You could describe Beth as a pocket rocket. As the new Director of Public Relations for NET-A-PORTER she is one powerful PR, with the energy to match. We shot her one very early sunny New York morning (in order to catch her before her first meeting) and got the lowdown on her busy life. Follow Beth @bethnicolenewman
Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got to where you are today?
I moved to Los Angeles from the Midwest aged 15 and instead of going to summer camp, I decided that I wanted to intern at a magazine, so I was the fashion intern at TEEN magazine (remember when it was still around??). Instantaneously I knew I wanted to be in the media world. I studied Public Relations & The Entertainment Industry at University of Southern California, and right from college I was the Assistant to the Head of Production at DreamWorks studio. Working with Steven Spielberg, writing script coverage for the executives - pretty crazy for a 22 year old! But my heart took me back to PR and I spent many years working at an agency handling personal publicity for celebrities. Eventually parlaying into 8 years as Head of Global Press at J Brand jeans. I traveled the world 15 times over, met some of the best people in my life and enjoyed every second along the way. BUT....New York was calling. And at age 35, I took the plunge and JUST DID IT!
How are you finding NY life?
Admittedly, I am a massive creature of comfort and familiarity. I lived in LA for 20 years, only miles away from my best friends and family. So, making this move was much more of a shake up than I even realised! But, in the best way possible. I live in the West Village, minutes away from my office, minutes away from the Subway, seconds away from my favourite restaurants, workout studios - etc. I do miss my best friends in LA and my most favourite organic whole foods market (called Erewhon, look it up!) but I still have to pinch myself that I live here. And sitting in my sunny apartment on a warm Spring day makes me ever so happy with my decision. I love New York. Period. Best city in the world.
What does a typical day look like for you at NET-A-PORTER?
No day is a typical day, to say the least! But, the emails roll in all night as our Headquarters are in London, and I'm usually in the office very early for video conferences or conference calls with office in the UK. I have an amazing team of 6 women in NY who provide incredible ideas and support. When I'm not in the usual back-to-back meeting situation, we spend our days brainstorming, writing press releases, strategising, laughing, and most importantly working with passion. A few times a week I'll meet with editors over breakfast, lunch or dinner and the best days end with a workout class at Bari Studio, or hot yoga at Modo.
Is being part of such a revolutionary company a total thrill or loaded with pressure?
Thrill and pressure go hand in hand! But, the same as having to pinch myself that I live in New York, I still have to pinch myself that I work at NET-A-PORTER. The NAP business is a well oiled machine filled with smart, dedicated, creative and passionate people. It's incredible to be learning such in-depth knowledge of a business that I have admired for so long. And everyone is SO CHIC. That being said, as with any fast growing entrepreneurial company, the pressure is of course part of the day-to-day and is expected. But I use it to motivate myself and my team to perform and deliver. With ambition always comes the pressure, but it's making sure that you're manifesting it in a productive and collaborative way.
Perk of the job?
Exposure to incredible brands, working with incredible talent within the business, being aware of all trends & up-and-coming designers, collaborating on brilliant events, and being part of forward thinking team. I could go on & on....
Can you give any general advice to a person starting out in the fashion industry?
My first boss told me to be kind to everyone top to bottom - the janitor, the executive assistant, the CEO, the receptionist. I think about this wisdom every single day. I'm quite a sensitive person, so I'm always conscientious of how other people are feeling. I have also been fairly fearless with my career. When I set a goal I have made sure that I can achieve it. That being said, I also have very realistic expectations and am sure to communicate strengths and weaknesses. No one is perfect, no job is perfect!! Additionally, communication is KEY. Really thinking about what you are going to say before you say it and communicating powerfully creates the difference between you and someone else. Lastly - always listen and acknowledge. No explanations there!
Favourite place in the world?
Tulum with my best friends - our annual tradition. I'm going in 2 months and counting down the days until I'm laying on that soft sand beach with a spicy margarita and a nice deep tan.
What do you sleep in?
My blue silk YOLKE PJs have been keeping me nice and toasty this winter. I can't get out of bed in the morning! If not in my silk, I'm in an a variety of LNA grey t-shirts or tanks and undies. Nothing fussy under these covers!