Inspiring Fashion Publicist: Janna Meyrowitz
29/10/2010 § Leave a comment
The world of fashion is a major part of my life. I would be lost without Vogue, E!’s Fashion Police is one of my favourite shows, aspiring to dress like the gorgeous Audrey Hepburn is a life goal, and saving for basic designer pieces is a must. I love fashion. Period. And what better way of honouring my love for designers and clothes, than to intertwine my love of fashion with my career, thus becoming a Fashion Publicist.
While researching what this job would entail, I ran across this interview from PR Couture with Janna Meyrowitz who founded Style House PR, a NYC fashion PR firm. Her climb to success was really inspiring and I thought I would share the highlight of the interview so that you all could benefit from the advice she gives. If I were you, I would still go to PR Couture to read the rest of the questions because there were so many more things that were discussed such as how to break into the Fashion PR world and how to maintain a relationship with fashion publications.
PR: You’ve achieved substantial career success in a very short period of time, what makes you great at what you do?
JM: To say that I’m a “people person” sounds very cliché, but I have just always felt very comfortable around people. I can find something interesting to discuss with almost anyone. I’m like a sponge – I consume media all day long, I talk to people and really listen to what they have to say because I love learning new things. I come from a very strong academic background, and I mean beyond just going to a great liberal arts school – Brandeis University — where I studied American Studies and Journalism. Both of my parents are academics in media/communications and sociology related fields so an awareness of the media and its role in society was instilled in me at a very young age. For as long as I can remember, my parents have always spoken to me as if I was an adult, which I think has made me mature for my age and over time has given me a lot of confidence in my ideas and abilities.
Being resourceful has gotten me very far in this industry, and I don’t mean resourceful like milking contacts for help and favors etc., I mean the exact opposite. PR is a science, but it’s not brain surgery. If you have a product you are passionate about and you know enough about the media to know which publications/TV programs/blogs would be interested in hearing about it, you just figure out how to reach out to them! There are so many wonderful resources out there for contacting people who will be receptive to your ideas. When we do events and are trying to secure cool things for gift bags or sponsors etc, all it takes is the desire to make it happen, and great communication skills, and I really believe you can really make it come together.
PR: How has your approach toward media changed with the emergence of fashion blogs?
Blogs have obviously become such an important way to build buzz and a fan-base for new products. In PR you are constantly trying to quantify your efforts for your clients so there’s nothing better than getting a great write-up/product placement online and then seeing their web site traffic (or even better, sales!) increase. Interestingly I also find the online sphere a great way to get feedback on new products and designs because everyone is really eager to share their opinion – for better or for worse! Overall I really think the emergence of fashion blogs has created a great balance in the fashion media, meaning consumers aren’t getting their information from ten major voices, but rather tens of millions of voices, and it gives people a kind of affirmation that whatever their personal style is there is probably someone out there who thinks it rocks. As far as how it has changed my approach – now fashion blogs are a whole separate tab on my media list! They are the shortest lead publications with the potential to have the most effect on consumer consciousness.
PR: Any tips for managing client expectations?
JM: Managing client expectations is very important. We always think big, and are optimistic about every goal and opportunity, but sometimes it’s important to play this down on the client side because nothing happens overnight, especially in PR. It’s about understanding what your client’s goals are and the timeframe they have in their head, and being confident but realistic about what you expect to happen in a given amount of time. Communication is key. I sometimes have clients come to me like wounded children, badly burned or jaded by past PR people who they wrote checks to every month but heard from once in awhile when they ran out of samples and needed more to send out. We are in constant contact with our clients so they always know what we are up to and I think that makes a big difference to them.
PR: What part of your job do you find the most challenging?
JM: Patience, and instilling patience in my clients, as I discussed above about managing client expectations. Brands don’t become overnight successes and you can’t let that frustrate you, you have to let it just make you work harder!
Another difficult thing is the feeling that there’s always another editor, writer, stylist, blogger etc that you should be calling so how do you decide when the day ends? The day ends of course when you leave the office, but also you are working when you walk by a newsstand and see a new magazine and you are mad at yourself that you haven’t gotten to reach out to them yet. So I guess one of the challenges, when you love your work and when you do something that you are passionate about, is drawing the line and knowing when to stop working and relax so you will do a better job when you start up again.