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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News
…for the week of February 20, 2017
- Why are influencer collaborations the next big thing in the beauty industry? Influencer collaborations in the prestige makeup division brought in an average of twice the money of traditional celebrity-led ones (via Racked)
- Brittany Cob, creator of Flea Style, shares 7 ways to invest in your brand (via The Every Girl)
- Research on app engagement has been published. Here are the tools and tactics brands, marketers and app makers can use to keep their viewers interested (via Business Insider)
- WhatsApp is copying Snapchat. Here’s what you need to know about the revamped app that currently has 1.2 billion monthly active users (via Fast Company)
- Airbnb has bought social payment startup Tilt, which makes sense for the company who is trying to expand its travel offerings (via Tech Crunch)
- LVMH has created a innovation award they will give out during the Viva Technology show to open doors for startups looking to break into the luxury industry (via Luxury Daily)
- Facebook is actively trying to enter the world of television and sports live-streaming. The social media platform is targeting name brand properties like the MLB and Univsion (via Fortune)
- Interest in Korean beauty trends have steadily risen over the past years and brands like Sephora, Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom are capitalizing on the demand (via L2 Daily)
- Will brands produce socially conscious ads this award season? Here are some companies that followed the “actions speak louder than words” motto over the past few months (via Ad Week)
- What do publishers admire most about the Google-Facebook duopoly? (via Digiday)
Position: PR Intern
Company: BrandStyle Communications
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Written by Miranda Hassan
As a young millennial, I’m new to the workforce. I’ve been told over and over again that each generation is different; raised differently, in different environments. From my perspective, we millennials are in a unique position as the first generation to grow up in a technological environment where we could learn about anything we wanted, with having virtually unlimited resources available as quickly as we could type into the search bar.
I’ve been told on numerous occasions that the youngest generation is always looked down upon. It’s no big deal, they say. It happened to the Baby Boomers, it happened to Gen X, and it happened to Gen Y. Forbes wrote an entire article about the inaccurate stereotyping of millennials. In a YouTube video that has since gone viral, Simon Sinek talks about the disconnect millennials feel from their superiors when they join the workforce.
And, I’ve also been told that these generational differences can make or break a workplace environment.
If you’re a manager, a supervisor, or a CEO, this is what I want you to know about the hard-working, goal-oriented millennials:
1. We don’t know everything about social media or computers
We are the first generation in human history to grow up with technology integrated into our childhood. We watched it evolve firsthand. But that doesn’t mean we’re experts. Sometimes our bosses make the assumption that we are knowledgeable in every aspect of a computer, from IT to social media to email marketing, simply because of our age. The truth is nobody is ever truly a “jack of all trades.” We learn a specific set of skills through out experiences, just like you did.
2. We’re coming in…insecure
As teenagers, we were told we had to go to college in order to get a decent paying job. Then we were told we had to get an internship to have experience on our resumes. Then we were told we had to have several internships because one was no longer good enough. Then when we were ready to graduate, we started noticed that many job applications said, “Master’s degree preferred.” Where do we go from here?
Sometimes our bosses make the assumption that we are knowledgeable in every aspect of a computer, from IT to social media to email marketing, simply because of our age.
All these added expectations have led to many us feeling like – even as entry-level professionals – we don’t know enough. We aren’t good enough. And we will never understand because we are too young and naive.
3. We’ve got some stuff to work on…
We spend too much time on our phones. We can be reluctant to communicate, especially when we are intimidated. We don’t always see things in the long-term because we are so used to things happening seemingly overnight. We need to stand tall and accept some personal accountability.
And we need more leaders and mentors that will help us build up our confidence. We need to know that it’s okay when we mess up. We need someone to remind us that success will come in due time. We need someone willing to work with us to build a trusting relationship.
Simon Sinek posted a response video to the original Inside Quest talk, where he presented an idea that I love. He proposed that instead of having a “self-help” section at bookstores, we should encourage a “help others” industry instead.
Show us hospitality and model teamwork so we can learn how it works. And remember that sometimes, we need a little push, need to know you are rooting for us and trust us. Being surrounded by working professionals that have been in the business for over 10, some even 20 years, can be intimidating after all.
But I promise that there are still plenty of us millennials out there that are eager to learn, yearning to make a difference, and striving to succeed. We just need your help in taking the first steps.
Written by Ximena Larkin
‘Going viral’ is an elusive occurrence sought after by all brands. And so marketing and PR teams are tasked with making it happen (like yesterday, if possible!). As communication professionals, the organic pick-up of a story is a huge credibility boost, a validation of the strategy, media savvy and positive impact a publicist can have on brand awareness and buzz.
While virality is not something that can be promised or manufactured, there are several things to keep in mind to increase your chances of major media pick-up.
How do I know? At the end of 2016, I had an idea to combine yoga and Harry Potter. I shared the idea with my sister Isabel Beltran, a yoga instructor in Austin, Texas, who then developed the class with me. We called it ‘Harry Potter Yoga’ (creative, I know).
You might have seen mention of it on your Facebook feed; the media loved it and the story went viral.
Coverage on the HP class began with a feature on Cosmopolitan.com. In less than 24 hours, articles began to pop-up on Bustle, Elle Uk, Teen Vogue, Shape, Mashable, the Daily Mail, MTV UK, Self and Refinery29. By the week’s end we saw stories about our class on Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today and People. The actors who played Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood even tweeted their interest in attending the class, along with George Takei, Jordin Sparks and Ashley Benson. We’ve seen the story translated for CNN Indonesia, Wired Italy, Glamour Paris, Cosmo Brazil and El Mundo Spain. This coverage including countless social media posts by the respective outlets that have amassed more than 25M impressions.
It even caught the attention of Warner Bros.’s legal team, who very nicely asked us to stop due to copyright.
Ten weeks later, I did it again. This time with a cut-out of Barack Obama
Here’s what I’ve learned about creating a newsworthy story that lends itself toward going viral.
You Need A Good Idea and Great Attention to Detail
Where do good ideas come from? After reading Steve Johnson’s book, “Where Good Ideas Come From: The National History on Innovation,” I walked away understanding that good ideas are not unique. If you had done an online search for ‘Harry Potter Yoga’ before our class went viral, you’d have found a slew of others who had executed a similar class. Yet never with this amount of success. What made us stand out?
I think it has to do with how well we integrated of Harry Potter-inspired elements into yoga; we brought concepts from the book to life. That included incorporating wand work into movements, renaming poses and setting the scene (like sorting hat cookies that revealed your house when took a bite). We did not simply slap the Harry Potter name on a traditional yoga class with the objective of filling a class.
Another important aspect of our success comes down to the fact that it was an authentic expression of our love of the story. There was no learning curve or attempt to tie into a trending topic just for the sake of media attention. We created something we ourselves wished existed and that happened to align with the shared interests of the media and their readers.
Develop media assets ahead of time
To truly captivate the attention of an international audience, consider your outreach strategy before you execute your event. The biggest mistake I see brands make is not thinking through the visual components (our handmade mandrake root garden and sorting hat cookies were a big hit with editors) and forgetting to document the event with an eye toward future pitching.
There is no chance you are going viral with low-lit, grainy photography; you need high-quality images. And lots of them, so that media aren’t running the same image over and over again. Identify images that need to be shot in advance to avoid post-event regrets.
We did not simply slap the Harry Potter name on a traditional yoga class with the objective of filling a class.
As a bonus, even if your idea does not go viral, those images can be repurposed for social media, email blasts and website use.
Pitch Top Tier Media First
When you have a story that you think has the potential to go viral, be smart about how you release the news. Coverage across large national outlets creates an immediate interest from other publications and leads to the “everybody is covering this, so should we,” effect. Top tier publications with a strong digital presence need multiple stories daily, and they come with impressive social media numbers that will help to extend your story further.
And they are not likely to ask you to pay for the editorial (like one local outlet did, cough cough).
The idea is not enough, pitch the results
HP yoga was a one-time event in a smaller media market. And yet media were still clamoring to cover it because the concept was both timely (ours took place on Halloween) and had mass appeal. We made sure to have the aforementioned photography and themed visuals for use and stressed that the event sold-out without any promotion and zero media attention.
Say Yes and Respond to Media Requests Quickly
Once media starts to pick up the story, it is time to put all hands on deck. Keep momentum growing by responding quickly to every single media request. Give as much attention to the smaller, niche sites and publications as you do national publication; it is the respectful thing to do when someone wants to give you free publicity.
Saying yes to all media requests establishes relationships with editors and creates the viral snowball effect. As a result of having multiple sites and social networking sites mentioning our event with links, the search results for Harry Potter yoga are now very much in our favor.
Of course, when media are flooding your inbox it is glorious – stressful. To cut down on wait times get everyone the basic information quickly, we created a FAQ sheet for journalists that covered the who, what, where, why, when and how of the event. As questioned popped up from reporters, we added it to the one-sheet. This allowed us to respond, provide information, and then work directly with media on specific story angles, image requests and quotes.
Spending thousands or millions of dollars to execute a big idea is no guarantee that people will care about it. Encourage clients to tap into what naturally make them happy – from fandom to secret talents. From that perspective, there is joy in the work which hopefully means it was worth doing regardless of the outcome. Chances are, you also figure out a way to make it work regardless of budget constraints. For me, both projects were a valuable reminder of creating something for the love of the process rather than for the end result. The media endorsement was just an added bonus.
Having now gone through this process twice, I believe virality works like the inside of a clock. There is no one thing in isolation that makes it run. The concept is also subjective. It is possible to go viral within your geographic community or a niche online community. What matters most is how you measure success.
From my perspective, if an idea goes viral, it is not because you stumbled on some magic formula. It is the result of a learning process honed through research, pitching, following up, learning from past mistakes and being able to spot an opportunity quickly.
The good news is you only need one outlet to say yes to your idea to open up the potential of a viral story. It all begins with a good idea and the determination to share it with others.
PS: If you happen to be in Chicago tonight, join me for a panel discussion on this same topic, “How to increase your chances of going viral” Save $15 off your ticket with code PR Couture (everyone else: watch the PR Couture Facebook page at 8pm ET at for a live sneak peek at the event!)
Ximena specializes in using social media for public relations campaigns to create offline engagement. Prior to founding C1 Revolution, Ximena led Walgreens’ social media team in an analyst role on risk management issues. Her unique expertise in creating viral media stories and social savvy has been called upon by media and educators to weigh in on industry trends, including in a Macmillan College textbook on digital branding and reputation.
Position: Freelance Publicist-VIP/Gifting
Company: Lindsey Smolan PR
Location: Los Angeles, CA
THE 2017 BESPOKE COMMUNICATION AWARDS ARE HERE!
Tailor-made to celebrate excellence among fashion and lifestyle communication professionals, the BCAs are a groundbreaking opportunity to get some much-needed recognition for all your hard work.
HERE’S WHAT LIFE IS LIKE AFTER WINNING A BCA AWARD:
Sound good? Here's more!
We have designed the BCAs as a global online program (no need to purchase an event ticket in addition to your award application fee just to sit in a badly lit hotel ballroom and eat mediocre chicken!).
Winners get a trophy to be sure, but we are also preparing customized gifts with some truly amazing goodies including jewelry and personalized artwork by a fashion illustrator. Winners will also receive a profile in Linger Magazine – instant publicity!
Now, I don’t have to convince you that amazing things happen when young women are supported to put their own unique voice out into the world. We will be donating a portion of profits to WriteGirl, a Los Angeles-based organization that promotes creativity and self-expression to empower teen girls through writing workshops and mentorship.
Ready to take a look?
Agencies, in-house teams, brands, individuals, media and vendors are welcome to apply. There are 30 awards across 4 categories, including a no-fee, peer nomination-based “Favorites” category you can fill out right now!
Here are 4 of my favorite awards:
Take advantage of our early deadline and save on awards submitted by March 21, 2017
Once you have purchased your award(s), you will receive an email with a link to your application form – fill that out by the early deadline and you’ll be all set!
It’s always exciting (and nerve-wracking) to bring a new idea into the world. The BCAs were designed to honor you and to help mold industry best practices. Please feel free to reach out with any feedback or suggestions!
Judges, sponsors and partner info
2017 BCA Judges:
- Alle Fister, Principal of Bollare Communications
- Brooke Blashill, Senior Vice President and Director of the Boutique at Ogilvy
- Callan Green, Director of Social Media at L’Oreal
- Dara Elliott, Founder of Brevity Brand
- Linda Kearns, President, Costume Designer Division at Matchbook Company
- Liza Kindered, Founder of Third Wave Fashion
- Lorraine Sanders, Founder of Spirit 608
- Matthew Marcheck, CEO of The Eighth Floor Communications
- Rosanne Hart, APR, President of The Hart Agency
- Wendy K. Bendoni, Chair of Marketing and Fashion Marketing at Woodbury University and Trend Producer for WWDMAGIC
2017 BCA Sponsors and Partners:
- Rose Gold Sponsor: Tribe Dynamics, an advanced marketing technology built for fashion and lifestyle brands, representing the Favorites Category and two Petit Category awards, Media Event and Influencer Endorsement
- White Gold Sponsor: White Book Agency, a brand communications boutique, representing the Individuals Category
- Gold Sponsor: NewsAI, a media list management and email distribution tool for PR professionals, representing Media Placement, a Petit Category award
- Gold Sponsor: Mariposa Communications, a top fashion public relations and marketing agency, representing Community Involvement, a Petit Category award
- Gold Sponsor: C1 Revolution, a public relations firm based in Chicago, representing Celebrity Placement, a Petit Category award
- 2017 In-kind Partners include Linger Magazine, Akvile Lesauskaite, Durrah Jewellery, Your Hot Copy, Shift FWD, and Gossip & Glamour
Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News
…for the week of February 13, 2017
- Elena Hansen, founder of Swim Social, handles social media accounts for celebrities like Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale and brands like Alfred Coffee and Splits59. Here’s what her typical day looks like (via Glossy)
- Ad blockers are a chronic condition but ad blocker rates appear to have flattened and consumers are still receiving ads on mobile devices (via Digiday)
- Influencer marketing is the hot new trend, but are brands being blinded by shiny object syndrome and letting go of authenticity? (via Ad Week)
- Hivy is the hottest new service for office managers. Companies like Slack, Deliveroo and Seatgeek are already using it to manage their perks (via Tech Crunch)
- New York Fashion Week this year served as a platform for brands to express their political opinions on everything from handing out Planned Parenthood buttons to wearing white bandanas as part of the #TiedTogether movement (via The Cut)
- Instagram could be the future for beauty product shopping. We can already see its success for Glossier, the beauty brand with a loyal fan following that was built on Instagram (via L2 Daily)
- Hackers are now targeting small businesses and startups at an alarmingly high rate. There were 638 million ransomware attack attempts last year. Is your small business in danger? (via Fast Company)
- How Lauren Conrad’s relationship with her career has changed, how Sarah Michelle Gellar took major risks and other career struggles from 6 powerhouse business women (via Create and Cultivate)
- Google has made its way into the lives of billions. Now it’s doing its part to embrace diversity and changing the way we see the world (via Fortune)
- Generation X has the biggest spending power among all the generations, but luxury brands are focusing their time and effort on millennials: the soon-to-be luxury consumers (via Luxury Daily)
Welcome to February's Self-Love Marketing Series: focusing on Body Positive brands, campaigns and messaging targeting the plus-size market. This is Part 3.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, right? Well, when it comes to the plus size customer, the matter of what to call her gets a little more tricky.
There’s been a huge groundswell from within the plus size fashion community to “drop the plus.” Models, like supermodel Ashley Graham, have come forward and called the effect of the term “plus size” to describe women over a size 10 within the fashion community “isolating.”
From the perspective of a model working in the industry, I completely agree. Being the “plus” girl on set amongst “straight” size models (a.k.a. “normal” model size, 00 - 2) can feel exactly that: isolating.
(Similarly, having to shop the back corner of Macy’s where the lighting is poor and the plus size clothes are tucked away next to the maternity clothes or the luggage, can feel isolating as well!).
But overall, I've had nothing but great experiences as a model who proudly embraces the label of "plus size." The use of the term has also served to galvanize a community of underserved customers in America. And more importantly, it’s created a community for young girls and women to find connection, empowerment, and to be understood online.
I’ve addressed this argument before, in my piece for the Huffington Post, “Why I’m #PlusPositive”:
“The reality is that we live in a society that functions on labels. It’s our nature as humans to want to put a name to things, and we rely on these as frameworks to interpret the world around us. For women who are seeking to be comfortable in their skin, ‘Plus Size’ has given us a powerful community to engage with. It’s also allowed women in the fashion industry to organize around a central idea, which is why we’re now seeing so much more recognition of the Plus Size population in marketing and development of fashion brands.”
"The reality is that we live in a society that functions on labels. It's our nature as humans to want to a put a name to things"
If you’re a marketing or PR professional, you have to respect the power of this term in your messaging. But most importantly, if you’re going to weigh in on this conversation (regardless of your stance), you have to show customers that you’re about more than just lip service if you want to make a splash.
Some brands, like mega-brand Lane Bryant, have claimed the power of this term by folding it into their own social media initiative, #PlusisEqual.
The hashtag launch was complete with a rally in Times Square. They even created an online billboard app where customers can upload a photo to see themselves represented in a billboard photo template. And while the overall public reception of this campaign was extremely positive, some accused the effort of further “othering” plus size customers.
Other plus size retail brands remain neutral on the term. Online styling company Dia & Co. caters to sizes 14 and up. Recently, they launched the #movefashionforward initiative that almost makes the discussion regarding the use of “plus size” irrelevant.
“Style is not a size -- style is an expression of identity,” say the co-founders, Nadia Boujarwah & Lydia Gilbert. This takes the focus of the conversation off of size altogether, and focuses the attention on fashion.
“We're calling on the world's top designers to dress the 100 million American women who wear plus size clothing. And we're offering our support to those who are ready to move fashion forward,” say Nadia and Lydia in their online letter to customers.
By creating this powerful call to action they not only make the conversation about using the term “plus size” irrelevant, they actually remove many of the common excuses designers have made for not expanding their sizes. They are taking it a step further by offering designers access to the Dia & Co. the infrastructure to expand their size ranges.
There is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether or not to use the term “plus size” in your messaging. But if you’re going to enter into that conversation, you definitely need to formulate a point of view. You may be criticized either way. But by applying a thoughtful, considerate, action-oriented approach, you will garner devoted customers--and hopefully, see an increase in engagement from this customer segment.
About Melinda Parrish
While editor previews and stylist pulls are nothing new, Addicted Youth’s concept breaks from the traditional methods of celebrity and influencer dressing, where stylists typically have to reach out to designers individually or visit multi-label showrooms where brands are permanently on view. Instead, the Addicted Youth Awards Season Pop-up made pulls for award season infinitely easier and the results speak for themselves; all brands had pieces pulled for major upcoming events.
What: Featuring collections from multiple international fashion designers, Addicted Youth produced a pop-up event at a luxury property in Beverly Hills currently listed with The Rodgers Group real estate, and hosted celebrity stylists and influencers, talent managers, and media to preview and request samples for red carpets, press events, and editorial styling.
Guests enjoyed snacks and sipped on champagne courtesy of LA’s Tequila Ranch Liquor Mart while browsing the collections next to a view of the poolside terrace overlooking the canyons. All guests were treated to gift bags which included luxury skincare products from SHRAY Skincare, Coola Suncare, and -417 Beauty.
Why: We love that Addicted Youth saw an opportunity to make the process more convenient for both sides. By combining the idea of a multi-brand showroom with a pop-up concept, while keeping it exclusive to industry professionals for loan coordination, both the agency and attendees made full use of one single event.
Participating designers included Lena Kasparian, Ozlem Suer, Vivienne Pash and Guilty Soles shoes, and all the brands had pieces pulled for major upcoming events including the OSCARS, GRAMMYS, and the Costume Designer’s Guild Awards, to name a few.
Dyan founded Soda Pop Public Relations in 2011 with the goal of doing great work for great people as well as creating a healthy & fun culture for her team. With an experienced team of professionals, SPPR specializes in print and digital media coverage, influencer relations, events, and partnerships for hospitality, food, beverage and lifestyle brands. Over the last five years, SPPR’s personalized, honest and creative approach has launched over 30 products and brands, produced over 60 promotional events as well as garnered more than four billion impressions for clients.
How did you get started in PR? why did you start your own business?
It was never part of the plan to start my own PR shop. I had spent a number of years working my way up the industry ladder. The climb left me burnt out. During the thick of the burn out, I was presented an opportunity to start my own company. Normally, starting a company is not the natural next step when you’re fried, but it made perfect sense to me. I knew that opportunities like this don’t come around often and it was time to jump. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t have some master plan. I took a leap of faith, put my head down and made it happen.
What are your primary responsibilities?
My primary responsibilities are to make sure we are doing our best work on behalf of our clients and investing time and training into my team. On the client side, my role has transitioned from the day to day contact to strategic lead. A majority of my time is spent working with the team to review plans, helping to solve problems/challenges, brainstorming creative campaigns as well as putting out most fires that pop up. On the team side, it’s very important to foster a healthy, open and fun work environment. I make it a priority to plan fun off-sites for bonding and creative inspiration as well as finding creative talks, conferences and festivals for us to attend as a team.
What is the mood like in the office? What are you working on right now?
What I love most about the vibe in our office is even though we are a group of hardworking, organized overachievers, we always find ways to lighten the mood and support one another. The nature of our work can be stressful since it’s mostly a hustle. Deadlines and changing plans are part of the gig so a well-timed inside joke, donut/ice cream/cookie/wine break or mini-therapy session go along way.
"I always say that you definitely want a publicist on your life boat or in your bunker when things go down"
Most memorable/meaningful moment in your career thus far?
The first thing that comes to mind is celebrating our 5th anniversary last year, especially when you hear so much about companies failing in the first few years.
PR can be stressful and full of rejection - how do you deal?
I’m the rare bird that thrives on rejection. I spent many years trying to break into the entertainment business which has given me a thick skin. I find having someone be passive aggressive on feedback or taking credit for your ideas a much harder pill to swallow. I’d like to say I deal with sticky situations with grace but that’s not always the case. I’m a work in progress and at times my boss ‘mama bear’ instincts get the best of me. It helps to take a moment before acting out in frustration to understand that the person that is making things difficult is most likely having a much harder time of it than you.
What are three current favorite tools, apps, or products that you love and why?
My latest nerdy obsession is to track how I'm spending my time via My Hours. Not only has it helped be more productive but it’s a game changer when it comes to quoting project costs to clients. I’m a big podcast listener. Current favorites are NPR’s How I Built This, The Minimalist, TED Radio Hour, Bon Appetit’s Foodcast, The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show and The Tim Ferriss Show.
What do you wish more people understood about your job (or PR/Marketing in general?)
I always say that you definitely want a publicist on your life boat or in your bunker when things go down. We get shit done.
What are you excited about right now in terms of industry trends?
I love that so many brands are investing time and resources into partnerships with likeminded companies. Whether it’s a co-branded product, donating goods for an event or supporting each other on social media, the spirit of “we all in this together” collaboration is exciting.
What advice do you have for your younger self?
You are stronger and more resilient than you know and everything will be okay. And when it’s not okay, you’ll figure it out.
Anything else we should know?
SPPR is currently looking for a Spring intern! Read more about it here.
When looking for prime digital outlets to secure coverage for beauty clients, we often think of the heavy-hitters like Byrdie and Into The Gloss. While these sites are beyond fantastic, there are some other digital outlets that might not be on your radar just yet, catering to audiences seeking anything from effective natural products to Hollywood insider secrets.
Read on to see some of my favorite websites to work with (and read!) on behalf of beauty clients, as well as tips on how to pitch!
Created by Sarah Howard (whose father owned Make Up For Ever and Pierre Michel Salon), this site gives her unique insight into the industry with coverage on "trends, tips and tricks, insider secrets, and weekly must-haves."
What to Pitch:
Anything interesting and beauty-related! Areas of coverage here really run the gamut from product recommendations for the “weekly must-have” section, how-to tips on achieving the latest beauty trends, and interviews with celebs on their beauty routines. Anything new, fresh, and interesting in the beauty field will likely garner your pitch a second glance.
A very stylish guide to “living well,” The Chalkboard Mag was launched by Pressed Juicery to deliver fresh natural beauty, health, wellness, and living content to readers. While they cover a variety of topics in the lifestyle space, beauty is a big area of coverage for TCM.
What to Pitch:
Natural categories are the bread and butter here, so if you have an eco-friendly skincare line or holistic practitioner expert, send along the info to the team here. If a well-known health or wellness expert endorses your product, make sure to share that as well.
This LA-based site epitomizes Hollywood glamour with its sleek layout and in-depth interviews with the hottest in-the-know industry insiders (hello Jen Atkin and the Streicher sisters!) The Violet Files is an off-shoot of the high-end, incredibly curated shop Violet Grey and maintains the same exclusivity and taste level as their retail site. Their editorial policy notes that a brand does not need to be carried at Violet Grey to be featured on The Violet Files so don’t let that deter you!
What to Pitch:
A celebrity angle will get you far with this site (has your product been used by a celebrity or do you have a top makeup artist or hairstylist as a fan?) as will beautiful, luxury products – steer away from pitching drugstore products. Beauty/medical treatments also get coverage here in their VG Rx series, so if you have any innovative procedures or doctor experts to offer pitch away.
Run by the impossibly chic Annie Atkinson (a former New Yorker turned recent Zurich expat) this site covers all of her favorite products as well as interviews with equally stylish ladies in the beauty, fashion, and wellness spaces for the “Glow Girl” feature.
What to Pitch:
Products featured tend to lean more in the natural yet luxury space – anything with beautiful packaging, holistic yet effective ingredients and a prestige feel would be appropriate to pitch. If you’re pitching for the “Glow Girl” section, experts that fit best are those with a strong level of expertise in the wellness space who are undeniably chic. Annie recently relocated to Europe so keep in mind if pitching an event invite or a service that is stateside, it’s unlikely she’ll be able to attend.
PR AGENCY AND INDUSTRY NEWS
Fintech PR Pro Jessica Schaefer has launched a public relations consultancy called Bevel that will connect clients with stakeholder communities breaking through the new age media.
Krupp Kommunications has announced their new entertainment clients that range from doctors to psychics to radio hosts. The list includes Moll Anderson, Dr. Jen Ashton, Thomas John, Dr. Partha Nandi, and Man Made Music.
New directors have joined the Women in PR advisory council and *hint *hint one of them is our own Crosby Noricks! The list also includes Deirdre Breakenridge, Shonali Burke, Gini Dietrich, Abbie Fink, Shannon Furey, Michelle Garrett, Rebekah Iliff and Nicole Rodrigues.
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 email@example.com
Position: Account Coordinator
Company: POM Public Relations
Location: Austin, Texas
The last year in the communications and media space has been beyond intense and it’s not stopping anytime soon. As part of the shift, media partners at fashion publications, including Vogue, WWD, Refinery29 and more, are now overtly political (they’ve always touched on politics here and there, beyond talking about who’s dressing whom, but this is a whole new level). As PR professionals we have a unique vantage point from which to experience the media; as insiders (like backstage at a fashion show almost every. single. day) and as consumers and experts of that media, witnessing firsthand the crucial role the media has in educating and informing, as well as entertaining with fashion, lifestyle and celebrity stories.
If you’re anything like me, you’re feeling an extra dose of craziness since our jobs require us to pay extra close attention to newspapers, magazines, websites and news shows, while still managing our own digital presence, rocking out those business goals and securing ongoing client placements – all in a world that feels a little bananas.
As part of my personal quest to focus on self-care this year, it has become imperative that I find a way to manage my ‘need to remain in-the-know’ through the incessant flow of information and stay mindful, focused, and present for our clients. I’ve come to realize that no matter how well we do our jobs (one of the most stressful on the planet, or so the surveys always say) no matter how many media hits we secure, if we don’t take care of ourselves, eventually there will be no business or work to tend to.
Here are a few suggestions for you based on what I’m doing that’s working:
Add a timer into the mix
Just because you’re online, don’t get sucked into the rabbit hole (which is the Internet). Identify the priorities on your to do, and then stick to them. Even the good distractions can be total time wasters. And time wasted requires time to be used up in areas that could be used for play or sleep.
I first learned about the “time yourself” trick many years ago when I worked at an ad agency and read about it in my O Magazine. I thought it was genius and set off to purchase a kitchen timer after work (something that I never owned prior to wanting to time myself in the office).
I don’t know if it’s the adrenaline rush or pressure, but somehow getting done before the “ding!” works. I’ve since moved on to a digital version.
You can try the: Tomato Timer or look up how to execute the Pomodoro Technique (which is another timed method with intervals and breaks). For those packed days, consider using a timer for all projects, proposal writing, email checking, etc. Setting up times to get tasks done should allow for greater efficiency.
Note: This is a trick that really does work, but doesn’t always stick without discipline. Start off slow and with projects that make the most sense so this doesn’t add stress!
Schedule social media, digital and industry research
Set notifications on client accounts that can be skimmed periodically (and addressed as needed), but everything else gets scheduled. From your personal check-in time on Instagram to scrolling on Facebook for “research,” to tantalizing newsletter sales in your inbox.
Identify your go-to pubs for quick looks. Make a list of outlets you frequently visit and bookmark them or put them into a reader. Then set the time that you will check them. Sign up for news recap sites like: Need2Know, Vox, Skimm and also fashion news sites like: Business of Fashion, WWD, Fashionista, and of course, the PR Couture Weekly so the most important information to you is delivered to you (which also cuts down on distraction).
Take Control of Your Inbox
There is a lot of noise in our inboxes that simply doesn’t deserve our time. Set aside 10 minutes a week to unsubscribe, or use something like Unroll Me to cut down on the unread email count.
If you’re not able to unsubscribe for some reason (prospect newsletter, media contact friend, etc.), be sure to create labels and rules to filter your emails. Spending a morning developing an email system will save you tons of time in the long run.
Tip: Separate newsletters out by creating an entirely new email address just for shopping/brand newsletters. Check once or twice a week.
Force yourself to take breaks
We all know that exercise is important. But it’s not just good for the body, but apparently great for the brain. Getting the blood flowing helps with cognitive skills and memory, and considering we all have so much work to do, we really want to be firing on all cylinders.
If your day is packed with events and meetings time goes by quickly and it’s easy to realize you’ve seen the sun set without getting any work done. Enforce downtime each day, even if it’s one 15-minute slot to slow down (heck, lie down on the office floor) and just breathe.
For days when you are chained to your inbox being a pitching powerhouse, take regular breaks and go outside. Use the time to walk around the block, eat lunch outside, stretch, get grounded. Don’t look at your phone. Give your brain a break!
Drink more water. Just do it.
Isn’t this on all wellness “take care of yourself” lists? Going to go ahead and throw it in here, too. The next time you head for another cup of coffee, try a tall glass of water instead. So much of the time we are tired and run down in part because we are dehydrated. A ton of water will help keep you alert, flush out toxins and keep your skin glowing. Drink it from a pretty glass, add in some fresh lime or a sprig of rosemary and give yourself a treat. If you need a reminder, there are a ton of apps to help you remember your H2o.
We work in an industry that’s often “on” around the clock. When you’re able to, we have to remind ourselves that it’s OK to just “be.” Even if it’s just for a few hours. What may appear to be doing “nothing” at first, can bring about fresh creativity and new ideas. That renewed energy and clarity is also noticeable to your clients as well as media partners, and will help you, help them to better manage and navigate these hectic times, too!
Position: Fashion/Beauty PR Intern
Company: Lindsey Smolan PR