The beauty industry and cosmetic related products has exploded in the last decade and it’s no surprise that YouTube has been a huge part of the expansion. Finance website Mint.com estimated that the average woman spends $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime. There are thousands of beauty channels with people touting all sorts of information on beauty-related products, hauls and how to get into the beauty industry whether as a makeup artist or PR company.
Melody O’Flaherty is the Founder of Melody Joy Public Relations in New York City. Melody and her team focus on beauty, fashion, celebrity and lifestyle public relations and marketing with a proven track record of growing brands through creative media placement, cross promotions, events, product placement and website publicity.
Melody Joy PR is the company behind the notable brands and world-acclaimed beauty pro instructors at The Makeup Show, which is the largest professional driven beauty event. If beauty and public relations is your passion, Melody O’Flaherty gives insight into the industry.
Q: How did you get started in Public Relations?
MOF: I’ve been attracted to fashion, beauty and glossy magazines since I was 14 and dreamed of one day pursuing one of these passions as a career in New York City. During college I worked full-time in the industry and after getting my Bachelors in Business Marketing realized it was finally time for me to make my next step and turn my childhood dreams into a reality. I then packed my bags and moved to NYC.
The energy of New York City was so inspiring the moment I stepped foot here and the opportunities in this city are endless. It took me only a couple weeks to get my first two clients and within 6 months I had officially started my own agency and tripled my clientele all within the beauty industry. My dream had become a reality and only continues to grow from here.
Q: What is the role of a PR person and how does it work?
MOF: PR is nonstop. Each day brings something different and you must always be in the know.Know what editor is where, which producer is in charge of what and who is the right person to pitch your client to.
On a typical day however, you can find me coordinating press for our clients and constantly working with the media to increase awareness and name recognition for them. I am always strategizing, meeting, and planning the next steps for our clients whether it be the logistics for upcoming product launches, events, or new store openings.
Things move fast in this industry and you need to handle and juggle many things at once. A beauty editor may call and need product that day for a shoot…if you can’t get it there the opportunity can be lost for your client.
Q: Reality TV makes PR seem so glamorous (launch parties and hanging out with celebrities). Is that the average day in the PR world?
MOF: No, that is actually just a small percentage. While attending some of these events and networking is part of it, there is also a lot of hard work and stress that happens behind the scenes. PR can be grueling long hours, but if you love what you do then these hours can fly by and you can enjoy the more glamorous side of PR.
Q: Do PR people work across all industries (i.e. beauty, entertainment, consumer products) or is it more specialized?
MOF: In my firm, we are specialized specifically in the beauty industry and many other PR companies operate like this too. I think it’s important to find your niche, what you love and excel in it. It’s better for your clients too because you will be more passionate about their brand and will build solid relationships with the editors in this category.
Q: How has social media changed or affected the way you work in PR?
MOF: Social media not only has increased the amount of platforms available to PR firms to spread the word and reach consumers, but it also offers news to spread immediately. It is important that these outlets are also a priority. More and more people are referring to blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. to read reviews on their favorite products or to learn more about ones they are interested in trying. I have even received calls from beauty editors that have seen our client’s products posted on various social media outlets. Today a pitch goes much further than just an email.
Q: What advice do you have for people who are interested in making a career change who would like to get into the PR field?
MOF: I say, take a risk and follow your passion! If you like the energy, fast paced lifestyle and thrive on being in the know then PR could be for you. The most important thing is to first know what area of PR you would like to be in. There are so many different facets and niches in PR and if you know this ahead of time, you will be sure to find a career that you’re passionate about. If you like makeup, then be a beauty publicist…and if you like sports than follow that path.