One of the most vital things around our newly launched first floor is getting the First Floor story out there and ensuring everyone is aware of this fantastic transformation. A key instigator who is in charge of influencing the public perception and opinion of the first floor is our Press Manager Kasia Leonard. Kasia shares what’s it’s like to work in PR and the exciting ways in which she is promoting the floor – from gingerbread houses to dolls.
Tell us about your background?
I actually studied Childhood in Nottingham and became a nanny for two years because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I then went to the London College of Fashion to do a course in Fashion Media Business and that was such an amazing experience – it made me fall in love with PR. Following that epiphany I interned in New York at communications agency C&M and afterwards I worked at Purple PR in London for four years. Then this opportunity at Harvey Nichols came up and I’ve been loving it ever since.
How have you been promoting and building awareness of the first floor?
There has been a press launch with a “build your own dessert” station before the store opened, where journalists and bloggers were able to take pictures. On the following Monday we sent out miniature gingerbread biscuit versions of our store to magazines. I’ve had a piece myself and I can tell you it did not disappoint!
We;ve also sent bespoke dolls to celebrities and influencers, such as Rihanna and Edward Enninful, the editor-in-chief of the British Vogue. These custom dolls have been made to look like them and wore looks that are stocked on the First Floor – pretty cool. On the floor itself we’ve set up p a beautiful flower installation in collaboration with magazine Rakes Progress to create a “garden space”. In September we’re taking it to the next level with a big launch party for fashion week.
What has it been like working on the First Floor project?
It has been very busy juggling so many different things with a small team but it has been really exciting. It has also been stressful at times, but seeing it all come together at the press launch on the beautiful floor was really rewarding and definitely made it all worth it.
Have you been able to secure some good press coverage for the First Floor so far?
Yes, we are focusing on business titles for now. We had an exclusive interview with Daniela and Manju in the Business of Fashion and WWD also ran an exclusive piece on the floor. We are doing the consumer titles in September when the new F/W season begins.
What’s it like working in press and PR?
It’s fun and busy and a lot of it involves meeting new people. You therefore have to be able to talk and be good at persuading people. It also involves a lot of multitasking and working under pressure. You need to be reachable at all times and stay on top of everything. This can sometimes be challenging when you’re trying to keep on top of 400 different brands – you bet I have a lot of phone calls and emails coming my way. Nonetheless, there’s never a dull moment and when I see the features I've secured coming out in magazines and newspapers that is very satisfying.
What do you like about handling the press and PR for Harvey Nichols in particular?
I love the fact that Harvey Nichols is a global brand and that I get to work with so many awesome different fashion brands at the same time. There’s something exciting going on all the time: we’ve done some amazing launches such as Fenty and House 99 and now I get to be part of this great First Floor redevelopment. But - most importantly - I love the team: the marketing team is the best!