POP PR Interview: Fashion from a PR Perspective

  • Words: Jay Pinxie Turnbull

POP PR is a company owned by Portia Shaw. It has become one of the leading companies in the London Pr world and an integral leader at fashion week. Her client base dress some of the big names in the music industry and celebrities.

I had a chance to interview her for Spindle magazine. As Portia is one of the nicest I have met in PR I am delighted to be able to share a small insight as to how things work in her world.

Hello Portia Thank you for agreeing to this interview . Lets start with an easy one. How long has your Pr company been running?

POP has been trading for 6 years. I remember when I first launched Heather Falconer, the founder of Spindle, used to come to our showrooms before she re-located to the States – we miss her greatly!

Has it always been a one woman show?

To be fair no, possibly only the first three months were. As soon as I could afford to hire a Junior Account Executive I did, and since then the agency has grown at a steady rate.

I really couldn’t do everything on my own and I thrive off the energy my team brings to the table each day.

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I know your team is essential to you, do you use interns and have any of them stayed with you and grown with your company?

Yes, my first hire was an intern, since then I have made 2 additional hires from interns, however everyone else I brought into POP has come from an agency. I like to think all my staff grows within the company, otherwise they wouldn’t be with me for as long as they have. I am super fortunate as my staff tends to stay for a while which is unheard of in our field work, but then I like to give them freedom within a little framework.

Does Pop have an Ethos? You Seem to represent many new fresh designers as well as established. Do you feel a passion for new designers and supporting them?

I wouldn’t say I have an ethos, I always say to my team that no matter what just be nice to everyone you cross paths with. You never know where people will end up and I feel like our industry is filled with enough sass and to be honest this is the only element of our world that I find myself rolling my eyes at.

I love our clients, we have a mix of established and emerging designers. We do this as it keeps our little black book of contacts interested in what we are up to. We have the likes of Mark Fast who is a king with knitwear and then we have Fei Fei Cicada who is a graduate, having just showed her first collection at the V&A during LFW.

There is definitely a desire to help new designers however POP is a business. The teams time is worth a lot to me and our clients, not to mention their contacts, how they attack our brand strategies and the experience they offer comes at a price. We can only take on clients that have the long term ability to maintain a PR, we are approached regularly but there has to be an annual budget and if one person gets free PR it actually cheapens what we do as well as our expertise.

How many designers did you have on your books in the beginning? Do you still represent any of these designers now?

I started with 5 and yes I still work with 3 of them, Pyrrha Jewellery and Ashley Isham are still full time clients and Bernard Chandra we work with on a project basis. We have with all of our clients a very honest relationship which I firmly believe is the backbone of any working partnership. Our clients treat us as an extension of their  business, we are not just PR’s, nowadays PR is considered an integral part of a brand business plan.

How many designers do you represent now? Your list at London fashion week was immense.

We have 22 fashion brands on our books currently, we actually managed and hosted 26 separate events throughout London Fashion Week which is insane considering there are only 4 days. We also had events in Milan and Paris straight after. Fortunately my team are experienced and capable at handling these events, to the point I run in thinking I know what’s going on and have to be corrected by someone I employ! COMEDY! Equally the support we get from our following is unreal, everyone who comes to our shows and supports our designers either through their social media handles or write ups totally rocks in my eyes. If I know certain journalists, influencers or magazines will do something I tend to bump them to front row.

 

Your company has steadily grown, how many times have you moved premises to accommodate this?

I have only moved offices once and ironically it was from number 18 to number 20 on the same road. Our location is literally by Oxford Circus tube station so it is really convenient to fashion and beauty press as the major magazines and celebrity agencies are around the corner from us. So any last minute requests or appointments are always fulfilled.

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Spindle magazine is now retailing in London, LA ,and New York, Do you represent any designers from these areas?

We do, Hallie Sara is from New York, Julia Clancey is LA based, Malan Breton is in LA and New York, Kim West latex is London, our clients span everywhere!

Although you are a London based company do you consider yourself  international?

London born, London based and London biased . . . I love Paris, Milan and New York, but I’m a Londoner through and through. We are fortunate enough to manage and host a number of events globally but our HQ is in London.

With a PR company it is vital to get your designers work out there, seen. Can you name any of your stylists that get the clothes worn by celebrities? Also can you name any of these celebs?

We have had immense support from so many people, so this is certainly not in order of preference and I have to be forgiven for not mentioning everyone however this list would never end . . .

Tilly Hardy, Fraggle Jury, Nisha Grewal, Sascha Lilic, Richard Sloane, Victoria Adcock, Laury Smith, Laurie Hadley, Alison Elwin, Karen Binns, John Moore, Pip Hamilton, Phil Tarling . . . there are millions, these guys have dressed a number of celebrities in our clients including Anna Friel, Cara Delevingne, Nicole Scherzinger, Margot Robbie, Giselle . . . SO MANY MORE!

As many of your designers are young and interesting do you find you are approached by the music industry stylists who are always looking for fresh and novel fashion looks?

All the time, we normally know of a new Artist before everyone else as the label will send their stylist to us first to shoot the latest video or album. Creatives know where to find the ultimate in unique fashion, we are almost always one of the top 3 pit stops for anyone in this field.

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Do you see yourself tiring of fashion week ever?

Honestly, no, there will be a time when I am 101 and I fully hope I am carted around by an assistant, shoved front row and able to enjoy the designs and energy that radiates from the amazing artists and creatives which are yet to come.