"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about!"

Continuing on with the series, we are delving into the fashion and beauty sectors...

Callum Powell, recently graduated from Bournemouth University studying Public Relations, has already achieved considerable and note-worthy experience. From L’Oreal to Hill and Knowlton, Callum is well on his way to becoming the next one to watch in the Fashion and Beauty sectors.

I started my illustrious life in PR at Bournemouth University. As part of my four year sandwich degree I had to complete a twelve month industrial placement. I managed to secure this with beauty giant L'Oreal.

What made you go into PR?
I wanted to go into PR because my greatest skills are my communication skills. I feel that I am a persuasive communicator with very good interpersonal communications skills. I can understand the needs and wants of not only consumers but the brands and clients that I work with.

So why Bournemouth?
Bournemouth was the perfect choice. I chose Bournemouth because the Media school has an impressive reputation within the UK. I also wanted to do a placement year as I thought it would provide me with an opportunity to network and make myself more employable!

Where did you complete your placement?
L'Oreal (in the Professional Products Division)        4 out of 5.
I worked on eight professional brands including L'Oreal Professionnel, Shu Uemura, Kerastase, Mizani, Redken, Matrix, Keraskin, Pureology.
I had the opportunity to work on events such as London Fashion Week, L'Oreal trends days and huge brand launches. I really had an amazing year, I did not want to come back to Uni! Working at L’Oreal gave me a good insight into In-house PR and they worked me very hard! I made some excellent contacts and some very good friends!

How is fashion and beauty PR different to other sectors?
Beauty and fashion PR is fast-paced and hectic. It is a very demanding industry and you have to work with a very proactive can-do attitude. Fashion and beauty is constantly changing and you need to stay on top of the industry in order to perform well and incorporate your brands into the latest trends. You need to network, understanding the needs and wants of those around you. A short term strategic approach has to be taken to your work and you have to find ways to be creative, producing stories and framing products in a way in which that appeals to your consumer! It is also a very exciting industry providing you with the opportunity to work with some very creative and innovative individuals.

What was it like working with trade press?
Working with trade magazines is completely different. They expect more of you. They want more content and can be very demanding. You do however build up very mutually beneficial relationships as you can, at times, be in contact with the trade press nearly every day. You need to treat all of the press as individuals - catering for their needs as requested. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the trade press and met some fantastic journalists with a great deal of knowledge on their industry.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Hopefully at a huge agency in NYC. It has always been my dream and I just hope that I get the opportunity to take my career stateside. I would also love the opportunity to work within entertainment PR for a few years!

I have just begun working for the prestigious PR agency Hill and Knowlton working in the beauty and grooming division within Consumer Packaged Goods.

What’s your favourite campaign?A campaign I worked on at L'Oreal - Kerastase Homme.
It is a luxury brand so we created a luxury event in order to educate the press whilst providing them with the ultimate in lux experience.. They stayed for a night in Claridges with a partner - had a bottle of Bollinger Champagne in their room, a meal at the Gordon Ramsey restaurant and we showed a small presentation introducing the new range. It gained huge coverage in top long lead titles, including a double page spread in GQ. It was a fantastic event to be a part of; I love luxury brands and this was a real opportunity for me considering I was only an intern!

Advice for students:
  • Get as much work experience as possible.Do not limit yourself to in-house or agency, try and get experience in both areas.
  • You need to be good with people - networking and meeting people is a crucial part of the job!
  •  You need to be strategic - analysing your markets/consumer and clients - seeing where you can take them.
  • You need to be creative - coming up with interesting ways to create a buzz and sell in a story!
So why did Callum make the featured people list? I think his CV is a good answer to that. But not only that, he has been an absolute star this year helping from start to finish with my placement applications – even when I’m demanding ridiculous information and he’s trying to write a dissertation. So thank you Callum, I wish you all the best at Hill and Knowlton.
You can follow Callum on Twitter @callumpowell89

Jessica North

Author & Editor

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