Last week marked the launch of Edith Press, our new boutique PR and communications firm. A friend asked what was the catalyst in this new venture. The answer is simple, even though a bit long-winded: I’ve been on the client side through my own brand and know what it’s like to work with boutique PR firms and freelancers. That’s the short answer. Further explanation leads to the dichotomy between client and PR. For most in the world of public relations, it’s difficult to fully comprehend what it’s like to be in the client/brand side. Creating a brand, producing designs/samples, and ultimately bringing products to market is a feat unto itself. Designers and brands are in a way a group unto themselves. Few understand the intricacies which go into launching a product; taking it from sketch, seeing it through production, and finally delivering the finished product into the hands of consumers.
The Designer Side: Hands-on Production.
Producing a product and ultimately bringing it to market has its difficulties. It’s tedious and not easy to say the least. Whether a designer or brand-builder, you know the obstacles and in-depth problems encountered each step of the way. Take production for instance. You opened a new mould or possibly worked on a prototype and created that first sample. The sample looks amazing and you give the go-ahead to put the new design into production. It’s an exciting time waiting to see these end results: well crafted products you can’t wait to bring to market for the world to see. Also in the back of your mind you know mistakes happen during production and fingers crossed nothing happens this time. But then something does happen and you can’t sell this production run. The thread used to sew your designs wasn’t the same one you agreed upon with the factory. Instead, they used one that is lesser quality and cheaper, causing fabric or leather to easily fall apart. When mistakes happen in production, you aren’t thinking about the public relations firm you are working with or hope to hire in the future, instead, you wonder if you have enough funds for another round of production or if you can even stay afloat.
Where Does Public Relations Fit into the Equation? Usually Last.
A large percentage of small designers and brands do not rely on outside funding. Of course we wish an ample supply of relatives and friends with deep pockets existed, but more often than not it simply isn’t reality; we are self-funded. When production problems occur, there isn’t a cushiony backup in the bank ready to rollout a new production run. In the ups-and-downs and heartache of bringing a design into reality, public relations is far removed from a designer’s vision. If and when new products reach market, there may be scant funds to even consider PR. Fashion and beauty public relations is usually the final step in debuting a new collection or product. Without public relations and marketing, customers have a harder time discovering unique products. However, the reality is that designers’ budgets rarely have room for in-depth monthly retainer fees. If more people understood the hurdles brands and designers endure before they start working with PR, there would be a variety of modern packages – flexible offerings for those on a tight budget. This is exactly what Edith Press offers: flexibility. We know PR is often left until last; we are one of the few agencies that offer nimble packages outside of your basic monthly retainer.
It’s presumptuous to think nearly all PR in the industry have no understanding of the magnitude and wherewithal it takes to create a product from scratch. Some probably do. However, unless they grew up in the garment industry or have inside knowledge of product design and production, it’s difficult for outsiders to fully comprehend the inner workings and problems that arise. Opening new moulds, sourcing craftsmen and factories that accept small orders, production problems, shipping logistics…the list is long and it’s not something normal PR and marketing teams grasp with insider knowledge.
Client View to PR View.
We don’t claim complete insider knowledge of all product niches and coinciding production, but we do have laser-focus understanding from our personal, hands-on, real life brand experience. We know what it’s like to design and produce products from the ground up without outside funding. We know the disappointment, heartache, and even fear when a production run fails. We also know what it’s like to work with PR on a tight budget. This collective experience is the foundation of Edith Press.
As cliche and inelegant (cheesy) as it sounds, there is truth that Edith Press is PR for the people by the people. It’s presumptuous and outdated to think every designer, brand, or artist has the budget for monthly retainer fees. Edith Press is proudly independent in that we offer discerning packages for each step along the way. From experience, we know that a designer may only need their products pitched to editors, or they require a la carte services such as line sheets or a press release. No two clients or their needs are the same. Ninety percent of businesses out there are small businesses. We hope to help your brand grow with custom plans that suit your needs.
by Jill Talbott. Co-founder Edith Press