PR Pro-file: Double W’s Wendy Wolf Talks about Life & Work in Public Relations!
When people think or talk about public relations and those people that work in the business, they often think of it as a temporary job that is a leverage to another job or –in some limited thinking– the road to getting married. In truth, for those who get into PR and really find their niche, they wind up in a unique world of their own where they are constantly talking to people — potential clients, current clients and pitching clients. Along the way, PR people connect with editorial print writers and editors as well as online people like me (who work both print, online and into social media. Over the years that I have worked as a writer (and in social media working to launch brands and companies), I have accumulated quite the rolodex of PR people. I have friends and I have acquaintances all over the country. However there are some that I have managed to maintain a relationship no matter where they are in terms of their career . One of the people I have worked with for an incredibly long time is Wendy Wolf of Double W PR. She works hard for her fashion clients and her agency just celebrated it’s 7 year anniversary– something to be said for her amazing PR work to survive in this economy!
1) What did you want to be when you were growing up?
There were a few things I wanted to be when I was little, I wanted to be a teacher & a mom. When I got a little older, I changed the career part to a journalist/reporter, a writer. It wasn’t until college that I really thought about going into PR.
2) What things in school lead you to PR– writing, people skills or activities?
In school, my studies were definitely part of it. I majored in Communications and minored in Creative Writing, so PR was one of the options when looking at internships, jobs, etc. BUT I really got into PR as a fluke. I was scheduled to have an internship at NBC Studios in Burbank in the development/writing department during the summer between my sophomore and junior years, and at the last minute, the woman I was going to intern for ended up leaving the studio. She was so kind, however, that she recommended that I intern with the PR department and set me up with them. I had such a great experience there that it was that internship that ultimately lead me to having a career in PR.
3) Did you ever have a fall-back position that in case you failed at something you could turn around and pick up and do that? Or has it always been PR?
For the most part it has always been PR. The focus/area of interest has changed over the years, but almost all of my adult life – most of the jobs I’ve had since I was about 20 – have been in PR or a surrounding field. I dabbled in management and have done some of that throughout; I’ve done some freelancing, but in the end, I guess I just knew that I would make it in PR.
4) How do you choose clients?
I am very fortunate when it comes to clients. Just about all of the clients I have ended up working with have come to me as referrals from other clients – past and current – or from colleagues. I really take pride in this because I think it says a lot about who I am and how I work with people. From there, I really try to carefully consider each person who comes to me – weigh out if I would be the best fit to represent them, and once I know that I am, I can convey my passion for the business and their products to them. I am very picky about the types of clients and products I work with because you have to truly believe in each and every one of them and make them feel as if they are the most important at all times. I would never take on a client unless I honestly believed in them and their vision, and that I could do the best job for them.
5) You have a very strategic way you work with your fashion clients. Is it something you have learned over time-? Do you create one (strategy or campaign) for each client or it pretty much works as an organic to who you are ?
Thank you! It is something that I have learned and perfected over time. I try to tailor each campaign to the individual client –focusing on their needs and goals. From there, the process does evolve fairly organically. I think you have to be open for changes throughout the campaign and over time – change with the needs of the clients and how the market is working at that time.
6) Do you take on interns or assistants and if so how do you do that and if not, why not?
It all depends on where I’m at in the business. I have taken on help when it is necessary OR when I’ve met someone who I think can really help me/my business in a positive way OR vice versa. I only bring people in when I really need them and can really teach them something at the same time – I do not ever want to waste someone’s time or have them unable to learn about the business and grow, even when doing the most basic of jobs for me.
7) If someone wants to get into the PR, how would you recommend they go about it?
I recommend they do their research first. Look into different types of PR, from agencies (big and small) to in-house positions. Figure out what it is you are interested in and what you want to learn more about. Get internships. Ask questions (when appropriate). Observe a LOT (you learn the most when you observe). Do whatever tasks you are given without complaining. Take initiative and ask for more tasks when appropriate. The more experience you can gain, the better suited you will be if/when a position opens up. If you find an agency or company that you are really interested in, you can also ask for an informational interview and put yourself in the mind of the company. Even if they are not hiring, chances are you will be remembered if you ask the right questions and follow up in the right manner.
8) How did you specialize in fashion? You don’t do other sectors of PR; do you ever want to try other types of clients?
I do specialize mainly in fashion, however, I consider Double W PR to be a fashion and lifestyle PR company. I’d say that 90% of my clients are fashion-related, but I do occasionally also work with beauty, health, nutrition, fitness, and experts. I have worked in other areas as well. In fact, I worked in entertainment PR for about 6 years and then segued into fashion & lifestyle. This area just suites me better. I fully enjoy it and I am good at it. BUT I am always open to other kinds of clients and if the right project came along, I would certainly challenge myself with it – fashion or not.
9) How do you foresee the business in the next 2-3 years? If you were going to look at the real economic trends who is more likely to survive: small firms or the big ones ?
It’s hard to say. Of course I’d love to see the business grow even more in the next few years. Double W has been open for 7 years so far. We started in an amazing economy and made it through the worst, so I am very optimistic about the future, and confident that the business will continue to grow and thrive. If I had to predict, I’d like to say that the small firms will do well because I am one. In reality, I think it is all very dependent upon each individual company. If you are flexible and willing to work with the clients and their budgets, like I do, as well as change with the times and trends, I think you will do well – big or small! In the end, you have to find the best ways to stand out, do well by your clients and keep your integrity all at the same time.
10 ) Is there anything you would like to add to reflect the passion of what you do and what you have achieved?
You have done some remarkable things.. worked with clients who were fabulous, fun or both.
You are so right. I have been so fortunate to work with some of the most amazing clients – both as people and the products they make – and I am so lucky to continue doing so. I get to do what I love every day, and I don’t know how many people can truly say that. No matter how hard something is OR how tough the times may seem, I know that I am so very blessed to be running a company that is successful; working with clients that are truly unique and creative, and whom I truly connect with personally & professionall. And above all, I can look in the mirror every day with pride in what I’ve done and what I will be doing. I have a deep respect for all small business owners – it’s one of the hardest and most rewarding job I will ever have – and I think we all need to keep supporting each other. I love the network I am a part of, and I look forward to seeing where the future takes me and Double W PR.
Wendy D. Wolf, President, Double W PR
Thank you to Wendy Wolf for sharing so much of her professional and personal take on her career. It’s important to realize that those people who often work behind the scenes are the ones who pull the rabbits out of the hat about 8 out of 10 times. Without solid PR people– and as Wendy shows– even as a solo business owner, you can be successful!
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