FAQ: How Did You Get Your Press?

Revised and reposted from 2009(!)

I've had Handmade Jewelry by Peggy Li Creations for over 14 years now and there are questions that I am often asked about my business. I'll try and cover one of those questions here on the blog!

By far the most popular question is, "How did you get your Peggy Li Creations press?" followed by "Did you do it yourself?" "How do I get celebrities to wear my jewelry?" and "How do I get my jewelry in magazines?" All of these questions are related. The general answer is, you do it by being persistent and doing your homework (emphasis on WORK)! And yes, I got all my press myself.

1. Do your homework. Target TV and press that fits with your design style. When you focus your efforts you will get better results than trying to chase everything and everyone down. Folks at magazines and on TV shows are busy and inundated with requests. They will only look at things that will work for them - be sure you're a good fit with their style and vibe. This means reading the magazines and watching the shows you're targeting. You can get most magazines at the library - I used to sit for hours at the local bookstore magazine rack and took notes! All these folks have social media accounts now, too -- just use a little Google sleuthing to find them and get to know them.
2. Create a professional-looking press kit. Approach this as you would applying for a job. You create a cover letter, addressed to a *person* (find this person on the masthead of the magazine or the credits of a TV show). Generally you want the Accessories Editor or the Costume Designer. Add a few pics of your jewelry, a bio page and your contact information and those are the basics! I don't recommend sending samples unless they are requested.
3. Tell a story. Do this by sharing a little bit about yourself on your bio page. What is your design inspiration? Give them a quick one or two lines about your design philosophy eg "I make everything from recycled materials and my goal is to help the environment".
4. Be timely. Remember that TV shows and magazines are working about 3 months in advance of airing or print. Newspapers (don't forget local publications!) have a shorter lead time. Don't send a pitch talking about holiday gift guides in November! They have set their issues months before.
5. Be patient. Jewelry is very competitive. Take the time to evolve your business image and learn to edit your descriptions (and your designs!). Learn about the industry and discover your niche. Don't worry if you aren't in the black yet -- it takes time to grow a healthy business. Keep your goals realistic while still having the "stretch" goals of world domination ;-).
6. Be professional. Respond in a timely manner, keep the casual chatter to a minimum, and remember -- relationships are everything. We are human and sometimes we don't respond to an email or there is an online miscommunication, but it is a small world out there. If you tell a magazine you will send samples by Thursday, they better get there Thursday! It's not personal; it's business.
7. Don't forget online press. Online press is great exposure not only because it is often "free", but because links and online mentions will benefit the SEO for your website! Look for product review sites, shopping blogs, etc.
8. Generate your own press. Don't forget to send timely sales news to your email list, Facebook Fan page, and Twitter followers! Write about your business on your blog. Taking advantage of social media will only benefit you.

There are other great resources out there on this topic:

Get Media Happy
http://getmediahappy.com/
Subscription service that has media requests and tips on DIY PR.

Tin Shingle:
http://www.tinshingle.com 
PR tips, training and resources.

Jewelry Business Tips from Nina Designs
http://www.ninadesigns.com/blog/category/how-to-start-jewelry-business/
Nina has been a mentor to me and her business has endured because she's an awesome entrepreneur.

You can also check out my FAQ on Press Kits Part I and FAQ on Press Kits Part II.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Peggy, thank you so much for all this information. It is truly inspirational and insightful.

Thank you for sharing all your tips for success--shows how "unselfish" you are and I wish you all the best with your business!

May 2008 bring you much success and happiness!

Rachel said...

Wonderful! Thank you so much for the information. It is good to see successful people helping others succeed, too.

Aurora Palesca said...

thank you so much for sharing this! I am just starting my own line, and your success story is very inspirational--especially since you did everything on your own! It's not easy wearing all those hats at once.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much I have been searching for this kind of information and it has been difficult to find coming from a designer. I am a jewelry designer from Los Angeles, and let me tell you that it is very competitive out here and artists do not like to share information and or provide tips of any sort. I appreciate the support and hope that you are providing to us all.