Message From a Luxury Blogger to PR Agencies

It might come as a shock to some PR agencies, but bloggers don't really need PR pitches to find great subjects to write about. It's true. Simply ask yourself why a luxury blogger writes on a particular niche market and you might understand why. Could it be that they are experts on the subject with years of experience in the field? Could it be that they started their blog to finally organize all the information that was floating around in their head?

If a PR rep took a little amount of time to do some research on me they would understand why I write about luxury and luxury travel. For starters, I have actually lived aboard a superyacht for over four years working as a deckhand (yes, I am a sailor); I have worked as a personal assistant/private concierge for UHNW individuals for over 4 years; and I have traveled to over 65 countries in the last 10 years. I was also in the Canadian Naval Reserve and was trained in Naval Intelligence so finding what I call "luxury intelligence" is as easy as 1-2-3 for me. Finding out my credentials as a luxury and luxury travel expert is fairly easy. It's all on my LinkedIn profile and page.

Saying this, I love working with PR agencies that truly get the web, but I have to admit, there are few of them who truly make the cut. I have blogged for over two years now and have received thousands of PR pitch about products, brands, events and campaigns related to luxury and luxury travel. You would assume that I would have over a thousand new PR friends by now, but I don't. I can probably name 10 PR reps by name and might recognize another 30-50 when I receive their emails. As for the others, they simply keep sending me generic copy/paste emails thinking that I will OBVIOUSLY run their content on my blog. Nope, not happening. Google hates duplicate content, therefore we will NEVER publish a press release. You might has well stop sending them to us; they go directly in our trash bin.

On a side note, I have to say that small business owners  who don't have the budget to pay a PR firm do a much better job at reaching out to us directly. Why? Because they haven't been trained in old PR and are reaching out to us as a real-life person with a clear and simple message that says "Help Me".

We have a general rule here at LuxeInACity, if you don't personalize your message, make an effort to connect and reach out to us by using our names (Roxanne and Maxine - not Maxime), we simply won't work with you to promote your brand. It's that simple and I can pretty much guarantee you that every other blogger out there feels the same.

So if you want to work with a luxury blogger, follow these simply guidelines:

  • Get to know them personally
  • Do show the value in your message
  • Do keep in touch through social media
  • Do respect them as leaders and experts in their field.
  • and do remember that YOU NEED THEM more than they need you.

So if you want to work with LuxeInACity to promote your luxury or luxury travel brand, start now by becoming our friend on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Facebook. Once we know who you are and what you stand for, we will most likely work with you and help you with your marketing/PR/social media and SEO efforts.

Simple isn't' it so why doesn't everyone do it?


Luxury Spotlight Bryan Peele Founder & President of EMC Cover

Luxury Spotlight: Bryan Peele, Founder & President of EMC

Luxury service should be effortless and flawless. And that is exactly what we can learn from Bryan Peele, the Founder and President of the prestigious Estate Managers Coalition, a non-profit organization for professional estate managers. Apart from working as a professional estate manager himself, he ensures that EMC works to achieve its goals. To achieve its mission, EMC holds professional education events led by experts and monthly mixers with reputed guest speakers.

Let’s take a look into his insight into the world of the rich and the famous.


Luxury Spotlight Bryan Peele Founder & President of EMC 1


Q1: To be successful in an industry, one must be passionate. How and why did you choose to work as an estate manager?

A1: I’m not able to do anything well unless I am passionate about it. Passion seems to be a common denominator in all that I do, and that passion is the most evident in my chosen profession as an estate manager and president of The Estate Managers Coalition. I fell into the world of estate management quite by accident after a challenging period of my life. I was at a crossroads professionally and a friend of a friend suggested an estate manager position. She said “estate manger,” but what I heard was “estate planner” and almost immediately said no, until she clarified exactly what the position entailed. It was entirely unanticipated and yet perfectly serendipitous, because I took the job and it was a perfect fit for me on so many levels. The rest is history.


Q2: Can you tell us a little bit about the mission and goals of the Estate Managers Coalition?

A2: EMC is a non-profit organization that acts as the authority on estate management and was created based on the standards of honesty, integrity and professionalism. We seek to promote higher professional standards, develop improved business models, enhance business conditions and promote the advancement of the industry as a whole. We lead by example and we give back to our community and members through community projects, networking and education. We hold monthly mixers for EMC members and corporate members, and we create Master Classes where our members can learn everything from the art of storing wine to caring for Frette linens.


Luxury Spotlight Bryan Peele Founder & President of EMC 2


Q3: Like personal assistants and super-yacht captains, estate managers are extremely influential when it comes to purchasing decisions. Can you explain to luxury brands why UHNWI tend to listen to their key staff when it comes to making large purchase decisions?

A3: Estate Managers have their finger on the pulse of luxury and culture at all times, and we stay on top of trends so that our principals don’t have to. We wear many hats, and one of those hats is a 24-hour concierge. We know the hottest restaurants, travel destinations and luxury brands, and our principals rely on us to know what’s happening at any given moment. As a result of this responsibility, and once trust is established and maintained, principals will organically rely on their estate managers not only to maintain the lifestyle they live, but to elevate it as well. All estate managers are influencers and connectors and we always know how to find the best of the best.


Q4: Give us an example of a typical day as an estate manager and why you love your job.

A4: While no two days are typically the same for an estate manager, it’s still important to have an established foundation for each day, including a detailed house manual, trained supportive staff, and a multitude of spreadsheets and checklists that hold each member of the staff accountable for their respective “zones.”

I love this career for many reasons: 1) I am naturally adept at multi-tasking, and this job allows me to shine in that arena, 2) I feel that every day is greeted with a new set of challenges and obstacles, and being naturally resourceful, this allows me to utilize all of my skill sets, talents and connections to make someone’s life easier, and 3) It’s about being of service, and not to sound too cliche (but I will anyway), it was Gandhi who said “to truly learn how to be of service, one must lose oneself in service to others,” and I subscribe to that sentiment.


Q5: As an estate manager you have to know how to throw a great party. Any tips for creating an event that is memorable?

A5: To truly create a memorable event I start with a comprehensive understanding of the purpose and intent of the event. My belief is that less is more and that every great event starts with an event flow that I have created and outlines a distinct narrative with a beginning, middle and end. I develop themes based on my personal knowledge of the hosts, such as Black & Blue or 40s Cuba. From there, it’s all about hiring the best caterer, florist and staff to create a unique and distinctive event that will make people feel at home. Whenever I can create something special, I do, such as hiring a mixologist to create signature drinks for the event, or hiring a luxe valet service that leaves a white rose in each car at the time of departure. I believe that all of the little details add up to make a big impression.


Q6: In your opinion, is social media a great way to reach UHNWI and/or their estate managers? If so, which social network is used most often?

A6: The UHNWI’s I know and have worked with are not as active on social media, however, their estate managers are and they are a direct route to their principal and they are active influencers.


Luxury Spotlight Bryan Peele Founder & President of EMC 3


Q7: It is often said that estate managers guard the door to the fortress pretty tight. For a brand that wants to work with estate managers in the hopes of reaching UHNWI, what is the best way to get noticed?

A7: The best way to get noticed is the same in every industry – access. Obtaining that access to UHNWI’s is where Estate Managers Coalition comes into play. At EMC, we connect estate managers and globally recognized luxury brands that see and understand the value of having direct access to estate managers. EMC holds monthly mixers, which includes corporate members who want to showcase their latest products or services and network with estate managers. Corporate members can apply to become a part of the Estate Managers Coalition and gain access to this exclusive group. As far as I know, there is no other organization or service that can deliver proven results and access like EMC.


Q8: According to your personal experience, in terms of marketing, what is the best way for a luxury brand to reach the UHNWI? Should they spend their money offline or online?

A8: It is my personal experience that the best way to reach the UHNWI is through relationships, so that would most definitely be offline. Good old-fashioned relationships that can be fostered and nurtured directly with the estate managers who wield purchasing power over their estates and principals. EMC is the ideal outlet for making those connections, and providing corporate members with the opportunity to showcase their products and services in front of estate managers at our monthly events. It is a small international community, so if you win over the estate managers first it will happen organically through their social media engagement. EM’s are all about discovering “the next best thing” for families, so once they find it they want to be the first to share with colleagues. It’s competitive, but friendly.


Q9: What does the future hold for you? And The Estate Managers Coalition?

A9: Personally, I love being an extended member of the family I represent at any given time. I give 100% at all times, and as long as they understand that it is a two-way street and take care of me in return, I am fulfilled. As for EMC, we are looking to expand to create a New York chapter in 2015 and a London chapter in 2016.



Luxury Spotlight Bryan Peele Founder & President of EMC 4


Q10: As a last question, what is your personal definition of “luxury service?”

A10: To me, luxury service is service without being obvious that it’s service. It’s when things get executed flawlessly and performed with the synchronicity of a Rolex. That said, everything should be accomplished without the principals really ever knowing what is happening behind the scenes, it should appear seemingly effortless. Granted, the challenge is to always maintain the smile and cheerful disposition, which for me starts with gratitude for the job I currently have. If gratitude is my starting place each day it makes everything easier.

Want to get in touch with Bryan Peele? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or reach out to us for an introduction.




Top 10 Real-World Luxury Influencers

Although a lot of luxury brands put emphasis on targeting digital influencers and HWNI directly, they should not forget the people who interact with HNWI on a regular day-to-day basis, the ones who exert influence on the HNWI's wallet.
With time, the relationship between HNWI and their staff becomes one founded on mutual trust and respect.

Although some luxury brands may think that they can simply "buy" the recommendation from a luxury influencer, from experience, such an advance can put you on an irrevocable black list. Brands must remember that these influencers will never do anything to put their relationship at harm's way. They have worked too hard to get the HNWI's high opinion.

Instead, a luxury brand should focus on establishing a trusting relationship with these influencers, one that is built on honesty and integrity. If you need assistance to approach luxury influencers, reach out to me, and in the meantime, read some of my thoughts on the top 10 real-world luxury influencers.

The Personal Assistant: As some of you may know from looking at my LinkedIn profile, I was once the personal assistant to several HNWI; therefore, I understand first-hand how influential a personal assistant can truly be - a lot. When I first started, I would go to my employer before making any decision. Then one day, he told me this: "Roxanne, I make about $100 every minute so make every minute between us count. If it's under $10,000, I don't want to hear about it, you make the call because that is why I need you. I simply don't have time to worry about the small stuff." This statement changed the way I have interacted with HNWI. They value time above money; they have plenty of money, but little time to enjoy it.

The Estate Manager/Butler/Majordomo: A good friend of mine is the estate manager to one of the wealthiest American businessmen, an older gentleman who relies on him for everything related to his day-to-day life. Rest assured that when this HNWI wants anything, whether it's a new superyacht or a gift for his wife, the first person he calls for a reference is indeed his estate manager.

The Private Concierge: The private concierge is the connector, the one with all the contacts in his little black book. Even though some HNWI have both a personal assistant and an estate manager, they often rely on a private concierge when looking to book VIP experiences. Personal assistants also count on private concierges to get the inside scoop when you need a quick connection. Getting on the first page of this little black book can mean getting in front of the customers you covet the most.

The Executive Assistant: Tasked with managing the calendar of an HNWI, the executive assistant is also often called upon for recommendations and trip planning especially if there is no personal assistant on staff. Having your contact details on their speed dial can be lucrative for any luxury brand.

The Superyacht Captain/ Superyacht Purser: Once a superyacht lead deckhand aboard yachts ranging from 150' to 220', I learned firsthand how HNWI rely on the expertise of their captain, purser and crew for recommendations. On a superyacht, it's a team effort, but it is usually the Captain who books on-shore activities such as restaurants, spa treatments, private transportation and even hotel or villa stays.

The Private Jet Flight Attendant: When high up in the air, a private jet flight attendant is often summoned for recommendations as to where to go eat, shop or play at the upcoming destination. HNWI understand that their knowledge of luxury experiences goes far beyond serving a fine cognac on the rocks.

The Personal Shopper: When it comes to fashion, not everyone can create that stylist look. HNWI individuals often rely on personal shoppers/stylist when it's time to revamp their wardrobe. Therefore, if you represent an up-and-coming fashion brand, you may want to keep on your radar the personal shoppers/stylists in your city.

The Personal Trainer: In between pumps and squats, personal trainers are a great source of information when it comes to getting the right advice on health products, active gear, food related items or restaurant recommendations. If this is your market, think of working closely with personal trainers.

The Private Chef: When it comes to food, the private chef often makes all the dietary calls. They typically stock the fridge and cupboards with all the goodies needed, therefore getting them to taste your high-end product can get your brand in the HNWI's household.

The Interior Decorator: Once again, when an HNWI plans to remodel their villas, superyacht or even private jet, the interior decorator is often the one who spends all the money.

When thinking of your next influencer campaign, concentrate your efforts on building relationship with both digital and real-world luxury influencers. Together, they can put your brand in front of your targeted audience.


10 Tools to Help With Creativity

These days there are many online tools that are designed to help you channel your creativity. The bonus is that these web-based services are easy to use and don’t require knowledge of complicated graphics programs. It couldn’t be simpler to design and create aesthetically beautiful images, products and design schemes. Here are 10 tools to help with creativity

1. Wordoid

Wordoid is an innovative site that helps you develop a catchy name for your new product, service, business enterprise or domain. All you do is enter in your specifications and Wordoid will generate several relevant names and their domain availability.

2. Tagul

Tagul enables you to create eye-catching word clouds. This service also enables you to print these word clouds on a range of products including postcards, mugs and clothing.

3. Color Scheme Designer

Color Scheme Designer does exactly what the name suggests: it helps you develop an effective color scheme based on any color that you select. There are a range of possible options, from complementary to analogic schemes.

4. Patternizer

Patternizer is a web tool that helps you to create colorful effective patterns with ease. The easy to use slide bars and menus enable you to design custom patterns to suit your preferences.

5. PicMonkey

PicMonkey provides fun and funky ways to edit your favorite photographs. Whether you want to touch up, edit, create a photo montage, or design an incredible image, this is the tool to use.


Easel ly is a great way to design and create effective visual ideas which you can then share. From posters to charts and diagrams, this is a great way to give your ideas a visual format.

7. Piktochart

PiktoChart enables you to create eye-catching infographics. You can select from the wide range of available themes, and then edit any or all of the elements to customize your infographic.

8. ReciteThis

Recite This takes any quote and turns it into a visual creation. Simple type in the wording of your choice and select a wide range of backgrounds and formats.

9. PinWords

Pin Words helps you to pin words to your favorite images. It’s the simplest way to effectively add your personal stamp to photos and images to create something striking and beautiful.

10. Designspiration

Designspiration is a great way to share all visual sources of inspiration that lead to great design. You can search, save and organize an endless array of photographs, typography, illustrations and images.

Los Angeles ILHA networking open house and Hospitality Launch Cover

Luxury Spotlight: Barak Hirschowitz, President of International Luxury Hotel Association

Meet Barak Hirschowitz, the President of International Luxury Hotel Association, and a leading influencer in the hospitality industry. Beginning his career as a chef, and becoming the best in this field, he went on to establish the International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA).

This global non-profit organization has one goal – to improve the standard of service in the luxury hotel industry. And it works to achieve this goal by providing resources for education, training and networking to its members.

He is also the co-founder of Hospitality Recruitment that started in 2004. With a focus on international hospitality recruitment, it assists the world’s best hotels, resorts and cruise line companies source talent.

Here is what he has to say about the luxury hospitality industry.

1. To be successful in an industry, one must be passionate.  How and why did you choose to work within the luxury hotel industry?

I was always attracted to the luxury hotel industry which allowed me to travel and work in the places where people vacation. My hospitality career started in the early 90’s as a chef in restaurants in New York. When I was offered the opportunity to join the team of a new luxury hotel in South Africa, I jumped at it. South African hotels have won best hotel in the world more times than any other country over the past 10 years.  There is something special about the combination of great hospitality, design, food, wine and scenery that sets it apart. I was lucky to be able to spend 15 years in the industry there.


Los Angeles ILHA networking open house and Hospitality Launch

2. In 2003, you were voted as one of the Top 5 Chef in South Africa. In your opinion, what makes a Chef stand out from the rest?

The ability to inspire their team, never compromise on ingredients and find their own style.

3. With other key players in the industry, you helped co-found the ILHA. Can you tell us a little about the mission and goals of the association?

The ILHA brings together hotel and travel companies, industry professionals, governments and educators with the common goal of improving standards and promoting innovation in service and design in the luxury segment of the hotel industry. We achieve these goals through education, training and communication in three key areas that differentiate the luxury segment from the rest of the hotel industry: service, design and technology.

4. The ILHA is now considered the largest influencer in the hospitality industry with 185,000 members on LinkedIn. Can you give us a tip on how to grow such a strong community?

The ILHA started in 2008 as Luxury Hoteliers, a small group of around 50 luxury hotel professionals who got together online to share best practices.  At the time, people were still nervous about sharing ideas online with their competitors.  It’s all about transparency and keeping pace with the changing needs of your guests.  Early on our members figured out it was better to work together.  It’s what helped us grow and keeps us growing.  Today, our LI group has over 1000 new members joining each week.

5. For someone new to LinkedIn, what is the best way to get involved within the ILHA community?  

Join the discussions. It will help you stay on top of the industry’s hot topics.  


Los Angeles ILHA networking open house and Hospitality Launch 2
6. The ILHA will be hosting the Fast Forward 2020 Conference in Washington DC this September. Tell us about it.

We have invited the luxury hotel industry’s thought leaders to DC to answer some of the greatest challenges facing hoteliers today and over the next five years.  

7. An impressive group of speakers will be giving advice at Fast Forward 2020, what should attendees expect to learn?

This is a must-attend event for anyone working with or in the luxury hotel industry.  We worked with leaders from the world’s top hotel groups to find out what are the greatest challenges they are facing right now.   What type of online and social media marketing is working? What new in-house technology is out there? How are the leading hotels managing their online reputation?  How to attract and prepare for business from new travel markets like China, Brazil and the multi-billion dollar wellness/medical travel? Can hotels benefit from partnering with luxury retail brands? The ILHA Fast Forward 2020 will bring together the smartest minds in the business to share their insights on how best to face these challenges now and over the next five years. Our experts are the leadership of hotel groups, universities, and major travel companies. They represent some of the biggest names in the industry including Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt, Trump, Michelin, STR, TripAdvisor, LuxuryLink, Cornell University, Georgetown University, Axess Worldwide and more.  

8. Apart from listening to industry leaders, what else can attendees expect at the conference?

In addition to networking opportunities, the ILHA attendees will have access to the Medical Tourism Association’s Congress being held in partnership with our event. This expo will have over 3,000 attendees and will introduce hoteliers to the fastest growing segment of the hospitality industry.

9. What does the future hold for the ILHA?

We are currently developing service training that can be taken regardless of location. It will help hotels located in remote locations train their staff and can help level the playing field for hospitality professionals wanting to move into the luxury segment. Another focus for us is to introduce chapters and local networking events outside the US.

10. As a last question, what is your personal definition of "luxury service"?  

True luxury service needs to be personalized. It’s what sets the best hotels in the world apart from the rest. When the guest leaves the hotel at the end of their stay, they should feel rested yet a little sad as if they are leaving their family behind.


Want to connect with Barak Hirschowitz? Do it on LinkedIn and Twitter. Or, reach out to us for an introduction.


How to Compensate Luxury Influencers

A luxury influencer writes a great review about your product, rakes in a lot of support for your marketing campaign, alters the buying decision of his audience towards your luxury product while maintaining integrity and authenticity. The message is not "crafted" or controlled by your marketing team; therefore it resonates within the community as an opinion that is valued. As a general rule, a blog post from an influential blogger or social media leader is more trusted than a marketing campaign promoted with banners, commercials and gimmicks. Why? Because the influencer is trusted as a valuable source of information while the marketing campaign is simply seen as what it is - a way to lure consumers to spend money on your products.

Although not everyone will agree, if a luxury influencer generates a lot of awareness for your brand or products, you should let them know that their services are appreciated by finding the best way to compensate them. Saying this, you should not attempt to "buy" the love of an influencer, but simply compensate for the valuable work done. Influencers, most of the anyway, want to be noticed, appreciated and rewarded for writing influential posts.

The best way to reward influencers is by first thinking about what motivates them, finding more about their interests and making sure that the relationship is not all about money. Offering a reward that is both commercial and non-commercial will help you create friendships rather than just pure commercial relationships.

So what are the best ways to compensate luxury influencers?

Financially: Although most influencers will ask for some kind of appreciation and recognition, some of them might be a little offended if you offer them money through your initial conversation. The best way to decide on whether to pay or not an influencer is to first ask them about their editorial and marketing solutions for luxury brands. If the influencer sends you a price list, then you should understand that blogging/social media is a business - it's about the money. However, if you get a request to experience your product first hand, then don't offend with money - it's about the experience.

Shout-Outs: Since your influencers write about your brand and products in their blogs or profiles, you can reciprocate their efforts by sharing their posts about you in your social media outlets. When you share their posts on your wall, it will make them feel important and recognized. A short tweet or a comment about their influential post will do wonders for their site’s traffic. Once the campaign is over, continue to engage with them socially to strengthen the relationship.

Product Rewards: Giving away your luxury products is another great way of rewarding the work done by your influencers. Remember to give the influencer the choice to select amongst a few products, making feel like part of your team.

Giveaways - Contests: Giveaways and contests are also a time-tested way to appreciate the audience of your influencers. Partner up with them for a social media campaign that will beneficial to both influencer and brand.

Unique Experience: Offer your influencers unique experiences such as inviting them for a complimentary hotel stay, a dinner experience or to an exclusive event. Become offline friends then take the relationship back to digital.

Content: Everyone wants insider information about top brands, and your influencers are no different. Offer your influencers some information about forthcoming products, VIP events, and more. Make your influencers feel important.

Product Discounts: Offering product discounts is a really old method of garnering public interest, and its charm hasn’t waned even in the social media days. Offer your influencers a discount on their favorite luxury item, but remember to make the offer really alluring - 5-10% probably won't cut it.

Remember this: if you want luxury influencers to promote your brand and products, play by their rules and offer something irresistible. Stand out from the mass by getting to know them and listening to their needs.


Luxury Study: Boston Consulting Group

A new luxury study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) reveals important shifts and the related implications in the luxury sector. Based on what consumers identified as luxury spending, the BCG forecasts that the luxury industry will continue to grow in the next two years, despite the lack of growth in many other sectors of the economy.

However, there are both challenges and opportunities facing the luxury sector. Consumer behavior has shifted and introduced an element of complexity in the market. There have been increases in the prominence of emerging-market buyers, and in the growth of experiential luxury. BCG proposes that in response to complicated demands, luxury brands need to embrace four areas of change:

1. New consumers, different sectors and complex buying behavior
It is increasingly common for consumers to indulge in luxurious experiences that are tailored to their particular needs and preferences. Within experiential luxury, the technology sector has grown the most.

Brands need to expand their experiences into consumers’ everyday lives. This includes enriching the selling experience and adopting new business models that embrace the experimental trend. The luxury market is becoming increasingly complex and greater segmentation and customization is necessary.

2. Understanding new geographies and specifics of cities as unique markets
BCG notes that many leading brands are revising their emerging market strategies to align with changes in macro-economic factors, government policies, urbanization, development and tastes.

The implication is that brands would do well to replace their country-level approaches with city-level strategies. To this end, the BCG Local Metroluxe Index forecasts local luxury demand in cities across the world. The BCG Metroluxe Growth Index and the BCG Total Metroluxe Index also provide important information and analyses for brands.

3. Alternative and innovative business models
Companies are benefiting from new approaches that blur the lines between competition and collaboration, and that foster openness and embrace cultural changes.

Luxury brands need to embrace this change by forging stronger relationships with retailers. An effective way of achieving this is through joint ventures. Various leading brands have also adopted different approaches to virtualization.

4. The effects of new digital technologies
The digital domain is of great importance in all sectors, including the luxury market. The boundaries between digital and conventional paths of sales and communication are becoming increasingly blurred.

Luxury brands need to develop their e-commerce competence and take cognizance of the full range of channels that is available to consumers. Brands need to increase their social engagement with consumers and encourage the advocacy of their products and services.

BCG advocates 10 tips for luxury executives:

1. Increase understanding of consumers
2. Adopt city- or cluster-city- level approaches
3. Have a clear travel and tourist strategy
4. Embrace experiential luxury
5. Invest in emerging and long-established countries
6. Use simple, consistent brand architecture
7. Build new relationships with retailers and suppliers
8. Improve e-commerce
9. Devise channel strategies
10. Develop advocacy marketing


To Pay or Not To Pay an Influencer

To pay or not to pay an influencer – this is one of the most difficult questions to answer as the start of an influencer outreach campaign. Most luxury brands have trouble understanding whether or not it is acceptable to pay an influencer. These are two sides to the coin; and as a luxury brand it is important that you understand the importance of the work done by influencers. Gaining digital popularity is not as easy as 1-2-3. Influencers often spend years building their own brand as a digital influencer in their marketplace. Obviously the decision depends on your marketing strategy and budget, but to help you make the choice whether to pay or not to pay an influencer, read on.

Say Yes
Studies show that nearly half of all influencers expect money, and less than a quarter of them expect product discounts and freebies. Surprise? You shouldn't be. If you accept the fact that purchasing ad space in a luxury magazine, on a highway billboard or even on a bus is acceptable, then so should paying a digital influencer. The main difference will be the costs. A luxury magazine will likely request a payment of tens of thousands of dollars for an ad on the cover, while a luxury blogger will request a few hundred dollars.
Although many influencers anticipate to be rewarded for their efforts, most of the time, it is not just about the money. There are different ways to reward your influencers – compensate their efforts with money, spend time on their social media outlets, offer them free products and discounts.

Say No
Influencer’s opinions should be unbiased and original therefore buying influence might not always work for your luxury brand. Giving away your luxury products to your influencers as a token of appreciation for their work and effort seems like a blatant effort at buying their word. Giving product discounts and freebies might seem like influencing their comments and opinions about your brand.

Make the Decision
While some influencers have come to expect to be paid for their services, there are many others who might look down on you and might even get a little offended if you offered them rewards for something they do voluntarily. To pay or not to pay an influencer is a tough decision every luxury brand has to make sooner than later. Need help deciding if you should pay or not pay an influencer? Reach out to us for a complimentary consultation.

Andra Oprea Stylezza Interview Cover

Luxury Spotlight: Andra Oprea, Editor-in-Chief & Project Manager of Stylezza

With years of experience in the field of journalism and editing, Andra Oprea offers an insight into the world of luxury with her digital magazine – Stylezza. As the Editor-in-Chief & Project Manager of this famed magazine, she has come across the best in class experiences when it comes to fashion, beauty, art, photography and myriad other subjects.

Her experiences have led her to believe in quality over quantity – something reflected in the selection of which events and news feature in her magazine. And with her flair for the artistic expressions of life, it isn’t a surprise that Stylezza has become one of the beacons in the French Riviera/Monaco fashion and art circuit.

Let’s get a glimpse at what she has to say about her contributions to the luxury niche.


Andra Oprea Stylezza Interview 1

1. Every editor has a different story on how they got started writing. What is yours?

My story with writing starts when I was little or maybe from another life. I have always been connected with written words, poetry. I remember I used to invent and compose poetry in my mind holding a hand upside down when I was about four years old. With time, the passion has grown. When I first discovered love, I got so inspired that I started writing my first essay at 17 years old. The essay was awarded at an international competition in Tokyo. I continued writing children books, essays, never got the time to start a book although the idea has always haunted me. But, I started Journalism and it got me going ever since. I can use writing in a modern way now, especially on the digital format. It is my way of expressing, of choosing what to do in order to leave something behind me that is made by me and not an echo.

2. Like most successful fashion magazine, you probably received hundreds of emails per month from luxury brands who want you to share their story. What makes you decide to work with a brand over the other?

I daily receive a great amount of emails from different brands around the globe. What makes me choose one brand over the other is the inspiration and the idea behind the concept. I do not like very much the commercial type, the mass quantity information. I prefer the quality and the information that inspires the reader and makes him widen his vision. I like the mix between art and fashion, the stir of ideas and the things that have value, originality. There are so many brilliant minds and brands that are in the dark because they do not have the marketing behind them, and so many futile brands that have the money but not the worth. So, I prefer choosing the value. Not everything that has created a name during the years because it was supported financially has to be chosen just to make clicks. No, I prefer to make value. And that is why I appreciate my readers!


Andra Oprea Stylezza Interview 2

3. What is the best pitch you have received from a luxury brand? What is the worst?

There are so many that I can`t classify them. I don`t have a best pitch in mind, but the worst are those who are poor in information and quality and try to hook you no matter what.

4. What is your take on press releases? Do you like receiving them or do you simply discard them?

I like receiving press releases; it is a great source of information. Still, it depends on the message it wants to convey or the way it is done. I like to see good content that has all the ingredients for a good article. What makes me click and read the press release is a good title or idea worth spreading.

5. What would make you choose to work with a brand on a giveaway campaign on your site?

A giveaway campaign is always a challenge for my readers and the main focus is on them. We organize this type of campaigns when the prize fits our target and the magazine`s profile. It has to be interactive, to involve the readers and most of the time they do get involved by commenting on the article, on the social networks.

6. If a brand wants to reach you, what channel should they use? Do you prefer email, social media or another means of communication?

I prefer having the information by email. It is more complex, it can have more accurate and precise information, all we need just in front of our eyes. Of course, if we want to develop even more the partnership, we can meet or discuss over the phone. The email, I think, it is now the most important form of reaching and connecting, spreading the ideas, creating partnerships and collaborations.


Andra Oprea Stylezza Interview 4

7. Of all the social media channels you engage on, which one do you prefer and why?

Every social network has its own particularities. But, for spreading the news over social media, I prefer Facebook: it has an easier way of connecting and reaching, sharing the info in a complex way (text, photo), it can be interactive and you can control the views and reactions. Then, I prefer Instagram for another side of the story – the message through an image, simple as that!

8. Which social media channels does your audience interact with the most?

Our readers interact differently on our social channels. It depends very much of the geolocalisation. If they are from US, they interact a lot on Twitter, while the Europeans like Facebook more. Also, it depends a lot on the time of posting, on the same criteria as above.

9. In your opinion, what does it take to become successful on social media?

On social media, just like on every other digital platform, you have to inspire but also you have to reach your target. Many prefer posting frequently once every hour, others prefer less quantity. It depends very much to whom you address to, which social category, status etc. It is known that young people will tend to be more active on social networks and want as much information as possible, while other categories like top managers will be interested in quality information over quantity, to have the best news of interest to them even if they enter late at night, so to say. So, for me, is having the right information delivered to the right category of readers at the right time.

10. Do you monitor your Klout score on a daily/weekly basis? Do you think this social ranking is of any real value to luxury brands?

I do not use Klout very often. I think, though, that being on platforms that help you reach your readers can be a great step towards a wider audience.

11. Do you sometime receive compensation from luxury brands, whether it's in the form of cash or incentives, to write about them?

Yes, it happens often to receive products in order to write about them. Sometimes, it is a great thing because you can test the product yourself and write about it. Of course, you have to maintain your neutrality. This is one of the factors that differentiate blogs from digital magazines. Blogs can express their opinions towards products, brands in a personal way while digital magazines publish the news following deontological codes, and objectivity is one of them.

12. Apart from promoting brands through your magazine, do you offer additional services to luxury brands who choose to work with you?

Stylezza is a digital magazine that focuses also on branding on the French Riviera / Monaco and on high class events. We have contacts with important people in the area who are always interested in partnering with us to create events (and here, we have some secret ingredients that can assure the uniqueness and originality of the event). Also, there are international brands that are interested in having visibility on the French Riviera / Monaco and here we can help them. There is a mix of editorial, photography, events, all focused on the partners that we collaborate with.

13. Do you manage more than one magazine/blog? If so, which ones?

I manage Stylezza magazine. It is a digital platform located in a very beautiful area of the French Riviera. We cover the most important news and events in the region, especially Monaco, Cannes, St Tropez. It is both in English and in French as it reaches an international audience with worldwide news.

14. What would you say is the best thing about being a fashion editor?

The best thing about being a fashion editor is that I write, and this is my passion. Second, is that I get to know amazing people and places, exchanging ideas and traveling.

15. Have you rub shoulders with the rich and famous through your work as a fashion editor?

Yes, I have shaken hands and discussed with very important names, with top managers, celebrity and royalty. A real honor to meet so many important people, to share ideas, to interview or to collaborate.


Andra Oprea Stylezza Interview 3

16. If you had to mentor a new writer, what is your go-to advice to become successful?

My best advice that I can give to a new writer it is to write with passion, to give his time to develop this passion. To read and write a lot! I remember one of my Journalism University Professor who used to tell us at his class that we should write everyday about every tiny thing that we see around us...but just write!

You can reach Andra Oprea with the contact form on the site, or get in touch on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Google+. If you need an introduction, just reach out to us.


Web Design: White Is The New Black

When designing a blog or website, there are several key things that you need to keep in mind. One of the most important considerations is color. And it’s not about being pretty, it’s about enhancing readability. So what are the design tips when it comes to designing the color scheme of a readable website?

The simple answer is: black text on a white background works best. The high contrast between black and white makes text much easier to read. However, this is only true for black on white. Reverse type (i.e. white type on a black background) should be avoided. Even if your branding includes a lot of black, when working in a digital environment, you should simply use black as a highlight color rather than a full-screen background color otherwise, you will annoy a lot of visitors.

Recent studies have confirmed this. A wide variation of color combinations were tested to see which were the most readable. As a general trend, a darker color on a paler background was more readable than the reverse. The most readable combination was undeniably proven to be black text on a white background.

This is particularly true for paragraph text. Focusing on white text strains a reader’s eyes and makes the text more difficult to read. Using black text on a pale background makes it easier for readers to focus on the text, absorb the meaning of the words and get a comprehensive understanding of the subject of the paragraph. It has been proven that people read more accurately when they read black on white, which is what you want when they’re reading your website.

Using black text on a white background is also an effective way of making the best of whitespace. Whitespace is any portion of a website that is completely blank, such as a white background. Whitespace is important because, when it comes to web sign, less is more. Utilizing whitespace as a design element can help you create simple, elegant designs that are more readable and keep viewers on your site for longer periods of time.

All in all, black text on a white background enhances readability, aligns with key web design theories and is the best option for an effective website. When building your next website, please keep this blog post in mind - white is the new black.