen to us and be genuine. Pantene has been rebranding their black hair care line for some time in figuring out how to approach black hair. In their recent campaign for their Gold Series, they play homage to black hair with models sporting hairstyles while a Beyonce-style poem is read.

In today’s age of social media, consumers’ voices are louder than ever and can be heard in real-time. I watched SheaMoisture’s review on Facebook go from 4.9 stars to 1.8 in only 3 days.

Bloggers took to their computers to compile lists of other black-owned businesses where we can spend our almighty dollars. The internet is swift and can be unforgiving, especially when it comes to the Black Community. Blogger, LaShon of writes, “My next lesson is that it doesn't pay to be more loyal to a company than they are to me. I have plenty of choices of where to spend my money, so I will choose wisely.”

Dismissing or overlooking historical and cultural context, including racial considerations is a huge miss and unecessarily risky. Particularly when, by keeping the core customer base in mind messaging consistent, brands can still drive allegiance from a diverse set of audiences, all while maintaining brand authenticity.

Scarlett Rocourt is a Haitian-born Jersey girl with lots of curly hair. She started Wonder Curl, a line of haircare products for all textures of curly and natural hair after getting tired of the humidity sabotaging her hair and hiding her locks in buns because of frizz.  Wonder Curl has a loyal customer base including celebrities such as Yara Shahidi and celebrity stylist, Felicia Leatherwood and products have been used on the red carpet at the Golden Globes. Recently, Scarlett began her lifestyle blog, Not too shabby for a Jersey girl.

4 Ways to Discover New Influencers for Your Next Campaign

The explosion of digital media and influencers has quite literally led to thousands upon thousands of bloggers in any given niche, from those posting daily avocado recipes to bikini sporting enthusiasts and green beauty aficionados.

With so many bloggers in any segment, it can sometimes be difficult to find the best ones that truly serve the niche you are in. When you’re looking to target bloggers and influencers in your market, it can often get overwhelming to figure out exactly who they are and where to find them!

Here are the tricks my agency uses when locating bloggers in a particular niche – good luck and happy pitching!

1. Invest in a paid influencer contact database

The truth is that while the top media databases can be phenomenal for tracking down contacts for traditional media outlets, many struggle to keep up with influencers and bloggers. That said, if you’re already subscribed to a media database, this is obviously your starting point.

However, there are now databases specifically for influencers/bloggers that have detailed contact info, follower counts, rates, etc. These don’t come cheap though,  and they are still not fully comprehensive, especially if you need to focus in on a particular location or truly drill down into an influencers area of expertise/focus.

2. Check Out Who the Top Influencers/Bloggers Follow

Access to a database is great, but you can still find what you need with a little elbow grease! You likely have an idea of who the crème de la crème influencers in your field are, so expand your awareness by searching through who they follow on Instagram and social media platforms. Comb through recent blog posts, particularly those that center around a big brand activation or event, pay attention to who they were with!

While many influencers cull down their following count to big brands, celebs, and magazines that the top names, they do also frequently link/follow their fellow blogger pals in your niche – some who you may not be familiar with yet! My agency has discovered some fantastic bloggers and influencers using this method.

3. Investigate Who Competitors/Likeminded Brands Follow

Another strategy to build your list of influencers is to see which names other brands in your field work with. If you have a line of activewear, research influencers that other fitness brands have worked with by checking out the brand’s recent press/social media pages where they’ll often post big wins. If you happen to know their PR agency, comb through their social media as well for recent promoted hits.

4. Don’t Forget Hashtags!

When all else fails, enlist the always-reliable hashtags! Get specific with them to avoid unrelated posts, or click through the hashtags of some of the bloggers you’ve already identified as an appropriate fit. While you might be weeding through a lot of posts at first, you’ll eventually see what hashtags tend to be used predominantly by bloggers and influencers and will be able to further build out you list of contacts.

You can apply these tips to nearly any lifestyle industry – whether you work with home goods, apparel, makeup, you name it! It does require a bit of digging, but the process of finding the right group of partners for your campaign is a bit like pushing a boulder up a hill at first, but once you stumble onto the right lead, the rest is all downhill!

FTC puts Influencers on Notice, Brand Activations at Coachella & Dove Takes on Stock Photography

Fashion PR Marketing News

Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News   …for the week of April 17, 2017




  • The Chicago Tribune weighs in on one of the modern marketer’s biggest frustrations: the Facebook algorithm (via Medium)







WriteGirl Nurtures the Next Generation of Female Communicators

As PR and marketing professionals, great communication is at the core of what we do. A powerfully persuasive pitch, a quippy headline, even a pun-filled hashtag can make all the difference in raising awareness for our clients. But even more so, as individuals, many of us found our way to this profession based on a love for writing.

As we move through our careers, our ability to write in various forms and styles, is a skill we can take with us anywhere and one that helps differentiate us drive results, as well as express our own point-of-view and reflect on our personal experiences.

As such, empowering the next generation of writers to be able to express themselves, encouraging critical thinking and self-expression through writing is is important to us at PR Couture, and why we chose WriteGirl as our charitable partner for the first Bespoke Communication Awards.

WriteGirl is a creative writing and mentoring organization that promotes creativity, critical thinking and leadership skills to empower teen girls. The Los Angeles-based non-profit was honored by First Lady Michelle Obama with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. since 2001, 100% of graduating seniors have entered college, many on full or partial scholarships.

With judging for the BCAs is full swing, we took a break and caught up with Executive Director Keren Taylor.

Tell us about yourself!

In the fall of 2001, I found myself compelled to want to not only do meaningful work, but also build community between teens and women writers. I launched WriteGirl with a handful of women writers – some were my personal friends, and some responded to an announcement I put out on the web. Some of those women are still involved with WriteGirl, 16 years later!

I have had experience in a variety of fields, from public relations, to sales, to performing with my own band for 15 years, but creating and growing WriteGirl into a thriving community and mentoring program for teen girls is by far my most exciting and rewarding endeavor. We started with a simple idea of inspiring teen girls to develop their creative writing skills and write about their emotions and stories, but we found that they also needed help and support on their path to college. I’m always very proud to say that we have maintained a 100% success rate in each of our 16 seasons in guiding our teen girls in the Core Mentoring Program to enroll in college!

What does WriteGirl do? And who do you serve?

WriteGirl matches at-risk teen girls with professional women writer volunteers who mentor them in weekly, one-on-one mentoring sessions and in groups at our monthly workshops. Since 2001, WriteGirl has grown into a nationally-recognized creative writing and mentoring organization serving more than 350 underserved teen girls annually, mainly from LA’s high-density, low-income neighborhoods. We present full-day writing workshops every month in some of the city’s most inspiring artistic venues and museums, giving girls a chance to write and develop their voices, supported by professional women writer/mentors.

I’m always very proud to say that we have maintained a 100% success rate in each of our 16 seasons in guiding our teen girls in the Core Mentoring Program to enroll in college!

WriteGirl envisions a world where girls live, write, and speak boldly as they become inspiring, transformative leaders, driven to effect positive change in their communities. By leveraging the skills and experience of LA’s women writers, WriteGirl helps girls develop confidence, communication skills, creativity and an expanded view of themselves and their futures. In 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama presented WriteGirl with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the highest national honor awarded to exemplary out-of-school time programs from across the country.

Share a bit about your outreach strategy

We’re always trying to get the word out about the work we are doing. We work with a team of public relations volunteers to promote fundraising campaigns, public events and recruitment campaigns to the public. We use social media, press releases, e-newsletters, public listings, the WriteGirl website and blog, and partnerships within the community to spread the word about WriteGirl events and campaigns. Our volunteers also act as ambassadors for our organization and help promote WriteGirl to their networks of potential supporters. We offer volunteer trainings several times each year, to fully prepare women writers to be effective mentors to teen girls.

Why did you decide to partner with the BCAs?

As an organization that focuses on the power of a girl and her pen, WriteGirl is thrilled to be a partner of the 2017 Bespoke Communication Awards. We know the impact that compelling communication can have on the world and we are excited to celebrate the honorees and their creative work.

How can people get involved and support WriteGirl? 

WriteGirl is seeking PR professionals who can offer their services pro bono. With a small staff and limited resources, we are always seeking professionals who could help us gain national exposure through media coverage and/or pro bono advertising that will help us expand our list of supporters. Our greatest need is for funding to support our programs, so our public relations efforts are often tailored toward reaching potential new donors.

We also welcome guest speaking opportunities. I’ve got some terrific stories about creating an organization from the ground up, building community and sustaining powerful partnerships.

If you do reach out and become involved in WriteGirl do let us know! For more information, interview requests or speaking engagements, contact Communications Manager Katie Geyer at or 213-253-2655.

Your FTC Cheat Sheet for Affiliate and Paid Influencer Campaigns

Written by Ellen Borza

Influencer marketing has exploded in recent years, especially in the fashion industry. You’ve likely seen examples of this type of marketing when you’ve come across an Instagram photo or tweet with hashtags like #sponsored or #ad. You may have even read a post on a blog that has a disclaimer like, “This post is sponsored by… All opinions are my own.”

2017 is expected to be an even bigger year for influencer marketing, so don’t be surprised if you see more disclaimers like the ones mentioned above. If you’re a fashion brand or emerging communicator looking to make sure your influencer outreach is according to industry best practices, it’s important to understand FTC guidelines and Google’s rules for disclosure in advertising.

Read on for everything you need to know about partnering with influencers and maintaining transparency with brand consumers.

Disclosure 101

FTC guidelines are intended to create transparency between brand and consumer and prevent deceptive advertising. Google’s stance is very much the same as the FTC’s. It wants you to disclose paid relationships. Google urges users to add the directive “rel= nofollow” to links that are paid to prevent manipulation of search engine rankings. This directive tells search engines not to follow the link.

Regarding affiliate links, Google knows how to handle affiliate links from large networks and has previously said that while not required, you can add a nofollow directive to affiliate links if you want.

If a blogger naturally links to your brand simply because they want to share how much they love the sweater they just bought, a dofollow link is acceptable. Your brand doesn’t have a relationship with this blogger, and you never directly asked for the link.

On the other hand, you might decide that you want to work with them because this blogger already loves your brand. Any content that blogger creates on your brand’s behalf is considered sponsored.

If you send someone a free product or provide monetary compensation in exchange for a review or post on a blog, the link needs to be a nofollow link. Yes, even free product is considered “paid” to Google and the FTC.

Here is an easy way to decide if you need to ask for influencers to use nofollow links:

  • Link= endorsement
  • Nofollow link= paid endorsement

You can, and should, use links when working with influencers. After all, the hope is that their followers want to buy your products! A nofollow link is still valuable and capable of bringing relevant users to your site. It’s simply telling search engines not to pass PageRank those links.

Social Media Requirements

As your influencer marketing efforts expand, you’ll likely be working with influencers across different platforms. For bloggers, you must require that any links to your brand are nofollow links. It does not matter what platform the blog is on. Always include nofollow links.

YouTube is unique in that there is only one dofollow link, and it’s the custom link included in the channel art. All other links are nofollow. Nonetheless, you should still encourage vloggers to add a disclaimer in the video description to indicate your relationship like, “This post is sponsored by [insert brand here]”.

If you are running a campaign on a social platform, any influencer posts published as part of the campaign need to indicate that the post is sponsored. On social platforms, hashtags like #sponsored or #ad are acceptable. There is debate about whether or not #sp is proper disclosure. While this is becoming increasingly common, The Fashion Law suggests #sp is not clear enough. Again, it should be clear to consumers when the post is sponsored. Frequently you’ll see these types of posts on Instagram, especially in the fashion industry.

Below is an example from Ashley Robertson (The Teacher Diva). Her Instagram post clearly states her relationship with Sole Society with hashtags like #SSPartner and #ad. If your brand develops Instagram influencer campaigns, this post is a good example to follow for clear disclosure.


Finally, remember that if an influencer doesn’t include proper disclosure, your brand will be at fault. Here’s how you can be clear with influencers about proper disclosure.

Make disclosure a campaign discussion point

Now that you know how to be transparent, how can you ensure that FTC guidelines are maintained while working with influencers?

First, look for influencers who are honest with their followers. When you find an influencer you want to reach out to, look for examples of previous campaigns they have done. Are promotional Instagram posts clearly marked as sponsored? Does the blogger have a disclosure statement at the beginning or end of the post? It is easy to tell when content is sponsored but doesn’t explicitly say so.

Once you reach out, set expectations with influencers from the beginning. Whether you provide monetary compensation or send product, clearly state that links must be nofollow. More than likely, they’ll want to be honest with their followers, too. If you’re sending several products, you can create tracking URLs that already have the “rel= nofollow” so you know the directive is included. Again, be clear throughout your communication about what should be included in their content.

Feel free to offer examples of disclosure statements to include in the post. They don’t have to be uptight, but they do need to be obvious. Here are two suggestions:

  • “Thanks to [brand name] for partnering with me on this post!”
  • “I received compensation from [brand name] in exchange for this post. Thanks for supporting the brands that make [blog/channel name] possible!”

Influencer marketing has experienced exponential growth recently. As a result, the need to be clear with consumers is extremely important. Focus on maintaining transparency at all times. If the content you develop with influencers is useful and authentic, advertising disclosures won’t overshadow it.

For a comprehensive training on developing Instagram collaborations with influencers including sample project briefs and contracts, sign up for the PR Couture course Instappable!

About Ellen 

Ellen Borza is a Senior Online PR Specialist at Web Talent Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency located in Lancaster, PA. Ellen earned a B.A. in communications and a B.S. in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. When Ellen isn’t conducting outreach for her clients, she loves reading and writing about the latest digital marketing trends, especially as they relate to fashion. In her free time, she authors her own fashion and lifestyle blog.

Michelle Phan’s New Venture, Karla Otto Reflects & the Clips App

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the week of April 10, 2017

  • Camron PR shares their keys to success (via Planoly)
  • BirchBox announces a long-term partnership with Mac Cosmetics (via WWD)

Plus! Today is the last to submit your application for one of our Spotlight, Petit or Individual Bespoke Communication Awards!

PR Mavens We Love: Lisa Smith, Co-Founder, The PR Net

A pioneer from the start, New Zealand-born Lisa Smith started her own PR agency just three years after graduating from college. She's worked with brands like Montblanc, Campari, Marchon Eyewear brands (Fendi, Calvin Klein, et al), Vittoria Coffee, Ole Lynggaard Fine Jewelry. In 2009, she authored the coffee table book Bondi Style, which sold to bookstores and boutiques all over the world.

Since her move to New York City in 2010, Lisa sold both her agency and e-commerce business in favor of a consulting practice. To date she has worked with brands and agencies like Bill Blass, Yigal Azrouel, Mission Media, HL Group and Black Frame.

Additionally, Lisa launched the industry network The PR Net in late 2014, as a way for publicists, marketers, entrepreneurs and media working in the lifestyle industries to connect. PR Net has attracted the interest and membership of companies like Net-A-Porter, Swarovski, Karla Otto, Coach, Christie’s, Sephora, Burberry, Cadillac, David Yurman, BPCM, LaForce, and many more.

The PR Net consists of an online platform and industry newsletter, as well as member events at brand new hotels, private clubs, restaurants and event spaces, along with programming at major art fairs and other cultural events.

Name: Lisa Smith
Title: Co-Founder
Location: NYC
Education: University of Auckland, Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Commerce
Company: The PR Net
Facebook: @theprnet

Tell us about the idea behind the PR Net

Initially The PR Net was conceived as an online platform: a directory of brands and agencies, so people could find out who rep’d whom; an events calendar with what was on and when; job openings and other industry intell. Around the time of its launch, we hosted a breakfast to get together various companies that were involved. It was really successful and the host venue (Park Hyatt NY which had recently opened) was thrilled, so it then evolved into a series of events. People who were attending represented venues that wanted to host, so we became a roving group that met regularly at the best new venues in the city.

Who makes up the PR Net team?

I oversee our digital content (the website and newsletter – is run by my colleague Lauren), but mainly I work on events and brand partnerships. Our Los Angeles chapter is run by my wonderful friend; veteran publicist Shannon de Laat. We also have a few consultants who help with membership and partnerships.

What are you working on right now?

We’re deep in spring /summer event planning at the moment, including a panel discussion on interior design and art, some new luxury hotel openings (SLS, Made and The Whitby), an event with Christie’s in their soon-to-open LA space, and working on  brand collaborations with Coach, Pommery and Absolut.

It’s really exciting to be part of a venue’s launch strategy and to brainstorm activations that plug in our influencer group with brands, so we're in good spirits!

Get good at handling rejection – do it with grace and good humor - it will make the experience easier and people more likely to keep you in mind for the future.


What is a recent success story that makes you especially proud?

We just hosted a members event at The Armory Show - a champagne reception at the Pommery bar and private tour hosted by art consultant Tiana Webb Evans. Personally, it was so enjoyable and inspiring as Armory is one of my favorite art events.and getting the insider’s perspective on the artists and galleries was the best way of experiencing it.

Most meaningful moment in your career thus far?

Deciding to take leave from my PR agency in Sydney and move to NYC in 2010 was the most pivotal moment. It set in motion all the crazy life changes and experiences of the last few years.


Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

We hosted a PR Net event at Baccarat Hotel shortly after it opened, in a beautiful setting in their private event room. Drinking from heavy crystal glasses in the most opulent room, with a group of super accomplished people from the fashion, beauty, lifestyle and media industries, felt like a treat and privilege.

Another moment where we were very spoilt was when The Whitney Museum opened outside of public hours to give our group a private guided tour. We are very fortunate to be given access to the most luxurious and interesting spaces – a real perk of the job that I never take for granted.

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

I think a lot of those happened when I had my PR agency, whether it was rolling up my proverbial sleeves to help my team pack gift bags before an event, or packing up boxes of product in the showroom. Those moments can end up being comedic though, and are all part of it.

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

Perspective. Knowing that you can’t be everything to everyone; not every editor will want to write about your brand/client (you can apply this to any service/product you’re selling) and that’s not a direct reflection of you or what you’re pitching – there are usually myriad variables at play that you aren’t aware of. You never know when the situation may change and that contact you were pitching will come back to you with an opportunity. Get good at handling rejection – do it with grace and good humor - it will make the experience easier and people more likely to keep you in mind for the future.

What are three essentials that help you run your business?

Zkipster – between NYC and LA we run an event almost every week -  it would be impossible to do so without this software to support our invites, RSVPs and check-in.

We use Mailchimp for our newsletter creation and dissemination and Google Docs/Drive for file sharing.

What are you excited about right now in terms of industry trends?

Collaboration. Working together to achieve mutual benefit. Helping each other, partnering, not seeing other brands or companies just as competitors, but potential collaborators, people who can inspire you and push you further forward. Our network is a lovely example of getting like-minded people in a room and seeing this kind of cooperation taking place. I’m also into flexibility of location and schedule. Employers are starting to realize that to retain great talent, it helps to accommodate people’s schedules. The old way of being fixed to a desk from 9-6 (often much later) isn’t as necessary anymore. So long as the results are there, it doesn’t matter if someone’s working from their living room at midnight, or by the pool on a summer Friday afternoon.

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

Uncertainty – about the future of media, jobs, PR vs. other pieces of the marketing mix - it’s all a little confusing and scary. We’re hurtling into an increasingly digital world and companies are trying to adapt and stay relevant, while understanding what their role should/will be. Brands will always need to promote themselves, so our roles as marketers and publicists won’t go away, they’ll just have to evolve.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

In work, and in life, surround yourself with the best people possible. Clients, colleagues, associates, friends…applies to them all. Spend time with mentors and smart business people who will give guidance and inspiration, as well as a sounding board.

Thanks, Lisa!

Senior Account Executive

Position: PR Senior Account Executive
Company: Brandstyle Communications
Location: New York, New York
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PR Account Executive

Position: PR Account Executive
Company: Brandstyle Communications
Location: New York, New York
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Kesha Shares 15 Ways to Be the Bo$$ of Your Life

Hi loves, it’s Amanda and I’m here with my last SXSW-inspired article. I’ve enjoyed sharing with you what I learned and gained at SXSW this year. The highlight of the fashion track for me was listening to Kesha sit down with Refinery29’s Chief Content Officer Amy Emmerich and tell her story.

If you’re not a fan like myself, you might not know that Kesha started her career at 18, was selling out packed stadiums by 23. And, at 28, she checked into rehab by 28. But, you’ve probably caught glimpses of her struggles with online bullying and her decision to sue her producer for sexual assault across entertainment news media.  

As Kesha got vulnerable with the packed ballroom, effectively spilling her guts while rocking a glitter and fringe covered pantsuit, of course! I gleaned 15 juicy insights around how to get back in charge of your life and reclaim your personal power.

  • Reclaim your domain – you are the IRL version of your social URLs. Reclaim your power and be you. Kesha encouraged us to be the best version of ourselves; that means even the messy and ugly parts.
  • There is safety in freedom – you are free to claim your power. The only thing stopping you, is you.
  • It’s okay to talk about it – you feel it and it’s okay to want to share it, whether that be with friends, family or a therapist. Let it out. Kesha knows a little about sharing the difficult or taboo after suing her producer for sexual harassment. She said it was difficult, but even the difficult things have to be talked about.
  • Find strength in your vulnerabilities – there is beauty in being honest and exposed. It is powerful for yourself and others around you.
  • Imperfections are powerful – the shape of your nose, the size of your thighs, the freckles on your neck, whatever imperfections you feel you have, they are yours and yours alone. And that is powerful.
  • Dig deeper into your emotions – give your emotions a voice by digging deep and discovering what they really mean to you. Are you hurt instead of disappointed, lonely instead of frustrated. Seek the truth of your emotions. 
  • Don’t give the trolls power – Kesha has dealt with online bullying for years and admitted that the negative comments got to her, affecting her power. She stressed that claiming your power means not letting the comments of others affect you; no matter how cruel.
  • Cope by creating – when the going gets the tough get creating. Draw, paint, sing, dance, color, write, cope with your emotions by creating. Use your senses to create and get in touch with your power.
  • Care for individuals – you’re human and they are human, care for them as you would yourself.
  • Go for your goals – Kesha never had a goal to be a celebrity, her goal was to perform and perform in a way that unleashes her power. I’d say she’s doing a killer job of that. 
  • Your voice has a responsibility – your voice has experience and Kesha believes it is your responsibility to share those experience. Especially to help support other humans. Your experience might save someone else from a similar experience. Share your voice. 
  • Help those who need help – Kesha is a huge advocate for LGBT rights, anti-bullying, among other causes and encouraged SXSW attendees to get involved.
  • Love yourself unabashedly – if you want to be sexy, a feminist, crazy, loving, loud, ambitious, bad ass female, be that and love yourself. Be who you want to be and love yourself endlessly. 
  • Age like wisdom, not wine – aging isn’t negative, it is an opportunity to discover more wisdom. Each month, each year, and each decade brings new wisdom and that only increases your power.
  • Lead by example – You don’t need Kesha level celebrity status to lead by example. Your example will empower your friends, family, and followers. 

Listening to Kesha discuss her personal challenges with grace and self-compassion inspired me to be more real with my own community and audience – both on and offline. I hope her gems of wisdom encourage you to be unabashedly yourself wherever you go!


How PR & Fashion Brands Can Make Moves Toward Sustainability

I first learned of the Fashion Revolution movement while speaking about green and culture marketing for fashions brands at Sustainatopia, a conference focused on social, financial and environmental sustainability and impact in 2014. Speakers from the movement were in attendance with “Who made my clothes?” t-shirts in tow. The question, of course, was beyond, “Who (as in which designer) are you wearing?” and specifically, “Who in the world put this garment together?” And more importantly: how are they treated, how is this garment sourced, and what impact is this great outfit I’m wearing having on the planet?

The movement supports a “long-term relationship with your clothes” (and to wear pieces more than 30 times). “The more we love our clothes, the more we care for them, and the longer they last.” In addition, it advocates for greater transparency in the fashion supply chain by encouraging us all to ask the question: “Who made my clothes?”

What started out as Fashion Revolution Day, has now grown to be known as “Fashion Revolution Week” which will be held on April 24-30, 2017.

Over the years I’ve watched this movement grow and I know that we have peers whose interest has grown as we learn that fashion is the second largest polluter on the planet. There are obvious efforts throughout the industry, from discussions on the impact of fast fashion, the rise of slow fashion, consumers’ increasing awareness and interest in sustainability practices to help curb our environmental impact.

I had an opportunity to grab some insight from Roxanne Houshmand-Howell, Head of Brands and Partnerships at Fashion Revolution. She shares some background about Fashion Revolution, as well as resources and suggestions on how PR and marketing agencies as well as brands can do to get involved.

When did Fashion Revolution begin? And what impact has Fashion Revolution had since its inception?

On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. That’s when Fashion Revolution was born.

There were five garment factories in Rana Plaza all manufacturing clothing for the western market. The victims were mostly young women. We believe that 1,138 is too many people to lose from the planet in one building, on one terrible day to not stand up and demand change.

Since then, people from all over the world have come together to use the power of fashion to change the world. Fashion Revolution is now a global movement of people through our hashtag campaign #whomademyclothes? Last year 70,000 citizens asked this question.

Fashion Revolution’s mission is to encourage “an industry which values people, the environment, creativity and profits in equal measure, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that this happens.

What is the best way for independent designers and brands to engage in the Revolution?

We invite brands and independent designers to get involved a number of ways; to show us the people in your supply chain by sharing their stories, and help transform the industry by demonstrating transparency in your supply chain.

Respond to #whomademyclothes? We want brands to be able to answer the question. We want to find out about the real people behind the clothes we wear. Find out more about the suppliers of your garments. If you know who made the clothes you sell or promote, try to find out more about the fabrics, trims, embellishments and raw materials.

Choose an item from your brand

  • Where is it from?
  • Who made it?
  • How is it made?

We have created tools on our website for designers and brands here.

Fashion Revolution’s mission is to encourage “an industry which values people, the environment, creativity and profits in equal measure, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that this happens.

The movement has grown from a day to a week of awareness around the mission. The goal is certainly to have this focus be an everyday reality and mindset, but what has caused the growth from a day to a week? Was it an interest from the industry or a need for greater awareness?

Growth has come from citizen engagement, from people asking brands the question #whomademyclothes? We have also had support from influencers, including: actors Lily Cole and Bonnie Mbuli, actor/activist Rosario Dawson; designers Katharine Hamnett, Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood; pro surfer Kelly Slater and his brand, Outerknown; supermodel Amber Valletta; style icon and fashion editor, Caroline Issa, TV presenter and cook, Melissa Hemsley, vloggers Greta Menchi, Marzia Cutie Pie and Maddu; and journalists, Elisabeth Cline and Marion Hume.

What is the most positive impact you feel that Fashion Revolution has had to date?

We have sparked a wider public conversation, globally about the impacts of the fashion industry and our clothes,” says Sarah Ditty, head of policy for Fashion Revolution.

Last year alone:

  • 800 events were held in 92 countries
  • over 70k people asked brands #whomademyclothes?
  • 156 million impressions of the hashtags
  • 1,274 brands responded, including 372 global fashion brands
  • 2,600 producers shared their story with #imadeyourclothes
  • 22 billion online media reach

In our onboarding process with new clients, we always ask how they’re sourcing and point to various eco and sustainable resources because we feel that knowledge and awareness is critical. Some people just don’t know! How can PR practitioners share purpose-driven stories around Fashion Revolution and heart-centered sustainability (as it relates to fashion)?

At Fashion Revolution, we believe positive change can happen if we all think differently about fashion and demand better. This includes ensuring that fashion is an industry that values people, the environment, creativity, and the profit, in equal measure. At Fashion Revolution, our community is made up of: designers, academics, writers, business leaders, policymakers, brands, retailers, marketers, producers, makers, workers and fashion lovers. We are the industry and we are the public. We are world citizens who are responsible for this change.

“We have sparked a wider public conversation, globally about the impacts of the fashion industry and our clothes.”

We’ve produced resource guides that can help agencies and brands. These guides discuss what needs to change, for example, the model, material and mindset, and also looking at the human side of fashion which discusses human rights, fair pay, and artisan craft. And our “How to Be a Fashion Revolutionary” guide shares how businesses and individuals can make an impact. And for those who are fashion supporters and lovers, The #Haulternative provides social ideas and more.

Anything else you’d like to share?

We are about to launch the Fashion transparency index for 2017 ranking 40 of the biggest global fashion companies according to their level of transparency.

You can learn more about Fashion Revolution here, and we hope to “see” you April 24-30, 2017 at #whomademyclothes.

With so many resources and insights available, both brands and PR professionals have a wealth of supportive content to help tell this important story. I’ve personally never been a lover of “things” (clothing included), but I am a lover of people. At its core, the Fashion Revolution movement is about generating positive impact for people, our planet and everything in it (clothing included). How could one not want to be a part of telling this story and mobilizing for change!

That Pepsi Ad, Micro-influencers Rule & Trend Forecasting for Coachella 2017

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the week of April 3, 2017

  • Digit@l Girls: A look inside the new book that celebrates fashion’s top bloggers and social media stars (via Vogue)

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Company: Goodnight Darling
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