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Kristin’s fashion background began in her late teens when she worked as a fashion model. As a high fashion model in New York, she worked with some of the industry’s top photographers, fashion designers, make-up artists, and stylists. After two years, she left the industry to complete a bachelor’s degree in English Literature.
Kristin’s marketing journey began when she was the head of marketing and public relations for a law firm in New Jersey. However, after approximately a year, she had enough of office politics and took the risk of launching Marquet Media, LLC. She had immediate success as her clientele expanded rapidly, and the company evolved into a full-service public relations and marketing firm.
Established in 2006 and located in New York City, Marquet Media, LLC is a full-service, boutique public relations and marketing firm specializing in representing the accessory, fashion, beauty, and finance industries.
MO: How have you been able to build a thriving business in Manhattan out of initial capital of just $25,000?
Kristin: Unlike many businesses, I did not have to purchase and store inventory, lease office space or a storefront, or hire employees, so the initial capital investment was low.
To launch the business, I created a limited liability company through the Company Corporation, which only cost about $2,000. I purchased a new computer, design software, printer, scanner, fax, and desk, which totaled $6,000. Business cards, the website, and related expenses (hosting, domain purchase, email, logo design, and blogs) ran approximately $4,000, along with other small administrative expenses. I hired an SEO firm to manage my firm’s search engine rankings, which cost $3,000. I also found affordable health insurance for approximately $4,000 a year. Additionally, I joined a few industry organizations, which cost about $4,500. Since I worked from home, my overhead costs were low.
To eliminate advertising costs, I created one strategic alliance with a complementary company whose target audience focused on my market, drafted and wrote articles for relevant business and fashion magazines, distributed my own press releases, and networked with the appropriate people. As a result, I have grown my business organically through SEM, a strategic alliance, and referrals.
MO: What influenced your early love of fashion and design and how have you been able to translate that passion into aspects of your career?
Kristin: Well, my passion for fashion emerged when I was in my late teens/early twenties. I developed a true appreciation for fine quality products while I was modeling as I learned the difference between high quality and mass produced items.
However, when I first began my career in marketing, I worked in the legal industry. Even though it was interesting indeed, I wanted to change my focus to fashion, beauty, and finance. To make the transition to the fashion and beauty industries, it was difficult because I was unknown in the fashion PR industry. To break in, I wrote pitches to fashion and beauty magazines and blogs offering to write free articles and do interviews, but I was moderately successful.
Then in 2009, my agency joint ventured with the online women’s network, BeautiesontheGo.com. With the joint venture, I broke into the fashion and beauty markets successfully. In fact, my business became the preferred public relations and marketing agency for all of the community’s members. Because of this, I landed a few big client accounts and had offers to become a fashion editor at several high-profile fashion blogs (I did). Some fashion blogs included Stylemom.com and CoutureintheCity.com.
In 2010, I broke into the financial industry by networking with financial professionals as well as contributing to several business and financial publications. Again, it was difficult to build awareness, but with a slow, concentrated approach, I became successful.
MO: The market is pretty saturated with PR and marketing firms. How do you stand out from the competition?
Kristin: To stand out in today’s saturated market, we have taken a concentrated approach to marketing my firm. First, we work with a specific subset of fashion and beauty companies and financial firms. They are usually start-up businesses. We concentrate on companies that want to dominate the web, rather than print and television. Next, we pitch trade and industry publications for bylined articles and interview opportunities. And last, we work with clients one-on-one until their goals are met. If the client is happy with the results, then he or she will refer us business. Word of mouth marketing is one of the best ways to build a clientele in today’s saturated marketplace.
MO: What’s the biggest PR mistake you see businesses make and how can they avoid making them?
Kristin: I see businesses of all sizes and across all industries make a variety of PR mistakes – all of which can be easily fixed. However, the largest is the way in which businesses pitch the media. Most business owners pitch boring and useless stories. They are often dull, self-serving, and self-promotional.
To begin pitching the media correctly, business owners must learn how to draft interesting pitch letters. The first paragraph should tell the five W’s and how, the second paragraph should elaborate on the five W’s and how, while the third paragraph should briefly sum up the first two paragraphs, provide contact information, and ask whether the media professional would be interested in learning more.
MO: What beauty trend are you most excited by?
Kristin: Every year, new beauty trends emerge then disappear. But this year, I am excited about the v beaute It Kit sold at Neiman Marcus. Consumers can carry around their five favorite beauty products in a convenient kit. It is small enough to carry to the office or while running errands.
MO: What can we expect from Marquet Media in 2012?
Kristin: We have big plans this year. We will continue to offer PR and marketing services, but we will also offer free PR and marketing e-courses and workshops. Additionally, we will offer e-books, e-courses, e-newsletters, as well as marketing, public relations, and social media templates specific to the fashion, beauty, and financial industries.
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