Put yourself out there. Go to as many events as you can manage in your schedule, meet people, and get out of your shell. It’s so important to listen to what people say to you. I have found that professionals always have valuable expertise to share and I always make sure to be open to whatever they’re saying. And moreover, always be yourself! It’s easy to lose yourself in the process if you’re trying too hard to impress new contacts.
As a part of my series about the things you need to know to excel in the modern PR industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Yael Fraynd.
Yael is an NYC- based entrepreneur who is the Owner and President of YaYa Publicity, a 10-year-old PR firm that specializes in jewelry, swimwear, and accessories. Some of the firm’s long-standing clients include Ettika, Jennifer Zeuner Jewelry, Nana Fink, Peixoto Swimwear, and more. Yael is a mom of three and wife to Matthew Haiken.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I knew early on that I never wanted to have a typical 9–5 job; after all, I am a Miami native and definitely absorbed the city’s energy. While I was still in college there, an internship at a PR agency led to my first position. I was constantly networking and socializing, so even though I was juggling full-time school and working, it never felt like a job. It was a natural fit for me and my personality, and I recognized the fact that a career in PR would allow me to prioritize having a family. It was more just an extension of my life. After graduating, the agency gave me the opportunity to move to New York, and I jumped at the opportunity. Within the first year (2008) of moving to New York, I broke out on my own and opened my shop Yaya Publicity.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
Public relations, in particular fashion PR, can come with plenty of glitz and glam. Over the years, we’ve dealt with a lot of celebrities. One incident that sticks out was at Miami Swim Week while I was handling front of house and press attendance. I got a call from IMG that a new model was coming to my client’s show and she should be seated front row. Obviously, we accommodated her but didn’t know who it was. A month later she was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It was Kate Upton!
My favorite story, however, was how I met my very first client at an airport. A plane was delayed and the man standing next to me at the customer service desk complimented my jewelry. We started talking and I mentioned that I represented jewelry brands. He said he owned a jewelry brand and the rest is history. The company is ETTIKA and 12 years later, they’re still a client.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I wouldn’t call this a mistake, but by virtue of my personality, I develop close relationships with clients. We end up knowing each other on a personal level, about our home lives and each other’s families. It’s reinforced my belief that PR comes down to interpersonal relationships above all else.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
My agency doesn’t typically work on a project basis. We work with clients on a long-term basis to really maximize opportunities and expand their brands. On any given day, we are working to drive visibility on social media, dress celebrities, interact with influencers, and entertain press. Pre-COVID, we planned a lot of press events for new product launches, but now we’ve adjusted for the times with innovative outreach alternatives.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
The biggest lesson I learned on the job is that although this is a fun and splashy career, there are lots of day-to-day logistics involved in every aspect of what we do. For example, our followers see that we are in Los Angeles for awards season, lending samples to celebrity stylists, but no one sees what goes on behind the scenes. It takes a ton of persistence for weeks leading up to it and A LOT of travel having a presence on the west coast.
Something else I learned was that PR does not sleep, literally. I have clients from all over the world including South & North America and Europe. I like to be accessible at all times, even while dealing with such different time zones, so I check my phone throughout the night and try to respond at whatever time it may be.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Put yourself out there. Go to as many events as you can manage in your schedule, meet people, and get out of your shell. It’s so important to listen to what people say to you. I have found that professionals always have valuable expertise to share and I always make sure to be open to whatever they’re saying.
And moreover, always be yourself! It’s easy to lose yourself in the process if you’re trying too hard to impress new contacts.
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?
I have been fortunate that many of my clients have come to me through word of mouth and referrals, which is an ideal situation for both potential new clients and me as it comes with an innate trust. That’s not to say I don’t also proactively look for new clients at trade shows (PRE COVID) and on social media. When sourcing new clients, I look for brands that don’t compete with my current client roster.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain it?
I can’t pinpoint one book or podcast, however throughout my career, I have really honed in on some key takeaways for success: communication, chemistry, and interpersonal relationships.
Because of the role you play, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.