Trinity College and NYU – English Literature
There are few things we love more than a perfectly designed, totally classic, leather handbag. And GiGi New York, a leather goods company making bags, totes, wallets and other leather accessories, totally gets it right. Launched in 2012 the brand landed in the pages of Harper’s Bazar and the shelves of Neiman Marcus in record time.
As PR manager for GiGi New York and parent brand Graphic Image, it’s Rebecca Chin’s job to get the luxury leather goods noticed. In an industry that spans time zones, Rebecca’s got a 24-7-365 job that makes the most of her first-in, last-out work ethic.
“I’ve always said, who you know is important, but a great work ethic will truly get you far.” She’s also quick to add that she, “never wanted to leave before [her] boss did.”
As an employee of a smaller company in the world of fashion (for now) that do-it-all attitude has taken Rebecca far in a job that only starts at PR. In addition to public relations she also oversees customer service and works directly with big accounts like Saks Fifth Avenue, managing orders from production to fulfillment.
Sound like a lot? It’s just another day at the office for Rebecca. “With a smaller company … your job won’t just entail doing one thing.” No wonder she says she loves a go-getter!
Who you know is important, but a great work ethic will truly get you far.
What has been your career path from this job to your current role at GiGi New York?
Growing up and throughout college, I always worked in retail. Then I worked in the fashion closet at Seventeen magazine for an internship during the day and would take classes at NYU at night. After my internship was completed, I got my first job at a multi-line accessories showroom. I started at the bottom as an accounting assistant and worked my way up to sales and public relations. I became a sales executive, where I was responsible for about 200+ accounts, from small retail stores to larger chain stores and catalogues. I also did all the PR for the 20+ designers our company represented. I worked there for nearly six years and then started my position as PR manager at GiGi New York, which I’ve now had for 4+ years.
How do you organize your day?
Every morning after getting in I check my voicemails and emails. I then respond to those items that need to be dealt with right away. After that I review my to-do list, which I update throughout the day. I find it very helpful to write things down and to keep a list I always can refer to. And, I just love checking things off my list; it’s so satisfying!
What types of responsibilities fall under you?
I have about three jobs in one, so I’m involved in a few departments. I manage a small team where we process all orders that come in through our two e-commerce websites. I oversee all customer service aspects including order status, product inquiries, returns and exchanges, etc.
In my role as PR manager I handle all facets of public relations for our two brands. This includes mailings, product pitches, sending out samples, organizing press events, charitable donations, VIP relations, etc.
I’m also responsible for our Drop Ship division. In this area I work with accounts like Neiman Marcus, Mark & Graham, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc. A lot of those accounts require custom products, and for these I manage the production and process of all the orders.
What qualities do you look for in those you hire to be a part of your team?
I love a go-getter – someone who is eager to learn and willing to do even the smallest task. With a smaller company, it’s important to be a team player and to be open to whatever comes your way. Most likely, your job won’t just entail doing one thing. Past experience isn’t as important to me, because many things we do can be taught, but attitude cannot. There’s no room for ego here!
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love seeing a piece featured in a magazine that I picked out myself. It means I’m doing something right if the editors agree with my vision!
Do you feel that you have a good work/life balance, or do you feel you have more of a work/life integration?
I try my best to leave my work at the office once I leave the building, but PR can sometimes be a 24-hour job, since fashion editor’s work very late and I work with people in different time zones. I’m always checking email at home so I can respond to important inquiries and stay on top of everything.
What is a PR placement that you’re most proud of?
My proudest PR placement was when Taylor Swift wore a necklace of a designer that I was representing on the cover of Seventeen magazine. It was a huge sparkling statement necklace that was hard to ignore!
What is one lesson you’ve learned in your job that you’re constantly reminded of?
Less is more.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women in your industry?
The fashion industry is tiny, whether you’re looking to enter publishing and public relations or the wholesale industry. College graduates must be willing to work for very little money. I did! The industry seems fun and glamorous, but it’s hard work and long hours.
What is a piece of career advice you’re willing to share with our readers?
I’ve always said, who you know is important, but a great work ethic will truly get you far. It’s okay to start at the bottom and work your way up by proving yourself. And I always made sure I was the first in the office every morning and the last one to leave. I never wanted to leave before my boss did!