Name: Liz Walker
Job Title: Director of Public Relations for Tibi
College/ Major: Emory University/ Political Science
Twitter Handle: @TibiPR
What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Liz Walker: We do have typical days, although they only account for about half of our time -- the other half is always something new and exciting. As part of a typical day, we talk with the fashion editors at all our target publications (Elle, Vogue, W, Marie Claire, InStyle, etc.) and send samples for any relevant photo shoots they’re working on. Right now, for example, we’re sending samples for Holiday Gift Guides. We’re always keeping them abreast of new collections, collaborations or any celebrities wearing our clothing. Once or twice a week, we’ll take an editor to lunch. When you’re vying against hundreds of other designers for a spot in an issue, face time is important for keeping up relations and staying on their radar.
What is the best part of your job?
LW: I’d say our office environment and the people I work with. We have a loft-like space in SoHo that’s bright and spacious with over fifty employees who get along very well. It’s all about work, but we have a great time doing it.
What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
LW: I started at a PR agency, Emilia Fanjul Communications, in New York City. I was schlepping a lot of samples and making frequent trips to the closest Staples. Agency life is tough; however, it gives you a great insight into the industry. When hiring, I always make a mental note of those who’ve had this type of experience.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
LW: I can’t say there’s anything I ‘wish’ I knew then. Of course I’ve learned a ton, but nothing that would have been a life changer if I’d known it when I first started out. It can be long hours and a lot of work but no different than many other industries. If anything, it’s more fun!
Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
LW: My current boss Amy (pictured with Walker). She has a knowledge for the fashion industry like no one else. I also respect how she and her husband run the business.
What words of wisdom (well-known quotes, an anecdote from your boss) do you find most valuable?
LW: You have to believe in what you’re “selling”. There’s no way I could work for Tibi, or any other company, if I didn’t 110% believe in and love the product. Enthusiasm in what you’re representing is a must in order to get the job done well.
What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
LW: I botched one of our “exclusive” news stories -which was due to run in an important national newspaper- by trusting another editor who was set to cover it right after this main exclusive ran. He lied to me and ran it first, so our large print publication pulled their story. You don’t find that very much, but I guess (sadly) I learned not to be so trusting.
What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
LW: Relevant experience. I think it’s a huge advantage to have at least one or two summer internships in the PR industry before you go out looking for a full time job. If they don’t have a personal reference, this is always what I look to first.
As a Public Relations Director for a successful New York designer, how do you survive the chaos of New York Fashion Week?
LW: Fashion week itself isn’t terrible. The show is our only focus -- everything else is put on hold. We work late hours and act as a well-oiled machine. The actual show day is another story. We’re pretty organized here but no matter how early you start, or how detail oriented you are, there’s always a bit of (good) madness. The key to pulling it off successfully is that no one else notices the chaos.
What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
LW: As I mentioned before, I strongly recommend interning in the fashion PR industry during your summer breaks. Otherwise, it’s about networking and following through (without being a pest). I receive a lot of resumes and there are times I don’t get a chance to follow up, but a second email from someone always catches my attention.
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