For Charissa Lauren and Allyn Lewis (pictured above, from right to left), "Pretty Living" isn't just the name of the fashion and beauty-based public relations firm the pair started in Pittsburgh in February. Instead, it's a lifestyle. The young women carry the pinks and positivity of the brand into their day-to-day lives through promoting the city's entrepreneurs, celebrating women in business and supporting local charities at events, such as the Ladies Night for a Cause benefit last month at the Grey Box Theatre in Lawrenceville.
In its short tenure, the company has grown a steady clientele of brands from Pittsburgh and beyond, including Charity by Dawn Lilly makeup, Cutie Pitutie Bath & Beauty body products and Dona Jo Fitwear. Now the team is in New York to represent its client Andrea Howell, the Cleveland-based designer behind Tidal Cool Creations (fashion photos after Q&A below).
Tidal Cool Creations will be featured today at Small Boutique Fashion Week, part of the New York Fashion Week festivities taking place at the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th Street along Manhattan's West Side.
Meet Allyn ...
Having Pretty Living PR in Pittsburgh has been ... wonderful. Typically, everyone has this idea that to be a successful fashion-focused business, you have to work out of New York City or at the very least Los Angeles. However, we have managed to turn this into a business that can be done anywhere. We have clients in New York, Ohio, New Jersey and California. As our business continues to grow nationally, I love being able to stay close to my friends and family in Pittsburgh (with lots of traveling to other places, of course)!
In five years, we'd like to see Pretty Living PR ... in a pretty pink office! I would like to see our headquarters still based in Pittsburgh, but I envision many more Pretty Living representatives located throughout the country. We're additionally working on expanding Pretty Living magazine [a publication that features the products and designs of the firm's clients] and launching a Pretty Living Weddings branch soon.
I hope to take away from New York Fashion Week ... many great new business connections. I am a networking monster! Every business card that anyone has ever given to me is neatly categorized and filed alphabetically in my home office! As excited as I am to see the fashions, I am even more excited to build relationships with industry insiders.
At New York Fashion Week, Tidal Cool Creations has in store ... its spring/summer 2014 collection ... and the collection is absolutely STUNNING.
Meet Charissa ...
My favorite part of my job is ... everything, really. I love that my position includes various aspects within fashion and entertainment. One day I will be planning an event, the next securing press features and creating content for clients or writing and editing. Our company is growing at a rapid pace, and we're thrilled to have numerous branches, including the [Pretty Living] magazine and soon Pretty Living Weddings to accommodate our many interests and talents within fashion and public relations.
Greatest professional influence is ... my pap, Wayne King Livingston. He was an author, pilot, artist and world traveler and embedded a life passion in me to do as much as possible in this world. And absolutely Kelly Cutrone of People's Revolution. I love her no nonsense attitude. I'm also influenced by the many women entrepreneurs I work with on a daily basis. Each woman is empowering in a different way, and I love representing female-owned companies. Girls rule the world!
One of the greatest challenges of starting a fashion PR firm is ... you not only have to be experienced and educated in fashion and the many aspects of the industry. When owning a company you need to oversee marketing, advertising and all foundations of the business in general. It is a lot to juggle but if you stick with a solid business plan and strategy, you set a routine and outline that will make your firm thrive.
My advice for aspiring fashion public relations professionals is ... it's not all pretty clothes and event planning and sparkles! ... Educate yourself in all aspects of the industry. I have been fortunate to work on both sides, as a journalist and as a publicist, which provided me with a greater understanding of proper stories and trend alerts. And you can never read enough magazines! Stay familiar with your publications, online and print. It is beneficial to establish a solid relationship with a writer or editor. To do so, you need to know the concept of their platform.
Photos: Allyn Lewis models looks by Tidal Cool Creations. Courtesy of Angie Candell Photography.