What’s the key to creating a successful marketing campaign?
Do your research, know your customer and explore the best route to them. Keep in touch and present a fresh and engaging communication with them.
This is something I love working and developing with clients. It’s important and probably one of the best investments you will make. Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. You have to be clear and focused on what you’re offering. It’ll only make for a stronger brand. Ideas are great but without the groundwork and investment they’re not worth anything.
What has been your favourite campaign you’ve ever worked on?
As time goes on I work on campaigns that I believe in and know that both the client and ourselves can work together on. As I work primarily in fashion and lifestyle this is something I have immense experience and passion for with both Irish and international clients.
Working on Showcase and DCOI (formerly the Crafts Council) over the past four years it has allowed me to work and develop both old and new brands. Having the opportunity to identify where brands are and where they can go or how they can improve their offering has been invaluable. Every year I have the job of presenting products to both press and buyers through photography, merchandising, shows and the Showcase Fashion Edit in a new and refreshing light. Being given the freedom to do this has been encouraging and resulting in business growing year on year for a lot of the industry.
Describe your average working day.
Wake up, and then immediately into go, go, go! Extracting 3 kids from bed to school is the challenge of the day. I’m constantly trying to master the balance, often easier said than done. I walk and talk and am not really a desk type of person, I have to be on the move. I’m more of facilitator, putting people together and helping to make things happen.
What advice would you have for someone else interested in pursuing a career in PR?
There’s more to PR than meets the eye! With the increase in social media and the ever-changing landscape of marketing it’s so much part of a bigger picture. Getting as much experience as possible and building up a network and engaging with people is necessary. You have to put the time in!
What would be your pick of trends for 2015?
Craftsmanship and design will continue to develop and be explored using tradition with a modern twist. Sportswear, leisure or active wear will continue to be intertwined in fashion as people’s lifestyles continue to change, with a much more active and healthy outlook as part of their everyday. Colour will continue to pop.
What was the biggest lesson you learned from your modelling days?
It’s like any other business, it all depends on what you want out of it, and for me it’s work hard and have fun. Personally modelling worked for me as I took full advantage and travelled and grabbed the opportunities, I met wonderful people, had incredible experiences and made the best friends. Also remember don’t always believe what you hear and trust your instinct
What was your biggest challenge founding Dublin Fashion Week?
Initially it was convincing the stakeholders (designers, trade generally, the press and sponsors) what I wanted to do, which was to present a cogent and credible showcase of Irish fashion design. The idea was to make sure the event had something for everyone, a marketplace for the trade, shows and access to the designers for the press, and talks from industry insiders for the designers.
Having decided to run the event turning it around in 6 weeks was quite an achievement. Instinct was pushing me. Having the belief and trust of both my partner in crime Barry Lyons and Wing commander Mary A, it was all systems go. With designers such as Deborah Veale, Joanne Hynes, Mariad Whisker Eileen Shields, Helen James, Tim Ryan and Eilis Boyle (to name but a few) supporting me from the outset. I have always believed in Irish design, but like anything perceptions and its success was always going to be about how the event was delivered.
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given?
Shut your eyes and go for it! You never know if it will work until you try!
What’s your inspiration?
Those around me, and the places I go. Keeping my eyes open and appreciating what I have and can do.
When you’re not working where would we find you?
Now that would be telling. I love the great outdoors so if I’m not in the hills I’m on water!
What do most people don’t know about you?
I’m the princess of parking with a mean shot.
Natasha Sherling and Sonia Reynolds are presenting their edit of the best jewellery and fashion at Showcase, Ireland’s Creative Expo which returns to the RDS from Sunday 18th January to Wednesday 21st January 2015. Attracting more than 5,000 trade buyers from Ireland and up to 26 countries Showcase has become a must-see event for retailers to source unique Irish design and will be the first international trade event as part of the year long programme for Irish Design 2015 (ID2015)
In conversation with @HannahPopham
Photography by Ailbhe O’Donnell