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Louise Hughes

PR and marketing manager, Original Penguin

What does your job involve?

My role involves planning and executing [lifestyle brand Original Penguin’s] PR and marketing strategy. This means working with our head office in New York and the brand’s European marketing team on our ad campaigns, PR, retail and wholesale environment, key account support and celebrity product placement.

What skills do you need?

To be a PR and marketing manager you need to be creative and have good interpersonal and time management skills, as well as being a good multi-tasker who can juggle lots of things at once with great attention to detail.

What do you like and dislike about your job?

There really is nothing I dislike about my job, but with so many projects on the go at any one time you need to have great organisational and planning skills, with the ability to work well under pressure and to deadlines.

I love styling for our shoots, from working with our UK sales team and the NY head office on key looks, to planning the seasonal shoot and seeing it all come together and used online and in print. That part of the job gives me a great sense of achievement.

How did you get to where you are today?

By lots of hard work. I’ve worked for the brand for eight years in total, the past six years for [Original Penguin owner] Perry Ellis and the previous two for the distribution agency [Core Distribution] that managed Original Penguin at the time. So I’ve seen it evolve from a virtually unknown brand to a major player within our market. This has been achieved by working with an amazing team that produces a brilliant product, while being supported by a creative marketing strategy. It’s all been a fantastic learning experience.

What is your proudest career achievement to date?

I feel proud every time I see our logo, knowing where the brand was eight years ago (it was unknown in the UK apart from those who knew its 1950s heritage) to where it is today. To be part of that growth is a great achievement. My proudest moment this year was when Original Penguin was nominated for Drapers’ Young Fashion Brand of the Year in 2011, and when it won Cool Brand of the Year 2011/12 [in the CoolBrands awards, overseen by The Centre for Brand Analysis].

What is your ambition?

To grow Original Penguin’s brand awareness and credibility in Europe, to get it to the same level that we’ve achieved in the UK and the US.

How do you intend to get there?

Through a combination of commitment, perseverance, communication and hard work.

What three words sum you up?

Ambitious, passionate, dependable.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

The main piece of advice I’d give someone looking to get into this sort of job would be that experience is vital. Even if it’s unpaid, experience can help you to get your foot in the door, and could potentially then lead to your dream job. The other piece of advice that I’d give is to never think that a task is beneath you, and always strive to improve and do more. 

CV

2005  PR and marketing manager, Original Penguin

2003  Brand manager, Core Distribution

2002  Assistant buyer, Free Spirit – Blacks Outdoor Division

2001  Junior buyer, Free Spirit – Blacks Outdoor Division

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