INSIDE FASHION PR WITH MICHELE LEONARD Oct. 2013 - Page 2

Behind the Scenes:

Lauren Leonard is one of the biggest designers in Nashville. Since the opening of her line in 2008, she has had items featured in Elle magazine where Taylor Swift was captured wearing Leona's Kelly Dress and has even been seen in the hit T.V. series, NASHVILLE. In five years, Leona has grown worldwide to be located in 200 different boutiques. Once Lauren decided to open the first signature store in Nashville's 12th Avenue South community I was intrigued to discover how she was able to become one of the top contemporary labels in fashion today. Therefor I then contacted Michele Leonard (on the left), the PR Coordinator and Operations Manager. Through my interview with Michele, I was able to see the key role of a PR practitioner in the fashion industry and how they pertain to growing and branding designers and clothing lines. I met with Michele, in the newly opened boutique where she gave me a behind the scenes look into Leona. Michele is responsible for managing all of the publicity with the clothing line by planning, promoting, and executing events on a local, regional and national level. When I asked Michele about the growth of Leona she credited a lot of it to social media. She manages all the accounts including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and is constantly updating the company's blog.

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"Essentially Public Relations is a very strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between a company and thier current publics."

Michele says that it is essential to update social media because it is a very important part of branding, "Audiences want to be involved in the every day life of the company and the designers so they feel more involved with the products." Once she has successfully captured the attention of the press, she then puts together an Executive Press Packet, which includes: sample product, contact sheet, and a digital lookbook. This helps to showcase clothing line and makes it easy for the press to contact Leona.

Q: How are you able to get the product featured on celebrities?

A: It's all about pitch. I first focus on researching a T.V. character or host and learn their personalities. Then I contact the stylist and tell them why I think these products would look good on them based off their characteristics or persona. I'm precise and to the point and tell them why Leona would be a good fir for them.

Q: Recently I saw that Leona was featured in Nashville Scene. What was your role in doing that?

A: I just constantly am contacting media and sending out new releases about all the newest designs and send them samples. The key is building relationships. Once you have that personal bond, they will come to you.