The recession is over! The recession is over!
Retailers and fashion labels may be shouting this comforting phrase from the hills, but there is an area of the fashion industry still struggling to regain momentum: public relations.
Kelly Cutrone, for instance, has been extremely open regarding the hit her company took during the recession. It was even a subplot on her reality television show Kell on Earth.
More recently, we witnessed the April 30 closure of Press Office Ltd., which repped brands including Karen Walker (now with Bradbury Lewis), Agnes B., Dunderdon, and Lover.
One industry professional explained to us that, while business isn't necessarily down, rates are. The dollar figure clients are offering for monthly retainers, one-off events, and other services has literally halved in many circumstances. Which means PRs are working the same amount for a lot less money.
We suppose one could compare it to the cost of clothes and accessories. If people know that they can get a $1,000 pair of shoes on sale for $500, why would they bother paying full price? Clients know that they can shop around for a better offer because the public relations firms need the work.
The good news: It seems that public relations has been hit harder in 2010--plenty of fashion and beauty brands were struggling long before that. We expect that marketing budgets in 2011 will be much higher, which means better business for PRs.