Fashion PR

Bask Spotlights: Susannah Jaffer, Founder of ZERRIN

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This month, Bask Spotlights chats with Susannah Jaffer, former magazine editor turned entrepreneur!

1. Hi Susannah! You kickstarted your editorial career in Singapore following your move here from the UK back in 2012. Can you share with us a little bit more about your journey, and what are some of the biggest difference you see in the editorial between Singapore and the UK?

Sure. I’m 27, British and moved to Singapore at 21 to find a job after completing university in the UK. When I came here, I had a teaching job lined up but it fell through because of visa quotas. However, I into a PR internship for 7 months at a local agency. This was followed by being recruited for a job at Expat Living magazine in 2013. There I worked my way up through various roles, from junior editor to fashion and beauty editor, to launching and running a monthly women’s supplement called LIV for the company, to being appointed their creative director. In a nutshell, my career has largely been in media in Singapore until I launched my new company, ZERRIN.

To be honest, I’d say the biggest differences editorially are topical. Trends are often more geared towards a Western audience, which is a lot bigger and more diverse. I’d also say there’s more freedom of speech in the papers back home than there is here, which is more regulated.

2. Having worked in the magazines for over 4 years, what are some of your favourite stories to do?

I love putting together and directing creative shoots, or alternatively conducting or writing interviews with business owners or entrepreneurs. It’s something I really got into when we launched LIV (Expat Living) back in 2015, which featured an inspiring cover story every issue. I had so much fun writing them. I feel so blessed to have connected with many incredible and hard-working individuals over the past few years through those features, a number of which have become personal friends.

3. Any tips from PR and/or brand owners in reaching out to editors for potential story pieces?

Always know and be in tune with the publication’s target audience. Make pitches personal, or as tailored as possible. It’s worth the effort to make a great connection and crucial to make a good first impression.

4. You have recently transitioned into a freelance role with Expat Living, and at the same time launched ZERRIN, a sustainable fashion and beauty online store. Congratulations! Please tell us more about ZERRIN?

Thank you! ZERRIN is Asia’s first e-tailer dedicated to conscious fashion and beauty brands. We source and curate labels from around the world that are environmentally or socially responsible. Our mission with ZERRIN is threefold:

  • To enable women to discover and shop conscious brands conveniently on one platform.
  • To educate women about the impact of the retail industry and what part can we play to make a more positive impact.
  • To empower women to #shopmeaningfully; purchase more mindfully and place a higher value on their clothing.

We’re proud to support and carry a range of labels from around the world including Hong Kong, Bali, Canada and London, as well as home grown labels from Singapore.

5. With a shift in consumer spending, especially in the millennial group, towards businesses focusing on greater good, how do you see businesses creating sustainable programmes to maintain authenticity over publicity to causes that they are trying to benefit?

If you want to incorporate sustainability or social impact causes into your business, my personal take would be to go into it with a true purpose and a real passion behind the cause that you’re supporting. Businesses shouldn’t be jumping on the bandwagon just because it’s seemingly becoming a trend. Be authentic in everything you do, as your customers or clients will soon realise when you’re not being genuine.

6. We celebrated International Women's Day back in March. Are there any female entrepreneurs whom you look up to? 

Emily Weiss, founder of Glossier and Into the Gloss, as well as Yael Aflalo, founder of Reformation, are inspiration from the retail sphere for their drive, smarts and business strategy. I’ve also been so inspired by women in Singapore I’ve met, interviewed or worked with, like Stephanie Crespin, founder of pre-loved designer marketplace Style Tribute. I met her when she first started the company a few years ago and she’s really built an incredible business from the ground up. I think she’s the true definition of a #girlboss!

7. What’s next for you and ZERRIN?

We’ll be focused on brand building and spreading the word about what we do over the next year, in Singapore and in a few key countries internationally. I really want to focus on building our community and changing the way women consume. We’ll also be putting on a lot on local events between now and June. Our next pop-up is happening at the F1 Pit Building on 14-15 April for the Income Eco Run 2018 race pack collection! We’re also hosting an ethical fashion show as part of Fashion Revolution Day, held at The Hive Lavender on 28 April.

Bask Spotlights: Kara Bensley-Austin, Founder of The WYLD Shop

Kara Bensley, The WYLD Shop

Bask Spotlights speaks to our very first client when we started off in late 2016 - Ms Kara Bensley from The WYLD Shop

1.     Hi Kara, please share with us a quick introduction of yourself and The WYLD Shop.

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 Hi my name is Kara Bensley-Austin I am an Aussie expat wife who has been living in Singapore for nearly 8 years. I am a proud Mumma to my son Jack and have two fur babies - a cat Arya and dog Tiggah, who is a beautiful brindle Singapore Special. Both are rescues from Singapore. 

TheWYLDshop represents fashion for the Fun Fierce & Fabulous. We are a company that serves fashionistas in Singapore and beyond who want in-trend, affordable High Street Style. We curate a selection of Aussie brands & mix it with a lil’ local love. Our mission is to create an exciting & positive place to shop where we encourage people to embrace their uniqueness and experiment with their style. 

We believe that YOU are the best source for your own happiness and we want you to Live WYLD live Free with the confidence to dream and be who YOU want to be.

2.     The Wyld Shop was Bask Communication’s Client #1, and we’re super grateful to you for giving us the leg up at the very start of the business. Now, back to the question - what do you usually look for when deciding on PR agencies to work with? 

We are super happy that we were Bask’s first client! We had a ball with you. We look for transparency, integrity and professionalism. All these characteristics should go hand in hand. We need a team who understands our brand and its core values in order for them to easily convey our message consistently and get to the right audience. Additionally, We need a company that is super organised and can help to transform our ideas into a workable reality with great results. 

3.     I hear that The WYLD Shop has been up to really exciting stuff this year. Tell us more.

The WYLD Shop Showroom

Yes we are always doing exciting stuff! Late last year, we launched our new Showroom in Siglap and this year, we kicked off the year with a Pop-Up and Fashion Show at Bar Rouge to celebrate the launch of their new Girls Night Out on Thursday nights. We are always busy with our Trunk Shows where we bring the online shop to our customers. We have also just launched a gorgeous new jewellery brand from the Gold Coast called Minc Collections which features intricate body chains. However, one of the coolest things we are doing right now is working with local brands which we call a lil' local love. We have just launched an extremely comfortable (and I am saying this from experience) bralette collection called Terie which is the sister brand of HerJuju. WYLD is constantly on the hunt for new and exciting opportunities around town so keep updated via our Instagram account @thewyldshop. 

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4.     Do you have some tips to share for small e-commerce businesses who are handling their own PR and marketing?

Yeah sure do! If you have no idea what either is, then it’s best to do some research and reading online first. Alternatively, ask a pro or engage someone in the industry who can give you some guidelines. The next step is to set some PR & Marketing Goals then create a plan with a timeline. Lastly, track your progress. 

5.     What are the top 3 most important advice you have for small online businesses?

  • Research and understand your core target audience, and make sure that your marketing efforts are geared towards this audience. 
  • Make sure your products/images of your services are of high quality. 
  • Ensure that you understand how to read your analytics.