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A guide to becoming a successful freelance fashion publicist A PR Couture Guest Article by Tanya Rivas

Essential Reads for Freelance Fashion Publicists

With more than eight years worth of material, PR Couture is filled with articles to help you succeed as an independent fashion publicist - but they aren't always the easiest to find. During my freelance PR career, and particularly when helping with managing press outreach for a major fashion runway event in San Diego, I found the following articles to be incredibly helpful in steering me in the right direction.

Business Basics for Independent Publicists

Before getting started, this post, Going Solo: A Guide to Freelance Fashion PR, provides a great scope of what to consider in your initial set-up, such as taking care of budget, project fees, taxes, branding, and other expenses. Not to mention, getting a fair warning about midnight printer ink shopping runs (it happens). This work, although not billable, is time invested to assure long-term success and mentally preparing for the non 8-5 gig. If you need extra help figuring out what to charge, take a look at what Lori Riviere suggests in A Fashion PR Guide to Setting a Pricing Structure and know that Crosby herself is available to help you navigate your PR business as well through her fashion publicist consulting sessions (I've done it and it was invaluable).

With a business foundation set, you're probably eager to grow your client roster. Not so fast. Take some time to figure out how you will set expectations and report on wins for clients. Robin Doyle in this post, Monthly Activity Report Template Shows Clients the Value of Public Relations (and You) shares, “unlike paid advertising, PR services can’t guarantee media placements and that can make many new clients confused and uneasy about paying a publicist a monthly retainer.” Explaining realistic outcomes from the beginning sets a precedent for client relations and education. During my freelance career I used the MAR template Robin provides in this article. This method of reporting helped me stay on track and communicate not just results, but where I was dedicating my time. If event production is part of your service offerings, than 4 Tips to Measure the Impact of a Brand Event is definitely a must-read and might even surprise you!

Become a Pitch Maven

Thinking about results, pitching is at the heart of publicity. For advice on pitching, check out 4 DOs and DON’Ts to Write the Perfect PR Pitch by Rebekah Epstein, as well as her editor desk side series and insight on pitching contributed content. The greatest takeaway for me was clearly understanding the game I was playing and, at a certain level, expecting disappointment. Rebekah writes see “pitching is complicated and chances are you will receive a significantly larger amount of declines than yeses.”And, while you are likely dreaming of landing Vogue covers, don't forget that pitching business media is an important way to tell your client's story. All of these articles helped me develop my approach; a hyper-focused media list and personalized pitches for each contact helped land national interest.

For many clients, the allure of print media coverage in the big fashion books is going to be key. If you are new to pitching, consider picking up a copy of  Pitch Perfect, which goes into more detail about the art of pitching. With a short project timeline for the local fashion event, major print publications were not initially on my radar. However, by focusing on developing interesting angles using the backgrounds of participating designers I discoverd Native Max Magazine, which focuses on creative accomplishments of Native Americans. They were interested in our outreach, which ended up landing one designer a multiple-page spread that included mention of the fashion runway event. Native Max later used the story angle as the impetus for a much larger story about Native Americans showing at fashion weeks nationally. So, not matter your timeline, you just might luck out with a unique story angle and a niche publication with a shorter lead-time.

Reaching out to niche publications is a great strategy, and PR Couture has rounded up a handful of digital fashion magazines you should know, and their How to Pitch series with fashion editors offers crucial insight into pitching not just the big guys like People StyleWatch and Redbook, but tips on how to get media coverage on sites and magazines like Babiekins and Brides Magazine.

It's worth thinking of outside major US mainstream media, and PR Couture has you covered there as well. Laura Perez published the post, How to Pitch Mexican Fashion Media + Tips from Maria Jose Guzman, Fashion Editor of InStyle Mexico, which provides sample pitches and answers questions I pondered such as, Do I pitch in Spanish or English? or What publications should I consider? As a fashion publicist working in Southern California, the Hispanic media market is huge for local clients. For this fashion runway event, Hispanics were represented on the designer roster and in audience demographics, giving the event a bi-national component. By reaching out to hispanic media, we were able to secure Spanish-language coverage in broadcast, blogs, and local publications. Si se puede.

Event Strategy and Beyond

As you probably well know, pitching for media coverage is just a small way that you can help your clients grow their businesses. In order to peak the interest of local media, many of whom felt they had already covered the fashion runway event when it relaunched a few seasons back, I executed with a team a style blogger brunch, inspired by this Publicist Q&A with Alyson Roy, Co-Founder of AMP3 Public Relations. Alyson serves as Chief of Publicity for Nolcha Fashion Week, where I learned she has found success by targeting “favorite style bloggers and influencers by approaching them to style & shoot the product, before anyone else gains access. Together, this creates a crowd-sourced look book that is inspired by tastemakers instead of directed by the brand.” So we invited 30 bloggers for an up-and-close exclusive media-only preview of the accessory designers before they hit the runway. Along with procuring blog and social media coverage, bloggers collaborated on a lookbook using runway looks for Opening Day at the Del Mar Races (this event brings in more than 40,000 race fans to San Diego), which provided an additional story angle for the event. For more out of the box ideas, you're sure to be inspired by this holiday-themed event planing post by the amazing Small Girls PR team as well as this article about creating a campus ambassador program.

This probably just cracks the surface of the resources available on PR Couture to help you grow your freelance fashion PR business, but I hope you feeling excited to dive in and make your mark.

About Tanya Rivas

Tanya is a bilingual and bicultural publicist, events professional, and founder of La Bella Tanchi. She is a graduate of Fashion PR Confidential and is currently an Account Associate at MSLGROUP in Los Angeles, CA. Connect with her on Twitter @labellatanchi

Photo Credit: TNW 



SWIM Week vs Swimweek

The Truth About Miami SWIMWEEK (& What to Do About it)

There has been a frantic panic among designers, media and swim and resort wear industry folks since IMG emailed the media with their announcement that they are canceling SWIMWEEK this year. A lot of confusion has ensued from this announcement and since we are privy to exactly what has occurred and the plan for Miami Swim Week 2016, we wanted to clarify things for anyone out there searching for information and offer our assistance to any brands or media.

First of all, Miami Swim Week has NOT been cancelled. The confusion has arisen because IMG rebranded MBFW Swim to SWIMWEEK earlier this year in anticipation of the end of the relationship with Mercedes Benz. IMG has trademarked SWIMWEEK as one word and so they are now referring to the shows that have traditionally taken place in the tents at the Raleigh Hotel as SWIMWEEK. So, when they made the announcement that they were canceling SwimWeek, the media, buyers and designers understandably were confused into thinking that Miami Swim Week as a whole was cancelled. However, the trade shows which include Miami Swim Show, Cabana Show and Salon Allure are still very much happening. IMG only handles the runway shows in the tents at the Raleigh and they are simply taking a break in their incredibly strong ten year run in order to come back with even more to offer designers, media and buyers. There is no doubt IMG is the leader in the fashion week vertical and their commitment to excellence for both NYFW and SWIMWEEK is unparalleled.


Photo by George Martinez/

So the question is, did the designers wanting to show their collections during Miami Swim Week from July 15, 2015 through July 20, 2015 lost the opportunity when IMG cancelled SWIMWEEK? The answer is emphatically NO!!! LDJ, a leading fashion show production company, which has been producing the runway shows for IMG in Miami from inception, is working on logistics and venues as I type this blog post to secure alternate venues for designers. FUNKSHION, which is a Miami based "fashion week" that has been offering designers show space at Miami Swim Week for many years also increased the number of venues they are offering designers to accommodate the overflow. So, designers still wishing to show collections during Miami Swim Week have two viable options and buyers and media will really only see a few major differences this year in the form of more venues where the shows are being held (a little more like NYFW) and the press registration will not be managed by IMG.

For more information aimed at designers and press, visit the rest of this article on The Riviere Agency blog.

Photo Credit: Intsywintsy

FPRF Fashion PR, Marketing & Social Media News for the Week of May 4, 2015

Net-a-Porter’s Social Network, Inside Frida Kahlo’s Secret Closet & A Day in the Life of Pinterest

  • Glossier #BossBabe Emily Weiss talks building beauty brands through content. (via TechCrunch)
  • A Nordstrom drive-thru?! Well, kinda. The retail chain is testing out curbside pickup for online orders. We approve. (via TechFlash)
  • Inside the secret wardrobe of Frida Kahlo. (via AnOther)
  • DVF gets real and talks about leadership and trusting yourself. (via New York Times)
  • Ban shman. Nothing could keep the newest social media trends away from the Met Gala. (via the StyleSmith Diaries)
  • Get ready shoppers! Net-a-Porter is inviting you to join the Net Set - a new native mobile social shopping network to fulfill your purchasing dreams. (via Fashionista)
  • Behind the scenes of Fashion Week Australia as told by a Fashion PR boy. (via Vogue Australia)
  • How brands keep their #hashtag game strong and what we can learn from them. (via Digiday)
  • Motion PR is moving on up to bigger and better digs. (via Motion PR)
  • People who are confident in business are confident because they are comfortable with failure.” A completely eye-opening look at the conundrum that is confidence. (via Mark Manson)
  • A look inside a day in the life of Pinterest - literally (and so accurate!). (via the New Yorker)

Favorite Fashion Videos

Photo Credit: jonathantylerphotography

Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, Founder of PR Couture, Fashion Brand Strategist and PR Girl Mentor. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping companies connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways. Recently, iMedia included me in their annual list of 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, along with people from Starbucks, Twitter and Volkswagon, which I think is pretty neat. Like Elle Woods, I am a Gemini-vegetarian (that's about where the similarities end). Let's connect: Check out my full bio, Brand Elixir sessions or shoot me a note.