Entrepreneur Spotlight: Leading the World of Fashion PR (Before it was Cool)
In the world of entrepreneurship, sometimes it can feel like the loudest voice wins. In a world of tweets and grams and posts, it’s easy to imagine yourself disappearing into the crowd. Your voice isn’t loud enough. And in a work landscape that often favors nepotism and cronyism over meritocracy, introverts often feel overwhelmed and incapable.
Here to bust the myths surrounding entrepreneurship and introversion, Crosby Noricks lets us in on how she built a successful, thriving career from an initially non-monetized hobby.
Passion Projects Can Turn Into Side Hustles
The year was 2006. We still lived under the blissful ignorance of a housing market that only went up and super short shirt dresses were a thing. People in the midwest were just starting to part their hair down the middle, and Hillary Clinton was the forerunner for the democratic nominee for president.
If you did an online search for fashion PR, the search engines would bring up just a few results, most of them out-of-date content or advertisements for agencies. There wasn’t any information out there for young PR professionals trying to find their way in the fashion industry.
One of those young professionals was Crosby Noricks. Six months prior, she had graduated with her Master’s, moved into her very own apartment and started working freelance.
“I often felt at the edge of my introvert’s comfort zone, intimidated and feeling out of step with my own power.”
At this point, she decided to do something about it. About the lack of information out there for young professionals like herself. About the inadequacies she felt.
And so, PR Couture was born. Today, its success has led to Noricks being labelled as the “West Coast ‘It’ girl of fashion PR” (YFS magazine) and the “fashion publicist’s most powerful accessory” (San Diego Union-Tribune.) Noricks had found a hole in the market, and she used her expertise and skill set to create a successful business around it. Her timing was impeccable, too, because she was just in time to teach the industry about working with fashion bloggers, who were just starting to rise to prominence.
“As fashion blogging grew in popularity, as social media emerged as a powerful new communication channel, I was there in the thick of it, growing our community and my own influence with these new tools, and watching as the curtain slowly began to lift as PR professionals and brands recognized the need to become accessible in new ways.”
Noricks built her business slowly and steadily alongside her freelance income. At first, she wasn’t even monetizing PR Couture. In fact, she attributes a lot of the site’s success to this fact, noting that she chose to focus on the community and their needs before profit.
What started as a hobby turned into a side hustle. That side hustle then evolved into a full-time position, allowing Noricks to not only support herself, but also provide work to those who help her maintain the site and community.
Where Introversion Has Been an Asset
How did Noricks go from feeling inadequate and overwhelmed to becoming one of the leaders in the industry?
Rather than denying her nature, she embraced it. She started recognizing the talents she already had as assets, and used them as such. For example, Noricks says that her introversion has kept her grounded and realistic with her business goals. While she might feel uncomfortable in small group settings, she can get business done one-on-one or morph into a performer for a crowd under the right context.
“I go deep with people, right away,” she says. “I am awkward as hell when it comes to small talk. I am comfortable one-on-one or one-to-many, like teaching or speaking. Small groups or being one of the many makes me want to hide in the bathroom. Which I most certainly have done.”
She also attributes a portion of her success to the fact that she can get her work done behind a screen, outside of those awkward, small group work arrangements you all too often find yourself in when you engage with W-2 job positions. The rise of remote work can be one of the introvert’s greatest assets in building their own business empires.
Changing Lives Through the Screen
While PR Couture has undoubtedly changed Norick’s career for the better, one of her favorite things about the entire venture is seeing how her work has improved the lives of others.
“I definitely got to a place where I was like, I’m running an online products and service-based business that just happens to focus on fashion and lifestyle communications, which was such a shift from the first identity of ‘fashion PR blog,’” she explains.
PR Couture is still very much an active part of the fashion PR scene, but in addition, Noricks has added business coaching services for those who want to do what she did across other niches. At one event she recently ran in New York for entry-level career women, she had an epiphany.
“I realized that this thing I created has had a direct, defined impact on helping young women along their path to greatness--whether it’s through information or access or introductions--it is incredibly rewarding to be a part of so many success stories. And to me, they are all successful because they are bravely moving toward what they want.”