If a small firm in Seattle can do it, you can too.
Owning your own PR firm may be more fun than you think. Especially if you work with clients like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and Strideline socks. Maile is doing what brings her happiness. I met Maile at a meet and greet for Mario Lopez a few years ago and instantly networked with her. Her job is one that I have always dreamed of having.
Where do you work and what is your job title?
I work for my own boutique PR Firm, Cabral Edwards Management. My job title is co-founder and lead account executive. I founded the company in March 2011 with my business partner Kassie Edwards.
Why did you choose to go into PR?
PR naturally found me. In the past ten years, PR and Marketing have converged and I am good at marketing. Moving into PR was a natural fit for my skill set.
Where did you receive your PR degree?
I didn’t! I received a degree in Education from the University of Kansas, with a double Major in Portuguese. I’ve found that my degree in Education and the English skills I learned in school have been extremely beneficial to my PR job now.
What were some obstacles you faced after college when you were trying to find your dream career?
It’s difficult to find the right job opportunity that makes you happy. For me, happiness is owning my own firm. That may be someone else’s nightmare. I highly suggest getting at least two in-depth internships before entering the job market. You’ll get a taste of what different companies are like and develop relationships that you’ll hopefully take with you into the market when you are hired. Those internships can also lead to paid positions when the opportunity is right.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is being a small business owner. I get to control my schedule and decide what hours I want work. When you own your own business, you no longer have a boss, which can be a great thing. However, you’ll find that your clients become your boss in a metaphorical kind of way. If they need something and its 11 pm at night, you have two choices. Choice one is to not complete the task, and risk losing your client or choice two, complete the work even though it is a less than convenient time of day.
Where do you have previous PR experience?
Prior to owning my own agency I worked 4 years at a marketing agency. My position included completing both marketing and PR tasks.
Describe to me a typical day at work for you.
There really is no typical work day for me. In general, my time is spent either servicing existing clients, networking for new clients, participating in events that support other PR executives in non-competitive fields and developing myself professionally.
Servicing existing clients is always number one to my business partner and I and always takes priority to all other tasks. First thing in the morning, I scan email, voicemails and texts for communications from existing clients. These communications take priority to all others and are addressed first. Client communications also take priority to all personal communications.
Our business is word of mouth only and we have been fortunate enough to not have to advertise our company or go out and “sell” new clients. This does not however mean that we are not actively seeking out new clients on a regular basis. We attend fashion related events, conferences and tradeshows and let people know we are “available”. We prefer to let everyone know we are available, then see who comes back to us organically.
I have a large network of other publicists I rely on for advice, that I give advice to, and provide support for when needed. You’ll find that when you give to others with no strings attached, these same people will help you out, perhaps when you need it most. So much of what I do in PR is absolutely who you know.
How do you use social media in your job?
We use social media in a variety of ways. We use it to push out content for our clients or to share relevant content about our company. We also have clients that ask us to manage their social media on their behalf, or to set up their social media accounts for them. There are PR and marketing agencies that specialize in social media and on occasion we hire them out to manage in depth social media campaigns that we don’t have the time to execute.
If I remember correctly, you have your own PR firm. Do prefer having your own business or working for someone else?
Both my business partner and I have worked for someone else in the past. I know for sure that we both prefer to work for ourselves. However, there is a lot of extra work when you own your own firm (invoicing, taxes, payroll, etc.) that take up a significant amount of time that you might not have to manage if you worked for someone else. You just have to decide what is right for you.
Have you had any significant clients? (well-known?)
We do! We have clients that we work with on several different levels. From project based clients who hire us to execute a single short term project, to clients we represent on a full retainer, on an exclusive contract. Some of our most well known clients include Hudson Jeans, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and ABC’s The Bachelor and Bachelorette.
Can you tell me about any of the clients you have now?
Absolutely! Most of our clients are fashion brands. We are currently working most actively with C4 Belts, Modify Watches, Rich Kids Brand, Strideline socks, Radley Raven and Medium Apparel. All of these brands will be seen on this season of ABC’s The Bachelorette.
Do you have any advice for students entering the PR field?
Work hard, and never let anyone get you down. There is a lot of competition in PR, and you have to naturally be competitive. Work harder, and smarter than the person next to you and strive to make yourself irreplaceable. Be pleasant to work with and kind to others. I have found that clients absolutely prefer working with a PR firm that is pleasant and kind and have left other firms who had not been so pleasant to work with.