new york press tour!

July 29th, 2010   |   Business AdviceLife

At long last! I am proud to say that we are all caught up with work from the past few weeks and I finally have a chance to sit down and tell you all about the press tour in New York.

I will start by saying there was incredible amount of clarity and purpose throughout this trip. As you know, I’ve had a lot of uncertainty in my life over the past year. And now that I’m heading out in a totally new direction, this trip helped clarify what my future might hold. It was also fascinating to reflect on my last trip to NYC two years ago. At that time, Jess LC was a 90% wholesale business and I was checking out trade shows like ENK and Moda tricking myself into thinking that I might actually want to be in a booth at one of these large huge scale events. But the reality was that I disliked the whole trade show process from participating in Magic in Las Vegas and StyleMax in Chicago. And I was just trying to do what other people told me would be best for my business. (Note: Trade shows are a great way to grow a business (and I might do some in the future), I recommend them for those looking to increase their wholesale business. However, it’s not my cup of tea nor part of my intentions at this point in time.)

Since that trip, I have decided that what was really important to me was working with retailers and customers one-on-one via my website and by spending time doing what I am meant to do: help people design a life with intention.

I decided upon this press tour and desk side trip in order to broaden the Jess LC audience and customer base to include those who are not already plugged into social media and blogging – magazines and traditional media still play a huge role in raising brand awareness.

So I had the amazing team at Red Light PR, my PR firm, connect with magazine editors at Lucky, Real Simple, People StyleWatch, and Brides Magazine. They scheduled appointments for me to meet with these accessory editors one on one in their offices. Here’s some snap shots in between meetings (apparently I’m not very good at remembering the camera when around actual people, just buildings).

Day One

Hello, Conde Nast. One thing to note about the building and lobby was that it was full of beautiful people. Some of the best fashion from the whole trip was seen while waiting for my press pass to enter the offices.

My first appointment was with the editor at Brides Magazine. She was super nice and low key, I felt immediately at ease and ready to chat about anything and everything. I instantly realized I wanted to do desk sides like this All The Time.

I had a bit of time between the Brides appointment and the Lucky meeting, so I hung around the block and tried to stay dry during the random showers that hit the area. Trying to look cute with 13 bug bites welts on my legs, frizzy hair, wet wedges, and 90*+ weather was Not Easy.

Here’s a quick shot of the Lucky office (cue the harp). I have imagined Jess LC in the pages of Lucky Magazine since I was in high school. When entering this space I’m not gonna lie, I had A Moment.

As expected, the assistant editor at Lucky was laid back, friendly, and inexpressibly chic. She looked like she walked out of one of the pages in the magazine. Not to mention that she was my age and totally living a life I would love to have in an alternate universe.

After the first day of desk sides, I headed out to Brooklyn for the first time to meet up with Jessica of WhatIWore. We’ve been online friends for about a year now, and it was great to chat with her in person. Of course, I again forgot to whip out the camera at Dizzy’s the adorable coffee shop we went to. But you can see how cute she looked here.

By the way, how much does this area look like San Fransisco? I was mesmerized by the homes and totally imagined walking my future kids to school on this block.

Day Two

On the second day of desk sides I walked up to Time & Life to see the editors at People StyleWatch and Real Simple. They happen to be right across from this iconic building.

(I will also mention that I was much smarter on the second day and packed my heels in my bag and wore sandals up to the appointments. Though the wedges may be comfortable, there is only so much walking one can do in 4″ heels.)

When I met the editor at People StyleWatch I immediately felt like I was talking to someone I had known for years. She was engaging, witty, and obviously was great at her job. She mentioned she was working on a big boot article for the October issue and had dozens of pairs in the back room (she recommended I get suede wedge boots for fall). The entire office, I might add, was covered in magazine tear-outs. It was like the office was wallpapered in inspiration. Such a creative and exciting space.

Then I headed over to Real Simple. What I realized immediately was that if I was ever to really actually work at a magazine personally, Real Simple is where I belong. It had a fresh, fun, clean look which was totally the intersection between Jess LC and MML. The women there were all equally intelligent and adorable. Plus, the editor was down to earth and also happened to grow up near my parent’s new house in Pennsylvania.

When she nonchalantly mentioned they did a segment that morning on the Today Show it took me a minute and a half to realize that she personally had been on the Today Show that morning. The segment was about transitioning your summer wardrobe to fall. So Cool.

What Desk Sides Are Like

As you can see from the descriptions above, I totally loved every minute of the desk sides. Though I went into them with no idea what to do, I quickly learned that they are meant to be an informal introduction to your brand, line, and story. I shared how I started, what I was doing now, and showed them my samples. They in turn told me about themselves, the stories they were working on, and what they liked in my collection.

The goal is essentially to develop a relationship with the editors so that when they have a new story about “Jewel Tone Jewelry Under $50,” they think about the adorable paisley post earrings that I have coming up in Fall 2010 and request a sample for the shoot. It’s about being on the top of their mind when they are considering features. The appointments themselves can take place at their desk, in the lobby, or in a conference room. In general they can be a quick half hour, or a relaxed sixty minute conversation.

What’s Next for Jess LC and PR

Now that I’m one week out from the trip, I’ve already had a new sample request from People StyleWatch. Though I can’t say that this is strictly due to the meeting, I can say that it didn’t hurt. And my fingers are crossed that Jess LC jewelry makes appearances in the holiday/winter 2011 issues of all four magazines. But there is definitely a waiting game in PR. You don’t know whether your styles make it in the magazine until the PR firm gets a credit request (which basically means they shot it in a photoshoot and intend to put it on a page in the magazine and need to know where to say the product is available). And even after the credit request there is the chance that it might get deleted from the pages as layout and content changes are made closer to publication.

Going forward, I’m pumped to revisit New York again this October to debut new samples from Fall 2010 and Spring 2011. My PR firm is having an event at their showroom in Soho which will bring a lot of editors into the space at one time. So I’ll be there to introduce myself and the samples. And of course, I’ll be sure to recap that event as well, hopefully with more photos of people this time around!

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  • http://ashleightimchenko.blogspot.com Ashleigh

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing your experience with us! It sounds like a very exciting trip and fingers crossed for some product placement!

  • http://fiveoclockcrows.blogspot.com/ sara

    I love reading all about your trip – what an exciting few days! I can’t wait to see your work in some magazines for the holidays :)

  • http://shopwithcoffee.blogspot.com Sabrina

    Jess, I love hearing about your trip! It sounds like you had an amazing time.

  • Marguerite

    Jess,

    I’m absolutely thrilled for you! (and I’m going ! that I was at the Time/Life bldg last week to meet a friend during a biz trip and didn’t realize those pubs were there, ha). It’s great to hear how well the trip went and how the whole process works. Glad things are going really well :)

    @chicspace

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  • http://urbanitejewelry.etsy.com krista {urbanite jewelry}

    This is INCREDIBLY insightful & so interesting, Jess! Thanks for sharing and CONGRATS on taking such a big step! Huge props!

  • http://www.covetchicago.com Brigitte

    It looks like you had a fab time! Thanks for sharing the play-by-play. I was so curious.

  • http://www.estilohome.blogspot.com Flavia

    Thanks so much for taking us along your wonderful trip! It sounds like such a dream to go into all those offices. Congrats, and I wish you much success!

  • http://goodlifeforless.blogspot.com Jill

    WOW Jess, sounds like a truly amazing and for many people a once in a lifetime experience (although for you it sounds like you’ll be doing much more business in New York!). I could easily step foot in just one of those offices and die happy. Magazines are like my cloud nine – one day I hope to be contributing to one, so I get all starry eyed just thinking about your experiences!

  • http://www.puppiesnpancakes.com Kristi

    Such fun to hear about your trip. Congratulations to you. (It sounds brave and a little scary, thus the reason I think congrats are in order).

  • http://www.thewingedheart.com Natalie

    What an exciting and inspiring post!! I loved reading about your impressions of each place and how laid back and comfortable it all ended up being! It sounds like it was a wonderful experience!

    I’ve been reading a small business start-up guide lately and thinking more about a business I want to start in a few years, and everything that will entail.. and it’s so encouraging to see someone like you, who already even has a successful business, meeting new challenges and situations in her job as business owner. Not just meeting those challenges, but passing them with flying colors and even enjoying them! That sort of thing is making me really excited about the prospect of being a business owner with many different roles and tasks all the time.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! Magazines and other media always seem like such lofty, unattainable things, kind of like your reaction to the Today Show comment, but really they’re just another business. Thanks for letting us peek into that a little bit with you!

  • http://shendovestyle.blogspot.com/ ShenDoveStyle (Shenneth)

    It sounds like you had a very exciting, eventful trip! I love reading about how you’re growing your business. It’s very inspiring as usual with a realistic dose of how much work it really takes to make things like media interest by top magazines happen for your business. I want to be like you when I ‘grow up’ : )

  • http://lovinglivingsmall.com Rebecca

    Jess, wow, sounds like things are going fab and I couldn’t be happier for you! Congrats on moving forward and making it happen – you are an inspiration! xx, rebecca

  • http://www.labellabungalow.blogspot.com Rachel @ La Bella Bungalow

    So glad you posted this Jess! Very inspiring! This was such a great look into how these desk sides really work. You really have some balls and I admire your drive. Do you feel like having a PR firm has been invaluable in your quest to get your name out there?

  • http://onesydneyroad.com Piper

    I’m so living vicariously through you right now – visiting Lucky offices??? Such a dream!!! I’m so excited for you – thanks for sharing this experience, so interesting and inspiring and so cool to see you taking this big step :)

  • http://www.makeundermylife.com Jess

    @ Rachel,

    Thanks for asking about the PR firm- I’m actually going to address this exact question next week in a Designing a Business With Intention post!

    Have a great weekend,
    Jess!

  • http://www.njtosiemreap.wordpress.com Leigh

    I’m sure your PR firm is doing this, but anytime you have a new piece in the works – photograph it and send it to the editors you’ve met. In my previous life I did pr for a new e-commerce business and we sent editors blasts of what was new every week or two (especially for short-lead weekly magazines). We got the most sample requests from those blasts.

  • http://www.vivacindy.com cindy

    Jess! I am so inspired by you! I eat up every post about your jewelry company and respect your advice to business owners. I know i get caught up in the “little things” in regards to getting my business going (also jewelry), so i love to see how you “just do it”
    thanks for sharing the details of your trip with us!

  • http://spryonthewall.blogspot.com Jenny

    I love hearing about your experiences, it’s so exciting to “tag along”! I live for magazines. So fantastic!

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  • http://southernfete.com Valerie

    Thanks for the peak inside your PR tour! How exciting! Agree about alternate universe life too!

  • http://www.aphrochic.com aphrochic

    I am so happy for you!!!! What an amazing time you must have had. Good luck with all you’re doing Jess.

  • http://justcallmesassy.blogspot.com Sassy Molassy

    Just reading this now and I love the recap. Sounds like some really great things are coming from those desk sides! Congrats to you! And impressive that you wore those wedges around in the rain.

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  • http://www.MonaeEverett.com Monae

    This is awesome advice. I’m a hair and makeup artist who would love to do desk sides and “pay per mentions” any idea how to make these connections without a PR firm?

  • Jess

    Monae, thanks so much for your comment about PR! Unfortunately I only pursued PR and desk sides via my PR team and have focused on online marketing and promotion personally. So I am not familiar with getting desk sides without a friend in PR or a PR team. : )