We always love to see strong, self-employed women (like some of our editorial staff)…especially when they’re from Chicago! Jamie Madrid Han has been a friend of the blog for years thanks to her sweet style, amazing combination of innovation
How did you first start in the public relations industry?
Through a ton of internships! I double majored in Journalism and Marketing Communications and all throughout my junior and senior years, I kept busy with internships and part-time jobs in marketing/events. This really helped me build a solid foundation and every opportunity was a stepping stone to the next. My very first “job” out of college was in celebrity PR which I learned pretty quickly wasn’t for me. From there I moved into fashion/lifestyle and it’s been a love affair with brands ever since!
What were your first jobs like?
Each had their ups and downs but were all great learning experiences. I worked in in-house PR as well as in an agency and at a couple boutique firms. There were different aspects to each setting that I loved and some not so much. When I finally went out on my own, I was able to create my own culture, which I think took the best parts of each environment.
And what steps did you take to branch out on your own?
It was all pretty serendipitous! The right opportunities presented themselves at the right time and everything progressed from there. In the very beginning, I tried to only surround myself with supportive people and not to think too far into the future or about all of the what if’s. I think if I had taken another approach, I could’ve been talked out of moving forward with this or scared myself out of it. I dealt with everything one day at a time and while even to this day there are still challenges, I’ve definitely found my footing and feel more confident facing those challenges.
How do you select clients and give them a personalized plan?
By only taking on clients that I truly believe in and would be a customer of myself. Whether it’s a service or a product, believing in the brand is crucial to understanding their business and needs.
You have gotten your clients coverage on shows like Ellen and in publications like WWD. How do you work with such heavy hitters?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredible brands that have a really amazing story to tell. Great coverage requires a combination of both media relationships and expertise, along with a unique story at the heart of the brand.
What would you say makes the perfect pitch?
Know who you’re pitching! This will help you tremendously in tailoring your pitch. It takes time to build relationships but you have to find a starting point. Research who you’re pitching by reading their past work, following them on social or meeting over coffee or a mani.
How can brands stand out in today’s often over-crowded merchandising world?
Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Often times the biggest mistake I see with brands is internal confusion of their own voice and trying to cater to everyone rather than their target audience. Staying true to your brand and its mission is the best way to succeed.
What is the best part about your job?
The ability to work with such amazing brands and the variety of work from day-to-day.
And the toughest?
Pitching. PR is a process and it can take time until there’s that perfect story fit for your brand, so having the patience while continuously pitching is definitely a daily challenge.
What is the best professional advice you have received?
Success isn’t final and failure isn’t fatal. This serves as a reminder to continue working hard and to be grateful for the opportunities you’re given in each moment. Anytime you’re leading a team, it’s important to have humility. At the end of each day, allow yourself and others to make mistakes and learn from them but make sure to get up the next morning with renewed determination.
What advice would you give a future PR girl?
Always ask for what you want! Whether it’s a raise, a promotion or to rep a dream client, the very worst that can happen is someone says ‘no’.
What would your dream client and press placement be?
I love forward-thinking brands that create a new, distinguished voice in an already existing market – brands like Everlane and Glossier. When it comes to press placements, I’ve had plenty of dream placements come to fruition already, but it really does happen all over again when you’re working with a brand and that game-changing piece comes out that is just the perfect fit and tells their story so flawlessly.
What is next for you and the company?
Right now we’re in the middle of a re-brand and are so excited to launch our new look in early 2017! We’re growing every year and hope the pattern continues with more team members and innovative brands.