Katie Mai returned to her alma mater today to speak to the Premier Students in the Merchandising & Marketing and Bachelor’s in Business Management Programs. She told the story of how she has taken her FIDM degree from her first internship at Ted Baker, to working for Burberry, and now doing PR for the high-end jewelry line Helen Ficalora.
“All of my internships and jobs I’ve found,” she said, “have been through the FIDM Career Network.”
Katie graduated from FIDM in December 2014 with her Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree. Prior to that she did the Merchandising & Marketing Professional Designation program at FIDM.
Her first foray into working in fashion was as an intern at Ted Baker, where she gained experience in buying, allocating, and planning. It was there that she was introduced to public relations, and she knew that was where she was meant to be.
She pursued a paid PR internship at Burberry, and was promoted six months later to an assistant in the VIP PR department, working with celebs and their stylists. She went through two years of awards seasons—the Academy Awards, the Emmys, Golden Globes—before she decided to pursue a new challenge.
The FIDM Career Network had a posting for a PR Coordinator position in jewelry, and she went for it. She was hired at Helen Ficalora, a high-end jewelry line that originally launched the alphabet-charm trend, and was moving from New York to LA.
“Now, I work with celebrities, bloggers, editors, and producers,” she said. She also works closely with the social media coordinator at the company, providing relevant content to post.
The financial side is also something in which she is gaining experience. She pointed out the nuance of cost associated with working with fashion bloggers. When bloggers charge per Instagram post, for example, you need to question whether or not you, as a PR person, should gift them the product and hope they use it, or go for the sure thing and buy the post. Sometimes, it’s an internal negotiation you need to make as a publicist.
When it comes to influencers, she pointed out that she not only likes to target those with millions of followers, but those with only 10K followers, as well. “We’ve seen greater impact sometimes with smaller influencers.”
“How do you measure your ROI for placement?” a student asked, when it came to the Q&A portion of her presentation. She said she utilizes Google Analytics. “For bloggers, it’s a little more difficult. They don’t always include a direct link.”
Another student asked, “Do you think your Bachelor’s degree was necessary?” She answered, “Absolutely. The Bachelor’s program was great. There are things you learn there that you won’t get from other programs. I really liked it. It’s so worth it. I highly recommend doing it.” She added, “The professors are great.”
Katie notified the students that she’ll be interviewing for a new intern in March, as her current intern is leaving. She encouraged them by saying, “We don’t give our interns busy work.”
Categories: Business Management, Merch Marketing, Alumni News
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