February 7th, 2011
Rachel Florio is known for placing hot new products in print and on television. For more than a decade, Rachel has worked with the top editors and stylists around the globe to place her clients in the spotlight on shows like SEX IN THE CITY and in publications like PEOPLE and the NEW YORK TIMES. Her focus is on baby trends and she has taken her clients' products to places.
CelebrityDialogue: How long have you been in the PR business?
Rachel: I am proud to say that I have had a successful PR business for over a decade now. When you walk the many isles at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC during the ENK trade show and half of the thousands of vendors know you by name, you ask yourself if this a good thing or have I been doing this too long. Joking aside, I love it! I love the energy, the creativity, the ideas and the dreamers. I love to seek out goodies and launch new products. It’s what I do best! If you have an eye-candy quality product at the right price point, I can most likely make it famous!
CelebrityDialogue: How did it all start?
Rachel: I started my ﬁrm in SOHO, New York. We were known for running Bryant Park runway shows, launching NYC night clubs and placing high-end fashion and home furnishings in the media. I had a large loft wrapping the corner of Broadway and Prince Street and a great team of publicists, interns and assistants. Around seven years ago I sold the Rachel Florio Agency LLC and started Rachel Florio PR, which is focused on the children’s marketplace. Soon thereafter, we placed a baby brand in the hit show “Sex And The City” and we were off and running. A few weeks later we had twenty-one clients and only a phone bill and Uncle Sam to pay. A virtual office made perfect sense as I traveled quite a bit and was raising children of my own. Ironically, I am now looking for office space back in NYC as my business has been growing rapidly.
CelebrityDialogue: You differentiate yourself from other PR specialists on the basis of strong editorial relationships and premium placements. Please elaborate.
Rachel: There are many great publicists and marketing managers in the world, but I have only come across a few that truly stay focused on a niche market. My targeted audience is consumers with families. The brands that I help build are selling to mom, dad, aunt or uncle and grandma. My media pitches and television segments are focused solely on maternity, baby & child and family travel. If a manufacturer of pet beds or an alcoholic beverage company asks to hire me for my services I won’t take them on. By staying true to myself, I have earned the respect of my clients and my editorial and production contacts. They also know that I am extremely organized. It is an honor to know they feel they can count on me. I build brand awareness through editorial stories, product placements, highly-rated blogger reviews, social media networks and on television segments. I start launching a brand by creating A-lister celebrity buzz. I get products into the hands of the most popular celebrities. I send out celeb gifts upon approval and I don’t send out product samples without an editor’s knowledge. I make sure these items are well-received and won’t go to waste. Anyone can pay to put a gift in a celeb gift basket, but I do not work this way. I take on the newest and hottest products and I get them placed. It’s as simple as that. I am known for forecast trends and for dishing out constructive criticism. I’m as real as they get! I am a mother of three and a step mother of two more. I am submerged in the children’s market! I am my client’s consumer as well as their media manager. I am often asked to help a brand from conception - from advising on new products, website development, fabric selections, price point (wholesale and SRP) to launching the brand to the media.
CelebrityDialogue: Which media outlets do you mostly appear in?
Rachel: My brands appear in any and every print publication or blog related to maternity, baby & child or family travel. I also place them on my T.V. segments that I produce and host. I have appeared on shows such as “Today Show”, “The Early Show”, “Inside Edition”, “A Movie & A Makeover” and on many other networks and affiliates. I have been featured alongside my brands in “OK!” and “Life & Style” celebrity weekly magazines. I have also been quoted as an expert in “USA Today”, “San Francisco Times”, “Parenting”, “PEOPLE.com”, and many others. About.com, Bebereviews.com, thefunkystork.com, and celebritybabies.com are some of the high-quality blogs that have interviewed me and now I can add CelebrityDialogue.com to that list! This week I am being interviewed by cupcakemagazine.com as well.
CelebrityDialogue: Being a “Celebrity Trend Expert” on television and closely connected with media, you must be in a unique position to take baby brands to places?
Rachel: I would hope so! If I can’t we have a problem. It is a perk for a brand to have me not only as their focused and determined publicist, but as an on-air personality that can and will take their brand to a television audience as well.
CelebrityDialogue: How are media placements done in an aesthetically relevant manner?
Rachel: I know what stories are being worked on by having close relationships with editors, stylists and producers so I come up with story angles and ideas as I see ﬁt.
CelebrityDialogue: How do you choose the products or clients you want to work with?
Rachel: I don’t want to come off cocky because I’m not. My reputation took time to build. I am proud to say I am now able to pick and choose who I work with. I only call on a brand that I adore and know I can get results for. I get many requests from manufacturers on a monthly basis. Before agreeing to work on an account, I look for the products quality, eye-candy appeal, and price point. Then I need to know that the client communicates well, gets samples out in a timely fashion and can produce the goods. After receiving their samples I request conference calls with the few I know will have great success.
CelebrityDialogue: Would you like to reveal some of the clients you have worked for?
Rachel: Some of my most successful and memorable brands: Wry Baby, Baby Cakes Of Scottsdale, Barn Dandy’s, Kee-Ka, Ju-Ju-Be, Elegant Baby. You can check my website, rachelﬂoriopr.com, for a complete list.
CelebrityDialogue: Can you share with us brieﬂy an interesting case study where you helped a client achieve their PR goals?
Rachel: I was ﬁrst introduced to Wry Baby almost a decade ago when they wanted me to start publicizing their incredibly funny infant snapsuits that read, “I can’t read” and “I don’t ﬂoss”. I asked myself if this was a good business move for my PR ﬁrm. How does one get a snapsuit that reads “I might barf” any buzz? I thought if David Letterman accepted these gifts for his new baby boy he would be sure to hold them up on air (if I begged!). Low and behold, he did and so did “People” magazine, “American Baby”, “Parents”, and every other magazine and blogger in America. I have been
helping Wry Baby on and off since their hard launch. I am actually helping them as we speak since Neil Patrick Harris recently purchased a bunch of Wry Baby goods for his twins. In the past several years Wry Baby has become more than just the funniest snapsuits on the market. They have created books, outﬁts, dolls, hooded towels and so much more. They are still going strong because of their imagination, concept and dream. They deserve it and I hope I had a tiny role in their success. To be truly successful at anything you have to believe in yourself and what you are pitching. If I won’t buy it for myself or my family I won’t pitch it. I stand behind the products and manufacturers I take on because I believe they are press-worthy and I want the world to know about them. I always say, the retainer pays the bills, but the bigger reward is the smile on the client’s face and the product in print!
CelebrityDialogue: How did the recession affect baby products?
Rachel: The recession affected the entire children’s market in a huge way! Baby brands had to cut back on production because there weren’t and still aren’t as many orders to ﬁll. The trade shows have to entice attendees to come in by offering enhanced show specials and giving their vendors better rates. Certain baby and children’s magazines folded. Retail stores had to close their doors. I know because I was one of them. Allocating marketing dollars has become a penny-pinching game due to low sales volume. It’s supply and demand at work. New products will continue to be developed and launched. It’s just at a more cautious pace. I feel an increase in my personal business and I am getting many more requests for service than I did two years ago. We are crawling out of this recession, but we are not out of it yet.
CelebrityDialogue: What is the latest trend in baby apparel this winter?
Rachel: This winter we saw a lot of animal prints and cozy coats and hats with attached dog or bear ears. Two ﬂowers and one bear is a good brand to check out if you are looking for the best. They are one of my brands. I’m such a publicist; it just comes naturally to pitch everything! An adorable trend that will come back are Hunter boots in bright colors with their tall boot sock accessory. Faux mink blankets and lightweight strollers are must-haves for the chic and yet practical parent. Handmade barrettes and metallic headbands are the accessories of the season. If it’s knitted or handmade it’s in!
CelebrityDialogue: What are the coolest brands new moms should look for?
Rachel: Check out the press page or client list on rachelﬂoriopr.com or my Rachel Florio PR Facebook page to ﬁnd out what’s cool for tots!
CelebrityDialogue: Your advice for Public Relations students or those who wish to enter this profession?
Rachel: When I spoke to Pace University PR students in New York I told them to “keep it real”. At school you will learn how to write a press release. You will learn how to be strategic in your planning. You will learn how to do PR “by the book”. What I like to tell anyone thinking about a career in marketing and public relations is that they should be organized, devoted and love their brands. In return pitching the brands will come easy. In today’s day and age it is about building your social network and proving yourself. No one has the time nor do they care to read a ﬁve-page press kit with a page-long bio about yourself and why you developed your brand. Keep it clean and to the point. Don’t be overwhelming, but get in there and close the deal. It is a fast-paced environment and can be cut-throat. You have to be able to mold yourself to the many personalities that you are pitching to and you can’t make excuses. If you have a strong personality and are a people person, a career in PR might be for you.
Celebrity Dialog: What accomplishment are you most proud of and what's your next big project?
Rachel: My proudest accomplishment is being a single mother to my children (until my recent marriage). When it comes to my business, I am most proud of my reputation and integrity. You heard it on CelebrityDialogue.com first! Rachel Florio has teamed up with Silly Bandz creator, Robert Croak to launch a new brand in 2011. The yet announced brand will compete with P & G, Kirkland and Kimberly-Clark. An official press release will be sent
out to the associated press later this month. Stay tuned. I am also working on the BIGGEST & BEST baby shower giveaway EVER! It is titled, “Celebrity Trend Expert, Rachel Florio gives one lucky parent over $1,000 worth of celebrity driven products!” I’m sorry I cannot announce which celeb weekly got the exclusive.
CelebrityDialogue: How should potential clients reach you at Rachel Florio PR?
Rachel: You can learn more about me and what I do by visiting my website, rachelﬂoriopr.com, or by joining my new Facebook page, Rachel Florio PR. I am also on Twitter at Rachel_Florio and on LinkedIn as Rachel Florio.
CelebrityDialogue: Thank you Rachel.