Lamya Rajkotwala: Head of Public Relations
Most Likely To: Overheat her food till it's boiling.
How did PR play a pivotal role in your career, when it was something you didn’t actively seek out?
“I always say that I didn’t choose PR, it chose me. My background is in corporate and technology. I worked in a PR multinational agency because it specializes in communications and that’s what I wanted to move towards. With fashion PR, which is very different from B2B corporate communications, a lot of my role involves having PR events and building relationships with industry leaders. As an introvert, that was a challenge for me but it did bring me out of my shell, which put me in a better position to handle more responsibilities. When I interviewed at PDP over a year ago, I was hesitant, mainly about the difference between corporate and fashion PR.”
How is corporate PR different from fashion PR?
“Corporate PR is more business focused, how you portray or front your CEO among other industry experts is extremely important, it's more about how newspapers and journalists in the tech world perceive you. Whereas, fashion is more about glamor, social campaigns and it’s 80% sourcing. When I worked for Asus, their phone launches were similar to a collection launch in fashion but for a tech event, it’s mostly journalists and tech experts that are invited. They invite 100 to 200 media persons to come to the launch and witness the phone, have the user experience for them to write about. With fashion PR, only one publication is going to take up your story. And if that is done then you have an exclusive with that publication. Of course you have industry stories as well where there are maybe 2 or 3 experts from various fields commenting on one story. That’s how we’ve done many of our stories but one of the biggest was the one with The Guardian US, when they wrote about the whatsapp empire that Shubhika built.”
How do you track the ROI on a PR event?
“The most quantifiable method is calculating how many online portals or publications write about you the next day of a launch or an event. There are also other non-quantifiable factors when we have PR events, it’s a great way to see yourself amongst industry leaders and make valuable connections.”
What would you say is your dream collaboration?
“I think for me it would be Ariana Grande because she fits the brand. I can actually see her in a PAPA mini dress. I think it's made for her. And if not her, then it's Reese Witherspoon because I can only see Legally Blonde when I see our PAPA collection. I also want to tap into the Korean market, I feel like BlackPink represents the PDP aesthetic, the only problem is none of the Korean celebrities tag their stylist, so it’s harder to get a hold of the team.”
How do you quantify a successful sourcing project?
“We really work on feedback so I feel like even if we’ve lent the outfit to someone, we expect constructive feedback on it, to improve and perfect a design. That's one of the main benefits of lending new collection pieces out, it’s a trial run. Sometimes we have to make calculated decisions about whom we lend outfits to. Is it because of brand visibility or is it because that person is going to drive sales? With the PAPA collection, my goal is visibility. I want to reach out to a wider audience because it’s everyday western wear.”
Since major names like Paris Hilton and Mindy Kaling have worn PDP, does it put more pressure on you to keep delivering?
"I definitely get asked to dress Kylie Jenner very often. it's very easy for people to say, ‘’we should dress her or him.” But she's not my sister or family friend. I don't have her WhatsApp number. So, for me to do that, I have to reach out to her stylist, send her multiple messages. If the stylist does not work, I have to go to the stylist’s page, find out who is in her team, find out the assistant stylist and DM her. And if all goes well, which is what happened with Paris Hilton, then they respond to me and I can take it forward. But most of the time, that does not happen."
What responsibilities are you excited to take on as your role expands?
“I would like to get into Ecommerce because I honestly feel like that's the future. There’s a noticeable spike in consumer sales from Ecomm than from in-store sales. So I do want to pick up on Ecomm, maybe learn more about SEO data analytics. How does it work? How do you actually know what price is a good point to be able to sell the product on? That’s something I want to explore.”