Freelance Part-Time Publicist

Position: Freelance Publicist-VIP/Gifting
Company: Lindsey Smolan PR
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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You Deserve an Award: Introducing the Bespoke Communication Awards


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.


  • Your expertise and contributions have been VALIDATED and you’re reveling in the extra confidence boost. You have been positioned as a LEADER in the space which means…
  • It’s way easier to WIN new business (better clients and bigger budgets) and attract top talent and partners. It’s a literal promo party every morning in your inbox as people start HOUNDING you with opportunities – no extra effort required.
  • And that’s cool, because with your added CREDIBILITY you’re charging more, saying NO to what doesn’t light you up, and experiencing way more control over your career.

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?

The 2017 Bespoke Communication Awards is ready for you!

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:

  • Work, Life, Balance & Culture – agency life is can’t stop won’t stop, but we should take a moment to recognize those who invest in their teams
  • Best Social Good Campaign – I am sucker for the feel-good, do-gooders in the world
  • Media Mailers or Sample Sends – buh-bye file folders and stickers, so excited to see how you capture attention in crazy, cool and creative ways
  • Favorite Editor to Work With- some of the BCA awards are simple nominations and completely free – lets come together and shine the spotlight on those who make our PR hearts sing!
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

NYFW Politics, Celebrity Instagram Strategy & Luxury Brands Target Millenials

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the week of February 13, 2017

  • 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)


Implications of the Term “Plus Size” in Fashion Marketing

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

Melinda Parrish is a Ford model that and body positivity advocate. Melinda is a regular contributor for the Huffington Post, Women's Running, Gaiam's lifestyle blog, and partners with brands like Expedia on creating fitness and wellness-related content.
She has her own hashtag, #healthyatanysize, and a weekly Facebook Live series called "Body Love TV." She was recently written up in People Magazine for taking a stand for curvy women. In addition to being a model and an influencer, Melinda is a lifelong athlete and former Naval Officer.

Campaigns We Love: Addicted Youth Awards Season Pop-up

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.

Awards Season Designer Showroom Pop-up Experience (Photo by Alexander Plank/Guest of a Guest)
Awards Season Designer Showroom Pop-up Experience (Photo by Alexander Plank/Guest of a Guest)
Valentina Ghirardi, Meg Gallagher, and Danea Rhodes attend Awards Season Designer Showroom Pop-up Experience (Photo by Alexander Plank/Guest of a Guest)
Awards Season Designer Showroom Pop-up Experience (Photo by Alexander Plank/Guest of a Guest)
Awards Season Designer Showroom Pop-up Experience (Photo by Alexander Plank/Guest of a Guest)
Awards Season Designer Showroom Pop-up Experience (Photo by Alexander Plank/Guest of a Guest)
Awards Season Designer Showroom Pop-up Experience (Photo by Alexander Plank/Guest of a Guest)


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.


Campaigns We Love is an ongoing series featuring innovative public relations and marketing campaigns and events. Send tips and suggestions to


PR Girls We Love: Dyan Dolfi-Offutt, Soda Pop Public Relations

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.

Name: Dyan Dolfi- Offutt
Title: Owner/ Founder
Location: Los Angeles, California
Education: Ohio University
Company: Soda Pop Public Relations
Instagram: @sodapoppr
Twitter: @SodaPopPR
Facebook: Soda Pop PR

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.

Thanks Dyan!

4 Great Websites to Place Beauty Brand Stories

beauty PR beauty blog beauty website

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.

Happy Pitching!

PR Industry News: Agency Updates from Shout PR, Krupp Kommunications and CRC Inc.


Shout PR will now handle publicity for Elle Mer, a luxurious swim brand made for adventure for the land and sea.

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.

CRC Inc. public relations agency is excited to announce they will now be managing PR, social media and influencer programs for “I and love and you”, a premium ingredient pet food brand.







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

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PR Account Coordinator

Position: Account Coordinator
Company: POM Public Relations
Location: Austin, Texas
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Find More Balance in Your Everyday with These 5 PR Pro Tips

Apps and Suggestions for More Balance at Work

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.

Consider downloading apps like RescueTime and Freedom to help you stay focused.

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!

Fashion/beauty PR intern

Position: Fashion/Beauty PR Intern
Company: Lindsey Smolan PR
Location: NYC
Learn more

Beauty Blogger Battles, The Tommyland Show & New Teen App House Party

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the week of February 6, 2017

  • The “Big 4” Fashion Week shows owe a debt to the Ebony Fashion Fair (via NY Daily News)
  • Building relationships takes work – even more so if you’re less than extroverted. These networking tips can help you make the process more painless and easy (via Moo)

Voice of the Customer: 3 Things Brands Should Never Say to a Plus Size Audience

Welcome to February's Self-Love Marketing Series: focusing on Body Positive brands, campaigns and messaging targeting the plus-size market. This is Part 2.

In 2012, Plunkett Research published the finding that 67% of American women are plus size.

Since this revelation, many brands have been scrambling to try and optimize their messaging for this “new” market. Everyone wants to know: what does the plus size woman want to hear? And equally important, what doesn’t she want to hear?

PR and marketing professionals have been scratching their heads trying to figure out how to talk to this customer in a way that will create value for their brands: What does she define as aspirational? How do we appeal to her? What motivates her purchasing decisions?

In the process of testing the validity of the plus size customer and scrambling to optimize sales, there have been a lot of plus size messaging successes, like those scored by plus size mega-brands Torrid and Lane Bryant.

In this same space there have also been many failures. The plus size woman has been assailed by messaging aimed at getting her to pull out her credit card, and frankly, she's a little fatigued. She's tired of being the guinea pig for various marketing experiments, and she's ready for brands to provide authentic, judgement-free messaging.

In particular, there are three things she's tired of hearing. Directly stating any of these messages, or even alluding to them through tone or unintentional messaging as part of a campaign, is sure to turn Her off.

1. Assume her goal is to lose weight or look thinner 

What She has to say about this: “Maybe my doctor has diagnosed me as pre-diabetic, or having high blood pressure, or clinically obese. But frankly, none of that is any of your business. And unless you’re a doctor marketing me a cure for an affliction that you personally have examined and diagnosed me for, statements about the health of my body have no place in your advertising and brand messaging.”

She's tired of being the guinea pig for various marketing experiments.

2. "Dress Right for Your Body Type"

What she has to say about this: I am not an apple, a pear, or any flipping piece of fruit for that matter. And I am not an hourglass or a triangle or any other predetermined shape. My body is my body, and I want to wear what reflects my confidence and personal aesthetic. Not what you think makes my body more acceptable to look at through creating optical illusions with fashion silhouettes.

3. "The Plus Size Version"

What she has to say about this: I don't need you to dilute the level of design that goes into a garment for my body. I want to wear the garment no matter how tight-fitting, audacious, fashion forward, or sexy it may be. I just want you to make it large enough to fit my form, and not in a way that apologizes for my form. I want high-end design and beautiful garments with all of the fabulous, plus a little extra fabric.

What is the common denominator between all three of these statements? It’s communicating as though the brand knows better than she does.

No one enjoys being spoked to in this way - what turns you off more in a one-on-one conversation than someone making assumptions or worse, employing a false intimacy. 

In general, the key to success with reaching the plus size woman is to speak with her without the assumption that there is anything wrong, or anything to fix.

Appeal to her sense of style, her sense of self, and you'll capture her attention.

About Melinda Parrish

Melinda Parrish is a Ford model that and body positivity advocate. Melinda is a regular contributor for the Huffington Post, Women's Running, Gaiam's lifestyle blog, and partners with brands like Expedia on creating fitness and wellness-related content.
She has her own hashtag, #healthyatanysize, and a weekly Facebook Live series called "Body Love TV." She was recently written up in People Magazine for taking a stand for curvy women. In addition to being a model and an influencer, Melinda is a lifelong athlete and former Naval Officer.

PR Girls We Love: Erika Klein, Founder, Shout Public Relations

Erika Klein is a veteran of the public relations, marketing and media industry, with more than 25 years’ experience in the industry.

NAME: Erika Klein
TITLE: Founder & President
LOCATION: Costa Mesa, California
EDUCATION: Woodbury University – Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.)
INSTAGRAM: @shout_pr

Erika Klein is a veteran of the industry with more than 25 years’ experience, first as a sales rep for Nicole Miller, later as an advertising account manager at Sportswear International. After five years at the magazine, Erika began her public relations career as an Account Manager at Orsi PR, followed by a marketing director position at apparel company, 26 Red. Encouraged by her boss, she created Shout Public Relations in 1997. 

The agency has helped well-known brands like OP, Whole Foods, Contiki, Project Juice, Lulus, Modern Amusement and BB Dakota gain exposure, recognition and notoriety. In light of Shout's 20th Anniversary this month, we caught up with Erika to get the scoop. 

How did you get started?

I was inspired to start my own agency by a former boss, who I worked for as the in-house marketing director for his clothing brand. He encouraged me to start my own public relations agency and offered his brand as my first client. The thought of starting my own business made me very nervous, but looking back after 20 years, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What are your primary responsibilities?

I oversee and dabble in a little bit of everything. I make myself available to the account executives for meetings with clients, reviewing publicity and social media campaigns and I’m always pitching new business. I feel fortunate to have built a team of reliable, self-motivated individuals – because micro-managing is not my style and I don’t believe it encourages productivity or boosts morale. Instead, we hold informal meetings, where I just touch base with them every now and then. My focus is to make sure all of the clients are happy and my team is able to do this by having continuous open conversation with their accounts, as well as by scheduling routine meetings and compiling editorial reports.

How is agency structured?

Each client has a lead account executive that is supported by a junior account executive, as well as other supportive staff.

Although we have structure, we work as a team and take pride in always being available to any of our clients. Even if one person doesn’t work directly on an account regularly, they are always willing to help with other team member’s clients.

What is the mood like in the office? 

We work in an open environment. There are no offices. I had my own office earlier when I first started the company, but then I decided that I wanted to be part of the team and opted for the open office space. The open environment makes the communication easier… even though we tend to email each other instead of chat!

I’m happy to say the mood is always positive. We are a small team and there is never any drama. We all work really well together. Everyone is always available to help when needed.

Shout PR Girls: Ashli Smith, Lana Thomas, Olivia Davis, Erika Klein, Amanda Pennington, Francesca Ressa

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

I worked in sales at the beginning of my career, so handling rejection from the media is a piece of cake. If the first pitch doesn’t work, we step back, figure out a new approach and try again. We love the challenge and are passionate about the clients that we work with. They all have something unique and interesting to offer.

There was this one particular incident when we were handling media relations for an event, which took place during a music festival. We were fortunate to secure a well-known TV anchor to cover the event for 3 hours the first day. It was an early morning call and unfortunately for one reason or another, our client’s production team fell short of preparing the event for the early morning call time. Our team utilized their resources and pulled activations and people together for the crew to film, which actually made for a rather successful segment in the end! With live TV, you never know what can happen, so it is important to always have a backup plan.

What are three current favorite tools you love and why?

There are always new tools on the market and the trick is to keep up with the changing times.

We love Cision, as it is one of the best tools for media relations. Apps like Hootsuite and Iconoquare are helpful when analyzing social media analytics and best practices. Additionally, we keep our social media feeds looking fresh and aesthetically pleasing with color correction and filtering apps such as VSCO.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

Even though you can attain placements much faster in the digital world, it still takes time! Also, PR and marketing is really about brand awareness. Although the hope for everyone is that heightened brand awareness will lead to sales, there isn’t always that direct correlation. It’s a difficult concept to explain with a sales-focused team at times, but we pride ourselves on always being upfront with clients about this. In addition, we subscribe to various services that help us to measure ROI on PR placements.

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

I am excited to see how the digital world will evolve to match the fast paced consumer shopping lifestyle. Our client, Lulus was one of the first brands to utilize the new Instagram shopping platform, which I anticipate will call for a major shift in how we use social media.

What advice would you offer your younger self?

First, set goals for yourself, and secondly, never lose sight of them. Also: network, network and network!

Anything else we should know?

We are always looking for interns to support our team. Please contact

Thanks Erika!

3 Brilliant Brainstorming Techniques for Better Ideas

3 Brilliant Brainstorming Techniques for Better Ideas

Coming up with fresh ideas isn’t effortless. Especially when your job requires churning them out on a daily basis. It can be easy to hit a wall – hard. That is why brainstorming sessions can be beyond helpful. The most important thing about a brainstorming session are the action items delegated after to help implement the best ideas. The best way to release the creativity beast is not by shouting out ideas to your team at a conference table, but by creating an atmosphere that breaks people out of their mental comfort zone.

How can you create this atmosphere? We’re thrilled you asked. Here are 3 out of the box ways to help liven up your brainstorming sessions to reinvigorate your team’s mindset to produce more engaging, successful campaigns.

1. Kick Around Some Bad Ideas First

It’s always awkward being the first person to chuck out a few ideas while everyone else tries to gather their thoughts, but someone has to do it! One way to loosen your team up is to start by spending 10 minutes coming up with a bunch of horrible ideas at first. Be sure to lead by example. Throw out an initial idea first to warm up the room. This will help you set a much more open and playful atmosphere. An idea that isn’t so great on its own could end up sparking something really ingenious!

Quick tip:  don’t follow one train of thought for too long. Once you have spent some time sharing throwaway ideas (and a couple laughs), refocus on the task at hand.

2. Play Word Games – Yes, Games

As goofy as it sounds, word games can be an extremely useful tool to help shake up generic ideas. One great word exercise is creating a “word storm.” A word storm is where you come up with one word, and then your team comes up with a ton of other words that they believe associate with the original word. These words will help you build the connotation of the project, visuals, and other creative assets to move forward with the newly cultivated idea. Word storms are great when you need to rebrand a mundane product or knock out a few strong social media headlines.

One way to loosen your team up is to start by spending 10 minutes coming up with a bunch of horrible ideas at first.

3. Go Somewhere Else

Switching up your environment can bring a change of pace to your team, alleviate the typical restrictions, and reduce any limits experienced by teammates that may stifle their confidence to speak out. Pack up your squad and head out the office for your brainstorming sessions. The location can be anywhere: coffee shop, a co-worker’s backyard, or a walk to a local tourist hot spot. Getting up and about will increase brain flow and produce out of the box ideas through utilizing your environment and experiences as a group together.

Good ideas don’t become great ideas on their own. With a safe space for brainstorming and a hefty dose of play, you’ll be able to more quickly refine your ideas into award-winning campaigns.