This week we’re switching it up once again and giving you a glimpse at the other side of the industry! Instead of talking with fashion journalists, we’re getting the scoop from some of the top fashion PR pros in the business. We’re very excited for you to get to know Crosby Noricks, fashion brand strategist and founder of PR Couture.
Q: You say on your site that before launching PR Couture you were tired of the “stereotype that fashion publicists are more concerned with air-kisses than credibility.” Can you tell us more about how you knocked down that wall and become a credible and successful publicist?
A: Whenever fashion enters into the picture, it often gets dismissed as frivolous and superficial–and the thinking goes, so must all who choose it as a profession. While every industry has its outliers, PR Couture has afforded me the opportunity to connect and work with some of the most creative, hard-working and yes, strategic, PR professionals. I believe this happened in part because of my own natural tendencies toward information-sharing, collaboration and generosity.
Q: What came first, your love for fashion or love for PR?
A: Fashion, absolutely. Or more specifically, playing dress up as a child. I discovered that fashion PR offered this great marriage of business strategy and writing, and I could use those talents to help designers experience more success. For me, my work really comes down to finding creative ways to help companies and entrepreneurs I believe in reach their goals. PR is just one of the tools required to build a compelling brand.
Q: How has social media impacted your PR strategy?
A: In 2008 I transitioned from PR agency life to start the social media department at Red Door Interactive, and then managed and grew that practice area over the next five years. I continue to be interested in how social media offers brands and customers new ways to connect, and how social media has helped emerging brands not only capture the attention of new customers, but the media as well. I also appreciate how social media has required brands to be accessible to their audiences and, in fashion specifically, created spaces to bring us all in behind-the-scenes. I’m a big fan of access as a consumer, and in my experience, social media strategy can be just as rewarding for companies–assuming the infrastructure and company culture supports transparency and access.
Q: What are some of the not-so-glamorous, but essential, parts of working in fashion PR?
A: Sitting in front of a computer writing proposals, pitching and playing the never-ending follow-up game with media isn’t glamorous by any stretch. Hauling garment bags, tracking down samples, cleaning up the showroom, and managing RSVPs for guest lists can also be pretty rough. I think in fashion, like any creative industry, it is often the strong personalities and expectations that create the most stress.
Q: But OK, spill—what are a few of the most glamorous parts, too?
A: If you’re a clotheshorse, being surrounded by a sea of lovely clothes is pretty great. Beyond that, travel, parties, previewing collections, getting early access, fashion shows, and all the champagne adds a hint of glamour.
Q: Favorite fashion trend right now?
A: I’m actually really interested in this idea that trends are losing their importance–and the idea of wearable tech, like the idea of buying one dress, but having the option to make it any color you wish!
Q: Do you accept pitches on the PR Couture blog? If so, what is the best way for someone to get your attention—and does being on the PR side tend to make you more or less critical of the pitches you do receive?
A: Yes, I absolutely accept pitches – I’m particularly interested in case studies and success stories, hearing from in-house fashion publicists, new tools and technologies that make a publicist’s life easier, and any partnerships or collaborations to reach our audience of fashion industry insiders. I am definitely critical of the pitches I receive, but I also have a soft spot for the process–so if the product or idea makes sense, or if it sparks an idea I will typically respond. Starting your pitch with Hi Crosby, is a great way for me to open your email.
Q: Can you tell us about any upcoming events or projects you’re working on?
A: 2014 is going to be a critical year for PR Couture. It will be my seventh year, and in seeking to avoid that seven year itch, I’m exploring adding a curated shop of industry essentials, launching digital courses, and growing our roster of contributors. It’s important for me that I continue to challenge myself while finding new ways to serve the PR Couture community. Before the end of the year, I’m moving quickly to figure out the best way to celebrate our seventh anniversary (ideas welcome!), and on December 10 I’ll be co-hosting the final installment of Build Your Fashion Brand–an hour-long intensive on how to develop a company blog customers actually want to read, and share!
Q: What advice would you give students studying to be in the fashion publicity industry?
A: Your PR program is likely to spend very little time focusing on the fashion industry, so it’s up to you to make the effort. Read PR Couture, Fashionista, The High Low, Business of Fashion, WWD and stay on top of industry trends. Even better–start a blog and talk about what you’re reading. Attend Fashion PR Confidential–not only do we tackle specific information you’ll need to successfully break into the industry, but our guest speakers and industry networking round is not to be missed. And I suppose I’d be remiss not to suggest reading my book, Ready to Launch, which was written just for you.
Q: Where do you see PR Couture, and fashion PR as a whole, headed in the future?
A: I’m a firm believer that we can accomplish so much more together than apart, and that there is plenty of work to go around. To that end, I’m thinking about ways to connect PR Couture readers together in support of mutual awesome. In terms of fashion PR, I think one of the biggest challenges is innovation in the midst of an increasingly digital media landscape as well as being able to clearly articulate the value of PR in order to successfully compete for digital marketing dollars. Fashion publicists and agencies that evolve service offerings and gain new expertise will be in the strongest position to stay viable. That said, solid media contacts, celebrity relationships and a knack for brand storytelling and divining multiple pitch angles is always in demand.
For more beauty and fashion insight, check out the Cision Navigator profile on Kathleen Hou, Beauty Editor at The Cut.
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