Name: Jess Levin
Find her on: www.caratsandcake.com
About Jess: Jess if the Founder & CEO of Carats & Cake. A native of Laguna Beach, CA, Jess attended the University of Pennsylvania following which she began her career at Burch Creative Capital, where she helped manage investments and brand development for a portfolio that includes C. Wonder and Tory Burch, LLC. After earning her MBA at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Jess saw an opportunity in the wedding space to help empower the businesses at the top end of the market. She founded Carats & Cake in 2013 in New York City.
Carats & Cake has been in the press a lot. How did you get there?
Based on my prior experience in VC, I saw the power of PR and how it could propel a company forward, so publicity and creating the opportunity to be able to tell our story was something we invested in early. Our strategy was always about being selective and focusing on building awareness in the right places. Our first feature was in a business outlet because while our launch appeared to be consumer focused, we have always been focused on smarter businesses, so we wanted to be seen through that lens. Over the years we have continued to focus on business press such as Business Insider, Time and Inc. as well as lifestyle outlets like this recent Harper’s Bazaar story.
How important was PR to your marketing strategy?
PR was a big focus of our marketing efforts not only to drive awareness, but also to build relationships with brands and other partners. Establishing a voice within like-minded, trusted publications allowed Carats & Cake to gain awareness, early on, among the right consumer, but more importantly the right vendor audiences.
How were you able to get featured?
We partnered with a nimble PR firm as well as networked and built our independent relationships with editors. From the beginning, we really tried to find our own voice. Carats & Cake didn’t want to compete with the talk about wedding inspiration. We wanted to start a smart conversation about local businesses that make this industry great. In the beginning, this was definitely more challenging as people saw weddings and naturally wanted to write about weddings, not wedding businesses, so we’d get lumped into one industry bucket. But as editors and outlets got to know us and the company, they started to recognize our unique perspective and were kind enough to help us spread the word.
How has media attention changed Carats & Cake?
Our strategic media coverage helped us differentiate our business from the rest. Whether its business profiles in Business Insider or Harper’s Bazaar or features in Who What Wear or Town & Country, our press coverage allows us to create a defensible position in the wedding market that is business-focused and aligned to an elevated, modern lifestyle consistent with consumers and vendors at the top end of the industry.
What advice would you give to wedding professionals looking to get publicity?
Consistency is key. If every piece tells a different story, press will only get you so far. What you want is for audiences to understand who you are and for each piece to build on the other by reaffirming your position, perspective and brand.