I think the first major turning point in my career happened shortly after I decided to launch my business, Harrison & Shriftman Public Relations. I was 21, and a little unsure about how to run a company, but I was sure that I could learn.
After much persistence, I landed an amazing client. Mercedes-Benz hired me to do “lifestyle PR.” Because they are such a prestigious brand, I needed to start at the top of the list of who to approach for publicity. A recent NYU grad, my diary for the ultimate luxury lifestyle was Vogue Magazine, which became my bulls-eye.
First stop, I checked the masthead to find the right person to pitch. Richard David Story was listed as the Features Editor. Of course, the idea of cold-calling the most powerful magazine in the world was intimidating, so I did some research on Richard—what had he been featuring in recent months? What were his tastes? Had Vogue actually featured a car before?
After my questions were answered, I dialed Richard’s number with all the confidence I could summon. To my surprise, he happened to answer the call personally (not his assistant. Very unusual). I got straight to the point, knowing I had about 90 seconds of his interest—tops—before he said, “Please just send me a press kit.” and hung up.
My pitch worked. Vogue readers would love to see the car they should be gliding into wearing Chanel and carrying a Birkin bag. Not only was Mercedes-Benz featured, it was on the October cover!
Richard and I became lifelong friends, and he is now the Editor-In-Chief of Departures Magazine, one of my favorites. I realized quickly that anything is possible if you are willing to work for it. Never allow fear-based thinking into your decision-making process.
Lara Shriftman is the author of Party Confidential, and founder of Harrison & Shriftman Public Relations. Lara also is the proud mommy of Lulu Flynn.