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Fashion PR Fridays: PR, Marketing & Social Media News for the Week of March 31, 2014 Fashion PR Fridays: PR, Marketing & Social Media News for the Week of March 31, 2014

Cosmo’s Peel-Away L’Oréal Ad, How to Get More Business Press & Why Some Luxury Brands Don’t Sell Online

  • Reporters spill how to get more business press. You might be surprised by what they want. (via Bulldog Reporter)
  • L'Oréal breaks advertising ground with its Cosmopolitan peel-away cover. Have you seen? (via WWD)
  • Several luxury brands don’t and probably won’t ever sell online and here is why. (via Fashionista)
  • Oh yes, Google +. While it may be a more effective marketing channel than Twitter (true story), many marketers still aren't using it. Would you? (via Digiday)
  • Allure introduces new YouTube channel complete with a show all about hair. Consider us subscribed. (via Racked)
  • The Vogue Festival in London showed that the power of the brand far extends fashion. (via Business of Fashion)
  • This new app has hundreds of searchable fashion designer and brand names and how to pronounce them. Because pronouncing “Shu Uemura” and “Hermes” is not easy. (via FashInvest)
  • Technology that’s letting mannequins send you clothing info. (via PSFK)
  • Being a good storyteller isn’t just about the talking, it’s also about the listening. (via Tier One)
  • Online brands like Warby Parker and Birchbox are making brick and mortar stores a part of their new business models. (via PRNewser)

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Photo Credit: Shandi-lee

What it's like to run Global Communications at Lyst

Fashion PR Q&A: Joanna Christie, Head of Global Communications at Lyst

personalized fashion marketplace that allows users to create a customized shopping feed of products with integrated checkout that makes it possible to purchase products from multiple retailers directly, Lyst was named one of the UK's Future Fifty, a list of the UK's 50 brightest companies and most likely to expand and succeed in 2013. Earlier this year Lyst announced $14 million in a round of Series B funding.  To find out more about what it's like to handle communications for a fashion technology company right in the middle of serious growth and brand evolution, I connected with Joanna Christie who runs Global Communications. Enjoy this peek into quite the dream job!

Joanna Christie Global Communications, Lyst

How did you break into the fashion PR? What was your first gig?

After too many years spent on a law degree, a diploma in journalism and a multitude of unpaid internships with the likes of Vogue and InStyle, my parents told me to start earning some money!

There weren’t any magazine jobs available in London at the time – which is where I thought I was fated to be – so I was advised to go into fashion PR where I’d be dealing with the magazines daily and would therefore be in the mix when a job did come up. That was over 12 years ago!

My first PR job was at Modus Publicity – one of the largest fashion PR agencies in London whose clients at the time included Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Etro, Bally and Jonathan Saunders. I actually started in the beauty team, with amazing clients like M.A.C. Cosmetics and Bumble&bumble, and quickly caught the “brand” bug.

What is your role at Lyst?

I head up all global communications at Lyst, which is – in my opinion – the best job in the world! Fashion technology is possibly the most exciting space in the world to work in – and especially when you are working with the most exciting company in it! Lyst is a technology company, but most definitely a fashion brand. It is my role to build the Lyst brand, define what that is, and protect that brand. I am Lyst’s public eyes, ears and mouth.

Coming from a luxury background – immediately prior to Lyst I worked for the Richemont Group (who own Chloe, Alaia, Net-A-Porter, Cartier, Dunhill) – I bring an understanding of how important and precious brand equity is so it is my job to be thinking not just about the Lyst brand, but also how we represent all those amazing brands that we partner with. Additionally I am obsessed with how and why people fall in love with brands, so my team works on engaging with our amazing members and ambassadors.

We are a British company, based in London – the global leader in fashion tech – where we are so proud to neighbor with Net-A-Porter, FarFetch and Asos, all of which are also our partners. However 70% of our business comes from the USA so it is incredibly important that I spend time there – a week a month in NYC ensures I stay in touch with our largest market.

What is Lyst, in a nutshell?

Lyst is the best place in the world to shop for fashion. Instead of trawling across multiple sites, seeing the same generic selection as everyone else, we believe that shopping for fashion should be personal -- everyone deserves bespoke. We bring the world's fashion (everyone from Topshop, Burberry, Balenciaga, J.Crew to Barneys, Net-A-Porter, Lane Crawford and Saks, over 5 million products) onto our site and then create personalised shoppable fashion feeds for every user based on their own tastes and what they love (using social following model and our recommendation algorithms). Whether you are looking for a specific fashion item or category, or simply looking to be inspired, we have it all – literally.

How has Lyst evolved since it first launched?

Lyst is constantly evolving – that is the joy of working for a technology company! We are continually improving our product and coming up with cool, disruptive ideas.

When Chris & Seb -- Lyst’s co-founders -- first launched Lyst in June 2010, they thought social commerce would be the key to success, however it became very clear that the Lyst users were serious about shopping. Thus, the focus changed very early on to Lyst becoming as shoppable as possible. Last year we launched a Lyst shopping cart allowing members to check out from multiple stores all with one click on Lyst.com. This was an industry first and we will roll this out globally this year. We have some other exciting changes happening on the site in the next few months to complete the holistic fashion experience – so keep your eyes peeled.

PR at Lyst

What are some of the main PR goals for Lyst in 2014?

This is the year of Brand Lyst! We have spend the last 3 years building and developing the deepest, most dynamic real-time fashion and data in the world which was the most difficult bit (there is a reason why no-one has done it before!). This means our lucky members are the first to know when the products they have lusted after go on sale, come back in stock or when new pieces from the brands they love come in.

We are now in a great place to start singing about how amazing Lyst is. Everyone should know about Lyst: it should be synonymous with fashion online. We will be focusing a lot on mobile optimization – how can we make the service even easier on-the-go, too.

What is a recent company success story?

Earlier this year, Mary Katrantzou – the incredible British fashion designer – partnered with us to exclusively sell a collection from her resort collection on our site in the USA. This was the first time either brand had done anything like this and illustrated Lyst’s growing appreciation in the industry as an important fashion commerce platform – not just an aggregator. We had an amazing reaction from both the industry and the fashion press.

What's the vibe in the office? What are you currently working on?

We have recently moved into very cool new offices in London and New York. Specifically the London HQ moved to an amazing building in Shoreditch which was a former gallery: the very iconic former White Cube space, now rebranded as Lyst Studios.

The team at Lyst is amazing – the vibe is always so positive and buzzing. You can literally feel the innovation in the air! Everyone is super smart and the best in their field so we are all constantly learning from each other which is a very cool thing indeed. Being a technology company, 70% of the team is ‘techy’ – 10 of them are actually doctors. We like PHDs to handle our data! This is the kind of office where people don’t like to take their holiday allowance in case they miss something exciting that is created or improved on the site!

What is a newly discovered tool/software or product that helps you do your best work?

Not newly discovered but the greatest source for fashion news and trend stories is the online publication Business of Fashion. I also love a great app called Pocket, which allows you to store and save all those articles you don’t have time to read immediately – meaning I can use my time on airplanes to best effect!

How does Lyst work with retailers? Why might a fashion publicist recommend Lyst to her clients?

We partner with the world’s fashion – and only fashion – brands to create the smartest, cleanest commerce experience on the web. It is a ‘modern’ wholesale model – the fashion brands and stores get complete brand control, the margins are minimal and they get all customer data. We are now doing around $60million in sales annually for our partners. That is major!

As I said, this is the year of Brand Lyst, so it will only get better. Luxury is defined as the very best of something – as such, Lyst is a luxury brand and behaves as one. To be aligned with Lyst means to be aligned with the future of fashion commerce.

We work in one of the most influential industries in the world – both in terms of how fashion touches other industries and in terms of the personalities who lead and define our space. We are surrounded by amazing talent and people, we work very closely with them, we exist to support and celebrate them. In the next few months, we will be adding further content and community engagement highlights onto the site.

What skills or background are essential for anyone looking to work in the fashion mobile space?

Lots of energy; an open mind; the ability to think quickly and a genuine interest in both the fashion business and the amazing, amazing world of technology.

What are you especially excited about these days?

Genuinely, I’m most excited about what will happen next week or even tomorrow! Lyst is growing at a crazy rate and leading the fashion technology pack is an amazing place to be. Every day brings new opportunities. I’m one lucky lady!

 

its ok for me to have everything i want

Lean in, Girl Boss: How to Get More of What You Want in Business

Lean In. Boss Not Bossy. Ban Bossy. Girl Boss. These  phrases have become part of everyday rhetoric when referring to the role of women in a professional setting. Wherever you may stand on the new buzzwords, we can all agree that we all benefit when the topic of how women act and are treated in the workplace at the forefront of the current cultural landscape. Thank you Beyonce.

It’s exciting to hear mostly positive chatter surrounding the workplace challenges faced by many women.  For so long, the expectations of women's professional roles have been relegated to junior, administrative, support positions, despite the fact that women make up almost half of the general workforce in the U.S., and 57% of the professional (and technical) workforce. These days, we are earning more university degrees than men but are still making less than men in the same roles. And while this progress is great for women, no one benefits from outdated gender roles, men included.

One of the things that makes me most sad and frustrated are instances where I see women (myself included occasionally) hesitate, shut down, lean back. It can be in a morning status meeting, a new business pitch, or when its time to ask for a raise or promotion. Having heard countless stories from colleagues and through my own experiences I have realized that changing this behavior comes down to having the confidence to share ideas and asking for what we want.

Speaking Up at Work

Recently, a friend of mine, lets call her A., told me a story about an instance where she completely missed an opportunity to impress leadership at her agency. The director level employees were challenged to find smart, efficient ways to save the company money without affecting operations and service to their client base. After having prepared a smart, straightforward and simple plan that would achieve that goal, A. sat excitedly in the conference room ready to present. Well, it didnt go so well. Others began presenting elaborate ideas that seemed impressive and also actionable. Seeing the positive reaction from colleagues and upper management to other ideas, A. ultimately chose not to put forth her own. Instead she simply offered support to those that had been presented. Why oh why?

I came across a segment on The Today Show from 2012. A study was done by scientists at the Virginia Tech Research Institute examining how men and women operate in the workplace. Essentially, they were trying to understand why women often feel afraid or tongue-tied when in a group setting. According to this research,

women are sometimes adversely affected because of their awareness and sensitivity to body cues, body language and assumed perceptions of others in the group, ultimately making them feel less qualified or smart in that setting and less likely to speak up.

Sadly, this seems to have happened to my friend A. Rather than present her simple but clever idea, A. felt hers was not as impressive.

While I believe our ability to read a room is a major advantage, clearly there are instances where we might be TOO sensitive to it. Its an interesting idea to consider and one that we should all be aware of. Biological handicap or not, we need to get comfortable with the idea that it's okay to have an opinion, its even okay be wrong, or put forth an idea that doesn't end up winning all the votes, but its not okay to stay silent, avoid risk and ultimately, go unheard. If we really think about it, how many of our great ideas have stayed unsaid?

This is just one instance that reflects how passive behavior can impact your performance at work but it happens consistently- you end up doing the work that two people should be doing because you dont want to create waves, you answer your boss’ call at all hours of the night and weekends to seem dedicated (while your male counterpart sleeps in) or you accept a below market retainer to be “competitive”- the list goes on.

Not only in the workplace but in any group setting, women need to feel empowered to speak up. However, its no one’s responsibility but yours to begin shifting the dynamic. When you do that, remember to also encourage and support your female colleagues when they have something to say.

Asking for What You Want

If you understand the value and importance of speaking up, what's next? Asking for more of what you want. We all know the saying “ask and you shall receive.” It is very rare to be given anything without any prior instigation. No one can read your mind so you have to put forth a proposition and ask for the support, promotion or resources to carry out your vision. Of course, asking doesn't necessarily mean your request will be granted. In fact, knowing how and when to approach your colleague, superior or potential mentor is an art. You can increase your changes by applying the principles of negotiation.

Asking for a raise is universally difficult topic- the number one question World News heard from American families in the World News Real Money poll was how to ask for a raise and in May 2013, Citi’s Connect Professional Women’s Network on LinkedIn showed only 1 in 4 professional women o(f the 950 who were surveyed) had asked for a raise in the past year. They found that the mentality was “if they wanted to give me a raise, they would've.” Now that is exactly the sort of thinking we have to negate across the board. Lets say it again- no one can read your mind, so you have to ask.

It is that sort of passive thinking that we need to outgrow. Once we realize, accept and understand our value, the sky is the limit in terms of what we can accomplish. We already know there is an imbalance in pay between men and women who perform the same duties. Lets do our part, lean in and close the gap.

Take N., an extremely smart, diligent, accomplished publicist who was recruited by a top competing agency to spearhead their newly created digital division. While it was initially a pay cut N. saw the incredible opportunity that was presented to her. She spent a year hustling with a capital “H” to bring in new clients, service the ones she had as a team of one, and grow the division into one of the best in the industry. Throughout that tough year of sacrifice both financially and personally, N. had a clear vision for what she wanted to accomplish and when it would be time to sit with the boss to re-evaluate. As soon as Day X came, N. had a meeting on the calendar and was prepared with her talking points- what she accomplished and contributed to the company, her plans for the future of her division, and ultimately plans for what her role would look like i.e. promotion, role/responsibilities and raise. Even if they hadnt granted each of her requests (which they did), N. is such a great example of having a clear career vision, speaking up and asking at the right time.

While asking for a raise is probably the most difficult thing you will do in the workplace, the same principles and exercises you use here can be applied in all aspects of your working style- it really comes down to confidence, preparation and conviction. If you have conviction and the results to back up your request, deliver it in a respectful, confident and professional manner, it's rare to be turned down completely. And, if you are, you may want to consider finding a work environment more supporting of your brilliance!

I'm of course speaking from a female’s perspective in a female-dominated industry. Despite fashion publicists being predominantly female, the big agency CEOs and the executive offices are still mostly men. I believe this is an important  conversation to have, and keep having. I want women (and men) to  have the courage to speak up, ask for what they deserve and achieve professional success, in public relations and in the workplace as a whole.

We have the education, passion and capabilities to do so much. Make yourself heard. Contribute your genius ideas. Ask for what you want.

 

Poster available on Behance

Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, the founder of PR Couture and a fashion brand strategist. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping rad 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 Elixer sessions or shoot me an electronic communiqué.