Tatiana Read is a curator of connections, social, ambitious and organized. In other words, she’s a total PR pro. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to her for introducing me to so many new clients and working her network to make cool projects happen. In 2009 she started her own firm, Knot PR. Tat has mad momentum and it seems like she gets busier all the time – so I really appreciate that she took a moment to answer my questions.
Can you describe a typical day as PR entrepreneur?
This is a great question and something that I’m sure aspiring PR practitioners are curious about. I’ve done my best to outline the daily happenings of yours truly.
7:30AM Check the blackberry for any must-respond-to emails – European inquiries/contacts are a few hours ahead.
8:00AM Starbucks. Americano w/ cream + yogurt parfait. To go.
8:15AM In-office: sending previous night’s drafted emails ‘first-thing.’ I receive/send up to 200 individual emails daily (I prefer sending emails in the morning when people are fresh vs. late at night or EOD (end of day).
Media monitoring: review google alerts in detail, read dailies (online and in print) and get scans / obtain copies. Review bit.ly links and google analytics for websites.
8:15-30AM Review meetings and day’s task list, confirm day’s appointments (I sometimes have up to four a day).
Log-in to HootSuite; check activity on twitter accounts, review twitter fashion lists for the day’s buzz, review general news/trending/favourite twitter people (some examples: @lisatant @OscarPRGirl @dkny @raymondgirard @mashable @scobleizer)
8:30-9:00AM Touch base with clients by phone if needed, follow-up with email and deliver action items as appropriate. Liaise with any vendors (e.g. for upcoming client event, designers, web guys, etc) on special client projects first-thing.
9:00-11:15AM If a Knot press release is going out we aim to have it out by 10:30 – at this point we’re uploading finalized documents, finalizing hi-res drops and flickr galleries, reviewing media lists. (By ‘we’ I mean me and my new coordinator, the amazing Ryan Cheung)
All same-day couriers must be filed by noon – so we’re usually putting a sample request or two together by this time.
Mail! Who doesn’t like receiving mail? Review new magazines, invitations, bills!
11:15-12:00PM Late-morning coffee with friend/industry colleague/media/fellow entrepreneur
Skype UK-based Knot Market Consultant Sarah Joynt
Call Knot advisory team member to discuss a percolating business idea / strategy (I regularly call up professionals from non-fashion or pr backgrounds to get their point of view and learn from their experiences, business practice)
12:00-12:30PM Lunch! I eat at my desk usually – I prefer booking meetings around lunch (but do enjoy a nice lunch meeting) as it makes you focus on task at hand vs. dining experience distractions.
Catch up on twitter chatter.
12:30-6:00PM Get lots of work done – copywriting, researching, knowledge management, brainstorming, media relations, strategic planning.
Also work on Knot admin/management tasks: pay bills, invoicing (freshbooks!), website (launching March 2010), communications industry trends/research
6:00PM Committee meetings – I am personally involved in a few extra-curriculars, including the upcoming Reel Artist Film Festival, The Canadian Art Foundation’s Young Patron Group (New Contemporaries), The Textile Museum’s Style Advisory Council, Hope House Fundraiser
Attend event – launches, cultural / networking events – all opportunities to touch base with colleagues and make new friends.
7:30PM Occasionally I go back to work post-event or have a secondary event.
9:00PM Draft event follow-up emails to new contacts (always, always get their business cards!). Review night-time emails and draft important responses/follow-up for next morning. Remotely review/draft important files via Dropbox.
10:00PM Touch-base with friends over phone, read a book (currently reading Corked) watch mind-numbingly bad tv (rarely)
How did your life change when you went from being an employee at a PR firm to owner of your own business?
The joy of PR (to me) has always been rooted in helping businesses grow. I am a natural entrepreneur (a competitive middle child) and running my own business has better equipped me to understand the challenges and goals of my clients.
To answer your question: my life changed overnight. As an entrepreneur, every second of every day counts – there’s no end to what you can do for your business and nobody cares more about your business than you do. Whereas client targets are more tacit and quantifiable, my business goals are lofty and seem endless. I am used to working long hours (I have had up to 3 jobs at a time and remember a stretch of 8 months with but a single day off) but being a PR entrepreneur is a lifestyle choice, truly. I have always been attracted to knowledge management and the ‘bigger picture’ as it’s energizing, motivating and highly rewarding to see ideas come to life.
You were one of the first PR professionals in Toronto to make a real effort to reach out to fashion bloggers. How do you think fashion PR has to adapt to the growing influence of online voices?
I grew up amidst ‘online voices’ and I think my first experiences on the web (think: gopher and Eliza) resonate with what’s happening today (and make me apt to understand the ‘blogosphere’ and web 2.0). At 15, in 1996 and pre-Style.com, I had a website which I programmed myself (it’s still out there on Web Archive – I may admit to a Prada mention, shoes specifically). It was my first foray into an exotic and alluring community of talented early-adopters. In particular I remember Jeffrey Zeldman being an influence – he’s now spearheading designing with web standards (I think I even got him to critique my site! *Embarrassing* but part of the allure of the online community: access).
As soon as I got started in fashion PR I recognized that fashion bloggers were important voices (the notion that it’s a passing fad strikes me as misinformed). Now we have twitter (micro-blogging!) and facebook to contend with. What does this mean to PR practitioners and specifically, the fashion PR people? It means engaging these voices/platforms and starting your own conversations, being responsive and open to new technologies. It also means lots of learning.
What advice would you offer to those who have an ambition to start their own fashion PR firm?
I’m new at this but here are some highlights of what I’ve learned so far: you must want to work hard, keep learning everyday, be organized (personally and professionally), meet people and learn from them. It’s not for everyone.
Can you describe the proudest moment in your career so far?
Validation is important to me as I work in a service-based industry. I take pride in doing the job well; whether it’s running my business and getting an office within 6 months or having a client tell me “job well done.” Also seeing a good idea come to life is thrilling.
Photo Credit: Raymund Galsim