How to be successful in PR, according to Roxy Jacenko

A peek into the world of PR.

We know firsthand it’s pretty hard to get your foot into the door of the fashion industry, so we love helping you out where we can. We’ve just launched FJ Careers, an all-new destination where you can browse job and internship opportunities in the Australian fashion industry and help grow your career.

We’ve also stolen some time with PR mogul Roxy Jacenko. The woman needs no introduction, so we won’t give her one. Instead we’ll jump right to it. Here’s what she had to say about running your own business and the world of PR.

Pens out, kids.

What was your first job in the industry? 

My first job in the industry was as a receptionist for clothing label, Diesel. I took any and every opportunity I could, to try something new and learn on the job.

How important is interning to get your foot in the door?

As PR is so competitive, it really is essential to have some form of experience before applying for actual roles. While courses and degrees are excellent for giving you that background knowledge, there is nothing that prepares you for the realities of working in a fast-paced PR agency. That’s why internships are extremely valuable. They complement studies and give real-world grounding. Having said that, internships are also highly competitive, so it’s important to start early and look for any and every opportunity possible while studying.

What is one thing you know now, that you wish you knew from the beginning?

To be honest, there isn’t really one thing I wish I’d known from the start. I honestly think any mistakes or hardships only make you stronger, so long as you learn from them! Everything that has happened, both good and bad, has led me to where I am today. Without those early days of trial and error, I don’t think I would have set myself and my business apart in the way I have done now.

What does a day in the life of Roxy Jacenko look like?

There are never two days the same in the world of PR! That’s one of the things I love most about my job, every day is different.

It goes without saying that every day involves endless emails and aside from that, it could include anything from client meetings to site visits, creating press kits, researching the latest international trends across all industries (beauty, hospitality, design and fashion), preparing pitches and reports and then some more emails!

I get hands-on with every element, from unloading inflatable doughnuts from the back of a truck at Bondi Beach to packing gift bags! That’s the life of a PR girl.

How did you come up with the name Sweaty Betty?

When I was in my early 20s, I travelled to London. Sweaty Betty is the name of an activewear company over in the UK and I instantly loved the name. When I decided to create my own PR agency, I thought Sweaty Betty was perfect. Not only was it memorable but it’s a cheeky take on the approach we take for our clients. We never stop looking for and creating opportunities for our clients, day in day out. Don’t walk, run!

Did you have any apprehensions when you initially started the business?

I was very young and I actually didn’t overthink it. I didn’t really know what I’d gotten myself in to, all I knew was that it was going to take a lot of work, which I was prepared to do.

I probably didn’t think enough about the practicalities of running a business such as accounts, employing staff, etc. I wasn’t apprehensive about it but it’s something anyone starting a business needs to think about, even if it’s not as exciting as working on your amazing products or services.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about the fashion PR industry?

That it’s glamorous and a never ending series of cocktail parties and fancy events! While events are of course a part of the industry, they make up but a tiny fraction of what actually goes on in PR. Working in PR involves long hours and takes dedication, resilience and serious work. And if you are at an event, rest assured that even then you won’t be relaxing with champagne in hand!

Advice for anyone thinking about PR as a career?

While it’s important to love the industries in which you’re doing PR, such as fashion and beauty, that alone isn’t enough. I hear lots of girls wanting to work in PR because they ‘love fashion’. Working in PR requires super organisational skills, being able to constantly juggle competing priorities, the ability to always come up with fresh and creative ideas to secure press for your clients, excellent problem solving skills, great writing skills… the list goes on. There is much more to PR than meets the eye. Think about why it is you want to pursue a career in this field, what you can do to best prepare yourself, and then make yourself stand out from the crowd.

What qualities do you look for in a potential employee? 

I always look for employees who can get on with the job and use their initiative. I like people that are open and willing to learn, who don’t come in and think they know everything. Dedication and commitment are important as well, as those two qualities are vital in such a fast-paced and competitive industry.

What we expect from your ‘In Conversation with Roxy Jacenko’ seminar?

The seminar will be an insider’s take on the world of PR. I’ll be sharing my experiences and tips on everything, from building a great digital presence and starting your own business to advice on starting a career in PR. Essentially it’s a culmination of of my experiences, presented in a conversational format so that it’s relatable and practical.

Why do you think it’s important for forums like ‘In Conversation’ to exist? 

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t receive an email asking for advice or help, on everything from PR to starting a business. I realised that, while I would love to be able to help, the reality is I simply don’t have the time to help everyone one on one. That’s when I got the idea for ‘In Conversation’. It’s a way of communicating with a large group of people who are keen to learn in one session.

I think these types of forums are really important as they’re a way of sharing what you know and helping people from all walks and stages of life, that genuinely want to learn. Sometimes it’s these informal learning opportunities that can have the most impact on people and I love the thought of helping someone in their career or business, through sharing my experiences.

Quick Fire Questions:

Sydney is… home, buzzing with energy and an inspiring city to live in.

I never leave the house without… my iPhone!

Aside from my own job, I would love to attempt… before PR I used to be a florist and I have a bit of green thumb, perhaps something along those lines.

My last dream was about… I barely sleep so couldn’t tell you! LOL

My guilty pleasure is… McDonalds!

In Conversation with Roxy Jacenko will take place on June 17. Click here for tickets.


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