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fashion

Work It: Mallory Blair and Bianca Caampued

Small Girls PR’s work essentials and fashion tips

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Small Girls PR co-founders Mallory Blair and Bianca Caampued are proof that powerful things can come in tiny packages. In three short years, their firm has become the go-to buzz builder for tech/media companies like Flavorpill, Gawker, and Meetup. They’ve also shaped the way fashion companies and bloggers work together by creating promotions that feel natural rather than forced. Needless to say, they’re pretty damn successful. Here’s how they do it.q&a!What are your work clothing essentials?
Caampued: Leather jackets have and will always be part of my work look. I’ve started to add some amazing power pieces in white as well — a blazer a la Scandal and a power onesie for meetings and events that feels very Bianca Jagger. I even purchased a white motorcycle jacket to bring the two looks together. Mallory found an amazing Ted Baker dress with a strong silhouette that really works for her, so she has it in a few colors and different sleeve lengths.

And your bag?
Blair: It’s probably a coincidence that most of our team carries Kate Spade wallets, though the parallels between our brands have crossed my mind: We’re both taken seriously by our clientele and respected in our industries but shameless when it comes to adding sequins and having fun while keeping it real.

Most of our editors have a cache of sweaters and shoes at our desks. What pieces do you keep on hand just in case?
BC: I’ve been a huge proponent of the office contingency kit since my days at Lucky. What started out as a travel bag under my desk has grown into a selection of dresses, blazers, sweaters, heels, flats, and even fitness gear that takes up a good portion of a closet at SGPR headquarters. Plus, we always have our party masks (actual masks) and Sorrelli jewelry (a former client) on hand to dress up a look.

How often do you recycle outfits?
BC: All the time. If I really like an outfit, I’ll wear it more than once in the same week, #noshame. Both of us have a few looks we’ve been photographed wearing many times. On one hand, we worry that people will think we have only X number of outfits, but it keeps our branding strong. It’s important to recycle and wear pieces in new ways and shop your own closet. Take an outfit you know works and play with just the top or bottom, and it’s fresh.

We imagine you bounce between the office and nighttime events in the PR business. Any tips for making the day-to-night transition easier?
BC: As trite as it may sound, heels can really bring a look from day to night — though in my case it’s more like combat boots to studded booties. Adding sparkles or sequins always helps, as does a piece of statement jewelry or a bow. The DGAF approach is fine for some casual events, and we’ve been known to make office wear work after hours.

Tell us about your worst/funniest/first job.
MB: When I was 17, my guilty pleasure was a lady rapper named Roxy Cottontail. Her song came on at a roller rink and I started singing along. It turns out a friend of hers was standing nearby and was tickled to see a young girl getting down to the single. She texted Roxy, and I ended up doing her social media and Web maintenance thereafter.

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Say we’re starting a business, what three things do we need to know?
MB: 1. You’re not so rich that you can afford to do something cheaply. This advice is from my great grandmother — an orphan who came from nothing and ended up founding several successful retail operations, so I take it to heart. As your company grows, remember that you get what you pay for. Looking back, I realize I paid double to correct subpar work when I tried to cut corners to save money.

2. In starting a PR firm, I learned that you should do favors and soak up experience to assess the true value of your services. Before you charge premium rates, you should have a firm understanding of the time it takes to deliver results to your client. Don’t be scared to do important things for free at first, because you’ll need advocates who can speak to the quality of your new product or service. Dedicate your “free” time (what free time?) and skills to help whomever you can. There are countless times this strategy paid off for us down the line, and we have many clients and friends who returned favors when we needed help.

3. Be kind. We live in an age where information is shared faster than ever. Your business’s reputation drives its bottom line. Meanie heads finish last.

Now for the quick-fire round. Tell us the first thing that comes to mind. (Caampued’s answers are listed first, Blair’s second.)

Home: Brooklyn, Pinterest moms
Selfie: Mirrors, Millennial
Best friend: It isn’t a person, it’s a tier (to quote Mindy Kaling); Bianca
Best practices: Honesty, Write thank-you notes
Secret weapon: Brass knuckles, Gel manicures
Vice: Virtue, Grand Theft Auto
Dream career: Attainable; Voice actress (Roll up to work in pajamas, get paid to let your inner freak fly, and collect royalties forever? Sounds good. Come to think of it, I’m quitting PR. Peace.)
Dream vacation: A work-free one; Sanrio Puroland, in Japan
Animal: Tiger (A vision of a tiger came to me at a chakra workshop recently. Not sure if that was supposed to happen, but I definitely saw one. Perhaps from dehydration); Snowden the Kitten (My cat poses as an NSA whistle-blower.)

For more information, go to smallgirlspr.com.

Photo: Ted Baker / Courtesy of Small Girls PR