By Raquel Barolli
When I moved to New York in 2019, I thought I was prepared. I’d had vast experiences, spanning across several aspects of the fashion and PR industries, but really had no idea what the next 12 months had in store for me.
New York City is a very interesting place, unified as one city comprising of five distinct boroughs. Although, each borough has its own unique identity, with several sub-demographics of populations within them, their proximity facilitates a melting pot of cultures, young and old professionals, socio-economic status, opinions, passions and values. A memorable night out captured it all, brushing shoulders with A$AP Rocky at a designer party, albeit finishing the night with a rat running over my favourite shoes as I sat waiting for my train in the subway. You can experience every single emotion imaginable, in a 24-hour window, 365 days a year.
I’ll be forever grateful for my time in the Big Apple, as it’s provided me with an incredible perspective, work ethic and friends who continue to push me to strive for excellence – as they pursue it themselves in their own workplace.
Back yourself in… but leave your ego at the door.
One of the most beautiful things about New York, is that everyone there is extremely motivated, chasing their dreams. It’s simply inspiring. However, no matter what your experience or how old you may be, you’re not always destined to make it. Work ethic will commonly trump those who aren’t prepared to go that extra mile. Multiple colleagues and friends, across all industries, would do whatever it takes to ensure success wasn’t left to chance, pursuing the career they wanted or creating a brand they’d dreamed of. I learned this passion and commitment displayed itself in various ways. It could be working extremely late-night shifts or attending extra events to add helping hands – no job was ever too big or too small.
Manage your own stress levels
Working in PR can be stressful, with so many moving pieces and managing deadlines. Expectations of clients are a moving target and often very lofty, but this isn’t changing and part of what makes us love our jobs! The hustle and bustle of living in New York amplifies these stressors. Finding ways to manage yourself and control the controllable allows you to commit 100% of your best self to your work. Don’t let the workplace consume you and remember to always take a deep breath to appreciate the moment.
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is critical in creating differentiation and memorable moments. Whether it’s hand-written notes, remembering detailed information from your previous interactions, perfectly steaming garments in a showroom or even the simplest proofread over your emails, these small details create meaningful change. In a city of so many people, you can easily go unnoticed. When people create these moments for you, you feel very special. Reciprocating them back or being proactive in your actions will help you go a long way!
Google’s your friend
The media landscape is huge. Not only do we have access to a vast number of publications, but our lives are filled with content from celebrities, artists and influencers across multiple platforms. Working in PR, there’s an expectation that you know the who’s who, but it’s also okay if you don’t. This was quite overwhelming, particularly after relocating countries where the pool of talent varies and is so extensive. Make the effort to review any social coverage from the events you attend, and further investigate talent and VIPs social media channels to better understand why they were invited or involved.
Persistence is key
In New York City, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Everybody is busy and what happened yesterday can be completely overshadowed by what’s on right now and feel like an eternity ago. However, continuing to own your journey and persisting is key. Whether it’s powering through the late nights of New York Fashion Week or following up key media or industry contacts. You may not always get a response the first time but remember those receiving your pitch are busy too. Polite follow ups are okay, don’t let opportunities go to waste.
Upon reflection I have 6 key take-aways that shape my career today…
Prioritise your efforts…there is a cost to commitment.
And this comes with sacrifice. There are so many events and activities available to any one person on a given day in New York City. It’s easy to feel as though you need to go to everything, however what I found more important was to prioritise events, ensuring you are present at every networking opportunity. This may mean you miss a fun dinner with friends, a night out on Broadway or a house party in Greenpoint, but when you have your heart set on something, make sure you live and breathe what you set out to achieve. You may experience the short-term FOMO, but I can comfortably say it’s set me up well for my job with AMPR today.