Man, I could write a novel on my experience living in the city in the summer of 2012. I had so many amazing experiences jam-packed into twelve weeks, it’s hard to decide where to start! I have gotten questions previously about how I got my job in fashion PR, and what I did. These are great questions, and I’d love to answer them here:
Why I went
Okay first of all – NYC? Duh. Fashion? DUH. I was inspired to apply to internships in New York by Lauren Berger, author of The Intern Queen*. I definitely recommend it to any college student applying to internships! In my personal life, I was fresh out of a break-up in spring 2012. Running away for a summer felt absolutely necessary. New York was far enough away from Pittsburgh without being horribly inconvenient to move back and forth.
My major was marketing, but I had always been interested in the fashion and entertainment industries. I was looking for opportunities to use my marketing skills in these fields. Fashion PR firms seemed like the perfect way to familiarize myself with multiple brands, and get a feel for how apparel brands work with publications, which is a huge part of their marketing strategy.
I applied to several PR firms in New York – yes, there are several. One that I was very excited to get an interview with was People’s Revolution, made famous by their former employees Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port from The Hills and The City. I’m a huge admirer of the owner and founder of the firm, Kelly Cutrone. She actually has two books out that I highly recommend reading – If You Have To Cry, Go Outside* and Normal Gets You Nowhere*. So, I was pretty starstruck to land a phone interview with them. So starstruck, I think, that I totally bombed my chances – I wasn’t contacted after. But it all worked out – Michele Marie interviewed me, I loved them, and I was excited to spend the summer with them.
What I did
Magazines and online publications – they’re constantly using clothing and jewelry for photo shoots and articles. But – how do they get that apparel? That’s where a fashion public relations firm comes in. Michele Marie PR is constantly in contact with the writers and editors of major publications like Elle, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan. These magazines let MMPR know what articles they’re planning to write, and MMPR sends them clothing and accessory samples that are a good fit for the topic.
Where did I come in? My supervisors were publicists – they handled what samples went where. My job was to pack up the samples, input where they were going in our tracking system, and hand deliver them to the news outlet. We worked with brands like Vineyard Vines, Junk Food Clothing (one of Urban Outfitters’ offerings), and ban.do, to name a few.
Because I was hand-delivering the samples, I got to travel up and down Manhattan several times a day – which was sometimes fun, and sometimes not so fun. I got to walk into the offices of major companies like Refinery 29 and Teen Vogue, which was awesome. I also had to hop off a downed subway train and sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic in a cab for an hour, on my birthday, to get to PopSugar before they closed for the day because I had accidentally gone to Park Ave instead of Park Ave South. That part wasn’t so fun. What I love, though, is that I’m now a vetted professional Manhattan navigator. Call me anytime – I’ll be able to tell you exactly where the nearest subway station is, and where to get off to get you where you need to go.
I also occasionally got to help with blogger outreach, press releases, and client briefings. One of our clients had a store in the Meatpacking District, and we would check out sample sales in the area when we went out to see them (That was how the morning of my birthday started – much better than how it ended). I also spent an afternoon with a marketing pro from Junk Food Clothing and a buyer for Urban Outfitters when I was helping them run a publicity event in Soho.
What Happened Next
When I moved back to Pennsylvania to start my senior year, I had every intention of moving back to NYC after graduation. But, the following May, I was offered a position in the admissions office at my college – the office I had worked for for three years already as a student tour guide. Taking this job allowed me to live at home for two years after graduation, get a free master’s degree, and to work with a group of coworkers who were (and still are) like family. Most importantly, I was able to spend every day in the hospital with my grandmother during her last week of life – something I might not have gotten, had I moved away. Everything happens for a reason, and I have no regrets about staying back in Pittsburgh after graduation. And it’s never too late to switch the path I’m on to steer back toward fashion… that’s one of the purposes I had with starting this blog!
What other questions can I answer about my summer in NYC? leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
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