Imagine a morning filled with fashion, free coffee, bacon rolls and goodie bags.
It might sound like the morning after a P. Diddy party, but it’s actually a good description of a press launch breakfast. They’re essentially launch parties that take place in the morning, but because the alcohol is NOT flowing (at most), that Dutch courage is often absent and the 9am start might put you a little off balance. As an aspiring fashion or style journalist, there will definitely come a time where you have to attend one, for yourself, for a magazine or through the PR company directly.
Following on from the Maverick’s insightful PR piece this morning, I thought I’d wade in on how to approach the press breakfast. It’s a strange breed of journalism event and can seem a little like another dimension if you don’t approach them right – and you really should because they’re an excellent way to rake in new contacts and wardrobe additions!
Oh yeah, did I mention the free stuff?
I might make these events and launches sound a little more glamorous than they perhaps are, but they really do have an air of the Devil Wears Prada about them, and that can be blinding.
So first rule is: always remember why you are there. It might be to meet a specific person from the press department, it might be to source a good feature for the magazine and it might be to break news on the latest releases. So make sure you go out of your way to do that (if it means sidestepping the free coffee and food, so be it) and avoid putting your feet up and leaving with nothing… pay attention and be fashionably proactive.
Meeting the PR people is mandatory because they will likely know who you are and will take you round to look at the line / products etc. The thing to do is ask right and relevant questions, for example “what’s the price point on this?” or “have any celebrities endorsed this particular piece?” It’s far too easy to nod and smile and accept the ‘official line’, i.e. what’s in the press pack, so make sure you enquire about what you’re there to do. Remember, this is what will make your piece more insightful than those who have used the press release directly, and press teams are incredible at being clued up on their products (inside and out) so ask away – they’re there to help you!
So having spoken to the press people, take some time to speak to other journalists. You may already recognise some, but those you don’t might be massively important to the industry. What’s great about fashion journalism is that it now sees bloggers standing side-by-side with top-shelf editors, because those bloggers are just as valuable.
Don’t think you’re worthless – I’ve met style editors from FHM, GQ, Men’s Health and beyond just through these morning hour-long sessions. And the free kit and coffee just sweeten the deal!
Any questions, tips or anything I’ve missed? Add them to the comments below!