5 Questions With Beach House PR Owners Brittany Hohl and Brittany Savastano
Five Questions With Brittany Hohl and Brittany Savastano, Owners of Beach House PR
By Chloe Cornell
“We started our working relationship together at a small beauty boutique agency outside of NYC. We were both in junior level roles and truly built our careers together as a team. This is where we really fostered our love for not only the beauty industry but the communications field as well. We worked hard to build strong relationships with the beauty community and our passion continued to grow.”
Brittany Hohl moved to Los Angeles to build the agency’s West Coast office and eventually left to become Vice President of Beach House. Brittany Hohl quickly brought Brittany Savastano over to the Beach House team, as Director, and the head of the teams East Coast office. After four years of running the agency alongside the current CEO, both Brittany’s were presented with the opportunity to buy the agency. With a deep-rooted passion for this industry and agency, the girls knew this was the next chapter in their journey together.
Chloe: The world turned upside down just as you took over your company. That must have been “interesting”! Every business has had to pivot somewhat due to the new circumstances. Obviously every client’s needs and situations are different, but can you tell us a bit about what your experience has been during these unprecedented times? What are some successes? How have you navigated this changing landscape?
Brittany & Brittany: Within three months of owning Beach House, the world was hit with a global pandemic that shook the economy in every single way. We not only felt the shift internally but we also had a responsibility to support our clients and help them navigate these uncharted waters. We paid such close attention to the industry and pivoted all of our clients programming and messaging based on the landscape. We reached out to our editor friends to inquire about how they wanted to be approached during this time and ensured that we were mindful of that when doing any/all programming. We ebbed and flowed where we needed, continued to learn and shift when possible, and nurtured our clients, team, and editorial relationships.
Chloe: Girl Tribe’s motto is “Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back”. You obviously identify with this as you have an all female team. What do you find are the advantages of an all female team for you as owners, for your clients, and for your employees?
Brittany & Brittany: It’s coincidental that our entire team ended up being all female as we are always open to any and all applicants that apply to Beach House. However, our fierce team of females are so creative and inspiring; we all support one another so much and, in turn, deliver incredible results to our clients because we have a welcoming and safe environment to share our ideas within. We are a group of passionate AND compassionate females and those important qualities spill into every project and client that we work on which I think is a huge driver for our continued success.
Chloe: It seems that there are continually an increasing amount of female entrepreneurs in the beauty and wellness space. Additionally, over the past few years there’s been more awareness and a push for women to be supportive of other women in business and in life, and you obviously subscribe to that mantra within your company. However, while it is nice to think that there is room for everyone, the “buy women” will no longer be sufficient for every female-owned company. What qualities or marketing campaigns do you think help people stand out from the pack?
Brittany & Brittany:You have to always be thinking ahead to break through what is becoming a saturated market. But again, it comes back to passion and compassion to us. For instance, we created the Change The Beauty Game initiative back in 2017 (which kicked off in 2018) when we realized that the beauty industry was a massive contributor to waste in the environment. We knew this could ruffle some feathers since mailers were becoming a way to showcase products but we just did not agree with it anymore. We sat around a table one day brainstorming mailer ideas and realized that A. it was incredibly wasteful and B. it was not about the product at all but rather the extra fluff. The industry responded so well to this and so many brands and agencies started to change our roles and cut back on the excess. We did not create this to be trendsetters. We saw a problem that we were passionately committed to changing and so we did it.
We feel that having honest and trustworthy working relationships are incredibly important when it comes to our industry. We work hard to deliver messaging and products that are authentic and, therefore, the editors/influencers that we’ve worked with for decades believe in what we bring to them.
When it comes to campaigns and any marketing programming, a one size fits all approach doesn’t work. You need to really understand your client, their audience, and what their goal is. There is so much more strategy involved now because the market is much more populated than it was years ago. You need to have a 360 marketing lens on when creating that strategy, too. There are many different levers to pull and you have to ensure that you are taking each of those into account when you are building out your programming.
Chloe: You two have been working together for a long time. What do you think makes your partnership work? Have you established any ground rules to navigate business decisions, disagreements, etc? What qualities/ skills do you each bring to the table?
Brittany & Brittany: We have just always had a really easy flow when it comes to working together and that is why we knew we could take this next step together. We are practically sisters at this point! We talk every single day and we make sure that every single business decision, whether big or small, is a conversation and agreement before we take any action. It really starts by picking a good partner from the start, who is going to work as hard as you do. We try to be involved in every aspect of the business together so that no one feels any sort of different pressure but we, of course, both have our strong suits. We play to our strengths, where Brittany Savastano lacks, Brittany Hohl makes up and vice versa. We have so much respect for one another and we ensure that communication is strong and that we never lose confidence in one another.
Chloe: What inspired you both to get into the PR/ Marketing world? How has the space evolved? What specific skills and qualities do you think are necessary to succeed? Who would be your ideal candidate for a new hire and/or client?
Brittany H: I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up but I knew I wanted to be in the business world but not behind a desk all day. I actually saw a career counselor in my Sophomore year of college after my third dreaded accounting class and she helped me pivot into PR. I cannot imagine having another career.
Brittany S: As a young girl I was very much a girly-girl. A lot of my inspiration came from my mom, who was always up to date with the latest beauty trends and products. You name it, she had it! Choosing a career in PR made most sense to me. It offers a wide range of paths to choose from, that I could narrow down to what I was and am most interested in — the beauty industry. I landed an internship at a boutique beauty agency which led me to a higher level leadership opportunity within the agency, as a new grad. That is where my career began and ultimately led me to where I am today.
The industry has changed so much over the last 10 years. We used to have to physically clip articles and call editors with story angles. Now, almost, everything is done virtually/digitally. We saw the rise of bloggers, influencers, etc. and how social media gave another lever for communication programming. When we interview a candidate, we are usually looking for passion, determination, and their ability/desire to work in a team setting. We can always teach someone how to pitch but you cannot teach someone to be passionate about, determined to help drive a brand’s success, or respect and appreciate your team in making those stories land. Those are all qualities that, in the end, make a strong worker an unstoppable publicist.