Starting a public relations agency isn’t necessarily the most traditional path to find work in the fashion industry. But a love for art and fashion eventually led Katherine Niefeld to do just that – and it allowed her to realize her dream of working in fashion.
An art history and psychology major at the University of Michigan, Niefeld spent her summers assisting fashion editors at Teen Vogue Magazine in New York. There, she had the opportunity to spend time with the magazine’s extensive clothing and accessories collections. That is where her love of fashion really blossomed. In an email interview with Small Business Trends, Niefeld said:
“When I moved to NYC after college and worked with Teen Vogue, my love for fashion really grew and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”
So in order to make fashion a part of her career, she attended New York University obtaining a Masters Degree in public relations.
Then in 2009, she launched her own boutique PR agency, BlinkPR. It was a gutsy move, but she chose the agency’s name based on one of her favorite books, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. She said the book taught her about the importance of going with her gut and just making her dreams happen. So she jumped into her new career and kept her focus on what originally drew her to it in the first place.
BlinkPR specializes in PR for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands. Often, the PR concepts Niefeld and her team use for their clients are the same that might be used for clients in other industries. But BlinkPR also specializes in helping with fashion shows and similar events. That gives Niefeld the opportunity to work with style collections and models, and to facilitate photography and videography interviews.
By staying focused on that specific niche, Niefeld was able to help BlinkPR stand apart from other agencies and find success. In 2013, the agency made over $700,000 and is projected to continue growing in 2014.
Even more important than the success, Niefeld says, is simply the fact that she’s been able to break into the industry she loves. She says that the fast paced environment and her ability to work with fashion designers are her favorite parts of the business and career she’s created.
I guess that’s one way to get into an industry. Just provide services that the industry needs.
It’s definitely not the most traditional path into the fashion industry, but it seems to have worked!