This installment of ‘The people behind your good time’ profiles a person that creates the buzz about celebs, high profile events, new products, and anything else that demands our attention: The Public Relations Associate. If the mere mention of public relations conjures up images of power tripping, twenty-something, barracudas with clip boards or Samantha Jones chewing out the sales associate at Hermes, then obviously you haven’t met Ramlah Boadi.
As public relations associate for Steve Madden, Ms. Boadi has a considerable amount of power- she’s the one who approves sample requests for Steve Madden merchandise to appear in your favorite magazines and coordinates special events for the shoe giant. Even though she possesses the power to say yay or nay to major publications, she wields her power in a benevolent manner. I sat down with the down to earth PR superhero to get a more in depth look at the PR game.
How did you get started in the PR Business?
I became interested in PR after interning/working in various fashion and entertainment companies such as Giorgio Armani Corp, Honey Magazine, Sportswear International Magazine, Badgley Mischka, a stylist by the name of Deborah Ginyard ( who styled for Mary J Blige, Destiny’s Child, Lauryn Hill), and J Records. I became interested in how businesses communicate with the press, and I felt that so many businesses do not communicate clearly which leads to missed opportunities to increase their sales by not giving clear messages about their brand.
Do you think the job of PR rep is different depending on what region you work in? LA, NY, GA, Chicago, etc?
No, there is no difference though I do think that NY and LA have more of a prominent movie/television, fashion and music industries that you need to be a part of to really gain the sort of connections needed in this industry.
Describe a typical day for you at the office.
Currently as PR associate at Steve Madden, everyday is truly different. I start around 9am…. My tasks vary from day to day. Sample pulls, sending out pitch emails, and doing phone follow ups are a huge part of the day. When I’m in the office I am almost always at my computer, and I would estimate that about 95% of the daily communication with clients, stylists, and editors is by email. Each day typically involves working on some pitches, working on new PR/ Marketing strategies and working with editors and stylists on their fashion stories. But most of my day is follow up, follow up, follow up!
To be in PR, it seems you have to be aggressive, is that especially true for women?
Yes! It’s tough to be in this industry… The fashion industry in general….You can be aggressive BUT remain humble and kind because the relationships you make in the industry are really important.
Tell us about an awesome event that you’ve organized.
Our department organized our monthly Steve Madden Music event which highlights a different recording artist every month or two… so far we have had Katy Perry, K’naan, Jasmine Sullivan, Chester French among many others in our Ludlow St location. Katy Perry was one of the artists discovered by Steve Madden before she became a phenomenon. It’s very exciting because it’s a live, intimate setting where the artists performs quite a few songs from their album with a live band. It’s always packed and exciting to see the crowds and the connection that they have with the artist and the music.
Tell us something about PR reps that we wouldn’t know.
You can’t take a “course” to learn fashion PR or any PR for that matter. So much of it is contacts and nurturing contacts and really utilizing your database! People skills are probably the most important skill one can have in this line of work.
What new clients/events are you working on now?
There are so many things on the horizon. I am currently relocating to LA to head up Steve Madden’s PR office so this will open a lot of doors for new exciting things to come from our brand.. watch out!
What advice do you have for people trying to make it in the PR world?
My advice for people trying to enter the PR world is to network, network, network!! Immerse yourself in everything depending on what specific industry you would like to work in i.e. fashion, music, sports… Lastly, surround yourself with positive people that will encourage you when you need it and not bring you down.