Posted on June 15, 2017
Not until the end of my sophomore year did I figure out I wanted to major in public relations. I tried liberal arts- that was a no, I tried advertising- that was a no, but when I came around to taking a few PR classes, I liked being able to present in front of an audience (hello theatrical background!) and both technical and creative writing styles.
I quickly learned that if I wanted to land a job somewhere down the line, I needed to network like a crazy person. So I did. I went to every networking event I could, had countless people look over my resume, and kept hustling to get good grades while working long hours at Nordstrom. A few classes that really helped me understand what PR was all about was my campaigns class and my Chicago agencies class at DePaul. From learning in my classes, I started interning at a boutique firm, and when I say boutique, I mean a strong boss lady one woman show. I learned how to write a press release, what a media list was, and how to pitch media. After I graduated from DePaul, I later landed my first internship at Weber Shandwick, a global PR agency in the Hancock with 300+ employees. This was quite the culture shock let alone being able to comprehend how one agency can have so many clients. PR is all about work hard, play hard, and Weber knew how to have fun. At times you can feel a bit lost with so many people because we all want to stand out a little bit, don’t we? A lot of us interning were friends which was nice- we ate lunch together and went to happy hours after work.. living out our interning days in its best form. It was great to be able to work on reputable brands and feel like you were in the heart of corporate America straight out of college, but PR internships like to take you on a roller coaster ride, so I kept on networking and trying my best.
Then I interned at Olson: a 75 person mid-size agency with cool clients in a lofted space in west loop. Here I felt like everyone knew who each other was and could joke around the office. The work I was able to do was so hands on because the teams were smaller, so the more exposure for me the better! I decided after interning at Olson I liked the smaller office vibe. Everyone was friends, they had fun, and did great work.
We are almost there! Then I received a job offer at MSL. The coolest thing about MSL is it’s a global agency but with such a tight knit, boutique feel. There are about 35 employees in our office, and the best part is everyone is friends. I tell my work pals I count my blessings because I found great coworkers, and great friends too.. and sometimes those are hard to come by! Funny story: before I knew what PR or advertising was, I always envisioned myself working for Leo Burnett, not because I knew what I wanted, but because to me, Leo Burnett was the place to be if you wanted to be the catalyst of advertising (hello naive 20 year old self…). Little did I know a few years later I would be working in the Leo Burnett building, working with PR pros and advertising creatives and strategists in such an integrated way.
So I will say this, big or small, PR pros know how to have fun. I do think there is something to be said about being at a smaller agency: you are more hands on which only benefits you in the long run, and you get noticed pretty easily. It’s also cool to work at an agency where you have a mix of clients both national and local to Chicago. I did a round up of pros and cons for all agency sizes from my experiences- and I hope you find the perfect PR agency fit if you are looking to enter agency life!
Boutique Firm: 1-10 people. You will see every task from the beginning to end and you have to be willing to get down into the nitty gritty. Great way to learn about the industry quick if you are new to it! Very fast paced and sometimes overwhelming if you are new but don’t be afraid! Smaller clients and sometimes smaller budgets mean lots of creative thinking and workarounds. 🙂
Mid-Size Firm: 15-75 people. Great client exposure and great brand recognition with all the perks. Small enough to be noticed yet big enough to execute ideas that might be a little more costly.
Full Size Agency: 100+ people. Brands with budgets and great perks. What I found at large agencies is that it is a great place to network and maintain relationships. You never know who you might run into down the line. Sometimes you might feel lost in the mix, but easy solve because you can get your hustle on and do great work.
Questions? Thoughts? Concerns? Ask away!
Posted on May 19, 2015
Ashley Altstadt completed seven internships throughout college, studied abroad, and got her dream job right out of school. With an internship at InStyle and Paige Denim under her belt, it’s no surprise that Joie, Current Elliott and Equipment scooped her up without thinking twice. In a two part guest series, Altstadt let’s you in on her tips and recommendations for going after what you want, and ultimately landing a coveted spot in the fashion industry.
How To: Get Your Fashion Dream Job
By: Ashley Altstadt
At the age of 24 I’ve just landed my fashion dream job of working as an International Sales Assistant for Joie, Current/Elliott and Equipment. My duties involve helping to manage accounts internationally, while also prepping for appointments abroad. My love of fashion and worldwide travel has finally come into one, and this is how I got here.
Throughout my years of college, I managed to complete a total of seven internships. I worked in every area of the fashion industry to not only expand my knowledge, but to really grasp what I was good at. I did internships ranging from Public Relations at Paige Denim to styling on movies to Editorial Intern at InStyle Magazine. Take every opportunity you can, even if it means working for free. The lessons that you will learn at each internship are absolutely priceless.
I was lucky enough to receive my Bachelor’s Degree in Apparel Merchandise and Management from Cal Poly Pomona. From sewing to managing my own business, I was set to go into the real world once I graduated. Even if you aren’t doing a four year degree in fashion, taking a class here and there will help tremendously when working at your dream job. Some things you need to know can’t be taught through real-life experience.
My last quarter of college was spent studying International Fashion in London. While studying, I also worked as an Editorial Assistant for Verge Magazine. Studying abroad expands your mind to different cultures and how unique the world is. All of my travels taught me so much about myself, but also taught me how beautiful fashion is in other countries than my own. I was able to fully step outside my comfort zone and grow as a person.
Never take ‘no’ as an answer.
During my life I’ve been told ‘no’ more times than I can even remember. I’ve gone on multiple interviews, sent out thousands of e-mails, and followed up with every employer I could. From all of this work, I’ve usually only gotten a few responses. If I gave up I would have never gotten the dream job that I have today. Always stay positive and know that the right job is out there and what’s meant to be will always find its way.
Go for those once in a lifetime opportunities.
In college, I was so honored to be accepted to Teen Vogue Fashion University two years in a row. This was a weekend of seminars in New York City at the Teen Vogue offices. The speakers at these seminars ranged from Alexa Chung to Grace Coddington. When I got my acceptance letter, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up even if it would cost me a pretty penny. I’ve learned it’s worth it to save that extra money and spend it on experiences rather than possessions.
Check back on 5.25 for Part II.
Posted on November 11, 2014
By: SSC PR Girl Sarah Aiken
For everyone (I assume) getting ready is quite the feat. I know that there are days that I am NOT about leaving my house. And I’m going to be honest with you real quick—I don’t. But, when I have to leave my house there are some thoughts that go through my head that I’m prepared to share with you today. When reading this I have two rules: I hope you are judging me as much as I am judging me. If you say to yourself “this is me, I can’t, I can’t, oh my God…” Give us a little share on Facebook or Twitter…(I love my ‘likes’ as much as the next girl.)
Getting Ready for School:
My thoughts in the morning:
What am I going to wear today.
I want to look chic but not like I am trying too hard. I’ll wear my black pants.
Oh this black shirt goes REALLY well with these pants…wait I need a coat.
Oh I have the perfect black coat to finish off this outfit.
Ugh I should add some color. I’ll throw on my gold giraffe necklace.
Cute and quirky. I am SO cute and quirky.
look at myself ** Damn, I look great.
So chic. I could walk out of the house right now and straight onto a street style blog.
Oh my God, I am late. I can’t run in these shoes. Ugh, guess I am going to be late.
My college sweatshirt is dirty…oh well, it’s just class. I should leave…need to be on time.
Getting prepared for the winter
Wake up in the morning and check the weather…It’s going to be 60 degrees today. *Perfect weather for a fall jacket!*
Next day…it’s going to be 30 degrees today. *Perfect weather for a fall jacket!*
But it did drop a few degrees so I will add a scarf.
Walk outside. OH MY GOD IT IS SO COLD.
I’m sure Anna Wintour gets cold too and she always looks good. Actually no she loves fur, she never gets cold.
Okay, justify this. OH I am POSITIVE that Taylor Swift gets cold and she always looks cute coming and going from the gym.
Ugh I need to go to the gym. Thanks Taylor Swift.
Everyone else: 60 degrees=Fall Jacket. 30 degrees=Winter Coat. -45 degrees=Hibernate to Miami for the winter.
Getting ready for an event
Me: On the phone with my best friend “Okay, I am going to send you outfit choices and I need you to tell me what to wear.” Sends *18* options.
“Okay, Sarah I like the 7th one.”
“Really? I look fat”….go to my roommate JESSSSSSS do I look fat?
Look in every mirror in the house.
Go back to my room, finish my hair. Back to my roommates room…
“JESSS can you take pictures of me, I need to know what I look like at every angle and what the outfit looks like on camera.”
Okay, great picture. I am going to send that to my mom now to show her I am not getting obese at school.
I feel great in this outfit. Okay lets go.
Posted on August 20, 2014
Over the past few weeks, I have noticed myself running into an unavoidable amount of negativity. Whether it be random, on social media, or just plain mean, I really can’t seem to get around it. Over the past year of having my blog, I’ve gotten fairly used to comments full of criticism or hate, but my question is…why? Has everyone caught a serious case of Regina George syndrome?
Why do people choose to tear each other down for no reason, opposed to building each other up? What happened to the statement that “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all?”
The more I let things start to get to me, I began to ask myself why I was so bothered. If trolling Instagram or dedicating your time to making me miserable is consuming someones life, shouldn’t I feel bad for you? That is the conclusion I am sticking to. If someone has enough time on their hands to hate, let them hate, and feel bad for them.
This post is not a pity party, this post is to drive attention to the unfortunate growing issue of mean girls. I can’t even really say mean girls, because I was recently viciously attacked by a 40 year old man on Instagram for no reason. So, I’ll just say mean people.
Ultimately, this was a blessing in disguise because it brought me to The Kindness Campaign. The Kindness Campaign was founded in 2009 by two girls attending Pepperdine University who had both experienced bullying on campus. Their website says: “Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson, both affected by bullying, decided to create a documentary and non-profit that would ultimately change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across America. The girls have gone on three national tours, spreading their school assembly program and documentary film in hundreds of schools and communities across the country.”
How nice is that? Kind Campaign is an internationally recognized movement, documentary and school program based upon the powerful belief in KINDness that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl “crime.” It all boils down to one simple thing: be kind to everyone. How hard is that? Not very.
A section of the website allows people to anonymously share their stories of harassment. Many of them start with the sentence “It started in 5th or 6th grade…” This broke my heart. At such a young age, kids are seeking out ways to terrorize each other for no reason. The lasting impact of negativity can be damaging, so let’s make an effort to stop this now.
I’m pledging to get involved with The Kind Campaign, and you can too at http://www.kindcampaign.com/.
Posted on June 4, 2014
Let’s chat about Total Frat Move. Throughout the week, their articles about drinking, women, and the obnoxious things they do fill up my Facebook and Twitter news-feed, and I think to myself…why do people find this interesting at our age? Are we still 19 settling for a night out at Lions Head or Mad River because we don’t know any better? Side note: pretty sure these bars are the headquarters for guys on Tinder.
I recently stumbled upon an article posted on Why Girls Shouldn’t Wear High Waisted Shorts, which goes on to tell us that we should dress for the male eye, and not for ourselves, which in itself, I have a very large problem with. I get it. High-waisted shorts give us a flat pancake ass…but who cares? This led me to click on Why I Buy Girls Drinks.
“I’d like to say definitively here that if you are a girl I’ve never met and I buy you a drink in a bar, it is with the intention of sleeping with you. Let everyone know, sound the horn, release the carrier pigeons! Then maybe we can all come to this consensus: if you accept, you are not entirely eliminating the possibility. Maybe you won’t that night, but perhaps sometime in the future. It’s essentially a live Tinder swipe. You’re not obligated (duh) but the possibility is not zero. (Unless you accept my offer of a Fireball shot. Then you’re definitely giving it up.)”
My issue with TFM is not the fact that they are “fratty,” but the fact that they are openly disrespecting women all over the place. This does not apply to JUST them. Think about the dozens (hundreds?) of leaked emails we see constantly being released in the news.
My question is: when did this become okay? With hook-up culture not just being abnormal, but the new norm, it has become acceptable to openly disrespect the female part of society. As a current Junior at DePaul U in Chicago, I have seen this issue get perpetually worse over the years, and it does not seem like it’s going to get any better. Who are we helping by encouraging this kind of treatment?
What are your thoughts on the piece?
Posted on April 24, 2014
If you already have plans Thursday, May 1st, you should probably clear your schedule. If you don’t? Now you do. Why?
I’m hosting a party at Madewell on Rush st. So come hangout with me, sip, snack…and best of all, shop. The new Madewell campaigns feature Erin Wasson with the theme Cool. Sexy. Tomboy. Sounds ideal to me, right? I’ll be styling throughout the night, so get ready.
We’ll also be having a little styling contest. Three attendees will be competing to style a look against me, on the spot, no preparation. Think you have what it takes? Let the games begin. I popped into Madewell the other day to get a head start, and instantly fell in love with the Latticework midi skirt.
Can’t make the event? I am judging you (not really.) However, Madewell is having a fun contest of their own. A tote is a bag we use everyday. Lugging school books to class, binders to the office, or just running between meetings across the city. Since your tote is such a crucial part of your everyday wardrobe, it should be cute. Madewell wants to see what’s in your bag. Upload an image on Instagram of what’s in your bag or where you’re carrying it (can be a Madewell tote or whatever you carry and love) with hashtag #totewell. The photogs behind Madewell’s three favorite snaps will each receive a $1,000 gift card.* You have until May 19th, so start snapping.
Photos: Kohl Murdock.
Posted on March 6, 2014
Last year, I wrote a piece about being a fashionable man repeller in the dating world. When you dress for fashion, you are probably not attracting the opposite sex very often. Drop crotch pants, over-sized sweaters, and leather sweatpants do not exactly articulate a “come hither” look that boys usually fawn over, which can be a little discouraging.
I am currently in a history class that focuses mainly on the unspoken history of women in regards to men. We had a discussion the other day about why women do what they do, and if unconsciously, it is all related to men and their wants and needs. This got me thinking about the subject of why we wear what we wear. Why do women wear bandage skirts, or form fitting dresses, or five inch heels? It surely isn’t because it’s comfortable. I cannot tell you how many times I have scrolled through my Twitter feed and seen a piece titled “The Ten Things He Wants To See you In” on ELLE.com or Glamour Mag.
This is where it gets interesting. Are we really dressing for men…or are we dressing for other women? Women are taught that we need to be the prettiest, the thinnest, have the best hair…but in comparison to who? The other girls in the room. Technically, if it came down to it, women dress to get a mans attention compared to the ten other chicks attempting to do the same thing. For some reason, we just care about being perceived a certain way by other women. So are other women really the ones holding the power?
While I think all of this has become prevalent in today’s culture, especially young adult culture, there is the exception to the rule. I know a lot of positive females who don’t think twice about who finds their outfit attractive, and just go for it. I really love and admire that. Maybe this would be another step towards women helping each other instead of trying to tear each other down. What are your thoughts on women dressing for women vs. women dressing for men?