you lovely lot are in for a real treat today! i managed to get a few minutes with Fiona Minett, the founder of fashion/beauty/lifestyle PR agency Peachy PR, to grill her all about how she got to where she is today, what she looks for in potential candidates, and the wonderful (and crazy) world of PR. it's amazing to see someone so young achieve so much, so sit back, relax and enjoy! ps. you might want to grab a tea + biscuit for this one, it's long (but VERY interesting!)
How did you initially pursue your career in PR?
I had done a History of Art degree, but decided that I wanted to work in Fashion. I was in the process of applying for an MA in Fashion History when, in some downtime between jobs, I secured a some work experience with a local PR agency and loved it. It felt to me that I had found what I was good at as well as finding something that I enjoyed doing and could be passionate about. From there I continued to work in agency and worked in-house before setting up Peachy PR.
Did you feel that experience was vital, or that your degree/education helped you?
My degree, although unrelated to PR, gave me the right foundations in perception, written communication, research, time-management, analysis and self-motivation; all essential tools for PR professionals. I have read a number of PR directors say that students coming from a History, History of Art or English degree background often have a good aptitude for PR. Work experience then gave me the practical tools and knowledge to really start to understand PR, how it works and how it benefits businesses of all sizes. I think the most crucial thing for anyone stepping into PR is to remain motivated, keen to learn and really embrace the opportunities that come your way regardless of education and experience.
How did it feel to take the scary leap into creating your own business?
It was a leap that I always knew I wanted to take; it was just a case of when. I got to the stage where I had learnt and honed the skills that I needed and decided to take the plunge. Initially I was planning on working freelance but decided that I would eventually want to take the route into a business and to build a team, so I created Peachy PR. It was daunting and overwhelming, it can still be in some respects, but I’m glad I made the leap of faith (most of the time!).
What’s a typical day like at Peachy PR?
I can be going to/from networking sessions, trade shows, meetings with clients or pitching to new business anywhere in England, ideally stopping into the office at some point during the day to catch up with the Peaches and what is going on at HQ. A normal day in the office can be varied, depending on what client events, campaigns and launches we might be working on but would typically consist of vast amounts of emails and phone calls for all the team, whether this is to journalists and stylists or clients. We try and take time out to read up on what the magazines are talking about at any given point; this allows us to research opportunities for our clients and understand who to pitch to and what they’re looking for. We do a lot of writing; press releases, pitches, web/blog content as well as social media output. Most of the girls work across nearly all of the client accounts, providing a nice variety in their work and also, allowing for a variety in the type of coverage that they can achieve for the clients, our agency and, ultimately, their portfolios.
How do you tend to look for new talent?
It can be hard to take the time out to scout for new talent so I often have to rely on people coming to me in terms of coming across the various job adverts that might be posted online but also those who follow/spot our updates on social media and our website. We will always post opportunities here, so if Peachy PR is of interest, just keep an eye out or send your CV across for us to keep on file for when the opportunity presents itself. It can only be a positive if someone is proactive enough to seek out the agency and understand what we do.
What traits would you look for in a potential new employee?
There are a lot of character traits that make a good PR professional, but that doesn’t mean to say that different characters won’t thrive in the industry. General attributes include: Self-motivation, being a self-starter, initiative, creativity, strong communication (both written and verbal), patience, persistence and a conscientious approach.
What’s been your favourite campaign to work on so far?
We have a couple of exciting campaigns and launches in the pipeline, but two of my favourites are Langs of London and Florrie & Bill. Working with Langs of London allowed us to plan and execute a launch event in London, inviting key wedding press including You & Your Wedding, Wedding, Wedding Ideas and Your London Wedding as well as working on the follow up placement and a continued press campaign.
Florrie & Bill has been a pleasure for all of us to work on; the press have absolutely loved the unique collaboration between the brand and fabric label, Flock. This was a low key launch to press with no event, just product, samples and information and the pick-up has exceeded expectation to include placements in many of the short lead supplements and numerous long lead interior titles including Grand Designs, Period Living, The Observer Magazine and The Sunday Times Style. We’re looking forward to launching their next collaboration this month…
Any pet peeves that you find?
Grammatical errors on CVs and cover letters/emails are frustrating. Maybe I’m a bit too pedantic about this but I have seen it all. To the extreme, I have had applications sent with a cover letter for a different job at a completely different agency.
Favourite new fashion trend?
I am not so much one for trends but I am currently obsessed with polonecks, Capes (blanket and otherwise) and faux fur. I love to layer. I always find Spring/Summer trends enchanting with the scope of colour palettes from pastel to neon, florals and embellishments but I’m definitely an A/W dresser.
We have to stay on the pulse for our clients though, so we will try and get out to trend forecasting events in order to be best positioned to share upcoming trends with clients and also to capitalise on them when it comes to pitching and communicating with the press.
Do you have any advice for people hoping to gain a career in fashion PR?
Everyone has to start somewhere, so do everything you can to secure work experience early on. It doesn’t have to wait until you finish Uni, it can be summer placements or part time opportunities. Don’t doubt that passion shines through and someone will offer you the break or the right opportunity if you can show determination and a motivation to succeed and learn. Every placement you take is an opportunity to learn and gain further insight into a face paced industry, so use this as a competitive advantage and make the most of every situation.
It definitely also helps to be savvy and aware when it comes to new trends, celebs of the moment, new designers and fashion influencers; this is something that you can work to your advantage and can be offered as part of the value that you would bring to an organisation. Also, (it sounds obvious but it is surprising how many people don’t do this) if you want to work in PR you have to read and understand magazines and traditional media. It’s so easy to focus attention on blogs and social media as a means of keeping ahead of the game and it’s completely valid and crucially important in PR today, however, there is a lot to be said for a true understanding of traditional print media. Not just for your own demographic, but outside your interests to encompass interiors, men’s or monthlies such as Woman & Home or Good Housekeeping for example. Broadening your experience and understanding in these ways will help to make you a well-rounded PR professional.
We never stop learning.
Until next time xo