New client: Nicky Murray

I’ve been working with an inspiring new client Nicky Murray: yin yoga teacher and mindfulness coach. I’m helping develop Nicky’s brand and rewrote her website to tell her story in a clear, unpretentious way. She offers something quite unique in the wellness world, combining yoga, food and meditation, and it was important to get the whole message across through her website, highlighting her rich and varied skills.

Moving forward, I’ll be helping Nicky with PR and social media consulting for her yoga workshops and events. Watch this space…

Freelance work at Harvest Digital: ‘Identities’ disability campaign

The last few months I’ve been freelancing at Harvest Digital; a digital marketing agency with no PR department. They were looking for a consultant to help with digital PR for their ‘Identities‘ video campaign, which discusses the ‘disabled’ label through three stories. I’d never worked on this kind of campaign before but I was up for the challenge.

Perhaps most interestingly, one of the participants in the campaign, Umber Ghauri, is a LGBTQ makeup artist and woman of colour. In the video she talks about how she “came out” as disabled, which was the angle I led with when approaching media. It was picked up all over the place:

New PR client: ME v ME

I’m delighted to announce a new client: ME v ME. The luxury activewear brand is just one year old but has huge potential for some great PR. I’ll be working with Kate over the next few months to target traditional press as well as bloggers and influencers.

Watch this space for coverage…

 

Introducing ME v ME: luxury British activewear with superwomen in mind

Designed and made in the UK, ME v ME is a luxury British sportswear brand for women who lead an active life without compromising on style.  

Founder Kate Swinson cut her teeth at commercial design company for 15 years before launching ME v ME in 2016. With hard-working women in mind, Kate used her knowledge of technical design and fabrics to create a multi-functional activewear range to meet the demands of fitness in all forms, from boxing to yoga.

Incorporating natural elements and femininity without fuss, the muted colour palette includes kale, soft greys and nude tones, which complement the minimalist design. Product names are inspired by exotic plants to emulate the beauty of nature. The high waisted Kalon leggings, priced at £90, offer a flattering fit, guaranteed to stay in place whilst on the move. The co-ordinating Kalon sports bra, priced at £85, is perfect for low-impact workouts and a beautiful silk side bow adds a delicate detail.

All fabrics are chosen carefully by the ME v ME team, who are constantly experimenting with new ideas to innovate traditional sportswear design. The tech-infused materials are sourced from Italy and Great Britain, offering breathability, UV protection, compression support and body moisture absorption. All products are then ethically manufactured in the UK to guarantee consistent quality, including the bespoke zips, handmade leather tags and classic nude elastic trim. Finally, each item undertakes a minimum three month wearer trial to ensure the product meets the strict criteria of longlife performance, luxury feel and perfect fit.

The ME v ME line includes functional accessories to match the chic activewear, such as a beautiful gym holdall, handmade leather yoga straps and an eco-friendly reusable water bottle. Complimentary ME v ME protective washbags are dispatched with each order, made exclusively by women supported by the charity PCF. ME v ME are proud supporters of PCF who help socially disadvantaged women and children in the UK and abroad.

Kate Swinson believes: “It’s only natural that people need clothes as versatile as their modern lifestyles. With high performance and low maintenance care, ME v ME Activewear looks good and performs effortlessly, whatever life throws at the wearer.”

ME v ME was inspired by Kate’s realisation that the secret to a healthier and happier self starts with the mind. By taking a more holistic approach to being active, ME v ME aims to help women achieve this balance.

Website: www.mevme.co.uk

Instagram: @mevmeclothing

Twitter: @mevmeclothing

Facebook: @mevmefitness

You Tube: ME v ME RESULTS

PR project: Morning Gloryville

 

This month I was lucky enough to work with Morning Gloryville to help promote their 5am ‘sober rave’ at The Shard celebrating the Autumn Equinox. Of course I dragged myself out of bed and went along to experience it myself (like a good PR person should). It was incredible and I will never forget that sunrise.

 

I would absolutely recommend going, but don’t take my word for it; here are words from Positive News and Huffington Post.

 

About Time: You Tried London’s New Yoga Studios

As one of my (many) side projects I’ve been helping out a new yoga studio with some pro-bono PR. I wrote a pitch to About Time magazine (75k readers) with a round-up of new studios and renovations around the city. They replied immediately and wanted me to write the piece myself. Good promotion for them and good portfolio work for me! Read it here.

I spent a week with the UK’s biggest influencers; here’s what I learnt

I just came back from a week-long California press trip with a group of digital influencers who in total reach an audience of 5.5 million (and growing). Judging from their highly posed fashion photos, I prepared for the worst; I was expecting a group of vapid, superficial, painfully vain and high maintenance individuals. However, these powerful girls and their work ethic made a huge impact on me. These young women are feisty entrepreneurs and they are well aware of the ephemeral nature of their chosen careers and therefore milk it for all its worth. And good for them. Here’s what I learnt:

  1. They are sick of looking at their own faces. Of course there were vain moments, but no more than you would expect from a group of twenty-something millennials. In fact they were sick to death of flicking through thousands of same-smile selfies (often spread between two phones) and became tired with the task of picking the right one. They would ask for each other’s advice, would look to one another’s strengths, and ultimately would seek reassurance.
  2. They have ugly days. Often jetlagged, tired, hungover, bloated, but these girls do not stop. I felt liberated that I didn’t have to whip off my clothes at a moment’s notice all in the name of work. They too have off days and where I could wear a baggy jumper and hide behind a computer screen, they had to slap on a smile and shake hand after hand.
  3. Their brand is their business. Cookbooks, jewellery lines, charity work, photography and social media consulting; these girls are hungry business women whose careers do not stop at their Instagram pages. They are control freaks who lead teams of staff to make sure their personal brand remains on top.
  4. Their Instagram is their art. “Storytelling” is a buzzword that is often thrown around in PR/marketing but I learnt that their Instagram profiles are their diaries; their online scrapbooks displaying pages of creative expression.
  5. They make a lot of money – and they deserve it. My friends react with shock and disbelief at the amount of money charged for one Instagram post. But these girls make sacrifices; their lifestyles mean they never switch off and their entire life is online. It turns out friends often use them and their influence by asking for a quick post linking to a new project or business, knowing this favour will help reach treasured millions. I overheard stories of fans trolling them over ex-boyfriends and discussions about how they try to keep their personal lives safe offline. One influencer even has two Instagram profiles; her personal account is locked purely for her closest friends and family, boasting only a handful of followers.

During a bus ride chat, one of the girls told me she plans to eventually work for the UN and fight women’s rights issues in her home country. Right now she’s appealing to the masses, playing the pretty girl, but it’s all a political strategy. Unlike an established celebrity with money behind them, the internet gave her the power to grow a loyal fanbase who will ultimately support her on subjects that matter. Whilst I was with her Unicef emailed to ask if she’d be their brand ambassador; surely that’s the true meaning of ‘influence’?

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Heidi Klein partnership: Roadtrip Pocketbook

I recently wrote the copy and oversaw the artistic direction for a 32-page roadtrip pocketbook for our Heidi Klein California Collection brand partnership campaign. The pre-resort line is made of four collections: Santa Barbara, Huntington Beach, Greater Palm Springs and San Diego. I wanted to take the reader through a classic California roadtrip narrative to bring the collection to life. The pocketbook will be in-store and sent with each product dispatch for a whole year, launching Sept 2016.

It was wonderful having this creative output and the freedom to step away from ‘marketing speak.’ Let me take you on a journey…

 

I adjust the rear view mirror, wind the window down, the radio sings California dreaming and I click into D for drive. Like many before us, this little MG – our means of voyage – will become our travel companion on our classic California road trip. We leave LA behind for our first stop: Santa Barbara, ‘The American Riviera’, just two hours away.

As we coast north towards the city, the terracotta rooftops roll into a correlated form in front of us, like pieces of jigsaw finding their perfect place in the horizon. Traffic moves in slow motion, locals shuffle down State Street towards the local artisan craft fair and their flip flops rhymically flick the pavement. Fingers flutter through handmade beads and silver charms, glass vases and embroidered purses with rainbow threads.

Once checked in, we grab our towels and head towards the harbour. The boats gather, varying in shape and size with names like ‘Wind Dancer’ and ‘Whisper’. Out on the water with a hand saluting in front of our brows we can see the spouting signals of whales brimming the surface. Dozens of different species settle in these feeding grounds, from blue whales to humpbacks. Back at shore we make our way to the farmer’s market; stalls laid out before us offering a full palette of taste and kaleidoscope of colours. Rows of avocados are categorised by ripeness (“only in California” stallholders beam), we’re offered sips of fresh juice, spoons of chunky homemade houmous and the smell of this morning’s catch – oysters, lobster, squid – follows us as an omnipresent reminder of the nearby ocean.

Dusk arrives quickly, marking our last evening. Armed with our map, we search for liquid treasure among the twenty-nine wineries peppering the Funk Zone. Corks are popped, we listen to poetry over the counter: “rich oak” , “ earthy leather”, “harmonious aromas.” The red velvet slides down our throats, the tang of ice cold white fizzes on our tongues.

The next morning we leave for ‘Surf City USA’: Huntington Beach. The Pacific acts as our loyal compass to our right for our 130-mile drive down the coast.

We know we are getting closer as the number of wetsuited silhouettes multiply and emerge like creatures resurfacing from their nest. The waves build as the surfers twist, flip and turn, using the ocean’s power to drive them forward before each wave reaches the end of its journey as swash upon the sand.

The beach is beckoning and we can’t resist strolling through the sand at sunset, leaving footprints behind us as the horizon ahead transforms into crimson. Sea air and a long drive mean we fall into a deep slumber, waking the next morning to clear skies and clear heads. We hear there’s yoga on the beach today, so we begin in warrior poses facing the rising sun. Later, we squeeze into wetsuits that suck onto our skin; our armour for the day protecting us against Mother Nature’s force. Bobbing along in the water, our fingertips stroke the sea’s surface, making ripples in the deep blue. Waves upon waves roar behind us – above us – and we try our best to glide with the current. Muscles aching and eyes stinging, we drag our boards and tired bodies through the sinking sand and collapse in a heap; exhausted, satisfied, stomachs growling. 

We’re served huge plates of fresh fish and fries to fill us up before we explore the long coast by bike. The pedals spin and our legs windmill, our hair turns wild and sticky from the salty wind. Making our way back we settle down with cocktails whilst gazing out across the pier’s twinkling lights and we spot sets of couples roasting marshmallows over fire-pits on the beach.

It’s time to head inland for a two hour drive to ‘California’s Oasis’ as we prepare to swap our surroundings from the tumultuous ocean to mysterious desert. The white highway stripes flicker past and the inches of air above the road squirm and squiggle under the heat.

We drive through the city of Palm Springs where locals wear their cars like accessories; doors slam, bursting shopping bags and heels appear. This is Hollywood’s Playground; we walk the pavements once graced by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley. The palm trees lean over our heads as if eavesdropping on hushed whispers around the pool and we ponder the secrets they hold from the 1920s celebrity elite. Glass panels, shiny steel and geometric lines form otherworldly architecture peppering the mountains as extraterrestrial shapes that starkly contrast the smooth valley curves.

Slow days are spent lured around mineral spas, quenching the thirst of our sizzling skin with quick gasping pool dips and mud baths, but we become restless. The Joshua Tree National Park is a scenic drive away and we leave early up through Yucca Valley, where thrift shops teem with vintage treasures and antique markets display twinkly trinkets. We’re greeted by rows of fuzzy Joshua Trees appearing to wave on arrival; their rough, imperfect forms cast shadows on the arid ground. Company is sparse and only a few fellow hikers pass us by – later we realise there will be no blinking screens here to wash out the stars’ illumination. We stick around to watch the Milky Way emerge, perching on our trusty MG bonnet, the universe a glittering dome above us.

We leave Greater Palm Springs refreshed, our skin glowing from its new darker hue. Ready for our final stop, two hours away the city of San Diego awaits us.

Engaged by the metropolitan buzz, the city’s sounds and smells seem to wake us up with a jolt from our desert daze. Every corner presents a new culture, reflected by the street names: ‘Naples Place’, ‘Camino de la Reina’, ‘Madison Avenue.’ A varied style we can’t pinpoint, outfits switch from each block with ripped jeans and bikinis to rainbow yoga two pieces or floor-length dresses. As if landing into Italy we drive past countless pizza shops, then deep into the heart of Mexico where taco stalls neighbour classic California brunch spots. The huge bowls overflowing with fresh guacamole are worth halting the car and we order crispy tacos, tortillas packed with refried beans dripping with sour cream. We order fluffy flights of craft beer, samples presented to us in calibrated colour schemes.

We check in and bounce straight back out of the hotel to follow the curves of La Jolla’s coastline by foot, stopping to watch seal pups bleat and retreat into their subaquatic world, inspiring us to get out there ourselves. Hopping into kayaks, we’re led by an instructor who guides us around the ocean; his familiar backyard. A quick change from flip-flops to heels and we join the clusters of nightowls piling out into the Gaslamp Quarter, drawn towards salsa beats pumping from inside the bars. Lights and music work in unison as the world speeds up – faster and louder – and we move with the current of the crowd up to a rooftop bar, welcomed by rushing vertigo and views of towering skyscrapers.
Our heads hit the pillows, ears and eyes vibrating from our final night California. We head to LAX in the morning – back to where we began our journey – radiating in our Golden State.  

 

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