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

Millennials in PR Think They Are Doing A Great Job (Their Managers Disagree)

Public Relations Millenial Study Research Data

Millennials represent the largest generation in the workforce (35%) but continue to wrestle with a bit of a reputation problem; mainly that we are lazy, entitled and self-centered. Is the disconnect rooted in a simply age divide, or are there other factors contributing to the challenges faced by entry-level PR professionals and those higher up the professional food chain?

A new study by The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and the Institute for Public Relations has uncovered just how alarmingly large the communication gap between generations has become in our industry.

An online survey asked 420 millennial communication professionals and the 420 professionals who manage them questions on workplace values and attributes, engagement with their jobs and organizations, leadership capabilities and development opportunities, and recruiting and retention drivers.

Overall, the study enforces the idea that perception is everything. Both millennials and managers will be well served by reviewing the findings and ideally, setting aside some time to any points that appear to be directly impacting the employee-manager relationship.

In particular, the study found that millennials believe they take their jobs seriously while their managers are overwhelmingly skeptical. Here are 4 other key findings.


More than 80% of millennial communication professionals surveyed said they are ambitious and passionate about work, but only half their managers agreed.


More than 70% of millennial communication professionals said they are ready to be excellent leaders in communication and demonstrate strong ethical orientation and professional values.

Fewer than half their managers agreed.

The study found that millennials believe they take their jobs seriously while their managers are overwhelmingly skeptical.


More than 72% of millennials said they were engaged in their job and 59% said they were engaged in their organization. However, 83% of managers reported being engaged in their job and more than 74% reported being engaged in their organization.

4. MILLENNIALS Care about culture

Two-thirds of millennial communication professionals said job decisions were driven most by reputation (68.1%), culture (67.2%), and location (67.4%).

While millennials are not always on the same page as those managing them, this study did demonstrate that our strong digital skills, passion for leadership and strong values for diversity, transparency, social responsibility and community are certainly in alignment with best agency practices.

Though PR runs at a non-stop sprint, it would be beneficial for agencies to elevate these issues, and mentors and managers to keep these common misperceptions top of mind when considering the performance and loyalty of their millennial team members.


China Offers Untapped Potential for Emerging Designers

Chinese Fashion Market Emerging Designers Shop Sales

In an increasingly saturated independent designer world, it can seem impossible to distinguish oneself as an emerging designer.  The reality is that in order to remain economically viable, emerging labels have to look outside of their local markets to find new territory abroad. Thinking globally is the key to surviving in the harsh wilds of the independent fashion market – but where is this virgin terrain?

It happens to be in the one country that is traditionally seen as a threat to the independent artisan, where dirt-cheap prices trump quality and quantity is the name of the game: China.

There has been a fascinating sea change in Chinese shopper and retailer preferences over the last few years – they’ve moved from coveting luxury megabrands like LV and Gucci to snatching up small independent designs that cannot be found anywhere else – and made outside of China.

The landscape of luxury in China has changed irrevocably; the profile of the middle to upper class Chinese shopper is now young, sophisticated, highly educated and well-traveled.  Chinese consumers account for close to half of all global luxury retail purchases, and they no longer lust for logos, but for rarity and exclusivity.

Louis Vuitton closed three of its stores in China last year, including its flagship store in Guangzhou, and Prada and Burberry among others have experienced a significant slump in sales, the first downturn in the country once considered to be a cash cow for luxury brands.

Chinese consumers account for close to half of all global luxury retail purchases, and they no longer lust for logos, but for rarity and exclusivity.

There are 220 million Chinese consumers buying fashion online every day, and they are willing to spend on average 179% more on designs from abroad than their counterparts elsewhere in the world.  The emerging designer market is estimated at $3 billion. But the prospect of breaking into a market like China is daunting in the extreme for emerging brands – tariffs and customs fees, the language barrier, the cultural barrier – where would one start?

3 Tips for Fashion Designers Looking to enter the chinese market

Aileen Hsu, Head of China Operations for Out of X, a company that introduces emerging labels to Chinese retailers and customers, has a few tips for designers looking to break into the market: First, materials matter. “Traditional, high quality materials always win. The market will always choose gold and sterling silver over brass or gold plating. Stick to the good stuff.”

Second, sustainability is not yet a priority. “…leave the recycled materials and the vegan leather for another market. While sustainability in fashion is beginning to catch on slowly, these types of materials have not yet made their way into the hearts of Chinese consumers en masse the way they have in Europe and North America.”

Next, make sure that wearability is your first consideration when looking at the pieces you want to market in China. “Ask yourself if the Chinese consumer can wear the piece to the office, and then out to dinner with friends; and after that, whether they will put it back on for brunch on the weekend,” says Hsu. “Would 9 out of 10 shoppers wear this on all three occasions? It shouldn’t be so artsy that it wouldn’t be seen on the street.”

And finally, for PR firms working to get media coverage in China for their designers: Be prepared to shell out the dough for the influencers. Key Opinion Leaders, or KOLs as they are called, are major and minor fashion celebrities whose social media following can be huge, and who get paid to wear and talk up designer products. “While you can pitch the fashion media and send out free products – and that’s important too – it’s vital to tap into the KOL community in order to gain brand awareness for your clients.”

Hsu says working with companies like Out of X, which help designers navigate the delicate process of raising brand awareness in China without tarnishing their brand, can be instrumental to designers’ success in the market. “My relationships with luxury retailers as well as with KOLs in the close-knit fashion community in Shanghai and Beijing allow new designers from all over the world to start selling in a gigantic new market,” says Hsu.

About Yael

Yael Hartmann is the Director of North American Operations for Out of X, a B2B marketplace that introduces independent designers from around the world to the Chinese market.

Instagram Stories Inspiration, Secrets to Die-Hard Brand Loyalists & Lean Startup Tips

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the week of January 16, 2017

  • Searches for “feminism t-shirt are up” and retailers are taking note in prep for Saturday’s Women’s March (via Yahoo News)
  • It is no secret that SoulCycle, Casper, and Drybar all have diehard fans, but how did they build such fanatical brand loyalty? Company founders tell all (via Fast Company)
  • Snapchat just created new ad targeting using third-party data from Oracle Data Cloud, joining other social media sites using similar data-targeting like Facebook, Google, and Twitter (via Wall Street Journal)

Campaigns We Love: Disney’s Minnie Mouse X Photographer Gray Malin

Just in time for National Polka Dot Day on January 22 (yes that is a thing and yes you will be participating!) and the red carpet award season comes a collaboration between Disney’s most fashionable muse, Minnie Mouse, and fine art photographer Gray Malin. This timely joint effort hits all the right points; nostalgia, art, entertainment and fashion.

What: Gray Malin shot the series in is signature aerial style, taking inspiration from Minnie’s Hollywood and fashion presence to stage a photograph embracing these core tenets through a classically styled black tie affair atop a spectacular red carpet. Malin utilized white parasols to illustrate Minnie’s trademark polka dotted dress and give a nod to Hollywood glamour. The series is a limited run release along with a piece of video art – a first-ever production for Malin.

Why: The release coincides with #RockTheDots, an annual celebration of fashion muse Minnie Mouse and her signature polka dot style, tied to National Polka Dot Day and fittingly falls in the midst Hollywood’s award season.

Of course, no tinsel-town effort would be worth it’s dots (!) without a launch party. Last night 50 fashion guests gathered at the Andaz to celebrate. Guests included Minnie herself, wearing a custom Olympia Le Tan dress, as well as E! News host, Catt Saddler and digital influencers Little Black Boots, Devon Rachel, Dylana and Natalie Suarez, Pursuit of Shoes and Rocky Barnes, to name a few.

Guests enjoyed a four course dinner via a dreamy tablescape that overlooked Hollywood.


Want more? Prints are for sale at and the video can be viewed via Gray Malin’s Instagram. Follow @MinnieStyle on Instagram and rock your dots in celebration of Minnie Mouse and National Polka Dot Day using #RockTheDots and #MinnieStyle.

Embrace These 8 New Realities to Stay Competitive in Public Relations

PR Trends Public Relations Professional

Wake up, the PR industry has changed.

Smart brands are looking past the traditional agency model, where product placement is priority, press releases are serviced daily, and each client is served the same generic press plan.

They want to work with forward-thinking publicists who stay on top of the ever-evolving media landscape, find new ways to connect with consumers, and tell meaningful brand stories. And trust me, you don’t need 50 people, a large office full of cubicles, or a cookie-cutter PR plan to do that

This is what strategic PR looks like today

It’s not just about print vs digital

First off, it’s no longer just a traditional print vs digital conversation. Each of these platforms will always be incredibly important from both a branding and conversion standpoint. One does not cancel out the other.

You can’t just focus on digital outlets or blogs and you can’t just pitch traditional press. A good press plan will include a healthy balance of each medium. Any press plan that ignores one is ignoring an entire side of the conversation.

You can’t just focus on digital outlets or blogs and you can’t just pitch traditional press.

Product placement takes a backseat to storytelling

Today’s consumer is much more aware of how and where products are made. It’s not just about a pretty sweater or a cute pair of pants. They want to know: Who made the product? Is it sustainable? What is the sales model? Am I getting the best price possible? Thus product placement, while important, is no longer a top priority for JBC. We are in the business of storytelling for our brands and this has translated to stronger customer loyalty and increased conversion for clients.

Mobile is a priority

Today’s consumer is mobile, and gathers the majority of information on his/her mobile device. Reach out to social media editors to share news or content from your brands.

Along with social media content comes new opportunities to partner with media sites.  Racked and Refinery29 both do fantastic Facebook LIVE conversations with brand founders and leaders.

Additionally many brands we work with have found success through social channels like Snap (formerly Snapchat) both from an education and sales perspective

5 Ways stay ahead of the evolving PR Industry


get your whole story in a Headline

The NYTimes reported that our attention spans have dropped to 8 seconds before becoming distracted (down from 12 seconds in 2000), which is less than a goldfish. Studies now show that 62% of Americans now get their news from social media, making this the battle ground for "The true scarce commodity” of the near future..."human attention.”

Headlines matter more than ever and PR professionals must adjust accordingly to ensure headlines, subject lines and social copy captures attention, quickly,

We are in the business of storytelling for our brands and this has translated to stronger customer loyalty and increased conversion for clients.


Look for the cross-over opportunity

Embrace a multi-dimensional approach. 

Don’t pigeon-hole yourself as one specific type of publicist. The most successful brands aren’t pure technology brands or pure fashion brands. The most engaging, influential brands today play in the grey area - a fashion brand with a new take on tech, or a home brand with an interesting data team or sales model. Get creative with outreach, i.e. don’t just pitch fashion editors about a fashion brand. Find ways to target travel books, lifestyle magazines, or business outlets.


build relationships with emerging publications

As we all know by now, media is constantly evolving and expanding. In the past year alone, we have found incredible conversion from two brand new platforms- CheddarTV, coined as the CNBC for Millennials, and Glossy, a daily online publication exploring the intersection of fashion and luxury through the lens of digital and tech.

Make sure you are setting aside time to research and stay on top of emerging sites and media outlets.


grow your own reputation

It's easy to keep the focus on our clients, but more than ever, communication professionals must keep an eye on their own personal brands, as well as agency awareness.  

Whether through contributed content, serving on industry panels or entering award programs like the PR Couture Bespoke Communication Awards, take advantage of all the different ways you can showcase your expertise. 

Don't forget to collect client testimonials, save copies of press hits and compile your professional wins into case studies. Having these assets ready to go will come in handy when opportunities arise.


only say yes to clients you love

Work with brands that have impactful narratives and are more than just product; brands with passionate, inspirational leaders who can explain their mission. And dig in deep to find the most interesting, thought provoking, eye-opening stories to share with editors.

I am constantly inspired by the entrepreneurs we represent. From Matt Scanlan of Naadam and Ariel Kaye of Parachute to Denise Lee of ALALA and Josh Udashkin of Raden, these leaders are pushing the boundaries in their own industries and in turn challenging us to find new ways to tell their stories.

At JBC, we are lucky enough to have a business where our clients embrace this new way of thinking, our rather unorthodox approach towards PR. Our staff is comprised of publicists who constantly push themselves to find the newest outlet, the most engaging story, and best way to tell it. And this crucial combination is truly what drives success.

About Jennifer Bett Meyer

For over 16 years, Jennifer Bett Meyer has been a success-driven professional working in public relations and marketing for today’s most dynamic global brands. In January 2013, Jennifer launched Jennifer Bett Communications to offer uniquely competitive brands and startups a new, creative, and multi-dimensional approach to overall consumer awareness. 

In 2014 Jennifer was joined by Partner and Managing Director, Melissa Duren Conner, to effectively address the evolving consumer market and the intersection of the digital marketplace and traditional retail. With their team of experienced PR talent, JBC executes strategies that are thoughtful, dynamic and results-driven while providing clients a high-touch level of service and senior expertise.

4 Differences Between Working in Beauty PR and Fashion PR

beauty makeup skincare public relations

My agency works with both fashion and beauty brands. While there can be quite a bit of overlap, and in some cases editors cover both beats and you can pitch them multiple clients directly, beauty PR has some slight but noticeable differences from fashion PR.

1. Beauty Publicists Get to Use the Products

One of the perks of being a beauty publicist is that you (usually) get to test out the products yourself! A great on-the-job benefit to be sure, but it’s actually more of a necessity.  If you’re going to be pitching the products you should be able to enthusiastically speak their results, whether it’s a styling lotion that tamed your frizzy hair, or a peach lip gloss that looked good on everyone in your office.

While you might get to play with an entire collection of full-size products, everyone working on the account should try some sample sizes or testers in order to truly experience the product. Adding a personal endorsement to pitching can often heighten editor interest, plus it is always more enjoyable to pitch a product you know delivers on its promise.

2. Working with beauty brands almost always means non-returnable samples

When working with fashion and accessories brands, it is common practice to get returnable samples from editors and stylists (unless you are specifically gifting the items).

With beauty products, however, editors need to test out the products to ensure efficacy, texture, and scent. Once a lipstick has been used, for example, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to request it back! You can try and specify that the sample is a comp for photography use only, but the editor may or may not agree to these terms, after all, trying the product personally is what will help her make an accurate recommendation to her readers, which maintains her credibility.

You may have more leeway if it’s a beauty tool rather than a consumable product (you might be able to a hairdryer  returned but a moisturizer is unlikely). Luckily beauty brands are able to create test samples which will hopefully open up your ability to comfortable offer samples to everyone on your media list. But for certain big-ticket items or custom products, it’s important to address product sample seeding with your clients and ensure the cost of product is factored into a separate budget from your retainer.

3. Beauty Brands Require Ingredient Expertise

Do you know what anti-oxidants, humectants, and alpha-hydroxy acids are? 

Pitching clothing requires that you know materials involved  (is it 100% organic cotton? A poly viscose blend?) but it’s generally not the most important facet for editors. From a fashion editor perspective it’s more about colors, prints, silhouettes – the visual elements of a piece). When working in beauty, however, particularly with skincare or haircare, you’ll need to be able to speak intelligently and eloquently about the ingredient make-up. When it comes to say, an anti-aging serum, how the product looks is important, but what it actually does (and how) is even more so. No one is expecting you to be a chemist but you should have a fluent understanding of the ingredients and their functions to be able to explain how the product works and what makes it unique.

4. Expect more one-on-one editor demonstrations

Fashion brands tend to hold seasonal press previews, as it’s not usually feasible to bring a full collection for a deskside meeting (the exception being smaller collections or pieces that are easy to carry, such as accessories or swimwear). While an event strategy for a beauty brand is certainly appropriate, (particularly for new launches) more often than not you’ll find yourself going to the editors’ offices to demonstrate the products in person. This means more face time with editors, which can be a nice bonus relationship builder when it comes time to pitch other products.

Landing press for beauty brands is similar to any product in terms of the value of a compelling pitch, but is very product-sample focused and requires an in-depth knowledge of the latest in beauty, skin and hair trends and ingredients.

Award Show Calendar, What’s Next for PR (and PR Couture) & KCD Restructures

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the weeks of January 1-13, 2017

  • PR Couture announces 10-Year Anniversary and the debut of The Bespoke Communication Awards (press release)
  • Did your holiday bonus come with a promotion? If you’re now managing a team of people, these management tips are sure to help (via ManRepeller)
  • For a truly out of the box (!) workplace experience, check out how Netflix woos great employees (via Forbes)

  • Conscious designer Elizabeth Suzann dives into money, explaining”I want to talk about pricing, consumption, our business, what it means to be a consumer and a producer of things, and lots of stuff in between.” It’s good. There are charts. (via Elizabeth Suzann)
  • What’s next for the PR industry in 2017? Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick shares his thoughts (via Holmes Report)
  • There’s a legal battle raging….and mermaid tails are involved (via The Fashion Law)


21 FREE Stock Image Resources for Social Media & Content Marketing

These days, PR and marketing professionals need an arsenal of images to pull from in order to keep pace online. Having the right images to align with a brand’s digital storytelling is not just about making something look pretty to garner a few extra likes, the right images can help to drive conversions and keep companies top of mind.

According to a study by Jeff Bullas,

  • Articles with images get 94% more total views
  • We can expect 45% increase in press release views when a related image is included
  • Facebook ads with images have a 37% higher engagement rate than text ads

Due to the turn-around time, resources needed and cost of doing in-house photography, many brands (and agencies) turn toward stock photography – but the cost for those images – particularly for a commercial license – can easily take up the entire marketing budget.

As an alternative, bookmark the following royalty free image sites and begin to build out a library of images to keep on hand. You may have to do a bit of sleuthing to find images that work, but the time spent rarely equates to the cost of an equivalent image on a paid site.

Royalty Free Images for Instagram & Beyond

A photo and inspiration haven for creators who are crushing their path. 100% free images, use them anywhere you like.

Over 700,000 free stock images, illustrations and vectors.

Free high resolution images you can use for all your projects. Categories: animals, objects, people, nature etc.

Over 400,000 free images and illustrations.

Free do whatever you want, high resolution photos.

A curated collection of free web design resources for all commercial use.

Free stock images in your inbox.

Download free images, illustrations for websites, ebooks, pages etc.

Over 350,000 free images for commercial use.

Free unrestricted stock images and vectors.

Good photos, totally free.

335 Million free stock photos.

Stock images and illustrations at your fingertips. 

Graphic Icons for Content Marketing and Beyond


Icons neatly categorized for ease of use.

267,400 vector icons grouped in 4,597 packs.

Multitude of icons at your fingertips.

411 carefully premium pictograms by Daniel Bruce.

150,000 free icons, access anytime.

Premium icons for free.

Search thru featured collection for your next advertorial.

Discover 3523+ free simple icons on 254 collections.

Please enjoy the list!

About the Author:

Vishal Kalia is Founder/CEO at www.ROGUELINE.co. Rogueline is platform for Fashion Designers to learn about marketing, product, ecommerce, customer acquisition, fund raising etc. He graduated with BS EEE & MBA and has been in marketing and product development for 14 + years.


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

PR Industry News Career Agency


Shout PR is proud to announce will handle publicity for swim brand Elle Mer

At Faulhaber Communications, Lexi Pathak, has been appointed to Vice President and agency partner. Andrea Anders has been appointed to Vice President. Malania Dela Cruz joins the team formally as Director, West.

The Eighth Floor Strategic Communications announces it’s representation of women’s contemporary label Black Halo.

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

Contact us at hello@prcouture.com

Make 2017 an Award-Winning Year (For YOU)

First, thank you so much for you support around our 10 year anniversary announcement last week.

And now I have some BIG news to share.

This is something I have wanted to do for YEARS and it's finally happening!

We are launching a global, online industry award program to celebrate and recognize excellence in fashion & lifestyle communications

We’re calling it the Bespoke Communication Awards.

The way we see it, most traditional PR award programs aren’t entirely relevant to our niche, while others put the emphasis on the brands themselves, neglecting to specifically call out the hard-working agencies, freelancers and other professionals making the magic happen behind-the-scenes.

Not so with the BCAs.

We have developed 4 categories tailor-made for our profession with 30 awards in total. Some are application-only and others are peer-nominated. Agencies, in-house teams, brands, individuals, media and vendors are all welcome to apply.

My hope is you'll find the perfect award or awards and get some well-dexerved recognize all your hard work.

Interested? Here's what to do next

We’ll be opening up call for entries in late February, so for now, head on over to our splash page and enter in your info to be automatically added to our BCAs updates list and get first dibs on applying.

The BCA Instagram is also up and running (as well as Twitter and Facebook).

Get Involved!

As a brand new program, we’re eager to welcome sponsors (agencies, brands, vendors all welcome) to help us bring the full vision to life. Interested? Email sponsors@thebspokeawards.com to get in on the ground floor.

Thank you again for helping us reach 10 years.

Now go sign up for BCA updates. I cannot wait to showcase the best of the best talent and creativity from within our own space. 


How To Create The Kind of Office Space PR Girls Dream About

Many of us spend more time at the office than in our own homes. As such, creating an office space that everyone (executives, interns, editors, clients and stylists) love can help makes the long hours and hard work that much more enjoyable. According to the Harvard Business Review, ‘face-to-face interactions are by far the most important activity in an office.’ Their data suggests that "creating chance encounters and unplanned interactions between knowledge workers, both inside and outside the organization—improves performance.”

With this in mind as an interior designer, my approach to an office space is to create a space that inspires and is the catalyst for thoughtful conversations and interesting ideas.

Recently I had the opportunity to work with Sara Andréasson and Jill Cooper, co-founders of Michele Marie PR. They expressed a need for a more creative, fashion forward office space. They had grown tired of working with a formal desk set up in their Beverly Hills office. As a PR agency specializing in editorial, celebrity, and social media press in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle industries, they felt they needed a more open and inviting space to create a collaborative environment for both employees and clients.

Designing a New Office Space

A few key questions can help get to the heart of design inspiration.

  • What is the goal/role of having an interior designer?
  • What is the mood or emotion of the space?
  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What is your number one priority for this project?

After this initial conversation with Sara and Jill, I found that the biggest challenge during this project would be incorporating two different aesthetic preferences into one shared office space and lobby (a common occurrence among clients). It was also important to find a balance between appealing to both women and shining a spotlight on their expertise through the clients they represent.

Key Design Considerations for Creative Agencies

We all felt it was important to create a stylish space that would not distract from the various apparel and accessory lines MMPR represents. This is important because clients should never feel like they are competing for the spotlight with the agency that is suppose to represent them, or that there is a preference for one client over the other.

Great offices act as a visual extension of a company’s brand so focus on cultivating an atmosphere that captures your company essence and energy. The women pulled inspiration from Soho House West Hollywood, but expressed a desire for a brighter alternative. A key objective was ensuring the design was streamlined to fit five to six people comfortably in the main meeting space.

Additionally, Jill and Sara wanted their office space to feel fashion-forward. Both needed an executive office that was comfortable and feminine while still being functional for small meetings. To achieve this, we kept the common areas neutral and added in more personal elements into the executive office design.

Accolades and art

Incorporating meaningful items, awards and media hits in a tasteful manner can be a challenge for agencies. A great solution is to treat items as a collection and display them in a concentrated area. First you should determine:

  • What elements are personal and belong in office spaces?
  • What accolades are beneficial for a client to see?
  • What belongs in the more communal spaces?

And then chose areas that makes sense for the given item. Personal elements like thank you notes might be more appropriate as a gallery wall in an executive's office, while awards are great to display in spaces prospective and current clients are likely to glimpse—think lobby or conference room adjacent or even a main corridor.

When displaying artistic pieces, floating shelves are a great solution because they have a minimalist profile and enable you to use a high quantity of items with similar scale. This provides the impact of a pattern and the function of accessorizing without cluttering or detracting from the rest of the space.

Consider First Impressions & Public Spaces

MMPR is a PR agency which embraces new concepts, so I was working with both mixed-use spaces (with an open layout), and private areas designated for offices and meetings. As a result, a core objective was to create continuity between rooms while also taking into account their various functions. However, I faced a bit of a challenge because MMPR is not only used as an office, but also a showroom. Celebrity stylists frequently visit the space to see the various clothing, beauty and accessories that MMPR represents. Because of this it was crucial the lobby remain neutral.

Clients should never feel like they are competing for the spotlight with the agency that is suppose to represent them, or that there is a preference for one client over the other.

The lobby is the place everyone walks through, so it's important that if feel inclusive. We wouldn't want to alienate a menswear or traditional corporate client by going over the top with pink toned hues or boundary-pushing art in the entryway. Save that for executive offices that allow more room for personal leanings. Keep your public domains inviting and unbiased with colors like grey and white.

To maximize the lobby space, which I knew had to function as both a waiting room and workroom, we added a divider to create this separate space. The new area now became multiple functional (such as an assembly area for gifting) and left the main section of the lobby as a welcoming area for clients and guests. Jill and Sara have a great collection of industry books that shows off a passion for what they do. We turned the books into a display piece, a fashion library, in the lobby, to create a strategic focal point that also doubled as storage space.

Before the redesign, the reception desk sat behind the entryway. That is counter intuitive. If you walk into a room, your instinct is to keep walking towards your destination and so, we moved the desk around to be the first thing guests see when they walk through the door. Not only did this make more sense when considering the flow of the room, but it also created the opportunity of adding a multi-purpose room off to the side of the lobby. This extra space was perfect for client and stylists fittings; in the fashion industry in particular many people since are working on tight schedules and prefer to simply meet in the lobby to save time, instead of walking back through an office.

Don't forget about the hallways

Most people look to change obvious features like workstations or new furniture. However, it is important to take advantage of everything at your disposal in order to share your brand story. One way to do that is through hallway walls.

Sara and Jill have collected many mementos and client pieces through the years of MMPR being in business. Originally these items were piled into bookshelves in the lobby. In order to create a more organized and calming feel, we installed shelving along the walls of a corridor leading to the showroom. By displaying key pieces throughout the space instead of all lumped together, the brands were still on display but the display felt less chaotic. Hallway walls are a natural and unobtrusive way for clients, media, stylists and employees to interact with MMPR’s history. It also creates a seamless transition from space to space.

How to Make the most of smaller spaces and shared workplaces

For Sara and Jill’s office we really had to get creative in order to optimize the space for both solo and collaborative work. Their shared office is modestly sized and a vital need was functionality and spacing for group meetings. In order to reconcile needs with wants, we played around with the furniture. I chose lounge chairs that had narrower arms, but a fully supported back, rather than bulkier options. To subtly add depth without relying heavily on patterns, I used textural variety. This means is I selected one linen and one velvet version of the same chair. Textiles are a fun and integral aspect of adding variety and visual appeal to any space.

The hallway walls are a natural and unobtrusive way for clients, media, stylists and employees to interact with MMPR’s history. It also creates a seamless transition from space to space.

While a streamlined minimalist desk looks lovely, make sure such items are paired with a discrete storage system. Invest in a credenza that can also double as a filing cabinet.  In the co-founders office we selected a well disguised mini-file drawer that looks and functions as an accent table in the space.

If you’re considering an office redesign, here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure the transformation is dream-worthy. First, make sure you know what your brand is and stands for. Identify how the space, especially the lobby, reflects the voice of your brand. Balance beauty with functionality. If you are unsure of what to do and have the budget, seek the guidance of a pro, especially when it comes to purchasing expensive furniture.

The biggest mistake I see people make when redesigning is splurging too soon and then missing out on key essentials needed for the space. Another common mistake people make is overestimating how much space they really have and then try to jam in more furniture that leads to an overcrowded and overwhelmed look. Knowing dimensions and laying out your space is especially crucial if you have a small office space. It is essential to factor in the number of employees and how big your work area needs to be. This will really help you determine your furniture choices and how you will set up the functional flow of the space.

From there, identify all your employee work areas before designating conference rooms or lounges. When designing, be sure to keep public and private spaces at a safe distance. You want to avoid having external visitors walk past a space in which private client conversations are happening.

About Stefani Stein

Los Angeles-based interior designer Stefani Stein is known for her relaxed yet refined style that has caught the attention of several celebrity clients over the years. Her modern touches intertwined with classic and unexpected elements make her a highly coveted designer for commercial and residential space design. Connect with her on Instagram @stefanisteinla.

Fashion PR Fridays Best of 2016 Edition


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

…for the year!

  • “Over the last year, especially, digital upstarts have become increasingly entwined with the companies whose business models they are disrupting.” Find out who is behind some of your favorite sites (via Hollywood Reporter)
  • It’s time to get real; business advice agencies need to stop giving their clients (via The Drum)
  • Do you know what PR blogs your competitors are reading? (via Meltwater)
  • “Advertising has a very long history of dovetailing and co-opting feminist movements.”  What’s your take on so-called Marketplace Feminism? (via HuffPo)
  • Connected Clothing: The relationship between the fashion and tech industries continues to deepen (via PSFK)
  • Lessons learned after 10 years doing PR for Apple  (via Harvard Business Review)

PR Couture PR Girl New Year Shopping Guide

Products PR Girl Fashion Beauty

Now that the holiday rush is over and you're (hopefully) holding onto some end of the year gold in the form of a bonus check, here are a handful of self-gifting ideas to help ensure both your style and your career are ready to make in impact in 2017. Enjoy!

Quick Shopping Links

plan for success

January 2017 Flagship Edition: Palm, $59, Day Designer

the splurge


Bowen NYC Small Floret Ring 8k yellow gold and .21 ct. diamond cut blue sapphires, $690, Bowen NYC

A Stylin' Course

 Yosi Samra Seleste Suede in Garnet Red, $118, available at Yosi Samra

Truly outrageous

Diana Vreeland Outrageous 50ml Perfume, $350, available at Diana Vreeland

Digital Protector

Brittany Eyeglasses with EBD Digital Protective Lenses, $38, available at Eye Buy Direct

Brush it off

Petite Brush Set + Faux Croc Case, Jenny Patinkin

Vacation vibes

Sea Sage Pillows, $130, Sea Sage

Future's Bright

covry KRAZ Mulberry

KRAZ Mulberry Sunglasses, $95, Covry

own your look

Custom Shampoo & Conditioner, $32, Function of Beauty


office supplies

Cresta High Waist Pencil Ponte Skirt, $115, Klarety

pack it up (pack it in)

M.R.K.T. The Mateo Mini Backpack in Charcoal/Iron

Mateo Mini Backpack, $69.50, M.R.K.T.

Lady in red

Mulan Heel in Red Volcano with Tassels, $268, VEERAH


Good Vibes

To Thine Own Self Be True Necklace, $79, Agooa

ALways on Time

Gold-Tone Bangle Bracelets & Watch, $150, Anne Klein, available at Macy's

pr girl domination

PR Online Classes Fashion PR

PRISM Self-Study PR Prep Online Course, $197, PR Couture

PR Girls We Love: Alyssa Baker, Riot Media Group

Riot Media GrouRiot Media Group PR Celebrity Eventsp PR Celebrity Events

Alyssa Baker runs Riot Media Group, a Los-Angeles based firm known for their extensive relationships with bloggers and influencers in addition to traditional PR and media and events. 

Working with Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, Alyssa has developed key relationships with top-tier media, influencers, bloggers and celebrities. Her background in journalism has served her well, crafting stories editors respond to, and quickly putting RIOT on the map since the firm's launch in 2014. 

Name: Alyssa Baker
Title: Founder
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Education: Indiana University; B.A. Communications & Journalism
Company: Riot Media Group
@riotmediagroup, @alyssabakerTV

How did you get started in the industry?

From a young age I knew I wanted to carve a path in media relations, thanks to an award-winning Journalism teacher I was lucky to have in high school back. From then on, I solely focused on making it happen. One connection led to another and I landed my first internship at Fox TV Studios as the assistant to the head of global marketing the summer after my sophomore year of college. After that, I was obsessed with PR and Los Angeles, and made the move for good the following summer. I finished school early and got right to work, which is what I always wanted anyways. It was an amazing experience and further ignited the fire already burning inside me.

What led you to start Riot Media Group?

I worked at a handful of boutique PR firms before making the jump to starting my own agency, and I learned something different from each one. Ultimately, I knew I had to try it my way. As an honest, straightforward person, the smoke & mirrors I saw at many PR agencies just didn't make sense to me. I created RIOT to challenge that notion that PR is artful deception- because it's not. The right PR and media strategy can make or break your brand and that's what many start-ups today don't understand. A lot of the success depends on the client relationship and vision. I pride my agency on having great relationships, not only with media, but with our clients. We think of ourselves as an extension of their brand.

As the founder, what is your main focus?

Oh boy, my responsibilities are across the board. There's honestly not much I don't do. I work on every facet of the business from managing staff to pitching clients to media, developing new business relationships, accounting, and social media management, to taking out the trash, there's literally no part of this business that I don't touch.

I created RIOT to challenge that notion that PR is artful deception- because it's not.


How is RIOT Structured? What's the mood like in the office?

We are structured by categories- beauty, fashion, tech, health & wellness and consumer lifestyle brands. PR is a crazy industry and calm days are rare, but we always have fun. There's no point in working the crazy, stressful hours we do if we're not enjoying it; that leads to burnout. I love the saying, "this is PR, not ER" but sometimes that's hard to remember when you're caught up in a difficult situation.

What type of person thrives at RIOT?

Someone who is organized, passionate and intelligent. Common sense will take you so far here! Also, someone who wants to make PR and media relations their career- that is a requirement at RIOT. I see a lot of girls come through our doors thinking it's going to be an Instagram-worthy party every day. Those girls usually quit by the second week. That is NOT reality. The reality is sending hundreds of emails per day, organizing detailed spreadsheets, creative writing, and perfecting communication skills constantly. I seek out individuals who are self-motivated but also know how to take direction and respect authority. I'm very much for learning along the way- nothing beats experience!


What has been the most meaningful moment in your career thus far?

There have been so many remarkable moments, but RIOT's first press preview, our 'coming out' party if you will, is probably the most memorable. We took over a huge space in Santa Monica by the ocean and pulled out all the bells and whistles. The support we received was overwhelming and helped give me the confidence to know I made the right move. A few weeks later we were hired to produce Galore Magazine's Miami Swim Week events. That week was one of the best of my life

What's a recent success story that makes you particularly proud?

This past summer we were hired to create a series of pool parties for a national radio app in Miami and Los Angeles. We didn't have the budget to also book A-list celebs so we developed a strategy that included booking specific talent (within our budget) in hopes that their celebrity friends would come along and support the event. The strategy worked and we secured A-list celebrities at no cost to the client. This approach led to more than 4.8 million media impressions, including attention from outlets such as E! News, Glamour, Buzzfeed, Celebuzz, Seventeen and more. I received texts and emails for weeks that we threw the best party of the summer!

How do you stay on top of industry trends? 

I read constantly! Inc, Forbes, Fast Company, Fashionista, WWD, Refinery29, The Zoe Report... read, read, read! I'm excited for more brands to dive into video and smarter PR/marketing. I still see such disconnect on so many levels, in fashion PR specifically.

What do you wish more people understood about PR?

We cannot make miracles happen. The media landscape has changed drastically, even in the last 2-3 years. Much of what you see online is sponsored posts or inclusions of brands that also pay for some type of advertising within that outlet.

Small brands are having a harder time competing with large companies because they simply cannot afford the advertising costs, so they put all their eggs (and expectations) in the PR basket. PR is not a solution to advertising. All the pieces of the puzzle must be put together to see the best results and return on ROI.

What’s the biggest challenge facing communicators right now?

The constant news cycle is making it harder and harder for publicists to connect with the correct editor. Hearst just combined 5 women's focused editorial teams into one! Databases like Cision are not consistently updated and are not as useful as they once were. 

Also, unqualified publicists and social media managers are flooding our field and decreasing our worth. Clients do not understand how media works (that's partly why they hire us) and can have a hard time understanding the value we bring to their brands when we secure top-tier press. When they are then approached by a publicist offering to do a $2,500 job for $500, it's a disservice to all of us. 

I see a lot of girls come through our doors thinking it's going to be an Instagram-worthy party every day. Those girls usually quit by the second week.


PR Can Be Full of rejection, how do you deal?

Ok, let's talk about rejection first. As someone who grew into being a perfectionist, I used to take rejection really personally. Now, I don't. As you grow in this industry you really do realize that everyone has a job to do and goals to meet. If your pitch isn't working, it's most likely not that the journalist hates you, it's just that the angle won't garner the clicks the outlet needs. Revise the pitch and figure out another way to gain attention and earn that placement.

Now stress. PR is very stressful. As an agency owner I have a lot on my plate. From maintaining cash flow and the client roster to making sure the clients are always pleased with the placements we earn for them, at times it is tough to juggle it all. For years I worked day and night and put my personal life on the back burner and that's what NOT to do.

This year I really made a point to focus on me and figure out what else I love besides PR. I got a dog and he's the cutest. I make time for friends. I stopped being a flake on personal obligations and it has helped my stress level big time. Actually, the greatest thing has been my dog Elfie. 🙂

What advice do you have for someone inspired by your story?

You can literally do whatever you want in this life if you work hard enough. I grew up in the middle of corn fields but I had a passion and purpose and worked endlessly until I made my dream my reality. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but we're all a work in progress in this world. Stay focused, stay hungry and create your own destiny. It's all possible!

That said, if you want something bad enough, you - and only you - can make it happen. If you come to a roadblock and can't get through that next door, break the window! Perseverance is what separates the good from great. I moved to LA knowing one person and never looked back. My boss at FOX told me, "Fake it 'til you make it," and that is the best advice I have ever received. When you get intimidated, because you will at some point, fake that confidence until you believe in yourself as much as other people do. Also, just do great work. If you're proud of your work you will never have to make excuses for it!

Thanks, Alyssa!