#PlacementYear: Month One

placement year

I think I’ve mentioned quite a lot about how fast time is moving by, and how I can’t believe that x amount of weeks have already passed, but oh my word, it’s already August. I promise this will be the last time I mention how fast time is going by… well maybe until Christmas – which it basically is, as we’ve been keeping up with the numerous ‘Christmas in July’ events that have been happening in London recently.

As I document all of my PR work experiences, I thought it would be a good idea to write monthly summaries during my placement year. It will be a good way to look back once I finish, of what I got up to and the things that I learnt. It will also give you, my readers, an opportunity to see into the world of beauty and luxury PR, if that is of interest. And it’s also a way to show my friends and family that I actually do work, and it’s not all glasses of prosecco and free products 24/7 like my Instagram would have you believe.

Expectation vs reality

As I had been to the office for my interview six months ago, I already knew what the main floor looked like and a few meeting rooms. I got the feeling it was quite office-y but my interview didn’t give me a very thorough look into the floors that Coty operate from. I’ve been to a lot of agencies before, so know the kind of typical agency look with small rooms, magazines everywhere, Apple Macs and papers spread across desks – nothing like what the PR agencies look like in movies. I based my expectations on these past experiences, expecting a normal office vibe.

This wasn’t the case. During my first few weeks I felt like I was actually in a movie. The amount of products everywhere, being in charge of the stock and my own product cupboards, making send outs, the freebies, the magazines, speaking to journalists, the prosecco – I felt like I was in The Devil Wears Prada only at the end when Anne Hathaway’s character knows what she’s doing and my boss is nothing like Meryl Streep’s character – quite the opposite.

When I used to think of PR women, I thought of powerful yet stern women who weren’t afraid to say what they think or tell you when you’ve done something wrong. Aka: very, very scary. Think Meryl Streep’s character. But the PR women I have met along the way have been the loveliest women I’ve ever worked with.

I couldn’t be happier with my team and think out of all the interns, I have the best team to work with. The girls on my team always look after me and help me if I’m stuck and we have such a relaxed and happy atmosphere – although it is PR, so there can be a few stressful moments. But we always remember that it’s not the end of the world.

When I thought of corporate companies, especially in a city like London and especially when working in the Luxury department with such brands that I work with, that it would be a very pretentious atmosphere, with everyone wearing designer clothes, makeup done to perfection every day and not a hair out of place. I also thought about heels. There was no way I could get through 8 hours a day, five days a week while wearing heels. No. Way. But the office is so laid back and everyone just looks fresh and comfortable in their own styles.

I also pictured myself sat at a computer for 8 hours a day which isn’t the dream, and how wrong I was. Today for example, I think the longest I was sat in a chair was during my lunch break. I was sat at my computer about five times throughout the day as I was moving a huge delivery of boxes around the office, unpacking and storing and then organising a send out for one of the new launches. It’s a lot more practical than I thought it would be but I really enjoy it as I’m not stuck in my chair all day.

It’s been two days really, not a month

To be exact, I am into my fourth week at Coty, having started on the 10th of July. To keep consistency, I wanted to post on the last day of every month, but as I had a #GirlBossMonday post go live yesterday (check it out here), I thought today would be best.

I may be in my fourth week, but it’s only been two days without Charlotte. Charlotte was the intern for the year previous and spent three weeks handing me over and teaching me the ways of the job. The three weeks with Charlotte were a godsend and I asked so many questions I am sure she was glad to see the back of me. Having her there was a constant reassurance that I wasn’t doing anything wrong and I was always able to ask if what I was sending was correct, where I could find things and how I should order things. Now that she’s gone I don’t have that luxury anymore and I’m on my own.

In a way, it is a good thing as I have to actively look for things myself and I feel a small sense of accomplishment when I manage to find and do things all on my own. I had already had one day without Charlotte last week which was a good test run and I was able to have a mini freak-out then, so I actually felt quite relaxed yesterday. I also know that the girls I work with are always there and happy to answer any of my questions which is such a reassurance.

Yesterday and today have been calm and very straightforward. I know that I could so easily get stressed and let myself get overwhelmed by it all and freak out, but I’m taking everything as it comes and rolling with it. There’s only 8 hours in the day, I’m still learning and new so I will have to get used to a few things and learn along the way but most importantly I will be fine. 

So far, everything has fallen into place and ran smoothly so I hope by Friday I will have had a great first week by myself and won’t be crying wanting to quit. It can only go one way or the other.

coty

Events

I’ve been to quite a number of events with work in only the first few weeks, which I’ve overly enjoyed and hope that my year will continue to be full of fun events and free champagne.

In my first week, I attended Lovebox Festival (read all about it here) with Instagram influencers and press working with our Lancaster, philosophy and OPI brands. So that was pretty cool to say the least! Mingling with some celebs, walking past Frank Ocean’s dressing room and seeing the man himself and Jamie XX perform as part of ‘work’ was quite a ‘pinch me’ moment.

I dined at the very fancy 100 Wardour Street in Soho and partied with the marketing team to celebrate their award win. Last week I attended an event at Somerset House (my first time there) with more Instagram influencers and we enjoyed a lot of champagne and canapés. There have also been quite a few 4pm prosecco gatherings the past few weeks for the end of the fiscal year, saying goodbye to last year’s interns, and welcoming the new ones. Even today we had work drinks to welcome a new member to the Coty team. Will I ever get sick of prosecco? Ask me in a few months time.

So I’ve been to quite a lot in such a short space of time and just hope that it continues as I want to attend every event possible to learn and meet people. The glamorous side of PR is always lovely.

Desk drops

This is one of the nicest perks of my job. Every time a new fragrance launches, every member of the team gets a sample and usually a gift along with it. Sometimes, even for national launches, there’s an event that takes place in the office to celebrate everyone’s hard work. This month we had Calvin Klein CK All, Davidoff Cool Water Wave, Marc Jacobs Daisy 10 Years Anniversary Edition and of course, the fragrance I’d been waiting three weeks to get my hands on – Gucci Bloom.

I know I’m making all of my friends very envious of the endless freebies that I get but what they don’t know is that I don’t have to spend a penny on their Christmas and birthday presents for the next five years or so and they will in fact be enjoying the freebies, not me.

gucci bloom

Month one summary:

It’s only realistically been two days but so far they’ve been great and I feel like I naturally get the hang of everything. One of my team said today that they felt like I’d been there ages already. Which is hopefully a good sign.

It’s been eventful (emphasis on the ‘event’) which I hope continues, as I love a good event. At most of the events I’ve been to, I was either the only new intern or the last remaining intern as my team would say: ‘so PR’. I think I fit the title quite well.

I’ve met a lot of influencers, press and some very important people. I’m looking forward to the people I am still yet to meet and the contacts I can make for the future.

With Coty, you have the best of both worlds. It’s practically an agency within a company setting. So the perks of working for a large company in-house, yet a wide portfolio of brands which imitates that of an agency setting. It’s the best.

One of the best days of my first month was the on-boarding session we attended where the interns learnt about every brand under the Coty umbrella and François Coty, himself. I was soooooo interested, which I was surprised by. I didn’t know how I would like working in the beauty industry but at the minute, I prefer it to the corporate and talent industries that I’ve had previous experience in. I want to learn everything about the industry but also about the fashion houses the fragrances come from.

To reflect my year in Coty, I might start writing some posts about the brands that I’m working with to give you all a little insight (and to teach myself).

So that’s month number one over already! Now onto the next 11 months and hopefully the best year ever!

Orlagh xx

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