I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Malania Dela Cruz, Director of Dela Cruz PR. Since I have always had an interest in the world of Public Relations, I thought she'd be the perfect person to answer all my questions.
How do you get paid? (What do you do for a living?): I get fashion, entertainment, design and lifestyle brands on your TV, in your magazines, in your news and in your face!
Describe your industry. What are some of the challenges and rewards?: The PR industry is a fun and fast-paced creative environment. The PR world is ever changing, especially in the face of new technologies and social media marketing. This is one of the biggest challenges I think PR professionals are facing right now, how to incorporate these new facets of the industry into their business plans and within the services offered to clients. However, I also believe this is one of the exciting things about what we do. It's about adjusting and fine tuning how we communicate with each other to make sure our client's key messages don't get lost in the huge landscape of the online world.
The rewards? Getting to meet new and interesting people from all walks of life and learning from them. Also, seeing my client's businesses and reputations grow as a result of all the hard work. It's like Christmas day every time I get a piece of press on my desk for a client!
How did you get into what you are doing now?: Before I started my company, I worked as a producer, researcher and on-camera "story teller" for regional lifestyle television shows, first at Citytv and then for the CBC. This gave me the foundation that enabled me to understand what makes a good story and how to present it to the media.
When I decided to leave television, I was fortunate enough to have my first clients, who were also good friends, approach me to handle their PR. That started the wheels in motion and Dela Cruz Public Relations was born. I felt honoured that these first clients trusted me with their business and they are still on my roster to this day.
What are your favourite current items in your closet?: I've just added a few new basics to my closet for this Fall/Winter that I love...
lily + jae 'Cassidy Coat', Wilfred Drapey Harem Pants, Left on Houston 'Hunter' chunky knit sweater, Isabel Lu black wool dress with beaded embellished shoulders, House of Harlow 1960 'Leslie' ankle boots and Coclico 'Telesto' stacked flat riding boots.
What was your last read?: The Book of Negroes written by Canadian author, Lawrence Hill. It's a fictional account of a girl who is stolen from West Africa into the slave trade in South Carolina. I don't know one person who has picked up this book who has not been instantly immersed in it's story.
And I know this is not a book per se, but I've recently watched all 5 seasons of The Wire, which I consider to be a visual novel. It is by far one of the best shows on television. Ever. No exaggeration. Seriously. Watch it!
Your most precious item?: That's a hard question. I consider my friends and family my most precious items in my life and hold them close to my heart. But if I had to choose a material object I would have to say it is a chunky, costume jewelry type ring that was given to me by my close friend Krista who passed away last March from cervical cancer. She bought it for me the last time she visited me in Vancouver and it's one of the pieces of jewelry I wear on a regular basis. It reminds me of her strength and her vivaciousness - two qualities I try to uphold in my life.
One lesson you have learned and will never forget?: I have learned it takes more than one person to build a community. I try to share as much as I can with others and have found that in most cases, people tend to share back. I am really proud to be a part of this growing fashion/media/PR community in Vancouver. I feel like it's an exciting time with a fresh, new energy and a lot of cool collaborations going on. If we all work together, we can build it into something even bigger and better!
Also (I know, I know. You said one thing, but here is my other 'one'!) "True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing" - Socrates. This quote is a reminder that there is always something more out there for me to learn and to be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
Your advice to anyone starting up their own business or getting into the industry?: While there are some fun and glamorous parts of being in the PR industry (like going to events, attending tv shoots etc...) you should also be prepared for long days (and sometimes nights) in the office plugging away on the computer, re-working press releases and a lot of other non-glamorous type duties. It's also important to have your written skills as polished as your social butterfly wings.
If you are starting your own business remember that 'Titles mean nothing. You will be a janitor.' You may have to wear many hats for a while until things get rolling.
Be organized! Have a plan and research the hell out of whatever it is you want to get started. Find out what industry standards are, who your competitors are and what makes them the best at what they do and learn from them.
And most of all, don't be afraid to make mistakes. These mistakes are the building blocks to becoming the best at what you do. even the biggest of blunders will blow over.
A friend of mine sent me this article the other day that offers more insight on starting a business: The 11 Harsh Realities Of Being An entrepreneur.
Hopefully, this doesn't scare any of you off from starting your own businesses. Starting mine has been the coolest, most satisfying experiences to date, and there is still so much more to learn!
*Photo Credit, www.smashedphotography.ca