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After graduating with a degree in business and fashion merchandising from Indiana University, Malorie Kaye, began a career in fashion PR, quickly playing an integral part at a renowned Fashion PR agency in midtown Manhattan. After building a sound foundation through media relations, freelance writing and fashion styling, Malorie knew the next step was to combine her talent and experience to offer a service that would be unparalleled.
Cameo PR is a public relations & creative consulting agency specializing in advancing the growth of emerging accessories designers and brands. Based in New York City, Cameo PR has established a reputation among clients, editors, stylists and public relations professionals as an incredibly effective, highly respected firm with a unique philosophy and approach.
MO: Why did you decide to start your own company instead of working for an established firm?
Malorie: In working at an agency I found that the relationship between client and publicist really lacked a personal connection, I became extremely invested in each client and yet I felt like I was never given the opportunity to express that to them directly which was so frustrating for me that I wound up moving in house with one of them. I realized from that experience that there really was a void in the industry and designers were forced to choose one or the other. I wanted to create a space where the feeling of in-house PR merged with the benefits of agency knowledge and resources, it is so important as a young designer to be able to have both elements in one place.
MO: Can you tell our readers a little about your unique philosophy and approach to PR and creative consulting?
Malorie: I think that aside from our philosophy that an agency should always offer each client the feeling of in-house PR and completely personalized attention as I mentioned, what really sets Cameo apart is our ability to be a one-stop-shop for clients. We work mainly with young designers who are just getting their feet off the ground or established brands that really want to re-invent themselves and so it became evident that they needed so much more than traditional PR – they needed professionals that would be able to consult on business models, adjust pricing structures, design logos, produce photo shoots, create linesheets, connect with showrooms and so on. Being a more intimate part of the team rather than just the publicist is what we really love and why we do what we do.
MO: Where does your love of fashion come from? What were your early influences and inspirations?
Malorie: It sounds so cliché but I was literally shopping when I came out of the womb. My parents love to tell the story of my first words, which instead of “mommy” or “cookie,” were actually “I need,“ and I have had my eye on clothes, bags, shoes & jewelry ever since. From an obsession with dressing Barbie Dolls and playing in my mom’s closet which later became one of my favorite shopping spots (who needs vintage re-productions when they have mom’s hand me down originals, thanks for being so fabulous mom) to styling friends in junior high school and living in the pages of the magazines, my time has always somehow been dedicated to this industry.
MO: How does it feel to have gone from Indiana University to running a successful company with a beautiful office on Madison Avenue before the age of 30? Did you envision success this early in your career or has it come as a bit of a surprise?
Malorie: I was raised in a house of artists and business owners and the power of an insatiable work ethic and the importance of thinking outside the box were always the most important lessons to be learned in my family. I think a part of me always knew I would wind up a young entrepreneur if for no other reason than I love to work and I need to do things in my own way. Every step along the way played an important role in getting to this point from the amazing fashion program at Indiana to the priceless internships I had before even stepping in to the working world to the people I met that mentored me and got me through during my extremely demanding first job, but it definitely helped that I knew exactly what I wanted from day one and took advantage of every opportunity that could in any way help me go after those goals. That said, I could not feel more blessed that I am doing what I love at such a young age and that every morning I get to wake up and walk in to a beautiful office that is all mine. I think if everyone had the opportunity to feel something so spectacular each morning society would be much more driven to achieve their dreams.
MO: How have you managed to double in size each year, exceeding goals and evolving considerably in a tough economy?
Malorie: Growing the company in a tough economy was definitely no walk in the park, there were amazing highs and very difficult lows but I think that what made us successful was that whether good or bad, each occurrence pushed us to re-invent ourselves again and again. I’ve found that in this day and age the only way to set yourself apart is to be one step ahead of the curve at all times which means constantly striving to introduce new techniques, bring in new talent with diverse backgrounds and pay attention to what the clients are asking for rather than what you want to offer. I’ve been really lucky to have my sister, Ariel Kaye, an incredibly brilliant graphic designer, join the team. Adding an entirely new element to our services has definitely helped us grow tremendously in a short period of time. I think the most important aspect to reflect on though is the support of our clients and the amount of trust they’ve instilled in us which is a direct result of our philosophy to build personal relationships with each. Reputation is everything and when you really give everything you have to your business, no matter what it is that you do, notoriety will come.
MO: You recently announced the launch of Cameo Group. Can you tell us why this is an exciting addition to the company and how it will take your firm to the next level?
Malorie: In 2010 Ariel came on board enabling us to offer a bevy of new services from linesheet development to photography to full blown branding. Though we started by offering these options to our clients as they prepared to introduce new collections each season and required a way to build creative lookbooks and display press they’ve attained at trade shows, word quickly spread and we began building press kits for designers who weren’t quite ready for a complex PR campaign but needed professionals to develop the right materials and help with the creative branding elements. We quickly realized how important it was to help designers bring together all of the components that made the perfect first impression and are so excited to now have an entire team dedicated to creative consulting & development. The ability to offer these assets not only set us apart as a full-service PR agency but give us the opportunity to get our hands wet in new ways each day which definitely keeps us on our toes.
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