Weekly Feature for Fashion & Beauty Fanatics: Q&A with Kimmie Smith
This is a guest post from Gina Joseph, social media community manager at Cision.
It’s Fashion & Beauty Buzz time and today Kimmie Smith joins us. She is editor in chief of Kitten Lounge and co-founder and creative director of Shoe Week. She also contributes articles, makes appearances, and is often featured in publications.
Q: When and how did you get your start in the fashion media industry?
A: When I first came to NYC a little over 10 years ago, I worked in music as well as fashion. My days involved me launching a digital indie record label as the publicist for the label as well as the artists on it. At the same time, in fashion I was working as a model and a visual merchandiser for a number of premium brands. These rolls within my first few years allowed me to rapidly increase my database and to utilize my skill sets in a number of ways. With all of this information and access to behind the scenes information, I was writing about this on a number of sites until I launched Kitten Lounge in 2007.
Q: What is your favorite part of your career?
A: My favorite part of my career is that it covers a lot of territories! In a week, I could be styling a recording artist, meeting with a showroom for future content on Kitten Lounge, doing a personal fitting for an upcoming TV segment/appearance or launching an accessories lifestyle component, like Shoe Week. At the end of the day, I love that regardless of what I’m working on, it’s always about amplifying and creating engagement within the accessories community.
As an accessories expert my purpose is always to showcase accessories in a way that enhances a person’s look regardless of the medium I’m using. In addition, it’s about balancing the story behind the accessory, the designer, potential wearers and to support the industry as a whole. I love when I meet someone and comment on their pieces and whether I am familiar with the designer or not, there is a story that everyone has with each piece that they acquire. It’s those associations that continue to drive me to finding out more because at the end of the day, accessories are a combined story between the designer and the person who wears it.
Q: What is the most challenging part or your career? What would you tell other bloggers who are looking to get into the mix?
A: The most challenging part of [the] career is to understand that you always have to sit back and look at your goals. I started blogging around 2004 and due to the growth that I had obtained, it led me to launch Kitten Lounge. It allowed me to get back into designing, becoming a spokesperson for brands, doing campaigns and creating a lot of alignments that I had not anticipated when I first started. With that said, there is a bit of a checklist I go through when I receive opportunities or even when it comes to what I will cover. There are times where sometimes working with a brand or including them on your site may make sense on paper; however, in the long run you may feel that it’s not something that will work. There’s a constant need to ensure that you’re always open to new opportunities while also making sure that you are still true to your identity as a blogger who represents a larger curated audience.
Q: What are some upcoming accessory tips or trends we should look out for?
A: This season there are a lot of what I like to call “carry over trends” that will continue into this spring, a focus on mixed media, tribal/ethnic elements and bold color. During this season, it’s essential to add pops of color as many of us have functional outerwear to brave the elements—so add textured scarves with color, fun gloves or even take a style note from the first lady and add a sparkle belt to your coat. As we move from this season into the spring/summer, Gatsby era accessories will be a style to watch. Since The Great Gatsby comes out in May, you’ll continue to see this done. What I love about it is that this sense of style is all about a number of pieces that are apart of my signature pieces that I wear on a daily basis – sparkle, cocktail rings, ornate pieces and more. These can be worn from day to night and are a great way to infuse even the most simplest of outfits with a well placed ring, cuff or necklace.
Q: Any tips for PR professionals who want to get in contact with you?
A: I think the relationship between PR professionals and myself (or anyone who works with them) is about communication. I will email PR members and let them know that over a month or 3 month period, I will be covering certain topics and encourage them to send me items within that scope. I also touchbase with them asking who their accounts are that they work with directly and their firm. If I receive a pitch that is initiated by them but doesn’t fit within the scope of my site, I share my sites mission so that they have a better understanding.
For people who are approaching myself or anyone for the first time, I think it’s important that they should read the site to get a general sense of it as well as checking a few of the social networks as this will help you in pitching them. If you were referred via a fellow blogger, brand, etc. feel free to share that as it creates a point of reference and begins a great conversation. By making it personal, the blogger feels like they are valued and not just a source of placement and they will want to seek you out.
Q: What are you PR pet peeves, or what is the strangest pitch you’ve received?
A: I think the biggest PR pet peeve I have is when I receive thorough emails that show time and effort in knowing about my site but then the pitch is completely outside of what my site would cover. At that point there’s a disconnect, as I question how authentic the email is in terms of how much they love my site. At that point, I would have rather had the standard pitch email about the brand and its product as opposed to the attempt of personalizing the email.
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