Although boutique fashion PR firm Nichols & Beck is new to the scene, Erin Beck’s in-house fashion luxury experience primed her to quickly become a valued business partner for fashion clients like Ryan Haber, Katarina Grey, Gemelli jewelry and producer/actress Renny Grames. As @NYCFashionPRGrl on Twitter, Erin’s making a name for herself, Chanel “New York Red” Lipstick, Bose mobile headset and iPhone in hand! If you like what you read, Nichols & Beck is currently looking for a fashion PR intern.
What makes Nichols & Beck unique?
I launched Nichols & Beck Public Relations in late 2012. Having worked as global communications director for a luxury knitwear brand, I was the liaison between the fashion house and an outside PR Firm. I really began to see what was missing in the public relations world from the standpoint of a brand. My goal was to fill that missing link and so far we have been successful in doing so.
I treat each fashion designer as I would a public figure because I believe that designers should be publicized just as much as the collections they create.
We differ from other firms because I am a publicist and not just a public relations firm. When I take on new fashion brands, I treat each fashion designer as I would a public figure because I believe that designers should be publicized just as much as the collections they create. There is a story behind every collection and that story needs to be told. Another way that we offer that differ from other firms is that we are aligned with Generalosophy, a fashion sales and marketing firm. The partnership allows us to help the brands we represent expand their profitably in addition to getting exposure.
How did you get started in the industry?
I moved to New York and started dressing and styling runway shows for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. I was then referred to a few fashion houses and quickly landed a position as Global Communications Director for a luxury knitwear brand. I immediately fell in love with fashion public relations because I found that it allowed me to do all the things that I loved – working with editors, styling celebrities, photo shoots, branding, marketing and so much more. It also matched my personality, which is high energy, results-driven and passionate.
What is the mood in the office right now? What are you working on?
The mood in the office is always fast-paced and borderline hectic. It is very exciting because we have a lot of new growth happening. Currently we are working on two fashion events, a television interview, three red carpet events, pitching, pitching, pitching and making sure that the social media needs of our clients are met.
You recently did a spring presentation featuring the Ryan Haber Collection and Gemelli Jewelry. What are the key elements of a successful event?
Events are a more interactive way to get designers in front of editors. It is often difficult to get smaller labels noticed by editors and events create opportunities for up-and-coming designers to gain recognition. I haven’t met an editor yet that doesn’t like to escape the office to see something creative and new.
The key to a successful event is to be well organized, know your audience and to be prepared for something to go wrong. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned, but if you are able to just roll with it, everything will work out, as it should. The bottom line is that if your clients get exposure then you have had a successful event.
As well as specializing in fashion, you also offer celebrity representation. What is different about each approach and how do they work together?
Entertainment public relations is about cultivating a public image. In fashion, you shape the public image of the designer while simultaneously promoting each collection. Fashion and celebrity representation work together at Nichols & Beck Public Relations because we are able to immediately seed the fashion labels onto our in-house celebrities when appropriate. Celebrity placement for a fashion label is key.
As a new agency, what has been your client acquisition and employee growth strategy? What approaches have worked best?
Always be transparent with clients. This approach has always worked best for me. It also helps that I love fashion. This past holiday season I bought a really cool set of bracelets and I called the company and asked who their public relations firm was. They didn’t have one at the time and now I represent them. I don’t wait for labels to contact me; I go after the labels and clientele that I truly love.
How can a prospective intern of employee impress you during an interview? What is an immediate turn-off?
As an owner of a new firm, I always look for candidates who want to grow with Nichols & Beck Public Relations and are invested in its future. I welcome and encourage candidates to bring new ideas to the table and expect everyone to possess the ability to problem solve and multi-task in a fast paced environment.
An immediate turn off is when a candidate is late. It is a severe pet peeve of mine. I am a very schedule oriented and have my day booked down to the last five minutes so when an employee or intern is 15 or 30 minutes late, it throws my whole day off
What are three tools or strategies that help you run your business efficiently?
1) To-do lists are a must! Because we are a boutique public relations firm everyone at Nichols & Beck is given a lot of responsibility. Without our to-do lists, we would not get as much accomplished and it helps me keep track of what my staff is doing on a day-to-day basis so that I can update my clients.
2) My iPad is key. When I am out with editors and stylists, it’s more efficient to have all of my look books and line sheets with me to make a visually stimulating presentation on behalf of my clients.
3) Social media is one of the most important tools for building a successful public relations firm. From building brands to networking with the press, platforms like Twitter have enhanced our business greatly. Even my Twitter handle, @NYCFashionPRGrl is a branding tool!