Crosby Noricks

The 'It' girl of Fashion PR

Crosby Noricks is a creative marketing strategist and social storyteller for fashion brands that get it, as well an author and founder of PR Couture. Named one of 25 Essential PR Blogs by PR Web, PR Couture is a beloved resource among fashion publicists and brands who rely on the site for fresh insight into public relations, marketing and social media as well as expert interviews, strategic counsel and job leads. Crosby was included in the iMedia 25 Class of 2012 as a key influencer in interactive marketing, along with executives from Twitter, Starbucks and Volkswagon. Crosby published her first book, “Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR,” in February 2012 and quickly followed up with a supplemental eBook, “Pitch Perfect,” in October. Connect with her on Twitter @crosbynoricks and @prcouture.

1. You are known as the “fashion publicist’s most powerful accessory,” and the “West Coast ‘It’ girl of fashion PR.” How did you build your amazing reputation? As many of us who get into PR, I have a natural desire to help others succeed. PR Couture was created as a platform to share information about fashion PR as well as celebrate the people who are a part of it. When you come from a place of just wanting to help, to be of service and to connect people to ideas and opportunities, it automatically puts you in a position of being someone people enjoy working with, because you aren’t trying to “get” anything from them.

2. What was your motivation for starting PR Couture?  I spent two years doing in-house marketing and PR for a celebrity-inspired jewelry brand while attending graduate school for a Master’s in Communication. I enjoyed my job and wanted to learn more about how fashion PR worked. While writing my graduate thesis there was hardly anything about fashion PR available online, so I started the site as a place for others who were interested in fashion PR to be able to come and learn something. I also wanted to combat the idea that fashion PR is somehow less intricate than the corporate communication that is often taught in PR programs, so I started posting interviews with fashion publicists asking them to share the realities of the job and their approach.

3. Where did you begin? Did you have a business plan? I came up with the idea over the period of a few days, bought the domain name, and spent a few more days in tutorial land – figuring out how to use WordPress. In the beginning I identified PR Couture as a blog, it is only in the last 2 years that I started to consider it a brand.

4. How did you create such a successful company? I don’t really consider PR Couture a successful company yet – I do think I have been successful at creating a destination and community where one didn’t exist. I’ve successfully leveraged PR Couture for job opportunities, and it has opened many doors to have some pretty incredible experiences. However, until 2 months ago I always had a full-time job, in addition to the site, which made any monetary success more like the icing and less of a cake. Now that it’s my whole cake, so to speak, there is much to be done.

5. Did you need help?  If so, how did you find the help you needed? In the beginning I did all of the set-up myself except for a designer friend who created the original PR Couture logo. Over the years I have relied heavily on referrals from friends and business associates to find the right people to help me grow and evolve PR Couture and I have had interns off an on throughout the years, most of which I found through posting on PR Couture.

6. What does your support system look like? Do you have certain people that you consult with? While the majority, I’d say 90% of the work falls to me, I have learned to make investments in certain things  - like graphic design and web development – and avail myself of a great team of interns who keep things running smoothly. I have two interns right now, one that helps to manage our advertisers and another who is working on a content audit of the current site as well as a few new projects .  I absolutely know I cannot do this by myself, and one of my biggest hurdles is figuring out what support is out there, who are my right people to work with, and where does it merit paying for that support. With major fashion editors getting huge financial backing to start digital sites,  the increasing expectations of an increasingly tech savvy reader, and more noise in the PR blog space, I am challenged to deliver a site experience that continues to be valuable.

7. What challenges have you experienced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? I am definitely my biggest challenge – if only because ultimately it’s my responsibility, my actions that are either allowing something to happen or saying no. I’ve worked in environments that were hostile, I’ve accepted less pay than I deserved, I’ve accepted work that doesn’t light me up, and I’ve worked with people who didn’t have my best interests at heart – but then again, who hasn’t. I think some of these negative experiences actually primed me to be quite good at helping young women navigate their career path (something I do through consulting sessions), as well as a great business partner. These days, as an entrepreneur, the biggest challenge I face is that there is no one but me to decide that something needs to be done, or that changing something is the right idea. All that autonomy is a challenge!

8. What was your most critical learning lesson? A lesson I have learned lately is that some people are your right people – they are excited to take a meeting with you, they are willing to pick you up at the airport, they keep you in mind, and they want to help you. Other people just aren’t. And that is totally fine. And it is likely not personal. You just aren’t a priority for them. They key is that it is also totally fine to stop trying to convince them or prove to them they have it wrong, or to take it personally as a reflection on you or your talent. It can actually be very gratifying to be like, “oh I get that I’m not important to you, and that’s fine, and I’m going to go now.”

9. What advice would you give to someone looking to follow their passion? Get clear about what that passion is and what you really want from it. Sometimes, having passion tied up into work takes the sweetness out of it. I am a huge advocate for doing the scary thing and walking away from stability and into the unknown, because you know, in your soul, that is more you could be doing and feeling than your current gig. I just think that is possibly the most important part – your willingness to jump. Be both open and compassionate with whatever comes next and celebrate yourself for daring to ask for more.

10. What’s next on your professional agenda? I’ll be co-teaching the second Fashion PR Confidential, a 2-day fashion PR workshop in Los Angeles in June, I have a few new book ideas rattling around, and I’m eager to work with savvy fashion and lifestyle brands who are interested in co-creating meaningful experiences with their customers.

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