Welcome to our new column, The Essentials. Every week we will profile an awesome woman with an incredible job in a different industry. We want to know how she got this job and why, but also how the heck she manages to do it and, you know, live her life! What are the essentials she needs to get through the day?
At the age of 31, Alle Fister is already a baller of the PR industry, so you can imagine her career start was quite auspicious. She landed her first job straight out of college, at a little company called Shopbop, by reaching out to the brand via a ‘Customer Comments’ section on the site outlining why she would be a great member of the team and her thoughts on how to grow the brand (somebody knows how to lean the hell in!). She then received a call from Bob Lamey, one of the company founders, and suddenly she found herself moving from Malibu to Madison, Wisc. for her new job.
Seven years later she is running her own bicoastal PR firm, Bollare. Her clients include Vans, REEF, Quiksilver, Rachel Pally, and BeachMint. Bollare has been at the helm of some of the most interesting e-commerce and brand launches—from launching One Kings Lane to 100,000 users in seven weeks, to managing digital strategy for Gilt Groupe, to launching Gilt City. And it all started with a cold call. We had a chance to talk with Fister about running her own company, the “mean girls” stigma of PR, and what gets her though the day.
Can you describe your job to us and what it really means?
I am the Principal at Bollare Communicates, a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle PR firm that specializes in celebrity seeding, digital consultancy (blogger seeding and social media management), and editorial coverage. So, all in all, a dream job for a fashion-forward gal!
Bollare team members work closely with their clients to identify the best mechanisms to get the word out about the brand in an elevated manner—increasing a brand’s overall profile and sales!
What did you want to be growing up?
I always thought I wanted to be a lawyer, because I love to debate and persuade. After taking some pre-law classes in college and discovering I could debate and persuade via fashion PR, I was sold!
Did your college major help with your job?
Absolutely. I studied public relations and marketing at the communications college at Pepperdine University, although I often say I learned just as much through my time with the sorority (motivating a group of apathetic people to ‘get involved!’) and via my internships!
We love a devoted sorority girl! What is your favorite part of your job? What is the most challenging?
The diverseness of my day—I love meeting new designers, editors, bloggers… it gives me the opportunity to constantly learn and grow!
The most challenging feeling for me is when I know we’ve built something great—like an opportunity for a team member to campaign for a client—and the opportunity is not seized!
You seem to be great at identifying great e-commerce platforms like ShopBop and BeachMint before they get hugely popular. Did you know One Kings Lane would be so popular? Do you just have really good intuition? How do you know if a company has really good potential?
Aww, thank you! I take great pride that Bollare has been at the helm of so many incredible e-commerce launches. When meeting any potential client, we’re looking for a clear brand identity and a direct consumer benefit that is communicated through an easy-to-use interface. When a brand clearly knows these things, it is much more fluid for our team to communicate them through media channels!
You are very young and already at the top of your industry. How did you do this? Any tips you can share for women just starting out in PR?
Why thank you! It is funny, the harder I work, the luckier I seem to get ;) There are no shortcuts; the best stuff is worth working the hardest (and smartest!) for.
The PR industry, because it is so female-dominated, gets a bit of a catty reputation. Have you experienced that at all, or is that a myth?
It exists, certainly, but at Bollare we really pride ourselves on the mantra that nice girls can finish first. We value team spirit and camaraderie at Bollare very highly.
How many hours a week do you work? How is your exhaustion level?
The job never really ends when you own your own business, and when you’re passionate and dedicated to its success. Nothing keeps me going like a coffee and a BluePrint Cleanse!
Do you feel like you have work/life balance, or are you stuck on a seesaw?
Fortunately, I love my job and the perks and lifestyle that it brings, and creating fluidity between my ‘work’ and ‘life.’ I am also incredibly fortunate to have married my best friend, who too is an entrepreneur—we really ‘get’ that spirit about the other!
How do you unwind after work?
I love a good vinyasa yoga class!
What pieces of technology do you always carry? iPhone, tablet, laptop?
MacBook Air, UrbanEars Headphones, an iPhone, and a Boostcase.
What shoes do you wear for meetings or presentations?
A great ballet flat…I’m already 5’10″.
What shoes do you actually wear to get to the meeting?
What do you usually eat for lunch?
Mac and cheese and sushi… every day. I am a creature of habit.
What’s in your junk food drawer?
Drawer…talk about a cabinet; sour chewy candy for days!
Drink at happy hour?
Go-to store, brand, or designer for work clothes?
Madison, the ultimately curated boutiques, are online as well at MadisonLosAngeles.com. For cool-kid accessories, AnthemWares.com is my go-to.
What items do you always keep under your desk or in your bag?
Purell (I meet a lot of people!), business cards, Lalicious lip balm, and Eat Whatever mints.
Exercise of choice?
Blogs you read on breaks at work?
What are your essentials? Tell us in the comments!
Ask Nilofer Merchant, Corporate Director with Social Era Expertise, what her essentials are!