Priceless Advice

Jun 07, 2010 No Comments

Are you listening or should we say reading?

Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer is the “oh-so-savvy” president and founder of SLK Creative public relations firm based in North Miami Beach. This very experienced and well connected business women gave up a few minutes in her busy schedule to give us a brief understanding of what it takes to run her own company. What she really gave us? We received a perfect written example of what to do, and how to do it, when starting a company. Read on…

What motivated you to start your company in 2007?

SLK: My background and education was in magazine editing, writing and marketing from Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. I was a writer and editor for more than 20 years. I wrote about and learned in a vast amount of industries including fashion, home décor, entertainment, music, jewelry, gifts, food, wine, travel, trend, retail, floral, furnishings, tabletop… the list goes on. When I moved from Manhattan to Florida, I became the editor of BIZBASH FLORIDA. It literally took every industry I had ever known and loved and combined it into one amazing industry (special events!). I fell in love with the special events industry and all of its many components. After growing the Florida BIZBASH name for 4 years, I decided it was time to change. I took a three month hiatus to figure out what was “next” for me. During those months many, many of the wonderful contacts I had made kept calling me saying, “Can you help me write this…”, “Can you help me get the word out about this…”. “You know everyone, can you introduce me to this person…” and all of a sudden it clicked. I needed to open a Public Relations/Marketing company that would focus specifically on the companies that created special events. Basically, my company happened to me. There was never a burning desire to have my own business. I filled a need and a niche effortlessly. It was a natural fit. After making the decision to move forward – SLK Creative was born!

As the President of SLK Creative, what kind of companies do you represent?

SLK: We represent mainly any and all types of special event and hospitality companies – restaurants, event designers, planners, producers, venues, floral designers, furniture rental companies, caterers, DJ companies, novelty companies, entertainers, Party Rental companies, linen companies, tent companies, cake bakers, photographers, etc. Anyone who can bring a special event to life! We’d also represent a handful of other companies such as a handbag company, hair salon, and the like.

Out of all of the services that you provide, what is the most popular one?

SLK: The most popular are press releases and in-person introductions. Everyone needs to get the word out and when there is exciting news – a new product, a new hire, a new company – we write about it and send it to our international database of industry professionals so they can learn about it. We also send the release to magazines of all kinds – from special events to bridal publications, blogs to lifestyles, food and catering magazines to specialty “shelter” mags. I am also always on the road so I will personally introduce clients to planners, people they are looking to meet to do business with. Another big service is imaging and branding. We take companies that need a new look and feel and re-brand them. We create an image – an aura – for a company and teach them how to live it and be it. After all, you are what the world sees.

Tell us your biggest success story so far?

SLK: There are so many ways to measure PR success. One way is by the number of calls you receive on a press release. When we sent BW Designs’ lighted gaming tables release out, he received no less than 300 phone calls within a day or two. That translates into sales and that is powerful. Another story is Perfect Surroundings, a Rhode Island–based design firm. We’ve gotten them countless stories in national magazines including two covers (their events wound up on the covers of magazines). Nico Designs, a new client, has been with me a month. He is out of Santa Barbara and no matter what we send of his to any magazine or blog – he gets published. We’ve sent about five or 6 stories – all published. We are branding and imaging him – he is poised to be the next celebrity designer/planner – guaranteed! We’ve worked with Room Service since the beginning – that needs no explanation. We work with AFR Event Rentals, who has purchased Room Service due to its success.

How much more do you expect SLK Creative to grow?

SLK: I initially wanted SLK to become huge – now I am rethinking it. I am starting to be extremely selective in my clientele. I only want one, maybe two at the most of any given category. They must be top quality, great people, and willing to actively communicate with us. After all, we cannot make anyone successful without his or her input. I am now all about quality, not quantity.

What key lesson have you learned along the way?

SLK: Oh, there are so many. Let’s see.

  • Always be honest with yourself, your clients, with what you can and can’t do. And make sure your clients are always honest with you!
  • Employees are not forever. I tend to be very trusting and those you think will be with you forever, well, won’t. Never rely on any one person too much.
  • Make smart business decisions. It is great to love your clients, and be “friends” with them, but it is still business. In the end, decisions must be based on a business need, not love.

How would you describe your work environment and the type of boss you are?

SLK: SLK is a fun, creative, and easy-to-be place. Our offices (like everything about us) are branded in pink, white, black and gray. We are casual on a day-to-day basis. We are warm and nurturing as a business environment goes. The offices are pet-friendly (I believe that fur is calming and animals bring good energy). As a boss, I am very giving, understanding, and dare I say easy to work for. What you see is what you get with me. No hidden agendas, I do not yell, and I am not an angry person. If you do what you are supposed to do, all is well. I am not overly demanding, but I expect that you will do anything and everything I do. I will never ask more from an employee than what I am willing to give. Do your job, do it well, and we will get along just fine.

What could your future clients expect from SLK Creative?

SLK: Excellence. We work as hard as we can to get the coverage for your company that we can. We are a 100% support tool for every client and will be there no matter what needs to be done. From writing releases and awards, to creating websites and logos, to manning registration tables at events (and yes, we send invitations and do RSVP lists). What the client needs is what they get. And if they do not know what they need (which is often the case), we go through it step by step to learn what they want and create a strategic plan to make it happen.

When the economy hit rock bottom, did affect your company?

SLK: Yes. Like every company, I’d be lying if I said no. When our clients do not work, we do not get hired. PR is not an absolute need for most (although it really should be – especially in tough times). When they are struggling to pay bills, the last thing they think of is spending “extra”. What they need to see is big picture, and that is building when times are bad so they can appear strong.

How did you get through it?

SLK: We made it by making smart business decisions. Lean spending. And focusing on doing a great job for those who can hire us so others would see. We also diversified, looking at clients outside the special events and hospitality industries.

You represent clients from different industries, what helps you shift gears after representing one client from one industry to another in a totally different industry?

SLK: It’s about throwing yourself into that client and having a general understanding of their industry and what media outlets will help them thrive. It is really easy if you love each client.

What do you love the most about SLK Creative?

SLK: Our reputation. I have built a reputation in the industry as one of being a good, solid, honest firm, but even more being effective.

What do you offer to your client that separates you from your competitors?

SLK: I am entrenched in the special events industry – and I UNDERSTAND our industry. It is difficult to do PR and brand someone when you do not get what they do. Our industry is very special – you get it or you don’t. Thankfully, I do. I have the background, the reputation, and everyone knows me nationally. I have the writing skills (and background) and have been working with the press for years too, so I know both sides.

What was the hardest part about launching your company?

SLK: This is tough. I hate to say it, but it was pretty easy!

Give us your best advice.

SLK: Launching a business (and being in business) is not easy. Be strong, be confident, be honest, and stick to your vision. If you love what you do and you are good at it, the money and recognition will come. But make sure you are out there making it happen because success does not come on its own!

Edited by: Bridgette

SLK CREATIVE
www.SLKcreative.com
Phone: 305.466.4312
Cellular: 954.288.902

17810-C West Dixie Highway
North Miami Beach, FL 33160
Shari@slkcreative.com

 

Miami, PR
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