Today, I am happy to present my interview with Tina Lignell, one of the most successful PRs in Paris with her own Communications agency on Place Vendôme. Since I know that many of the readers of my blog are interested in fashion marketing, business, PR and Communications, I thought who better than Tina to tell us about her career path and her experiences in the Parisian fashion PR scene.
When did you become interested in PR and Communications and decided to pursue a career in this field?
When I left school & went to meet a top executive in adverting back home in Dublin looking for a job, he told me I was made for PR, I had never heard of PR , he was the one who got me into PR college of Dublin where I spent 2 years studying communications which set me on my path.
What are three things that you should keep in mind when you are beginning your career in PR and Communications?
Building your network, only working with brands, people, designers you really love then half the job is done, always be nice to people, they will come around again and again one day.
What are the positive and negative aspects of your job?
The positive is huge, it includes always meeting new & interesting people, being in touch with everything that is happening in your industry so your constantly learning and growing.
The negative is when things go wrong, unexpected catastrophes, which with experience you learn to predict and avoid, but sometime other peoples mistakes can cause negative things to happen in something you’ve planned. Nasty journalists with no ethics used to be the worst thing I had to deal with.
Photo: François Goizé
What do you wish you knew before you started your career?
How important the politics of a big company, although I don’t need it as I run my own agency, but it was something I had to learn when I worked at Dior. In a corporation, its 30% your working & 70% politics, which is why corporations can be slow slow machines as people’s productivity goes into their playing politics, not their actual work.
What advice could you give yourself coming from university?
Get a good mentor. My first mentor taught me everything I still use today. He was generous with his time and very patient, but it is thanks to him that I set out so well in the job. Secondly, Read Read Read, expand your knowledge, knowledge is power.
What was your first job? Was it a positive learning experience?
My first PR job was at the couturier Emanuel Ungaro, who had trained under Balenciaga and was himself considered a Master. He was huge in the 80s. It was hell, thrown in the deep end, but the upside is it’s the quickest way to learn. To survive I had to learn the job very quickly and figure out how everything worked, it was not at all the same as how the school books tell you.
Where have you worked afterwards?
From there I was head hunted by Dior and after that set up my own agency.
What was it like to work besides a genius like Galliano? What did you learn from him?
Working beside John was an extraordinary few years, not only was it for the iconic house of Dior but John is all the contrary to the perceptions some people have of him. We lived in a whirlwind of creativity, every day was an effervescence of ideas, excitement, challenges. John has an innate sense about people, he can xray you and see your deep potential, even you cant see, and he pulls it out of you like a magician pulls the rabbit out of the hat. Suddenly you are surpassing yourself, and contributing towards the historic house of Dior & the creative legacy of John Galliano. It was magic all the way. I don’t think that exists anywhere in fashion any more, maybe in technology today is there such excitement as they are breaking new boundaries every day.
Was it a competitive environment working at Dior?
When we were there it was a healthy productive competitive environment as the President, Mr. Toledano and John Galliano motivated the teams towards driving the house to the future as a massive team effort. That was at the beginning of 2000. It changed then as it became a corporate giant with globalisation.
How did you decide to start your own company?
By accident, the plan had been to stay at home and take care of my baby twins. Then 2 friends separately asked me to help them & before I knew it I had people calling me all the time and it quickly turned into a business.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten while climbing to the top?
From my grandmother, she told me quite simply I could have what I wanted all I had to do was work for it.
Do you think there are enough women leaders in the fashion field?
The designers have been men, and the people managing the companies have been men. The women have been the customers!! Hopefully, on a bigger scale, women will slowly begin to take over running everything, men have brought humanity a long long way but also to the brink of destruction of the entire planet, that signals a time for a change.
Some women in this industry choose to focus either on their careers or on their families. You are a woman who has both. How do you keep the balance?
The children gave me the energy to do it, I wanted to be a role model to them, show them how to be independent, how to enjoy life as a woman and work at the same time. Work gives you satisfaction and sense of accomplishment, which can be more important than the money in the long term and I wanted to transmit this to them.
What social causes are you passionate about?
Animal Rights issues. They can’t speak up for themselves, someone has to fight for them.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Using all I have learned and all my contacts to do something good and letting the next generation take over fashion.
Thank you for reading and don’t forget to follow TL on Instagram.