AOFM Host Free Fashion PR Masterclass

As part of AOFM’s ongoing series of aftercare master classes, we welcomed PR guru and managing director of one of London’s top fashion PR agencies, Courtney Blackman of Forward PR to come in and share her journey in the fashion industry, and offer top tips on branding, the relationship between PR and makeup artistry and more. Forward PR turns 10 this year and Courtney Blackman walked us through the roles and responsibilities of a PR and her impressive client list – which includes platinum-selling singer and Style Icon, Kate Nash, luxury red carpet international fashion label, Busardi, hat designer to the stars, Alexandra Harper and the winner of 2014’s ‘Coolest App in Europe’, Shopcade – to name a few. Courtney explained how Forward PR works with established to emerging brands, with a constant focus on branding. Forward PR has helped develop many brands from visual identity to key messaging and was adamant that AOFM makeup artists, while working as freelancers, should always think of themselves as brands. This includes having a professional portfolio, a professional website and relevant social media. “Ensure that you acquire all of the key intellectual property around your name, if trading as a freelancer underyour name,” Courtney stated. “Securing your name on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook is really important as they are fantastic “free” marketing tools.”

On a day-to-day basis, Forward could be doing anything from pitching stories to magazines, negotiating designer collaborations, doing a red carpet fitting for a celebrity, or planning an event, like a double decker bus party over London Fashion Week, or a shop launch or style competition. The word ‘professional’ came through a lot in her talk, advising graduates to think about their online presence – the tone of voice and key messaging that is shared across social platforms, as the ultimate goal is to have a successful creative and commercial career as an artist. Often the PR will be responsible for putting creative teams together to produce campaign imagery for clients, so it is important that makeup artists have relationships with PR companies. Courtney also brought along another guest speaker to add dimension to the talk: Danny Keeling, editor-in-chief of leading independent menswear magazine, Candid. Danny shared his perspective as an editor and suggested that makeup artists forge strong relationships with photographers, as photographers are normally the point person for commissions and submissions to magazines for editorial.

Here are Courtney’s tips for makeup artists, condensed:
1. Make and maintain relationships with PR companies.
2. Have a professional portfolio both on and offline.
3. Constantly think about your brand and its positioning.
4. Have a well thought-out and strategic social media plan.
5. Say yes to as many opportunities as possible, as you never know who you’ll meet
along the way.
6. Stay in touch with each other. Jobs may come up that you can’t do – it’s always
good to be able to recommend someone, and be a recommendation.
7. Be professional.

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