Meet Teddie of COLLECTIVE. She grew up in a foreign service family, moving around every 3-4 years always adapting to meet new people, explore new places. Teddie moved to NYC to study communications at NYU and has been in the city ever since. Having worked at many of the top agencies in the city, she started her own agency COLLECTIVE in 2012. She loved the nature of the work but not always the part about having a boss! Her and her partner, Nicole, worked together for a couple of years and decided to make the leap to start to get their own clients.. working on projects that they had a vested interest in and an ability to help friends on their new ventures…then COLLECTIVE was born!
How did you get started in public relations?
I started in fashion PR at Diesel right out of NYU…running the sample room and learning the ropes. I always knew I wanted to be involved in shaping brand messaging, in helping brands with their public profiles to project the right image and gain the appropriate following to reach their goals. Working in house is a great way to learn but I love to work on many things at once so having clients with different goals and in different markets makes the job more dynamic, challenging and ultimately fun and rewarding.
When and how did you decide to start your own firm?
I think I always knew I wanted to work for myself… my childhood of moving around sometimes made it difficult for me to stay in one place for too long — I tended to get antsy working for other people, not really controlling my schedule or choosing my clients. Having Collective allows me to travel more and work at my own pace. My business partner and I were in a place where we both were ready to leave our jobs and we thought, why not go out on our own? We knew we worked well together and it just made sense. We had one meeting while we were still working in different places where we told a potential client about our plans- they said- we will hire you today if you resign and voila, we had our first client and we gave our 2 weeks notice.
What is your average day like?
This is a hard one because I think there really is no average day in this business! Usually starts with a lot of coffee and good music in the office. We work a lot with hospitality clients so we are always visiting our clients hotels, restaurants and bars to see what’s new and to stay as involved with each as possible. There’s always some pitching involved, some days more than others depending on what we are working on. Lots of phone calls- often (trying) to be the voice of reason when emotions are running high and always reminding people to look at the full picture. Usually ends with a dinner/ drinks date to entertain media, show off one of our clients or just to catch up with colleagues and friends.
What’s the best part of working in public relations?
PR is really about working with people- knowing who your audience is and being able to adapt whether speaking to the media or to a client – I love the exploration- getting to know a client and their goals and figuring out how to get them there. It is also really satisfying to be able to help friends and colleagues with their ventures… I’m lucky to have some really creative and talented friends and I like to think of myself as the business voice in their head. I love being involved in so many different industries and never having a dull moment.
What’s the best PR advice you ever received?
Work smarter not harder. I actually think that was advice that an 8th grade teacher gave me and it really applies to everything! I hated the days when it felt like it was a competition as to who could stay at the office later and be the martyr. No thanks. I would rather be efficient and have a life too!
Any advice for those looking to get into PR?
Being a media/culture consumer is a good start- you really have to enjoy reading/ watching/ googling and generally being curious. Also, be nice to people! I think people forget this one. Some common sense and being a considerate, nice person gets you a lot further then people think. I always say.. kill ’em with kindness.