In recent years, online shopping has revolutionised the retail industry and opened up a variety of interesting job opportunities. Chloe Clark is an ambitious, fashion-forward woman who knows first hand how public relations techniques have had to change in order to adapt to the world wide web. She works as a public relations manager for Beginning Boutique – an Australian based online store selling a variety of stylish yet affordable items from a number of brands.
It seems like a dream come true for someone as openly interested in fashion as Chloe, however she admits working in public relations is not the career she had envisioned for herself. She studied a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations major) at The University of Queensland. When asked whether she has always wanted to work in this type of role, she explained that she has “always had a love for fashion” but her “interest in PR began after studying journalism at UQ.” In particular, it was the realisation that people working in public relations do the majority of the work for the journalists which made her make the switch to public relations. She wanted to be on “the other side” but kept her options open, imagining herself working as either a reporter, or in public relations for a larger organisation or in-house.
The level of competitiveness in the fashion industry made her unsure of how she would combine her two passions. Luckily enough, after seeing an advertisement on Facebook for an internship, Chloe interned at Beginning Boutique and upon graduating landed herself a paid job there. In her opinion “interning is the best way to get experience in the industry.” Although you may not be getting paid and, at the time, feel like you are not getting anything in return for your time and effort – “the knowledge you will gain is invaluable, and the contacts you will make come in handy down the track.” Prior to interning at Beginning Boutique, she also interned at Style Magazine, the Red PR Group and was a volunteer at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival.
Chloe believes her willingness to learn has contributed to her progression at Beginning Boutique. She began in customer care packing the orders but now manages the public relations and also works as a stylist – the best of both worlds. Her public relations role involves liaising with brands and personalities, events, promotions and much more. Communication skills are essential to her job and she says “being professional but still relatable” is important, especially when you are constantly communicating with other brands and customers. Working with “like-minded creatives” who are all under the age of 25 and passionate about their roles at Beginning Boutique is the best part of her job, and Chloe believes it also contributes to the success of the store itself. For public relations to be successful “you have to be passionate about the field of work you are working in, because if you don’t have a desire to succeed or be the best in your industry, you won’t have any motivation to achieve your goals” she explained.
Since the introduction of social media, the public relations environment has changed completely. Every online fashion boutique has it’s own Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and so forth – therefore it is important for Chloe to make Beginning Boutique stand out from it’s competitors, using social media and other methods. It is essential that companies adapt to each new technology or social media platform, and use it to their advantage. This is the most difficult yet “interesting” part of the job, according to Chloe. Social media is a huge part of the communication and public relations strategy at Beginning Boutique – the store has it’s own Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest accounts, along with it’s own blog. All of these are constantly updated and engaging with present and potential future customers. “A quick look at our Facebook and Instagram will show amazing content, both branded and non branded, that makes our customers constantly involved with BB” said Chloe, whose role includes having high involvement in all of Beginning Boutique’s social media platforms.
In particular, Instagram has “taken over” social media public relations. It is a platform which Chloe believes brands need to invest more time and money into. Beginning Boutique has over 265,000 followers on Instagram and has collaborated with other brands and popular bloggers to widen it’s audience even further. “It’s a win-win situation for both parties” says Chloe. Collaborating means Beginning Boutique is able to branch into other audiences and in turn, the blogger or brand reaches into Beginning Boutique’s audience.
Social media is not the only method Chloe uses to spread awareness of Beginning Boutique. Events such as Pop-Up Sales, VIP Events and Blogger Breakfasts are organised monthly and used to raise the profile of Beginning Boutique, get feedback, say thank you and essentially reward customers for shopping. The Blogger Breakfasts aim to strengthen ties between Beginning Boutique and popular bloggers, who often have thousands of followers on different types of social media and can promote a brand or company in an instant.
With the number of online shopping stores only set to grow, marketing techniques are sure to adapt and improve to tackle the competition, and those working in public relations will bring these new tactics to life. Working at the forefront of the social media revolution will undoubtedly continue to be a challenge for Chloe – but it is one she enjoys whole heartedly. By simply listening to her speak about her job it is easy to tell how motivated and inspired she is. For someone so young and working in her first public relations role, Chloe is full of experience and knowledge that will undoubtedly benefit any business she works for in the future.