Johanna Sebag - PR Girl #3
This month's PR girl is Johanna Sebag, founder of PR agency Dresscode. Her press office was created in 2005 and has become a key Parisian fashion press office.
Please tell us about your career.
After Law school, I worked for 7 years for a beauty-specialised press office (Annette Josseaux); I developed the fashion department there. Then I felt like trying my hand at having my own office and launched Dresscode 11 years ago. This explains why I have been working brands such as Maje for 17 years now.
How could you describe your press office?
Dresscode is a print and digital press office specialised in Women, Men and Kids' clothing. Our 650m² showroom is near Place des Victoires in Paris. Dresscode's 25 employees work in several departments, namely product placement, digital, marketing, and events depts.
Tell us about your greatest professional encounter and why.
My greatest encounter was Sylvie Ferraro, 8 years ago. She helped me set up the marketing and digital hub. Her marketing know-how combined with my product insight have turned Dresscode into a 360° agency.
Your greatest victory as a press officer?
When every day I obtain good results for my clients, whether in print or online. Or when I start co-brandings, or look for new muses. I feel so much adrenaline when I see the results in the press! My greatest victory is also being still here, after 11 years, still evolving every year. Every day is a new challenge and nothing is ever granted in this job.
What's your secret to seduce the press?
My secret is being natural and close to journalists.
Do you usually keep the pressure or do you prefer the gentle method?
I much rather like the gentle method, but these days you must be pushy, our strike force is to never let go!
Your worse professional blunder?
My biggest mistake was to congratulate a client on her pregnancy when she was not pregnant at all.
Your greatest press print? The one you're the most proud of?
There are lots of them but I remember one in particular. A while ago, there was a designers portfolio for ELLE's anniversary and we managed to feature the Maje Sandro family alongside Alaïa, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and all the great luxury brands. This was a great recognition.
Three tips for someone hoping to become a fashion press officer?
I believe you need to be hardworking, passionate and to never let go of anything!
Something completely crazy you've done for your job?
Going to Italy for market research, missing the return flight, and sleeping at the airport!
How do you recruit new brands?
We are now a standard-bearing office and are lucky to be contacted by several brands. We also attend fairs, in France or abroad. Finally, I am on the lookout for all new tends, I like giving new designers a chance.
Who do you nominate for the next interview?
I would nominate Judith Milgrom, whom I've been working with for 15 years, and who embodies success.
At last your client's question by Philippe Corbin, founder of Leon & Harper: “Johanna, we can see a change in the behaviour of our retail clients and an increasing number of online sales. How is this in the press and in communication in general, and how do you see social networks evolve?”
I've been doing this job for 18 years and have felt a real change over the last few years. Desscode adapted to this change by creating a digital department 8 years ago. Today, a publication on ELLE.FR is as important as a publication in the magazine. To deal with this change of ways and the rise of social networks we established a team of 5 within our digital hub and are thinking of adding new members to it in 2017!
“These days you must be pushy, our strike force is to never let go!”