In a time when it’s so common for people in their twenties to change jobs like they change their nail polish, Fallon Ryan has achieved her career success by doing things the old-fashioned way: Working her way up at a company she loves.
Fallon is the PR director at Lana Jewelry, a Chicago-based fine jewelry line that’s grown in recent years from a local secret, to a celebrity favorite, that’s carried in stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. She got her start at the company while she was still in college, as a sales intern, and has been climbing the ladder at Lana ever since. Here, we talk to her about why she’s stayed put, a recent, career-defining PR placement, and what’s she’s learned working in fashion.
YOU’RE THE PR DIRECTOR FOR LANA JEWELRY. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
My job is to create relationships with editors and stylists to obtain media and press coverage in magazines, and on celebrities. Lana Jewelry is headquartered in Chicago, so I travel to New York and Los Angeles quite a bit. We are a small company so I wear plenty of hats in addition to PR. I handle events, advertising, photo-shoots, website-design, and essentially all things creative!
YOU STARTED AS AN INTERN IN THE SALES DEPARTMENT AT LANA JEWELRY. HOW DID YOU LAND THE JOB?
I applied to a very incognito posting about an accessory company looking for sales interns. It was my very first interview, internship, and job I’d ever applied for. I wanted to explore the fashion industry, but couldn’t have imagined a better-fitting fashion house in Chicago for me. My “sales” internship quickly evolved into a multi-office learning experience, and I fell into public relations responsibilities.
HOW DID YOU WORK YOUR WAY UP TO YOUR CURRENT POSITION?
At the time I started with Lana Jewelry, we outsourced all efforts with a LA-based PR agency. I was managing the agency part-time, and I started to grow a love for publicizing the brand. Lana had always wanted to bring PR efforts in-house, so she promoted me into a publicist position and grew me into a director role.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST THING YOU’VE LEARNED WHILE THERE?
The value of tenacity in its best form. Tenacity is what makes impossible goals possible. I’ve learned the importance of persistence and determination in the public relations industry. As a publicist, my job is to overcome challenges and achieve goals. The quicker you learn to be tenacious, success becomes more exciting and rewarding.
YOU’VE BEEN WITH THE BRAND FOR ALMOST FOUR YEARS. WHAT KEEPS YOU THERE?
Opportunity. There is so much opportunity at a brand like Lana Jewelry. We are a small company running a global fashion brand out of a non-fashion city. It’s an incredible movement that I am so grateful to be a part of.
YOU RECENTLY LANDED LANA JEWELRY A PLACEMENT IN VOGUE! WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
Yes! Lana Jewelry was just featured (for the first time) in Vogue. It was a very exciting and rewarding experience. It is every designer’s dream to be featured in Vogue, so a placement was always a top editorial goal for me. It certainly took time to create and nurture a relationship with their team, but once I caught their attention, the product spoke for itself. The progression spiraled quickly after our first in person meeting. They called in product for a shoot, and a few months later, we opened the holiday fashion issue to find our Vista Earrings on Kendall Jenner. It was a very special moment for our brand.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I meet the most amazing people, and people who I believe truly love what they do. Fashion is a different industry than most; it’s an interest and a hobby. People don’t go into fashion careers for the money, or the status; they go into the industry because they really love it. I meet the most incredible writers, talented stylists, and the most fabulous professionals. Everyone in the industry is passionate about what they do; there is never a dull conversation. I’m inspired daily by the people around me which betters my life personally and professionally. My career has become my lifestyle and I think that’s very unique.
WHAT’S THE TOUGHEST PART?
Having patience. In the PR industry, I think we get too caught up in the “now.” We want everything to happen immediately. I have learned relationships take time to build, and placements take time to secure. The “waiting game” can be frustrating, but if you’re persistent and driven, it usually comes with reward.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITY EVERY PR GIRL NEEDS TO HAVE?
I think the most important quality is the capability to connect with different personalities. This quality is innate; it can’t be learned or taught. This industry is a lot like dating; I spend a lot of time creating close relationships with editors/stylists, learning about their interests, understanding how they communicate, and that helps me to adjust my message to be successfully understood.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
The best piece of advice I have been given is one that I apply to my life both personally and professionally. “Set no expectations.” The achievements will be more rewarding, and the hardships will be easier to endure.