By Paulina Nassar, co-founder of West Coast Craft

Could you tell us about your experience with the WCC? Can you explain how did you end up hiring a PR team and how deep into the project you've actually hired them?
We use the incredible team at The Adventure School to help us plan our events. They were recommended to us through a mutual friend and after our first meeting, we knew that it was a perfect fit. They have been on board with WCC since the very beginning and are an essential part of our event and success. The Adventure School operates from a similar ethos as WCC: doing things a little differently than what’s expected and always with heart and spirit. As amazing as the team at TAS is, we still kept open the idea of hiring someone to specifically do PR for the show but had no recommendations to work from.  

How did you pick your team?
In what would prove to be a wonderful twist of fate, I struck up a conversation with a woman who mentioned that she did PR. I jumped at the chance to speak with her about hiring her for WCC and quickly set up a meeting. Alexis Cohen of Morning Sky PR ended up being the perfect addition to the WCC crew and her efforts to get out the word about our inaugural show and guide the PR strategy were and continue to be invaluable.  

In which circumstances would you recommend to use a PR team?
Before hiring Alexis, I had very little experience with professional PR and was hesitant about having someone manage that aspect of our show, especially considering how hands on we are as a team and how much we like to do ourselves. But the fantastic thing about working with Alexis was that she not only handled the more traditional PR routes that she is expertly schooled in, but also encouraged and helped us develop the more “guerilla” marketing techniques we did ourselves.

What did she do that you couldn't do by yourself?
The best thing Alexis brought and brings to the table is knowledge of how PR works: who to reach out to, when, and how often. She fluently speaks that language and has a great sense of how to promote yourself in a way that is authentic to your brand and your work. 

What are the positive / negative aspects? Your tips!
Our experience has been completely positive. We found someone who totally understands and supports the mission of West Coast Craft and is thrilled to be a part of it. 

How much work relies on you even after hiring a PR team?
I think that all depends on how much you want to do. In our case, we are very much hands on in every aspect of putting on this event, so we worked side by side with Alexis to achieve our PR goals. That also can help when it comes to staying within your PR budget. Under Alexis’ guidance, we took on those tasks we felt capable of and she was able to focus her energies where they were most needed. 

Finally do you think that small businesses, like the one who participate at your event, should hire one if they want to grow? At what stage of the company would you suggest it?
Of course, it comes down to budget and finding someone that you trust representing your business, but if you can find a way to allot some funds towards it and you find that person who really gets your business and understands your vision, then it is absolutely worth it. I’ve always felt strongly about hiring people trained to do a specific job to do that job. Alexis brings a valuable skillset to the table that has helped us achieve what we want for WCC and everyone involved in it.
Before hiring someone, I would absolutely make sure you know 100% what your goals are for your business- who do you want to reach? How often? Why? This will really help whomever you hire get you towards your goals in a way that is line with your vision.   

The West Coast Craft is a craft and design show featuring carefully selected designers, artists, and craftspeople inspired by the mood and aesthetics of the West Coast lifestyle. The next West Coast Craft will take place December 6 & 7, 2014, in the Herbst Pavilion in the historic Fort Mason Center on the San Francisco waterfront.

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