Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Interview: Beauty PR Lucy Dartford

Beauty interview:
Lucy Dartford
Public Relations

Age 26

Having studied Fashion Promotion at the University for the Creative Arts
(UCA) in Epsom I immediately knew PR and marketing was an area I wanted to further explore. I really enjoyed networking and meeting new people.

On leaving uni, I worked at a leading fashion, beauty and lifestyle PR company working as an intern. Worked long hours and didn’t get paid but watched, listen and learnt how a real PR company was run.
I worked closely with everyone from account execs, account managers through to the directors and further developed the skills I learnt at university, for example, writing press releases, launch parties, copy-writing etc I got stuck in as much as the job allowed. I was then promoted to PR Assistant and started to get more involved in various accounts. It was at this stage that I knew beauty and fashion was my forte.
Due to the size of the company and low salary, developing within this company was looking difficult so I chose to go my own way. Within my time at
at this PR company, I had personally built up my own contacts database and had a strong understanding of how this industry worked. I had also formed several close relationships with various journalists and magazine editors

In order to get some money together and consider the possibility of working for myself, I worked as a make up consultant for YSL. It was during this time that I was approached by Jinny Lash, the eyelash extension specialists.

The company director knew of my previous PR experience and needed a strategy
that would inject some excitement into her brand. I devised and pitched a PR
strategy with the previous knowledge from university and my time at the initial PR company. I was then appointed PR consultant for Jinny Lash and began my campaign.

Over time i achieved some good results, which were echoed in sales and dramatically increased revenue and gave me the buzz to continue and achieve more. During this time, i began researching other PR companies and hired a graphic designer to design my own company corporate ID. On registering myself as a PR consultant, my corporate ID was then fed into various marketing material such as business cards, letter head etc

Through my work with Jinny Lash, I joined forces with numerous companies such as Ann Summers/ Knickerbox and previewed the eyelash technique at their press days. This offered me a platform to reconnect with various journalists/ editors and reintroduce myself as a freelance PR consultant. It was around this time that Jinny Rainbow, sister company to Jinny Lash also enlisted my services.

During my time with Jinny Lash and Jinny Rainbow, I was head hunted by Tracie Giles, CEO of Tracie Giles International, and N0.1 Harley Street. Having seen the results I was achieving for the Jinny brand, we joined forces.

I have now been operating for approximately 6 months and have since been approached and pitched for 3 more brands: 2 beauty brands and 1 fashion house. I have also enlisted a fantastic web design team who will launch my website end Feb.

Highlights have included:
-Achieving high quality editorial in consumer press including Tatler, Marie Claire and The Daily Mail which resulted in impressive profit growth and SEO rankings -Working with various celebrities to achieve some great endorsement -Working alongside high profile companies and brands for various promotions including Juicy Couture perfume launch, Ann Summers/ Knickerbox press days and OK celebrity parties -being interviewed for TV and radio shows, Wedding TV being the most recent -being interviewed and photographed for Boots magazine and Essentials magazines (both out in Feb I believe) -Assisting in the growth of the Jinny brand and launching brand into Selfridges and other major retail locations

What you love most:
I really enjoy being my own boss. I am free to use my own knowledge and intuition to devise various PR campaigns and strategies. I get a huge sense of satisfaction when a strategy is successful and love to exceed client expectations. I love meeting new people and have the privilege of working with some of the worlds most inspirational women and men everyday. There is nothing better than waking up and loving what you do.

Challenges you face day to day:

Sometimes there just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day!
Working for myself means I do everything myself! From press releases to last minute press requests to updating reports, I have to be on the ball and available at all times of the day which can often continue late into the evening and weekends. I also have to constantly recalibrate and readjust my company expenditure with imperative databases and portals such as Gorkana and Beauty4media.

The Future:
Moving forward and on launching my website, I hope to expand and perhaps take on another member of staff.

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