Empowering Businesses to Be Recognizable
The following interview was published on Project Hatch. Read it below, or click here to view on their site.
When Pietra Communications was founded, I was working in-house focusing on PR and Marketing for the gem and jewelry trade, and had several clients I was doing freelance PR for on the side. A few of the jewelry designers I was working with got together and convinced me to go out on my own, instead of working for someone else. It wasn’t something I had considered before, but almost eight years later, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I was lucky to go the unconventional route—the business already had clients when the LLC became incorporated. My expertise is in gemstones, jewelry, and art. Being an expert in the product gives my business a unique angle, and I became very involved in the PR community in New York City, eventually becoming President of the Public Relations Society of America New York Chapter in 2017.
When the business was founded, we specialized in public relations and marketing for the gem and jewelry trade, both B2B and B2C. Today, we service businesses across luxury industries, including: fine art, book publishing, travel, conferences, fashion, and more. Jewelry, gems, minerals, and watches are still a core part of our business, and will always remain that way. Our services have also expanded, as we now offer a full range of communications services, including event planning, speaker engagements, SEO, graphic design, website development, PR, branding, marketing and more.
Where did you meet your cofounder/founding team at Pietra Communications?
For me, it is important to not have co-founders or outside investors. In order to stay true to our mission, values, and keep up with the high caliber of what we do, we want to be able to remain selective about our client partnerships, and not be compromised by ties to any outside funding. There is a clear line between our portfolio and the editorials we put out on our blog, and we intend to keep our business self-funded long-term.
What motivated you to start your own business?
Before starting my own business, I worked in-house for trade associations (as a Marketing and Events Manager for The Gemmological Association of Great Britain, and before that as a Membership Development Manager for the Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines). I also worked in-house for smaller jewelry companies doing sales and marketing, and worked as an assistant appraiser in the art world.
Later on, while running my own business, I became President of PRSA-NY, and am now President Elect of the Women’s Jewelry Association NY Metro Chapter. Being involved in various companies and associations is essential to continuous education and growth, which I bring back to my business.
As mentioned before, jewelry designer friends inspired me to start my own business. My friends and family didn’t blink an eye when I told them I was going to start my own agency. Most said they knew I would venture out on my own someday, as I have an entrepreneurial spirit. It was really nice to be encouraged to start a company from within the industry, and then have the support of loved ones throughout the journey.
What have you learned?
I do what I do because I love it. Pietra Communications is my baby. I will never sell it. I don’t want any other investors involved in it. I don’t want it to grow so big that it no longer is true to itself—selective in promoting and growing brands and businesses our team truly believes in. We are in the business of making businesses empowered—we help them flourish. That is the end goal, and what we do best, through a range of communications services.
Our clients are very different. Some sell direct to consumers online, some excel in B2B, while others focus on private clients. We help them figure out where to focus and how to hone in on their message, making sure the company is recognizable to their customers, media, and relevant industry influencers.
What makes you stand-out from your competitors?
What makes us stand out is knowledge. As a Founder, my expertise is in the product. We work with the arts, gems, jewelry, luxury, and authors. I have a Master’s Degree in Art Connoisseurship, am a certified gemologist from one of the most prestigious institutions in the trade (FGA and DGA from The Gemmological Association of Great Britain). In addition, I have a B.A. in English and certifications in appraisal. Our team is trained to understand the products in and out—from the history behind a historical fiction audiobook we are promoting, to the gemology and importance of gems used in a collection, to the background and significance behind the speakers at an international arts conference we are supporting with PR.
Before we pitch to editors, or work on marketing materials, the Pietra Communications team prioritizes and educates with expertise. Since 2006, I have personally been published in trade and consumer publications regarding a variety of gem, jewelry, and fashion-related topics. I am unaware of another jewelry communications agency where the founder is a gemologist, for example. Pietra Communications is sought out because we know our clients’ products well, and can speak of them historically and scientifically, not just aesthetically. It is essential to understand a company’s product when writing about it, and while working alongside publications to promote. The importance of product knowledge cannot be understated. This is where we differ from other communications agencies.