From the Desk Of: 

Rachael Matican, Founder of Rachael Matican Consulting

Here at The Brand Agency, we think it’s important to highlight admirable, hardworking, and successful individuals. As such, we have started this series on our blog titled From The Desk Of that will showcase the work of like-minded individuals who thrive in the industries we touch upon. We follow the careers of those we admire and have decided to highlight their success. After all, manifesting your own success starts with learning from and admiring those who have already achieved it.

The founder of Rachael Matican Consulting is a true force to be reckoned with. Rachael amassed an enviable Rolodex as the senior PR manager for one of the largest brands in the country. She recently branched out on her own to pioneer her newfound company. Rachael is the go-to gal for all things fashion editorial. Her vast consulting knowledge paired with her experience in the PR field makes her a desirable person to work with for editors and influencers. Read on to see what her PR world looks like!

What is your role at your company- what does the day to day look like for you?

I am the founder! I decided to leave corporate life and work for myself about mid-December and really dove in after the New Year. In terms of day to day, I try and wake up on the early side. Even though I don’t go into an office environment I still try and wake up as early as I can, being that I’m not a morning person! I usually will check emails in bed while waking up and respond to anything pressing. Then, of course, I’ll check the Gram haha. Then the next important step is grabbing an iced coffee on my block, and then the day can really start! I try and take a workout class in the morning and then I come home and get back to work. I’m usually at my house or a local coffee shop or I’ll go to the Bowery or Standard East hotel lobby if I want to be a little chic 😉 My day is usually spent emailing with editors and keeping my clients top of mind for them when they’re putting together shoots or stories. And of course, there are days with in-person meetings, calls and whatever else arises!

Where did you go to school, what did you study? 

I went to the University of Rhode Island and studied Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design. It was a pretty broad fashion program so you can dabble in a bunch of different areas from design and fashion history to business and fine art classes. I also studied abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy.

How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today? What was a pivotal moment? 

I knew from a pretty young age that I wanted to work in the fashion industry, so when it came time to go to college I found a school with a program. My mom probably had more intuition on this from earlier years when I would put on my grandma’s fur coats, heels, and insane jewelry collection! At the beginning of college, I thought I wanted to be a buyer, I thought it meant sitting front row at fashion shows and picking product to be in the store you worked in – hilarious! Over summer break during college, I interned at Burberry with their sales team.  I was helping out during a busy market season and some days I was working on orders and spreadsheets and other days I was dressing models to show looks to buyers during the buying meetings. Those moments of meeting these people and interacting with these decision makers and dressing models, combined with one day that I distinctly remember changed my mind about the course I wanted to take. At Burberry, one day in the showroom, there was this guy looking through the sample closet and asking everyone around for this particular look that he urgently had to get to Vogue for a shoot. I asked who he was, what his job was and what his role entailed and found out he was on the PR team. From then, I knew PR was more my speed than crunching numbers in Excel. After finishing school I found an admin job at Gucci (not a bad place to start!) to get myself to NYC. Then did a little stint at YSL and was eventually was offered a job as PR Assistant at Guess and worked my way up to coordinator, manager, and senior manager. I had a couple other jobs at another big denim brand and a small agency, but the bulk of my career was at Guess.  One pivotal moment was realizing that when something isn’t right you just need to take a chance and see what happens. I wanted to get out of an environment that wasn’t for me. Another pivotal moment was catching up with my friend, Brittany Kozerski, that I had worked with for years. She was a fashion editor at Marie Claire and had recently left her role there to focus solely on her new swim line, JADE Swim. So on this random Saturday afternoon over some wine and a lot of talking about work and life, she said “you should be doing your own thing” and she said she would be my first client! So here I am in this moment of quitting a job to take a little time to figure things out and she’s giving me her brand as a client and I’m starting my own business! There were definitely a few freakout moments of should I really be doing this? I was so conditioned to thinking that I needed to work at a big company and that was my path. But a couple weeks after starting to work with her, I picked up my second client through a referral from a couple fashion editors I work with, and then I realized it’s something I could actually do and turn into a business. Then similar situations continued to happen and I picked up a few more clients and was working with about 5 or 6 different brands in 4 months of working for myself!

What does “success” mean to you?

 Success is living your best life and doing work that you’re passionate about and surrounding yourself with great people. For me, in the place that I’m in now, success is contributing to the success of the brands that I work and helping them to grow. Success is knowing your value and what you’re capable of and utilizing that to be in a position to work with people and brands that you actually WANT to work with. Success isn’t just about making a certain amount or having a certain title – there are little successes to me, like not going into an office every day and making my own schedule and being able to take a class or meet someone for coffee in the afternoon. Success is also working hard to afford you the time to do the things you want to do – like catch flights with friends!

What do you wish to achieve from this point, both in your professional career and personal life?

 I’m not sure what the future holds for me, but I’ve experienced pretty quick growth with my business in a short period of time so I’d love to keep growing and continue working with amazing brands and talented people and eventually grow a team!

What is something you do each and every day (or wish you did)? 

I try and work out every day, that’s something that’s important to me.  Whenever I’d be on my way to work in my previous roles, I always loved seeing people sitting somewhere with a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper, it looked so idyllic and such a lovely way to start the day. But that was never something I could do when needing to be at a desk at 9 and not being a morning person. Sometimes I wish I started my day like that, and essentially I could, but typically it’s grabbing an iced coffee to go and getting quick news from the Skimm before diving into emails.

What traits do you admire in people you surround yourself with? What do you think are the most important traits for someone to have in your field of work?

I love people who get shit done. People who can easily find a solution to a problem and fix it rather than freaking out and worrying – that doesn’t help or work! It’s a fast past job at times and especially with events or dealing with higher ups, little issues will arise but it’s how you act in those moments. I always know things are going to work out so I don’t freak out, so when other people react or handle situations similarly, I admire that! Confidence is key too, not everyone knows exactly what they’re doing at every moment in their career but if you have confidence in yourself others will too and you’ll figure it out. Plus you never know who you’re going to meet or work with in this line of work, whether it’s the owner of a company or C-level exec or celebrity, being confident and staying cool helps others to trust you and in turn, ask for and respect your opinions on matters. That leads me to another important trait, have an opinion and don’t be afraid to share it. I realize getting to that place in certain work environments with certain people takes time, but having a clear vision and a strong opinion on things and not being too timid to share will earn you respect and people will continue to come to you.

Work & personal life balance… does it work? How do you separate the two? 

YES, IT WORKS. I’m a firm believer in a work and personal life balance. It’s not always the easiest for everyone but you need it to stay sane! Plus, living in cities like New York and LA where people are pretty consumed with work, it’s super important to have a life outside of work. Maintaining your relationships with busy schedules is hard at times but so necessary, friends, family, etc. are the people you need to grab a drink with after a long day or vent to or let loose with. Plus, I have a keen sense of always keeping things in perspective and while the work we do in this industry is important I’m acutely aware that I am not saving anyone’s life and that if I can’t get a shoe to Vogue it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes you have to take a step back and put things in perspective. I don’t have a team currently, but in my previous role I had a few girls working under me and this is something I was pretty adamant about and I always made sure they were leaving the office at a reasonable time to go live their lives! I’ve never been the type of boss that needed people at their desk for face time or the sake of being there. If it’s the end of the day and you’re done with your work, go home! With that said, if there is something going on, be it press days, an event, a big launch, etc. then yes we’re going to work late! But I like to think it was still low-stress for my team and that we always had fun when we were working late!

What is your favorite quote or mantra that you live by?

I don’t have a specific quote or mantra, but again keeping things in perspective is really how I try and live my life and knowing that things could always be worse. I’m a pretty positive person and very rarely in a bad mood because I know that even if something isn’t going amazingly, there could always be something worse happening – in business, personal life, etc. I’m aware that I am pretty fortunate and have a great life, I’ve done some amazing things, have met incredible people along the way and have been to places some people never will.  So having a positive outlook on life and keeping things in perspective is how I try and live my life.

Outside of work, do you volunteer, have any hobbies or extracurricular activities? (If yes, please elaborate). 

When I’m not working, I’m either working out or hanging with friends. On a good day, I take two classes – if I have the time! I’m very social and love being out so I’m always doing things with friends – usually, involves wine or mezcal and food! My other love is travel and I try and travel as often as I can, some of my friends and I have been all around the world together and we’re constantly plotting the next trip!

What have been the most rewarding things in your career to date? 

Seeing big launches that you spent a lot of time on end up in magazines or online is always rewarding! Or spending months planning an event and finally seeing your and your team’s vision come to life is pretty great! With work, anything you spend a significant amount of time on that comes to fruition is rewarding! Even just getting a little thank you note from a client, co-worker or someone you’ve done business with is rewarding to me! It’s nice when your work impacts others positively in some way and when someone takes time out of their day to say something nice or to thank you for something – it’s always appreciated and makes me happy!

What advice would you give to someone who is getting started in the industry?

 I definitely think interning and getting your feet wet is super important! I didn’t live in NYC or go to school here so I only did one internship. Once I moved here and interacted with other people and saw what experience people had under their belt, I wish I had interned more. You learn so much more on the job than in the classroom and being in these roles you can really figure out the path you want to take and where in the industry you fit in. Plus, you end up meeting so many people and establishing those relationships early on are so beneficial, you never know where they will lead you!  Also, having a good attitude and not having a sense of entitlement. I think a lot of the younger generation wants to skip steps and get their dream job off the bat, which sounds great but it doesn’t work like that. Most people in the industry started as an assistant or some entry-level job and then worked their way up. Lastly, be great to work with. Not just with people internally but also with the people you work with outside of the company. If you’re doing PR and working with editors all day every day, again, be great to work with – reply to emails quickly, get them what they need, etc. Not only is it your job to do that, but you end up working with a ton of the same people for years and the way you work and how you handle your job sticks with people. When you’re an assistant and they are too, and one day you’ll both be directors and maintaining these relationships are key in this industry. It’s great to work with people for such long periods of time but also you never know what could happen – one can start their own line and become your client 🙂

Huge thank you to Rachael Matican for being our first feature! Rachael is a true role model as many can learn from her wise words and incredible experiences. If you are interested in keeping up with Rachael and following her future success you can follower her at  @rachaelmatican