Kristin Janishefski is an up-and-coming name in Fashion and Lifestyle PR. She has such an innovative and fresh approach to this industry which is quite refreshing to see. Janishefski recently gave Style and Focus a few minutes out of her busy schedule for a very informative interview, which I hope you will enjoy.
1. Can you give us a brief history about your company, The Vanguard PR?
My name is Kristin Ann Janishefski and I am the co-founder of a fabulous agency called, “The Vanguard PR.” The Vanguard is an international full service public relations agency representing high profile fashion, beauty, and lifestyle clients. Our focus is on clients who really stand out in terms of fashion, design, and have a clear, unique marketable concept. We choose to target emerging, independent designers as opposed to established designers because we feel they bring a fresh, outlook to fashion and set the stage for up and coming trends. Independent designers have a greater appreciation for hard work and dedication. They are looking for that one person to give them a chance and believe in their dream and that is why they choose us.
2. What makes The Vanguard PR unique?
The Vanguard isn’t your average agency. We have many services that are unique to our business including: a contributing panel of industry experts that our clients have access to, an in house special events production team/graphic designers/website developer, and an ability to reach out to various international media channels to increase exposure for our brands. We offer a very personalized approach to all of our campaigns which instills great trust with our clients and ensures that their voice is heard every step of the way. The response of our agency’s philosophy has been incredible thus far. Not only do we have an ever increasing client list, but we are continually garnering press for our agency and increasing exposure for ourselves and our brands. We knew we had a good thing going when we had potential clients knocking down our doors to enlist our services, when we hadn’t even launched yet!
3. Can you give us your brief history and How you initially got started in the PR industry?
I have been in the fashion world since I was very young. I got my start in the business as a model and have had the chance to learn and work with some of the best in a variety of areas including Marketing, PR, Management, Writing, and Styling. I have been very fortunate with having seen so much and gained an incredible amount of knowledge at such a young age. I knew I had the drive and determination to succeed in a very hard industry, but in the end I put my mind to it and everything else fell into place. After I graduated from esteemed fashion school, FIDM, in Los Angeles, I decided to leave my very secure job as senior publicist at a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle agency in LA and take a chance with an opportunity that was staring me right in the face. I went to Montreal for the summer to do pr for a client and see what city had to offer. During this time, my partner, Jennifer Smith Tapp, contacted me about starting a PR agency aimed at avant garde fashion lines and independent emerging designers…and the rest is history.
My first experience was with a LA firm that put together exclusive special events for government officials (city council members) around the country. (I know sounds exciting..) There I was responsible for everything from production to PR for the events to sales to location scouting for the event. I wanted to be more in the fashion arena, so while in school I was working full time for a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle PR agency in LA. It was insane being able to balance a full time job and school, (but it just shows what you can do, if you're really determined). I love being challenged and working under pressure. I started out as an intern and moved up to senior publicist within two years. I really learned all about the ins and outs of PR and the internal workings of how to succeed and how not to succeed in the business. There are so many facets to the industry, that I have been lucky to be able to see the different areas that have given me such a well rounded background and knowledge on the public relations world. Every day you learn something new and I am so happy to be doing what I love.
4. On average, how many clients do you like to take on and is there an ideal?
Well, ideally, since we are the only ones working one on one with our clients, about 5 clients is a manageable number to make sure that all of our accounts are properly attended to. The ideal not so much related to a number of clients, but rather having a good, solid mix of accounts- fashion(women's/menswear, accessories, jewelry, children's), beauty and lifestyle, just to keep us on our toes and keep things interesting.