My Fash Diary Interviews BPR’s MD Sally-Anne Stevens
Ever wondered how a PR agency starts up and what really goes on behind it all? This week, I spoke to the woman behind B PR (formerly Boudoir PR). B PR handle several accounts such as Lipsy, Ciate and Range Rover. Some great insider tips in there… Make some coffee and enjoy the read…
Hi Sally Anne, first things first – how did Boudoir PR (now B PR) come up?
Boudoir PR was established 8 years ago, at the time the ethos of the company was to represent all things beautiful across the fashion and beauty sector. The name “boudoir” came from a room in which a woman would keep all of her beautiful possessions; her wardrobe, her fragrance and make up etc. The name suited us perfectly as a boutique agency, however we have moved on considerably from those foundation years. As of 6th August 2012 B Public Relations became the new brand identity for Boudoir PR. The agency launched in 2004 as a beauty and fashion specific agency, however over the past 16 months the agency has experienced exceptional commercial growth and expansion. We have extended our service offering to include comprehensive social media services, international partnerships, holistic brand consultancy and new product development. The agency has also expanded client portfolio divisions to include Young Designer, Lifestyle, Celebrity and Parenting with paralleled personnel growth and office / showroom expansion. Boudoir PR will be retained under the umbrella of B Public Relations to house our Young Designer portfolio.
PR is actually a world away from the original direction my career started, I studied History of Art & Design and had ideas of working within a British auction house with Fine Arts / Old Masters. I was lucky enough to be given a posting with Sotheby’s of London, at the time it was a very masculine Old Boys environment and I longed for something much more vibrant. My Fashion History tutor had always been a great inspiration, she wrote through the Looking Glass, A History of dress from 1860-present day, a staple read for any fashion student. Lou suggested I try interning within editorial and PR to see if it was more my direction. I spent 6 months interning editorial side, then the next 3 months PR side within Diesel Jeans and then within a fashion, beauty consumer PR agency. My MD was really inspirational and nurturing. I took to PR immediately and have never looked back. I went on to work in-house for 365.com before returning agency side within a beauty PR agency, I then felt ready to go it alone with 6 years of experience to launch Boudoir PR, now known at B Public Relations. PR is very creative, social, ever-changing and fast-paced. Most of all you have to be very self motivated, positive and hard working. If you are someone who needs constant thanks and reassurance then forget it, PR is not for you! PRs are a really thick skinned bunch, but lovely at the same time, you have to be likeable without being too pushy otherwise no-one will want to deal with you.
What are your thoughts on blogs and social media? I am pretty obsessed with blogs, Twitter, Pinterest and all elements of social media, they are a vital source of global information as it happens, for us our PR campaigns are nearly always fully integrated into social media. Blogs are key to our everyday communications, we love our bloggers! Personally I could spend hours and hours reading them, I particularly love the fashion blogs from Japan, Korea and Scandinavia, they are very stylised and forward thinking.
For Myfashdiary readers that are aspiring PRs, what tips would you give them? I would say gain some very strong PR internships, decide which sector you would like to work in, look at brands you love and find out who is the PR and try to get experience working within that agency. Once you have found the internship don’t waste a day of it. Make sure your Account Managers and the MD is aware of your presence for all the right reasons, offer to help in every way you can, carry out each task to its fullest, at a fast pace and report back so your manager sees your completion of each task. Offer up ideas and suggestions, ask to be shown press releases and perhaps talked through a campaign that has really taken your interest. You are there to learn, not to be cheap labour. At B Public Relations we really do our best to ensure our interns are nurtured and learn. Over the past 8 years we have hired 8 of our interns into full time Press Assistant positions.
How important is PR for a brand? PR is an essential part of the marketing mix. It helps to create a brand identity and build brand awareness, ultimately driving sales for the brand.
What advice would you give journalists about working with PRs? Firstly I would say, I don’t blame you for getting annoyed with any PR’s who phone you saying “what are you working on?” it must drive you crazy! It’s the number 1 No! No! in PR. Our team contact press with relevant information, they forge genuine relationships and friendships and go to the right journalists, stylists or bloggers with the right content. It’s always really interesting to hear feedback from press and bloggers about what really works for them, anything they have particularly enjoyed and generally how we can make their lives easier by providing them with the right information as quickly as possible.