A Fashion Ambitionist is someone that is known for their job first, then their style. They run the fashion world by being at once brilliant and chic. On the streets of Manhattan's East Village we ran into Billy Dume, National Media Relations Manager, MACYS. Go-getter, PR maven and featured Fashion Ambitionist.
Hometown: South Florida
Education: Georgetown University
Prior Experience: Fashion and Accessories Publicist at Kravetz & Company Public Relations
Billy's take on NYC:
Three words to describe working in PR for a huge company like MACY'S....
Multifaceted, analytical, fun
How do you decide what outfit you put on in the morning?
My schedule for the day determines my outfits. A day when I have meetings that are more corporate prompt a certain style whereas a day of meetings with editors and others in more creative capacities warrants a different style direction. And naturally, where I’ll be going that evening impacts my wardrobe decisions as well.
What has been one of your biggest career challenges? How did you overcome it?
Every company has its own culture and system of practices and it’s always a challenge to learn those processes to become the most effective. I think the most successful people learn how to operate within those constraints to achieve their ultimate goals. You have to understand the system in order to change it. I overcome this by asking questions and most importantly understanding the roles of those around me. It’s one thing to have great ideas, but you have to make sure you’re dealing with the appropriate people to bring those ideas to life.
What’s the greatest piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Know your audience.
How do you define success?
I define success as being happy. Waking up every day and doing something I’m passionate about and proud of is the ultimate goal for me. If you’re really committed and love what you do— you’ll be one of the best at it, and that commands a premium.
How do you set yourself apart on an interview?
It may sound like a no brainer, but I make sure that I’m knowledgeable of the company. It’s important to take it further than just going on the company’s website. Look at a company’s campaigns from the past year—what placements they have, what celebrity, if any, partnerships they’ve had, what kinds of stories WWD has written about them, etc. Look all of this information up and ask questions—what were the impressions garnered for X campaign? How did you come about Y partnership? Were you pleased with the results; was there sufficient ROI? Based on their answers, I enter a conversation about how I can do the same, and throw ideas out that are brand-right that I know they haven’t executed. To me, this shows that you know what you’re talking about, and shows right off the bat that you’re a hard worker and committed, because you really have to dig to get some of that information—and if you’re willing to do that BEFORE you even have the job, just imagine how hard you’ll work once you have it. Lastly, I drive home the fact that my end goal is to drive profitability. I’ll just speak to PR, but I think that people can get so involved in their specific function that they forget that the point of all this is to ultimately sell product. You can have an amazing activation or stunt that has the world gagging, but if no one clicks over to buy something, it’s all in vain. Obviously, there are many other factors that contribute to those sales, but I think it goes a long way if you show that you understand what your role’s impact is on the overall business.
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SHOPPING TIP OF THE DAY: If you know what you're looking for, Macys.com actually has incredible finds. They always have promotions and coupon codes to ensure you save big on the pieces you already know you want!
Check back every Monday for a new Fashion Ambitionist spotlight.
Photography by: Justin Duplantis