University of Arizona - Bachelor’s Degree, Communications + Minor, Creative Writing
When Wendy Wolf got an internship with NBC studios she thought she would be working in the writing department. But a last minute change of plans introduced her to the world of PR and set the stage for the rest of her life. She had found her niche.
Wendy's later experiences working with both small and large PR firms led to her decision to step out on her own. A decade later, Wendy is the president of her own PR firm, Double W Public Relations. She loves launching new brands and watching them receive the recognition they deserve.
Read on as we share her biggest challenges, career secrets and her key advice for other women who want to break into the world of fashion PR.
[In PR] there is always something new to do, to talk about, to pitch, and therefore, you are never bored.
What types of responsibilities fall under you?
All responsibilities do! Ha! When I tell potential clients that when they hire me, they get me – the owner – I am not kidding. I do it all. I secure all new business, handle everything from writing marketing materials to media pitching, coordination of sample requests, media trips and everything in between.
What qualities do you look for in those you hire to be a part of your team?
When I do bring in extra help, ideally I like to have individuals who have a genuine interest in PR, and specifically in the type of PR I specialize in – fashion and lifestyle. You have to truly believe in the clients and what they are offering to their particular market in order to properly promote them, so I also like anyone on my team to have that same passion for the brands as I do.
Do you feel that you have a good work/life balance or do you have more of a work/life integration? Why?
I think I have a fairly good balance, although it’s definitely a huge challenge at times, especially now that I am a mom, too. It’s even more important for me to be successful now – not only to help take care of my little girl, but to show her that she can also do whatever she wants in life and that she can be a good mom and have a great career at the same time. I might also say that I have a good work/life integration because both worlds really do intersect and go hand-in-hand in my daily life.
What is a career accomplishment you’re proud of?
I am very proud that my company, Double W PR, has been open a full decade already. We persevered through a terrible economy and came out of it even stronger. I am also very proud of the fact that still, to this day, 98 percent of all clients have come through referrals – from clients past and current, colleagues, members of the media – I think this says a lot about the work that I do and me as well.
How did you discover your current job?
I started out in PR while I was in college. My first PR experience was between my sophomore and junior years when I interned at NBC studios in Burbank, Calif. I was supposed to intern in the writing department, but at the last minute, the executive I was going to work with left the studio. She didn’t want me to miss out on a good internship, so she set me up with the PR department instead. It was there that I learned all of the basics of PR, and it was what made me realize that this was the field I wanted to be in. This experience also showed me how important it is to have someone on your side – to be a mentor and teach you things – and how important it is to also give that back in the future, which I think I have done for others, too.
During my senior year of college, I worked at a small PR firm in Tucson, where I gained a lot more hands-on experience with different types of clients. After college, I worked at a small PR agency that focused on interactive campaigns for entertainment and lifestyle companies, which again, gave me more experience in my career. In the years following, I worked in various entertainment-focused companies and studios, mainly in the PR departments. Eventually I decided that I needed to move a little bit away from entertainment and the studio life, and began working with a small PR agency again, where my focus was fashion and lifestyle brands.
It was during my experience there that I decided that this was the area I would always be focused on, and it was the support of clients, contacts, colleagues, family and friends while I was there that pushed me to go out on my own. That was in 2005, and it was the best decision I ever made!
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
Truth be told, there is not really a ‘typical’ day in my job, and that is something that I really love. There is always something new to do, to talk about, to pitch, and therefore, you are never bored. I always start the day checking and answering emails, updating social media and making any important calls, and after that, each day varies based on the projects I’m working on. One day I could be in the office all day, mainly on the computer; another I could have back-to-back meetings from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Most weeks I have at least two to three days of business lunches, client meetings and editor/stylist meetings – mixed with time in the office for emails, phone calls, organization of samples, mailings, etc.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding is when I’m helping to launch a new brand and it starts to get the recognition it deserves from the media. It’s great to see quality items being recognized and rewarded for creating something great! But that is also a HUGE challenge in the industry –getting others to view new brands and see them for what they are while they are still so new to the market. It can be hard to get people to take a chance on a new brand in this economy.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
I have to say that I am very lucky because I have a great support system from my family and friends, so I don’t feel like I’ve had to really sacrifice much personally. I do spend a lot of time working and building my business, but I don’t see that as a sacrifice. I do what I need to in order to be successful, and that is amazingly rewarding both professionally and personally.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
I have learned a lot, so it’s difficult to choose just one thing. There are a few key lessons that have helped me though.
I have learned it’s very easy to lose yourself and your integrity in this industry. It's very easy to be sucked into a world that is full of craziness. You have to know who you are and what you stand for, and you have to stick to that in order to believe in what you are doing. And you have to trust your instincts.
I have learned that you also have to have a very thick skin, which is hard for me sometimes. If you take everything personally, it will destroy you. You also have to stand up for yourself, which can be difficult, but it is very necessary.
I also have reminded myself to honor what I believe in. I pride myself on not signing any clients whom I do not really believe in or think that I would be the best person to help promote them. I have always said that I would not sign a client just for money, and I am very proud that I have always stuck to that. Almost all of my clients are referrals, which I always think says a lot about me, my work ethic and my integrity. I intend to always maintain this policy.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
I am fortunate to be in an industry where there are a lot of women working. However, I still think you constantly have to prove yourself, especially when you are the boss. At the same time, because there are so many women in the industry, I think many struggle to be better than the others, which takes a lot of time and energy. I try not to compare myself to anyone else. I try to keep a good work/life balance. But I do see comparison as a struggle for many women.
Who are your role models?
The other women in my family. My Grammy is the most amazing woman. She has influenced me in ways she doesn’t even know, and she has always supported me in all aspects of my life. And I can honestly say the same about my mom and my sister, too. They were all a little surprised when I decided to open my company because I was the shy and quiet one, but they supported me and all taught me to always be independent – that I can do whatever I want – and that I can be successful and happy all at the same time. I hope to pass those qualities down to my daughter and to my niece too.
What are some of the rules you live by?
One of the most important is always be nice to people – executives, assistants, everyone. You never know where people end up and who you will come across again. I believe that treating people with genuine respect and being genuinely nice to others gets you much further in life.
Keep your integrity always. You must be true to yourself and what you believe.
Don’t let yourself be influenced by others. (This, of course, is easier said than done.) You have to make decisions that best suit you and not anyone else.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Work hard and pay attention. You don’t get handed anything in life, and you don’t get where you want to go by complaining while working your way up. All of the successful women I know have worked very hard to get where they. You must intern, assist and learn as much as you possibly can from those who hire you. I’d say to take advantage of all opportunities you are given because you learn the most when you aren’t even trying to.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I definitely see myself still running Double W Public Relations with the same level of amazing clients that I have always had since I opened – and perhaps just with some additional support staff. Personally, I am thrilled that one of the original things I said when I first spoke with you has already come true – I am the mother of an amazing 10-month-old baby girl … and in five years, I hope to also have another little one running around with her, in the home that I hope to own with my husband way before then as well, and seeing us all thrive – separately and together. And most of all, I see myself equally as hard working and happy in business and personally as I am now – if not more.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would just encourage everyone – young women and girls, especially – to find out what makes you the happiest and then figure out how to best attain that. Like I said before, we all work hard. We should enjoy what it is we are doing. And remember that nobody got to where they are without putting in a lot of time, effort and heart!