Fashion & Beauty Monitor, the go-to bible for all the contacts and the news in industry, recently got in touch and very kindly ~blushing~ asked to feature me in their Influencer Spotlight. I loved answering their questions, they were all really interesting and made me think, plus, realise that a lot of you guys probably/ maybe don't know what I do full-time, how I got into it, where the travel writing fits in and so on, so I thought I'd share it on here...
Tell us a bit about the Alice Tate journey, how has the last five years shaped where you are now?
It’s been a real journey since university. I studied Fashion Design at University of Leeds and took time out to do internships at W Magazine, NYLON, Refinery29 and RUSSH in New York and Sydney. After graduating I worked remotely for Refinery29 for a while, then got my first ‘proper job’ at Metro International newspaper. I’d always worked hard but being made redundant (the office relocated to Chile!) aged 23 wasn’t part of the plan. I fell into PR by way of my housemate and a freelance gig and now I’m in-house PR Manager at The Hoxton, and I freelance and have my blog on the side. It’s busy, it’s super full on, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Working in PR as well as freelance journalism alongside creating content for your own blog must give you a lot of insight on both sides. How do each of your roles differ and what have you learned from each aspect of what you do?
Yes! I really love playing on both sides of the industry and without blowing my own trumpet(!) I think it allows me to be better at both. From a PR point of view, I get journalists and bloggers, what makes a good piece and what’s worthy and what’s not; and from a journalist/ blogger point of view, I understand the demands of clients. Before The Hoxton, I worked at an agency where I had a handful of clients who were big on seeing results and it was often about how many pieces of coverage you could get. I think at The Hoxton, we’re more about quality of coverage over quantity, which is so much more rewarding but also more inline with how and what I write as a journo too. Also, on both sides of the industry, fostering good and proper relationships is essential. Don’t just tap away at your keyboard at faceless journalists/ PRs— actually engage with them as human beings and your results will be better!
How you divide your time/organise your schedule with all you have going on? Any rituals or routines?
Alongside it all, I’m currently training for London Marathon so my schedule is a bit mental. I’ve learnt to be better at compartmentalising though, which is essential. I get up and I hit the gym; I fire out a few emails from my freelance inbox. I work full time at The Hoxton 9-6pm at which I am very much in my Hoxton hat, then back home, I get back into my blogger/ freelance hat and write/research/email. It’s full on, it really is, but I do it all because I love it all, and I wouldn’t want to let any of it go. I used to be that person who felt compelled to reply to EVERY SINGLE EMAIL but I listened to the Step Up Club on Emma Gannon’s podcast recently who made me realise that I by ticking all those tiny boxes I wasn’t hitting the big boxes — like deadlines and good content! — and it was a total revelation. I’m now a bit more ruthless with my inbox!
Once Flash Anthology was up and running, were you pitching to publications, were you being approached or was it a combination of the two?
So I’ve always been pretty modest with my blog and personal stuff but I’ve started to be a bit better with putting myself out there. Once you’ve got a portfolio going, you can be more confident in sharing your stuff and your writing, and things flow quite nicely from there — the Internet is good for that! For me, it’s The Hoxton that comes first, then travel writing (for Grazia and Evening Standard mainly), then my blog, Flash Anthology. I’m very lucky that it all fits together quite nicely and happily marries under this funny ‘influencer’ category.
Have you noticed many changes in the influencer community since you started blogging? What do you think the future holds for influencers?
There’s no doubt the Internet has completely revolutionised the industry. It’s amazing and scary at once the power bloggers and Instagrammers have now, and I think that’s amazing so long as it’s not reflected. Just as journalist are, I think it’s incredibly important for influencers to be well informed and have done their research on their projects and destinations or else it really is a bit of a vanity project. But when done well, bloggers’ content is some of the most beautiful and insightful out there. I’d just as much want to flick through a copy of CN Traveller as I would want to read the latest city break post on my friend Liv Purvis’ blog. And that’s amazing!
How do you feel about being labelled an influencer?
The title makes me creep a little if I’m being honest as it’s thrown about so liberally these days but that’s not to say that a) I don’t use it myself at The Hoxton when talking about others and b) admit that I do tick some of the boxes. It’s a complement, of course it is. One that comes with responsibility and one that I feel incredibly grateful to have developed.
What’s the most challenging part of what you do?
Fitting it all in! And taking critical feedback, my confidence crumbles.
How do you switch off?
I drink red wine and I dance my socks off! Festivals are my ultimate, ultimate happy place. And on a day to day level, a sweat session every day grounds me.
Being a PR yourself, you clearly know some tips and tricks. Do you have any pet PR peeves when you’re on the receiving end?
Having worked both at an agency and now in house, I feel I have a pretty good insight. I love PR, it’s so rewarding and I love talking to so many people but I definitely have peeves! Some people think you owe them the world! It makes me realise how down to earth I am if nothing else!
Last time you felt something BIG?
I’m really not one to take stuff on the chin, I’m so crazy grateful for everything that comes my way and my colleagues will tel you I’m usually bouncing off the walls from 7am. I just got back from San Francisco with adidas which was a serious pinch me opportunity.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m a proud Northerner, born and bred outside of Manchester.
Have you met lots of friends through blogging/do many of your friends have a similar work set up to you?
So many friends! More so than journalism per se, blogging is such a supportive, friendly community, especially in the fitness realm. Everything bigs up and backs up each other and my peers are by far my biggest inspirations.
Best advice you’ve been given?
Never wear uncomfortable shoes.
What’s on the cards for 2017?
So London Marathon is a biggy! A serious feat I never, ever dreamed of! Then, my boyfriend and I have just bought a house that I’m hoping we’re going to turn from a dive to a dream so get ready for more interiors updates. And on The Hoxton side, we’re opening The Hoxton, Paris and The Hoxton, Williamsburg this year so it’s go, go, global and an incredibly exciting time.