FashionPR.com Interview : Beth Overzat and Beth Thomas Cohen - B’ squared Public Relations

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Name: 
Beth Overzat and Beth Thomas Cohen
Business Name: 
B’ squared Public Relations

 

Where did you work before founding your FashionPR firm?: 

Our combined background includes a well-rounded mix of both agency and in-house PR as well as editorial, merchandising and strategic marketing. Beth Thomas Cohen is a former fashion editor, with years of experience at O OPRAH Magazine and Cosmo Girl!. She left her career in magazines to become the Director of Public Relations at Lambertson Truex. Overzat began her career in Sales, PR and Marketing at Chambers Hotel. Her experience in luxury hotel marketing also includes retail merchandising for boutiques in Four Seasons, Loews and Ritz Carlton resorts. From there she went on to work for Jaqui Lividini at LWP, managing a range of fashion and accessory clients, including many Liz Claiborne brands, Michele Watches and Natori.

It was at LWP, where “the Beth’s” met in 2007. We worked together on all of our accounts, and from day one, our divergent backgrounds formed a dynamic, well-balanced team.

Why did you start your fashion PR firm ?: 

There was clearly a void in the market for a PR company that specialized and focused on emerging talent in the accessory category. We launched B’ squared to provide personalized and intimate representation to up-and-coming designers, consulting to help grow their business strategically through appropriate media exposure. We enjoy working with start-up companies, as it is so rewarding to have hand in helping these designers accomplish their dreams.

How many hours you rougly work per week?: 

an infinite number of hours! We are in the office 5-days a week, but mornings, nights and weekends are often spent working. Our client’s needs are always our priority, no matter the time or the day of the week.

What does a fashion pr do ?: 

Our job is to help build brand recognition for our clients via media exposure. We are extremely hands-on with our clients, we consult on every aspect of their business, from product and collection development to product placement on the appropriate celebrities, television, movies, in magazines and other media outlets. Our philosophy and strategy is tailored for each brand that we work with, as they each have individual identities, needs and goals.

What are the key skills to being a great fashion pr ?: 

The most crucial component of PR is building strong relationships. Knowing the right people in the industry, maintaining and nurturing those relationships is really the backbone of public relations. Excellent communication and writing skills are also a must. Lastly, artfully managing clients expectations, always maintaining an open and honest relationship are important factors in a successful and effective client/agent partnership.

What should a new designer expect from a fashion pr ?: 

One thing that we often remind our clients is that success does not happen overnight. Developing a brand image and achieving a level of both industry and consumer awareness takes time and patience. But with determination, focus and perseverance, anything is possible!

How to chose a fashion pr ?: 

Choosing someone to represent your brand is a very personal, intimate decision. We tell potential clients to really do their homework and ask around before signing with an agency. If possible, talk with their previous and existing clients, editors, journalists to get feedback and learn a bit about their reputation from people who have worked with them first hand. Most importantly, go with your gut. You really need to have full trust and confidence in your publicists and have a level of comfort in working with them. We work so closely with our clients, that it is almost as if we are a part of their in-house team.

How do you bring new brands into your agency ?: 

We have been fortunate that in our first year of business (we started B’squared officially in Jan ’09), we have signed on a total of 8 clients relying only on word-of-mouth referrals. Many of our existing clients have introduced us to designer friends of theirs in need of PR representation for their lines. A happy client spreading the word that they love their publicist is the ultimate compliment, and the most effective way for us to grow our client roster.

How do you demonstrate results for your clients ?: 

Quantifying results in PR can be a challenge and often times it s impossible to measure the exact result and impact that PR can have on a business. We of course track and chronicle all of our placements in the press and keep a log of our credits for each individual client. With some placements, an immediate and direct result is seen with a spike in sales or increased traffic to the designer’s website. In comparison, an A-list celebrity wearing a client’s handbag to a major event can have a huge impact over time to building a brand, but there is not an instant effect that can be measured.

How to know what a publication or stylist wants?: 

Our combined years of experience on the edit side of the business, in house and at agencies has helped us both achieve a level of understanding of all angles of the business. We have seen it all and have learned not only to do, but what NOT to do! We have developed an appreciation for what happens on the “other side” and tailor the way that we operate based on the needs and desires of stylists and editors. Our respect for their time and their needs makes them more eager to come to us because they know that we have a grasp on the sense of urgency of a request and that the product and choices we offer them will be pre-edited. We aim to make their job easier, not more difficult...which they very much appreciate!

What would you recommend to college graduate to help start their career?: 

Network, network, network! Talk to people who work in the industry and don’t be too proud to start from the ground up. Everyone must pay their dues and put in the hours. Don’t ever turn down the chance to meet with someone, even if the job may not sound completely ideal. Jobs in fashion are extremely coveted, so any way you can get your foot in the door is a great opportunity to work hard and prove you have what it takes to succeed.

Contact Info: 
Facebook Group: B’squared Public Relations [email protected] [email protected]

 

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