This #AfricaMonth, we go behind the selfie with Lorraine Maisel, founder and director of Styling Concepts in Johannesburg and Press Room in Cape Town.
Maisel caption this: "New hair, same me. Let’s rock it! #ManAlive #LoveMyJob"
1. Where do you live, work and play?
Johannesburg: Sandton, Parkhurst and Milpark. Cape Town: Woodstock and Gardens.
These are the areas that I like to hang out in, each having their own energy and vibe. Some are arty, some classic, but each speak to the different facets of my life.
2. What’s your claim to fame?
Fashion is my life. It’s my world! I started off in the fashion styling industry over 28 years ago. I then opened my own PR company in 2005. This is an extension of my love of fashion and it’s where my passion lies.
3. Describe your career so far.
Being in the fashion industry, there never seems to be a dull moment. Lots of highs and a few lows, but every day is different. The constant, dynamic change is what keeps the creative juices flowing for me. It’s been thrilling, and I’m not slowing down any time soon.
4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.
I have to start with my rings. They are uniquely me, and I wear them every day. I get them specially made by a local designer. My favourite things are just physical, even with my rings it’s about the power I feel when I wear them.
This is why one of my most favourite things is when my clients are happy. It makes me the happiest person alive. My next favourite thing is salad. I’m constantly bringing goodies to the office for the staff, and we make big family-style salads that we enjoy together. It feeds my body and my soul.
This wouldn’t be a favourites section without me mentioning change, in every meaning of the word. It’s a part of life that I welcome. You have to get used to it in this industry.
I change my hair every few weeks. I’m currently rocking an Elvis-inspired look. Let me not get started on my man Elvis… He is my absolute favourite!
5. What do you love about your industry?
The diversity of our African fashion cultures. How street culture and older cultures are so different but don’t conflict. There is a vast diversity in this country, but there is a great respect that has emerged from this understanding of the past that is being recognised more and more.
6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.
My ‘average workday’, is anything but average.
The PR industry is a constant juggling act. You have to ensure that the media is happy and your clients are happy. You have to constantly push yourself to try and think out of the circle because boxes are so boring.
You have to know where the next big story is going to come from. I’m in-between Johannesburg and Cape Town, which adds another element into the organised chaos that is my life.
She truly is making waves in the industry, and I always look forward to the new season of shows.
9. List a few pain points the industry can improve on.
Young designers need to market their brands better. Talent doesn’t make you successful, it’s how you package that talent and brand yourself.
PR is not a one-off marketing campaign, it’s about consistency and continuity. Brands like Starbucks and The Body Shop have only worked with PR, and their success is attributed to their understanding of the medium. PR is so powerful when used correctly and understood from the top down.
People need to understand the differences between PR and marketing. They are not the same.
10. What are you working on right now?
Besides maintaining the needs of our current clients, we have just launched the new Styling Concepts website, and our social media platforms have had a bit of a makeover, too.
I’m always on the hunt for new brands to work with, and ways exceed industry standards. My businesses’ success is always what I’m working on.
11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.
My catchphrase is ‘man alive’. It’s always a feature as my main Instagram hashtag. Buzzwords I’m currently hearing are ‘influencers’, ‘content marketing’, ‘slashies’, and ‘collaborations’.
12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?
It’s any and everywhere. In PR, you’ve always got to think ahead of the pack. You’ve got to be on it at all times. I would have to say that most of my ideas come to me in a creative space.
My offices are both places that inspire me. I’m lucky enough to be able to immerse myself in what I love and places that I love.
13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?
I love cooking, and I’m pretty good at it. Any party that I cater to is the party to be at.
I can also make anyone laugh through my laughter. My laugh is definitely out-there, but it gets the party going… or at least, laughing.
14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?
I would say, technophile. In saying this, I, ironically so, am useless at anything do with tech. Of course, I have a cellphone and a laptop. I have the basics, but I always keep it simple. I can take a mean selfie, though!
15. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?
Currently, a lot of pictures of my niece’s new baby, as she’s just been to visit from Australia. Usually, you’ll find tons of pictures of things that inspire me. In my browser history, you’ll find a lot of Ted Talks.
You’ll also find a lot of call logs and messages, as I’m always available to the people I work with and have in my life.
16. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?
Very important: find the right place to do an internship. I believe that hands-on experience is far more valuable these days. Never stop trying if you love PR. It’s possible to achieve anything if you keep on pushing.
This industry is hard, and you will hear ‘no’ more than ‘yes’. The people that succeed are the ones that learn from the ‘no’s and apply themselves to achieve that ‘yes!’
Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com and one of our Lifestyle contributors. She is passionate about issues of inclusion, equality and diversity and was the only SA finalist shortlisted for the Women in Marketing #WIMawards2017. She's also on the 2018 Women in Marketing: Africa advisory panel, an #Inspiring50 nominee, and can be reached at ...
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