Tanya Farmer, account director at fashion pr company Dantan Ltd gives us an insight into the fabulous world of fashion pr.
How did you get into your current role?
I’ve always worked in PR, pharmaceutical and then music; then I met my partner, whose background is fashion and he suggested we set up an agency, 8 years later, here we are!
Talk us through a day in your life at work: I get to work at 9am. The day is started going through emails and making sure I’ve had replies to emails sent the day before. It’s so important to make sure you tie up loose ends. Being a PR is almost 2 jobs in 1. Fashion Editors and stylists have extremely busy roles and it’s not their responsibility to make sure they call you for every fashion story they might be working on, therefore, it’s imperative to stay in touch with them; never rely on them replying to emails or returning phone calls, they don’t have time! However, there’s a seriously fine line between staying in touch and becoming totally annoying! You have to get that level right. Once the emails have been checked, I move onto the phone calls. I don’t start making these until mid morning; it gives the contacts a chance to get themselves sorted. Then, dependent on what call ins I have, I start to choose items to send to them. Again, this is something that you have to be really careful with, there’s nothing more time wasting for a stylist than to send them a red top when all they asked for was pink. Don’t do it! My days wind down by about 5ish and I start to arrange myself for the next day. There are often events and places to be ‘seen’ at which can happen on any day of the week. It’s also a good idea to meet all your contacts on a regular basis, lunches, coffees or the odd night out are a great idea.
What skills do you need to do your job?
You need to be super-organised and you really, really need to be good with names, voices, job roles. You also need to be confident. There’s nothing more off putting than speaking to someone who isn’t really sure of what they’re doing, it can close doors before you’ve even started. You also need to be good at reading people. PR is about getting to know people, learning to understand their likes and dislikes. It’s ultimately about befriending people but not in a fake way. You have to strike a balance.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Seeing your product on a magazine page, in a fashion shoot, on a celeb or on telly, it really gives you job satisfaction!
What’s the worst thing about your job?
Being treated a little, how shall we say, rudely and brusquely by some of the fashion editors and stylists! You need to be quite thick skinned!
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
I supplied clothing to the Costume Designer of a new zombie film starring Danny Dyer. She very kindly invited myself and my other half onto the set to watch some filming, it was brilliant, and we met all the cast and crew. It was in a disused hospital in Sussex. We had dinner with them all and then as a huge surprise, she grabbed my other half and dressed him as a deceased victim of zombies, covered him in fake blood and put him in a scene with one of the lead actors! That was a brilliant experience!
What advice can you give someone wanting to do your job?
Take your time to find the right agency or brand to work for. The more well known the brand is the more regimented what you can do will be but on the flipside, the press will be easier to achieve. If you work for a more obscure brand, one that isn’t particularly active with regards to advertising, it can be an uphill struggle to persuade people to use the clothing but the free reigns you have make it more enjoyable. Always try and diversify, there’s so many routes to take, there are a million TV and film productions ongoing, thousands of magazines available, you just have to find them!
What motto do you live by?
Do it now, not tomorrow.