Brandeis University - American Studies with a focus on Journalism
Janna Meyrowitz Turner was graduating college when she discovered what she wanted to spend the rest of her career doing — PR. After graduation, Janna moved to New York City and immediately found a job at a boutique fashion and lifestyle firm that focused primarily on luxury accessories brands. After working at a second boutique PR firm, and a year in-house with a former client, Janna founded Style House PR, a boutique PR and brand marketing firm located in the heart of New York City. Style House PR specializes in the promotion of luxury fashion, beauty, accessories and lifestyle brands. But not just anyone is added to the firm's client roster. Janna believes that to be successful a PR practice must truly believe in the clients they are promoting, which is something that we admire. You can spot Janna with her husband, Ethan, traveling, sipping wine or spending time at Physique57 when she's not pitching clients and answering her 300+ daily emails. She leads a busy life, but it's one we'd like to have!
Everything you do or say is part of your personal brand ... your brand needs to be who you really are, or you’ll never be able to keep it up.
How did you discover your current job?
I created it! When I was graduating college and first wanted to get into PR I looked up brands that I liked and looked at who handled their media relations. I realized that most of the firms I was attracted to were boutique PR firms, so I just started sending my resume out. I worked for two different agencies and then in-house before starting Style House PR almost five years ago.
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
We are a liaison between our clients and the media. I get more than 300 emails a day (not including newsletters/Google Alerts I subscribe to) so when I first get to the office I confirm that every email that required attention from the day before has been handled before the onslaught of the current day starts. I open up Twitter to see what people are writing about our clients and about our industry. I go through Google Alerts that I’ve set up to stay on top of trends affecting my clients. At least 75 percent of our job is follow-up, so on any given day I’m following up on pitches and story ideas that I sent out the week before to get feedback from the editors and to see if they’re going to use my idea. We have a very collaborative office environment where we’re always throwing ideas around and giving one another feedback. I love when we all get together and think of something intelligent and witty that we can put together to pique the editor’s interest in our clients. That’s the fun part of our day.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
Rewarding: Watching TV or reading a magazine and seeing a client of mine featured and knowing it’s because of my team’s hard work. That’s our product right there.
Challenging: Media is evolving at a faster pace now than it ever has before, and it’s our job to navigate this new media world and adapt our strategies accordingly. We love exploring new media at Style House PR, so I think we do a fairly good job of keeping up, but the challenge often comes when our clients don’t understand the changes in media and how they need to shift and adapt their own practices as well to stay relevant. It’s funny when a client will call me and say, “I’m sorry I haven’t tweeted yet today! I’ll do it soon, I promise!” They know they need to be participating in social media, and I like when they come to us for guidance.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
I’m on the phone and email all day for work, and when I get home the last thing I want to do is be on the phone or emailing, and my long-distance personal relationships suffer because of that. The balance is challenging. I think (hope) my friends and family know by now that I’m alive even if it’s been a week since they’ve heard from me. I need to work on that!
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
Only one? That’s tough. The most macro-level lesson I’ve learned is that I can’t work with a brand that I don’t feel passionate about, or I simply won’t do my best work. Our media contacts have come to know Style House PR as tastemakers that they can trust -- i.e. if we’re working with a brand it’s because we believe in it. My team and I need to be passionate about both the product/service and the people behind the brand for the partnership to work, and to maintain our legitimacy to the media. That being said, we don’t necessarily need to be the target audience for the brand, we just need to subscribe to and have a passion for the company mission.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
Other women. Some women are so mean to one another because they’re competitive, jealous or just insecure. I like to be very transparent -- maintain who I am in every situation. I like to get along with everyone and to find a line to connect on even if we aren’t going to be close friends. But sometimes you face people in the industry who just don’t want to get along with you, or want to be combative, and you have to realize there’s nothing you can do, and it’s their problem not yours. Some of my friends could, in theory, be considered my competition in the industry, but we support one another in so many ways, and it benefits everyone.
Who are your role models?
Women who aren’t afraid to be themselves or to do things that haven’t ever been done before. I love funny, smart ladies. Chelsea Handler, Tina Fey and Kristin Wiig make me proud to be a woman.
What are some of the rules you live by?
I always try to focus on the big picture. There are so many details and nuances in our day-to-day work that can bog you down. A hit in a magazine isn’t going to change a brand overnight. PR is a combined, strategic effort of controlling and propagating the brand message at the same time, and everything needs to come back to that macro-level approach. I’ve seen people handle their brand with kid gloves and not go anywhere, and people who’ve been careless with their brand (“all exposure is good exposure,” “all PR is good PR”) and they haven’t grown either. It’s a dance.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Everything you do or say is part of your personal brand. How can you promote someone else’s brand if you can’t promote your own? And your brand needs to be who you really are, or you’ll never be able to keep it up. Be memorable, and you’ll be surprised by the impressions you’ve made on people when you reencounter them down the road. Also show gratitude. It’s also good if you can find some way to remember people’s names even if you’re bad at it. It always impresses people.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I’m very strategic about how I grow Style House PR. I never want anyone in my office spread so thin that client service suffers for the sake of growth. It’s simply not a sustainable way to do business. Even clients that we don’t work with anymore for one reason or another continue to a be part of our family and even refer new business to us. In five years we will have been in business for 10 years, and we will continue to expand beyond fashion and beauty into more consumer products with a health and wellness focus. Food education is something that’s very important to me. I worry that industrial food has weakened the connection that people feel to what they eat (or at least genetically modified the connection). Now is a crucial time for our society to shift its focus to health and wellness, and I feel it’s my job as someone who understands the issues and has the ear of the media to affect some change.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
My team and I welcome questions via the contact page on our website.