It all started with an urge to help others, curiosity to learn and passion for public relations in the lifestyle and fashion industries. Today, PR Couture, also known as “The Fashion PR Bible”, is a leading resource for industry professionals not just to publicists and marketers, but also for entrepreneurs, creative leaders and more. Founder Crosby Noricks’ shares her story, how PR Couture has evolved, the Bespoke Communications Awards and tips for other career-builders and dream-chasers. This interview was utterly inspiring. Grab a coffee, find your zen space and enjoy the read!
How long have you been in business and why did you start it?
PR Couture began as a blog in 2006 and in 2013 the platform had evolved enough for me to make it my full-time gig. I started the site in response to the lack of information available online about fashion public relations, which I discovered after exploring the topic for my master’s thesis and a few years running the in-house PR and marketing department for a fashion jewelry brand. I wanted to be able to learn from others in the field while sharing what I had learned.
PR Couture has evolved a lot in the last decade, how has your role and priorities evolved with it?
In the beginning I was simply responding to industry google alerts in blog posts, interviewing whomever I could find working in the field, and chatting with fashion bloggers on Twitter.
These days, I rarely write articles (and spend way more time on Instagram!). Instead I hold the vision, come up with new initiatives and work with my team on implementation. Now that the site, in addition to a small consulting practice, is my primary source of income, my priorities have shifted much more toward monetization and profitability. Each year the model gets a bit more complex.
What inspired you to launch the Bespoke Communication Awards?
Public relations is regularly listed as one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. I think part of it is simply the relentless pace, this requirement that you be constantly outperforming your last success. It's even more heightened because when you’re often operating in an editorial space where there are no guarantees. It’s like, “yeah it’s great you landed me in Vogue last month, but nothing has come in this month. Should I be looking for someone else?” That drive means we so rarely get to step back and experience the mood-boost that is recognition for our work. So my first inspiration was to create a means to celebrate and draw attention to the great work in our space. Awards offer distinction, credibility and long-term value for agencies, brands and individuals and I wanted to provide that to our niche through the BCAs.
How do the BCAs differentiate from other communication awards out there? How do you envision this opportunity to strengthen the PR industry and network?
Most PR award programs don’t cater to our niche, and fashion awards typically focus on luxury brands - without an emphasis on the teams doing the work. Additionally, the traditional award sequence is often, pay a bunch to apply for an award, then pay a bunch for a table at our award ceremony where you will do this schmoozy networking thing and probably eat some chicken. It just feels so profit-driven and humdrum to me. Yes the BCAs are a new revenue stream for the business, but we’ve designed them to be digital and global, with entry fees that are accessible.
We’ve introduced a give-back partner. WriteGirl is an outstanding creative writing and mentoring organization that promotes creativity, critical thinking and leadership skills to empower teen girls. And let’s face it, we’re in fashion and lifestyle, so the standard, boring trophy is simply not good enough. We have some incredible in-kind partners who are offering some amazing winner swag in the form of jewelry, pamper boxes, and original artwork, in addition to features on PR Couture and in the May issue of Linger Magazine. It’s the award program I would be most excited to apply for.
How do you think the communications industry will change in the next five years? How would that impact designing effective branding, PR and marketing strategies?
The marching orders will remain the same same; how do we take the places where brand values and consumer values intersect and develop messaging, campaigns and programs to build awareness, loyalty and demand. The changes come in the how, with regard to human behavior, social platforms and technology devices shift and evolve.
What lessons have you learned during your career that you wish someone would have told you when you started?
1. You don’t suck at your job. You are an introvert. Pitch via email, not the phone. Less specific to me, sometimes getting out of your comfort zone is empowering and awesome. Other times you’re faced with tasks that simply don’t play to your strengths. Learn the difference and be okay with not being great at everything.
2. Just because it’s a good idea, doesn’t mean you should do it
3. Your success depends on your commitment - be honest about what that is and adjust accordingly
With an explosion of influencers and young businesses thanks to social media and e-commerce, is there an opportunity for a rising entrepreneur to win?
More than ever. We have never had so many tools, resources and examples of success at our disposal.
Where do you get your inspirations from and what do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Inspiration often hits me in the shower! I think it’s because a shower is time away from all the input, notifications and distractions that happen during the work day. Certain podcasts are great for getting me fired up about business when I am feeling burnt out. Outside of work I love taking small weekend trips to new places, devouring a trashy novel in one sitting, dreaming up new business ideas, redecorating my space, and spending time alone in the quiet.
What is some advice about being successful in this career?
Put more effort into growing your email list than social media. Brand yourself as YOU - that way no matter how your career interests shift, you have a community of people invested and interested. Understand that part of the creative process is avoidance. Not everyone with a pretty website is actually an expert - vet your support team. And you can’t do this along - have a support team.
What's your 'unique' process developing projects from vision to execution?
I scribble ideas down all the time - one word reminders in my phone, mind maps in my notebook, bullet points in documents, reminders in Slask, quick concepts jotted down in Asana - eventually I have to make a decision that I am going to actually create or make the thing. While I can project manage myself - this is usually the point to chat with my team and knock out an outline for the big deliverables. From there it is simply putting my head down and doing the work. Of course there is a lot of second-guessing and what am I doing and circling around that happens in there as well but eventually I just suck it up and get ‘er done.
What are some company goals for 2017? How would the company like to impact the community in the next 5-10 years?
As a new mom I’ve really had to reel it in this year and focus on what is feasible, rather than all the things I’d like to do. So our main goals this year are the same as they’ve been and will continue to be; to grow our audience, serve our audience, support ourselves financially and enjoy the process.
What are your top three tips or advice you want to give on starting or owning your own business?
Be generous with your time, your ideas and your “stuff”
Be kind to yourself
It’s okay, you can always change your mind
What is your instagram handle
@prcouture // @crosbynoricks
Why would you recommend The Sketchbook Series?
Investing in experiences is always a win - in particular I love how TSS helps with the ideation process - the more ideas that we get on paper - and launch - the better!
Where is your business based out of?
What geographical area(s) do you service?
Learn more about the BCA's here.