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Inside Job: Jay Squier
November 29th 2014
Looking to work in PR? We asked the Director of Communications for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics about the ins and outs of her job and her top career advice
A career in public relations is one of the fastest-paced and wide-ranging in the beauty biz. The perfect fit for those who are good with people, have stellar communication skills, are great at multitasking and have a strong interest in the ever-evolving and growing types of journalism and social media, what does it take to break into the business and work your way to the top?
We asked Jay Squier, the Director of Communications for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics about her journey so far and for her insider tips. From how she stays organised to finding that elusive work-life balance, her words of wisdom are sure to act as a great behind-the-scenes glimpse into the ins and outs of the industry if you’re considering a career in communications.
GTG: Could you describe for us what you do? What does a typical day look like?
JS: I’m Director of Communications for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics in the UK and Ireland which means any time you read about Bobbi Brown and it’s not advertising, it’s the work of my team.
A typical day is never the same which is what attracted me to PR in the first place. One day I could be sitting in endless internal meetings talking strategy, tactics, numbers and not leaving my office and eating Prêt at my desk; the next day I could be at a Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful lunch at Bocca Di Lupo sat between Suki Waterhouse and Clara Paget, talking about makeup and Glastonbury. My favourite days are those when I meet someone who isn’t necessarily that knowledgeable on Bobbi Brown and educating them on the brand, (yes, they exist which is why our work is never done). Seeing someone have a positive Bobbi Brown experience and leave us feeling empowered with a spring in their step is my favourite thing.
GTG: What’s the most challenging project you have worked on?
JS: Every week comes with its challenges but that’s kind of what keeps us on our toes. I guess if I had to pick one I’d say my most challenging time was setting up the Aveda in-house press office in 2009. It wasn’t so much the task or project itself but I’d relocated back to London from a three year stint in NYC which was an upheaval. I had a six month old baby and was moving house. Even for someone who can handle a few projects on-the-go, I admit at times this all felt a little bit too much. All character building of course!
GTG: What motivates you?
JS: Honestly, it’s loving what you do and being a little bit competitive (with yourself as well as your peers). I never wake up thinking I don’t want to go to work today. OK, maybe the odd Monday after a rare weekend where we may have had a friend’s birthday party and I could have done with more rest. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that this is what I do for a living. I’m working for Bobbi Brown, the best makeup artist in the world, and am employed by the fantastic Estée Lauder Companies, the makers of Youth Dew which my grandmother wore and still does to this day. I’m surrounded by the most dynamic, talented and fun people in the beauty industry who know their business inside out.
My PR team are like my second family. We are all super passionate about and protective of Bobbi. I’m probably quite immature for my age as I love getting involved in all their banter from trips to Vietnam to chatting about Harry Styles and Katy Perry. They keep me young!
GTG: How do you organise yourself?
JS: Like most working women, I have many lists and have to forward plan a fair amount. I have notebooks or notepads in every room of the house to make lists of tasks we need to do for the children/house or to note down ideas for work which can come to me at any given time.
Sunday nights are my admin night. I look at my workbook and diary for the week ahead and make a list of priorities for Monday morning. With Oscar being at school now my personal admin has increased. He gets more invitations than I do and the letters from the school are regular and require a quick turnaround time.
I didn’t cook until I had Oscar and Esme, but now I plan my menus for the week ahead and do an Ocado shop based on that. I’m very lucky as my husband and I share chores and childcare. Both my parents and my mother-in-law help me a great deal. I wouldn’t be able to do this job well without their never-ending support.
Once the admin is over, and it’s a week when our brilliant office manicurist Kim isn’t in, I give myself a manicure. Having groomed nails makes me feel totally prepared for the week ahead.
GTG: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to do what you do?
JS: Love what you do and work hard. PR isn’t as glamorous as it looks on the outside. It’s a lot of work, especially physical work at the beginning. I remember when I started my first day as an intern at a fashion PR agency and I turned up in four inch heels. Needless to say when I was asked to go and buy lunch, take and collect dry cleaning, as well as help manage the stock in the press office which was on three floors, I soon realised that trainers were a more sensible option.
I think you have to work hard but also be patient. Learn, observe, be passionate and open. I listened to Howard Stringer on Desert Island Discs and he said, ‘Think of the job you’re doing, do it well and not the next job you want to get.’ I think he is so right, because if you work very hard at your present job, you do get noticed, and things happen organically.
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