PR Diva Blog interviews Jordanna Stephen, Touch of Pink PR founder, who has combined her three loves – fashion, shoes, and PR – and made it her business. As President of a New York based boutique fashion and footwear PR firm, Jordanna is quickly expanding her brand in the industry. Not only is she a PoweRGirl in fierce shoes, she blogs, tweets, indulges in chocolate, and believes that a young businesswoman should always be two things: personable and professional.
Why did you start Touch of Pink Public Relations? Honestly, I started Touch of Pink PR for a few reasons, but mainly because I always saw myself as a female entrepreneur, I wanted the freedom of working my way, and really wanted to help unknown smaller brands in the fashion industry become known. Sometimes when you are working for other companies, you have to follow a certain format, and you’re not really allowed the room to explore your creativity. I wanted to have a firm that really listened to the clients, tailored PR campaigns according to their needs, thought outside the box, dared to be different, and wasn’t afraid to fail. Public Relations, at times, is really a trial and error industry. Some firms are afraid to be human and admit that a method didn’t work…they don’t allow room for failure. With Touch of Pink PR, I am able to be honest with my clients and let them know that even though that angle or pitch didn’t get the results we hoped for, we’re going to move forward with another pitch that will. Through failures you find success. I also wanted a smaller firm so that clients get that personal touch, and not feel like they are just one of many clients in the shuffle. I have always wanted to help “the little guys” because I feel like the “little guy” (or girl). I get tired of seeing the same designers get recognition (which is well-deserved), but I am working hard to make sure the other equally talented brands get their spotlight too.
What obstacles have you overcome? When I first started out in 2008, I was really a no-name. It was hard for me to get started, and even know how to start. I was really trying to learn the ropes in an industry with a lot of PR firms all going for the same type of clients, and no one seemed like they wanted to help the next person. Fortunately for me, I made some really great friends (friends that I am still with today) who gave me some great advice, great resources, and let me work for them while still working for myself, so I can see the ins and outs of this business. I had no clue about social and networking events, so it was rough for me attending and not knowing how to market myself in the beginning. But I did the research about various networking groups, websites I should affiliate with, and starting getting myself out there. I quickly learned the value of networking and how important it is to just be you.
What is the best advice you can give someone thinking of starting a PR firm? If you have no PR firm experience, get some. You can’t just start a successful PR firm without any knowledge of the industry or how it runs, and you can’t always rely upon someone to teach you. Read some of the articles written by publicists, think about the clients you want to represent and research the media you would have to target. I seriously cannot stress the importance of networking! Editors, bloggers, reporters, etc. like to meet publicists behind the e-mails. PR is all about relationship building, so make sure you self-market yourself well. Confidence is key.
What do you see in the future of PR? There is a huge shift towards online placement versus print placement. Getting your clients in magazines is great, and some clients still just prefer that. But PR is really becoming more of a technology industry. Bloggers help give our clients a faster press buzz, and social media is just instant. Twitter and Facebook just do things that no other media outlet can do. It’s one on one direct contact that not only put you in touch with the client’s products, but put you in touch with the client (you get to know their personality, what new projects they’re working on, and you get a better feedback from consumers). In order to be a publicist these days, you have to be technologically literate. I live on my blackberry.
How has social media helped or hindered you? Social media has really helped me and the firm. It has allowed the business to grow. I have gained clients through Twitter, as well as met a lot of professional contacts. Twitter put me in direct contact with people who I may not have met otherwise. LinkedIn is another great resource, which I don’t think gets the recognition it should, but I have made a lot of wonderful contacts through it, and it has more of a professional feel. Facebook allows me to know the personal side of those I work with or collaborate with. Social media can hinder a person if they don’t know how to separate personal from business well. There is no problem with being yourself on social media, but if you’re representing your brand, then try to be personable and professional. Social media is the quickest, and one of the most effective ways, to self-market, network, learn, and build. Just as good as social media can build you up, it can tear you down if you don’t do right by it.
Ok! Great! How did you come up with the name Touch of Pink? I went through a few other names, that didn’t even mention my favorite color, but they were taken already. One day, as I was playing around with names and brainstorming, it hit me. Touch of Pink not only lets my love of the color shine, but kind of says that we can give you that special touch your brand deserves.