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).
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.
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!