Also known as Client Director of Happiness, Senior Vice President Caroline Andrew has been with New York-based MFA Ltd. (Missy Farren) for more than a decade. In addition to providing strategic council, she deftly navigates media opportunities and Millennial outreach, much to the delight of clients like lululemon, Roxy apparel, Stance Socks and Schwinn Bikes.
How did you get started in PR?
I got my start in PR interning for Paul Kaza & Associates while studying at the University of Vermont. I worked for clients including Bag Balm, Woodstock Inn & Stowe Mountain. It was there that I got a feel for the entire world of marketing, but especially loved the creative aspect of storytelling through PR. My first job was lifeguarding…but my first PR job was working in house for Schieffelin & Somerset as a PR Assistant, working on luxury spirit brands like Tanqueray and Johnnie Walker accounts.
What is the mood like in the office?
Mfa Ltd. is a fun, energetic environment. There is always a ton of collaboration happening, music playing, random skateboard and yoga sessions going on. And, we love having media, clients and new business potentials coming by or working from our beautiful new space.
It has been a busy, but fun start to the summer. I’m working on a lot of great projects right now, but especially excited to be starting up with Olukai, a luxury footwear and lifestyle brand, and LifeProof, which is the best protector you can have for your Smartphone. They are two great brands, perfect for our lifestyle and consumer products team, and we’ve been having a blast thinking of unique ways to tell their stories.
Schwinn featured in Vogue Magazine, July 2015
Tell us about the term Athleisure...
Athleisure has become more than just a trend. With the increase of incredible fitness studios across the country (everything from FlyWheel and Barry’s Bootcamp, to Pure Barre and ShadowBox) consumers want clothes that they feel good in and can take them from a workout to a coffee run…and then maybe spend the entire day in it. The design in this category has come so far, with some really beautiful pieces being produced that are appropriate for so much more than a yoga session. Juja Active (one of our clients) is a new curated activewear retailer, and it’s refreshing to see the innovation that independent brands are pushing through.
The design in [athleisure] has come so far, with some really beautiful pieces being produced that are appropriate for so much more than a yoga session.
More than ever, fitness and wellness has become woven into consumers’ everyday lives. If it’s checking out the latest boutique fitness studio or trying the new juice bar in the neighborhood, consumers want to wear clothes that support their healthy lifestyle and in styles they feel confident in.
What are three must-haves essential to your job?
Being accessible at all times and traveling are big parts of my job. I could not survive without:
1. The Delta App: Helps me book flights in just a few minutes.
2. Seamless App: Cause a girl’s gotta eat.
3. Uber: Always willing to pick me up.
#RunSupYoga Event, Roxy
What makes an ideal client for your agency?
Great question. Ultimately, at Mfa Ltd., we work with brands and organizations that we believe in and admire, which can come in many forms! Working with start-ups, personalities, Fortune 500 corporations all in the same day is what keeps the job interesting and our team motivated to deliver exceptional results. Our best clients are those that are willing to try new things and really let our team’s creativity go to work – it always results in some unexpected wins!
Our best clients are those that are willing to try new things and really let our team’s creativity go to work – it always results in some unexpected wins!
What is a recent success story you’re proud of?
I always get more excited about other people's’ success and I am especially proud of one of our Senior Account Executives who recently helped execute Roxy’s incredible #RunSUPYoga event in Hawaii, bringing global media to the islands for a unique weekend of wellness.
Also, a year and a half ago, lululemon’s yet to be announced CEO asked us to coordinate his announcement, analyze their communications program, change the media narrative and get the brand back on a positive track. At one point last summer stock price and overall image was pretty low; stock price has nearly doubled at the start of this summer. We are pretty proud of those statistics, as well.
"What the team at Lululemon's Vancouver Headquarters wears to work," April 2015, Racked
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since you started working in PR?
The utmost importance of being prepared and anticipating clients’ needs. Happy Clients = Success.
Also, that every problem has a solution.
How do you get the word out about MFA Ltd.?
We’ve been very fortunate to have the majority of our new business opportunities come from referrals and recommendations. While we prefer to keep the focus on our partners, rather than ourselves, we do distribute a quarterly agency newsletter and a monthly wellness newsletter, which highlights our favorite picks, news and more within the fitness/health worlds.
What excites you about PR these days?
The constant evolution of our industry. PR has always been ‘relations with the public’ and with the onset of so many more storytelling platforms, this has never been more true. I am excited about the potential of what will come next.
PR has always been ‘relations with the public’ and with the onset of so many more storytelling platforms, this has never been more true.
What are a few tips you have for working with Millenials?
It’s interesting – working with media is quite similar to working to connect with the Millennial consumer, in that you have to deliver the information when, where and how they want it in order for it to resonate. The best product or message in the world will remain silent if you can’t find the appropriate channel for the story to be heard.