Getting Naked With Carl Thomson

Getting Naked With Carl Thomson

NakedPRGirl: I know you’re a Londoner from your London Morgan interview, but I was surprised to find you started out working in IT, how did you get into that? Do you miss having a 9-5 job?

Carl Thomson

Carl Thompson: I miss the holiday pay. Never really stop to think about in truth. I think there is a common misconception about having 9-5’s versus going self-employed. That somehow you leave this womb of security when you venture out on your own. A lot of my close friends balked when I told them I’m going solo into the fashion world. But you’re not indispensable, no matter the person, no matter the job.

NakedPRGirl: What prompted the career change? Did you seek out the fashion world or was it organic?

It just felt like it was time for a new challenge in my life. The job itself was quite autonomous; I never had a controlling boss, was never asked to clock-in. However, I wasn’t entirely satiated with my place in the world at that point. It was a lateral move into the fashion world. I was buying suits for work and I wanted to know why some suits were entry level and others cost a king’s ransom. I became quite fastidious in all things tailoring, shirt making in particular.

NakedPRGirl: What process did you go through to get your clothing brand Hawkins & Shepherd off the ground?

It was a lot of travel initially, sourcing the right manufacturers and fabric. The quality was so important. Then I pondered on whether to go bricks and mortar or just online. One of the biggest decisions I made was price point. It’s a tricky one and determines everything. If you go in too low, then it’s difficult to start bumping prices up. If you go high then you need to justify why, and are people going to invest in a high-end shirt from a company that’s not a marquee name?

NakedPRGirl: Where did the name come from and who did your logo/branding?

Hawkins & Shepherd carries both my parents’ names. Hawkins is my Mother’s family name born and bred in London, whereas Shepherd is my Father’s family name from Guyana on the Caribbean coast of South America. I wanted a shirt that we could all be proud of; I didn’t think twice about it. Logo and branding was all completed by the incredibly talented individual Neil Calcutt from

NakedPRGirl: You say Hawkins & Shepherd is London’s best shirt makers, all handmade and exceptionally crafted with care using the finest cotton fabric. Did you feel it was important to have a USP?

Yes, because it’s a tough market. Especially in London, it’s not enough sometimes to say you’re a shirt maker or else you’ll fall into the same stalls as some of the more commercial outlets. I feel like my USP is also augmented by the fact that I wear everything I make. I am Hawkins & Shepherd, I represent everything you see. I remember Paul Weller saying the same thing about his brand Real Stars Are Rare, he’s not going to perform in front of sold-out stadiums wearing something naff.

NakedPRGirl: How did you find going from IT to being a designer/retailer? Has your IT background helped your new career? Or did you need to skill-up in Ecommerce?

Yes, immensely. Building websites is all about coding, even the E-commerce sites. Luckily I’m a code guy so this wasn’t a huge leap for me. Then it’s a case of doing your research, making sure you know consumer rights, returns policies etc. Once you’ve wrapped your head around that, established ‘gateways’ where people can purchase stock, then a system that regulates stock control, you’re flying.

NakedPRGirl: The lovely David Gandy has been spotted in your gear, that must have been a proud moment?

It was awesome yeah. And he’s such a likeable guy. Talks to you like you’re the only person in the room. Never looking over your shoulder. He doesn’t judge people on their style and he’s got a huge breadth of knowledge in the fashion world. I’ve heard people try and corner him in interviews and he just a guy that knows his onions.

NakedPRGirl: You now have a huge range, has it been easy to grow the business?

It’s been a slog, but worth it. Imperceptibly it’s grown over time, the blogging has helped and it’s fuelled more traffic to the site which was the original idea. I’ve learned not to try and sell everything. I’ve had to cull a few sub genres and streamline a few ranges. Some people were getting overwhelmed with options, now it’s a lot easier to navigate and hopefully, the site and the collections look more appealing. I’ve got some amazing improvements for 2018 to look forward to, including a new sleek website design and a new made-in-Britain shirt collection so it’s forever evolving.

NakedPRGirl: How did you grow your social media audience? Was it from the success of your social channels that you decided to start a blog?

In my case it was a slow burn, but I made sure all the content I uploaded was clean and congruent. I am overly anal about what I upload. If I have an inkling something is off, not quite right, I’m not precious. I scrap it, move on or reshoot.
I started out with a few style tutorials on YouTube which gathered some good momentum and bled into other channels like Instagram.

NakedPRGirl: What’s your favourite social media channel? Do you have any social media tips?

I have to say INSTA. Again with tips make sure you have a voice and give people a reason to come to your channel. If you’re too diverse and start posting pictures of your cats, then you’ll confuse and lose your audience. Although you will find pictures of Charlie on my feed, that’s different. He’s better looking than me haha. I always send my pictures out to other brands, magazines and social media accounts and just ask them to tag me. A lot of street style and men with class social accounts are always looking for quality imagery.

NakedPRGirl: How do you split your time between your retail business and blogging business?

At the start of the week I try and schedule what the priorities are. Customer is always number one. If it’s a case of blogging and I see deadlines coming up, I openly liaise to clients and brands and ask for the latest publishing dates. I’ve never missed one but knowing deadlines, keeping customers happy, isn’t hard if you’re willing to get up early.

NakedPRGirl: Are your business branding and blogging persona symbiotic? Do you ever feel like they are out of step with each other?

No, which is why you’ll never see a blurry selfie of me on the feed. I’ve been tempted to retweet and repost pictures on Instagram to help get the word out on other bloggers or other photographers. I see other bloggers do it and I commend that. I have to be selfish though, my feed needs to be congruent with my brand at all time and it needs to adhere to a certain level of quality.

NakedPRGirl: You seem to be a natural at creating content, who have you enjoyed collaborating with this year? What are your favourite pieces of content?

I’ve been really lucky this year, the offers for collaborations have been coming in thick and fast. I’ve actually enjoyed the lifestyle element more this year with the car reviews, cocktail classes etc. I recently teamed up with Mini, test driving their Cooper D Hatchback and I’ve done some work for Mazda. I’d probably say the Morgan 4 Plus is the tip of the spear just because it was a pure head turner.

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Carl Thomson

Getting Naked With Interview Ghostwriter Shannon Kyle

Getting Naked With Interview Ghostwriter Shannon Kyle

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of ghostwriting; it holds a kind of mysterious glamour that I find intoxicating. How it works and what it REALLY means is often the source of discussion in the media so I am thrilled that a real life ghost has agreed to be pinned down to reveal all in my latest interview. Shannon Kyle is journalist who has had work published in pretty much every publication under the sun including Fabulous, Metro, The Telegraph,The Pool, The Guardian, Mirror and Daily Mail with real life stories and often, her own personal pieces. She was also the writer behind Jade Goody’s Forever in My Heart which sold 100,000 copies (bet you’ve read it, I know I have!) and more recently she’s been the woman behind Katie Piper’s Things Get Better and Emma O’Reilly’s The Race To The Truth which was shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year in 2014. So how do you become a ghostwriter, and how does it work? Here’s my interview with the interviewer, let’s meet Shannon Kyle!

NakedPRGirl: Where are you from and where did you grow up?

I was born and grew up in Chatham, one of the Medway towns in North Kent.

NakedPRGirl: What did you study? When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I won a competition when I was 15 to write a ‘Letter to the future’ for my local paper, the Medway Reporter. The prize was a ride in a helicopter over my house, £50 and the letter was buried in a time capsule to be opened in 100 years time under a building. I doubt I’ll live to see the day that happens! I went to Salford University to study English language and literature, although I regret not doing journalism as that was all I was interested in.

NakedPRGirl: How did you get your big break?

Working for the Staines and Egham reporter after University, I managed to get an interview with Ali G, aka Sacha Barron Cohen. His TV show was very popular at the time and put Staines in the public eye. I asked to interview him as his character and Sacha agreed. We got the exclusive story and it went on the front page and was re-printed in the Sunday Telegraph. The former Chilean dictator General Pinochet who was under house arrest on my ‘patch’ also provided a few good stories and shortly afterwards I was nominated and became a runner up for the Press Gazette’s Young Journalist of the Year. Then I got headhunted by the Nationals.

NakedPRGirl: You also write stacks of real life stories, how did you get into journalism? Do you enjoy getting to know people from different walks of life?

I am fascinated by people and their lives. It’s never boring and it’s a privilege to hear so many touching, funny, and emotional stories over the years. I have listened to stories about the best and worst of humanity.

NakedPRGirl: Have you always been a ghostwriter or how did that come about?

I was a journalist first and my next big break was being offered the chance to write Jade Goody’s last book. I’d never written a book before and I was only given a three week deadline to do the interviews and write the whole story. Crazy.

NakedPRGirl: That book, Jade Goody’s Forever in My Heart, sold 100,000 copies, how did it feel to tell such an important story?

I’s always an absolute privilege for people to share their stories with you. On Amazon the book was announced as number one bestseller before it had even been finished. Jade’s story proves life is stranger than fiction. She was incredibly brave.

NakedPRGirl: How do you go about working with a celebrity when writing a book with them?

I don’t really see celebrities as any different from anybody else. They’re just people who have a story to tell like anyone else. I try to keep all interviews very informal. It’s important people are comfortable and relaxed otherwise they won’t open up. It’s important to be honest during book interviews otherwise the story won’t feel authentic when it’s on the page.

NakedPRGirl: I spotted you’ve also set up United Ghostwriters to help people searching for ghostwriters – what prompted you to set that up and how does it work?

United Ghostwriters is a collective of leading UK ghosts which was set up to help bring ghostwriting into the public consciousness. We are all busy ghosts with strong back catalogues and not only support each other but provide a ‘one stop shop’ for someone who needs their book ghostwritten.

NakedPRGirl: Do you think people are quite naive about the role of ghost writers? I remember the furore when Zoella released her book (ghostwritten by Siobhan Curham)!

Yes I think the public are often surprised most books are ghosted and not written by the authors. But I don’t think it really matters as without the author there is no book. Putting it bluntly the author is still the one telling the story, it’s just the ghostwriter is the one spending hours sat at a desk writing it into chapters.

NakedPRGirl: How do you get into the ‘voice’ of your author? Does it come easily?

I spend a lot of time with each author, which helps me soak up the voice! Each book takes around 25-30 hours of interview time. I always ask the author to read the work to ensure they’re happy with it and they feel it’s authentic. It’s really important they are relaxed and comfortable with me too, so they can open up.

NakedPRGirl: Have you ever disagreed with anyone you have been ghostwriting for or is it always a harmonious process?

Only once did I have an issue with an author but it was soon resolved with the agent stepping in to help. Sometimes chemistry doesn’t work between a ghostwriter and an author, but I’ve been lucky enough to work with some brilliant people who have respect for what I do and vice versa.

NakedPRGirl: How has digital changed your industry and what do you think the future of journalism will look like?

It’s changed it beyond all recognition. Budgets have plummeted, journalists are expected to sub their own copy and digital has obviously taken over from print. I know some national newspapers now expect journalists simply to rewrite a press release and do not allow them to take time to check the facts or question what is being said. This was the exact opposite of what we were taught in training. It’s really sad but now ‘fake news’ is in the public consciousness I hope it will swing the other way eventually and we will see a desire for proper investigations again. We need more, not less trained journalists to hold public bodies to account. Without good journalism the public can be lied to very easily. Look what happened during the EU referendum.

NakedPRGirl: What’s your favourite social media channel?

I go through phases. At the moment I am loving Instagram, especially Instagram stories. It’s fun and silly at times. For breaking news I read Twitter and for finding case studies, Facebook or Twitter.

NakedPRGirl: How do you structure your working day?

I have a two-year-old so there is little time for procrastination! I work as many hours as I can during the day only leaving time to get outside to run in the park or by the sea. I’d go stir crazy otherwise! I also come up with my best ideas sometimes when I am outside walking. I have two daughters so I am lucky to be able to work flexibly about them.

NakedPRGirl: Do you have any advice for aspiring journalists or authors?

I’d suggest having a back up plan. These days fewer journalists and authors than ever before make a living solely from writing. I would find a specialist subject too and never ever agree to work for free. The whole ‘work for exposure’ culture has caused fees to drop and will never stand you in good stead for the future.


NakedPRGirl: How important is networking to you? Who inspires you to spend time with?

Everyone I know says they should network more, but I wonder what it really means sometimes? I can’t think of anything worse than a ‘networking event.’The best networking happens when it’s natural and organic.

NakedPRGirl: What’s your style? Any wardrobe staples?

I always dress in jogging bottoms and gym wear every morning as it forces me to go outside and get some exercise rather than be stuck at my desk all day. Aside from that, I love a shift dress, tights and boots or skinny jeans and an oversized jumper. At the moment I love Zara, Cos and Andotherstories, but often I buy second hand on eBay. I love hunting through the vintage shops where I live in Brighton too.

NakedPRGirl: Who’s story would you love to tell?

I’ve been a Beatles fan since I was a teenager so ideally Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr would be my dream clients. I’d also love to tell Yoko Ono’s story as she is such a fascinating character. I think Melania Trump would also have an incredibly insightful story to tell! But I won’t hold my breath for that phone call.

NakedPRGirl: Would you ever be tempted to write a fiction novel?

I have tried! I have a full manuscript sitting on my laptop, but finding time to edit it is difficult. I’d love to write fiction as well as ghost, although I know it’s even more cut throat and competitive. I have lots of stories in my head however and dream that one day I will make the time to write them down properly. I am currently doing a novel writing course to help grow my confidence.

NakedPRGirl: What’s your strategy for the future? Where would you like to be in ten years time?

I have no strategy! Just to continue working as hard as a I can and tell the most interesting stories I can find. In this industry you never know what’s going to happen next, so I can only hope I am still busy with work.

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Getting Naked With Blogger Maja Malnar

Getting Naked With Blogger Maja Malnar

Maja Malnar

Slovenian born Maja Malnar is breath of fresh air as she is always happy, smiling and oozing confidence. I met Maja through her partner in Instagram crime, LornaLuxe who simply says that Maja represents genuine ‘goals’ with her mix of wanderlust, fashion and a touch of mystery. Maja is also a total denim babe, so she was the perfect choice to be snapped in the height of summer for DONNA IDA’s Style Insider (which you can see and read here). Shortly after that, I chatted to her about blogging and more importantly, her approach to life, so as we go into a fresh New Year, it is the perfect time to share Maja’s interview with you. Her ethos is simply one of positivity, of going with the flow and enjoying life yet that’s not to say she’s not hardworking, or ambitious. So how has she mixed the two sides together to become a successful influencer working with top designer brands with over 300k Instagram followers? Let’s dive into Maja’s world.

NakedPRGirl: I saw on your About Us thing that you had had some difficult times growing up. How has that influenced you?
Maja Malnar: I had some really bad times when I was really depressed so at that time, I started reading a lot. It was probably the hardest two years of my life but now I see it as a positive thing as it completely changed me. I became a different person in the way I see life so that I value what is truly important. I’m using my Instagram and blog as a way share what I have learnt with how I have changed my perception towards life. I want to help other people to be aware that the way they approach life is important.

NakedPRGirl: You’re the queen of inspirational quotes on Instagram and is it a USP?
Maja Malnar: Thank you, a lot of people like the quotes actually and I’m pleased because I want them to be inspirational. In this industry, you have to be different so it is good to give a little more than just fashion. I try to combine beautiful places with fashion and positivity so that people feel good when they look at my pictures. I translate this onto my website with my ‘Inspire’ section where I share positive quotes and stories because life is much more beautiful when you see it this way. The way you see the world reflects in the way we think, act and the way we are, it always reflects with what is going on in your life.

NakedPRGirl: Your other USP is your Wanderlust – you go amazing places and you share amazing photos?
Maja Malnar: Travel is definitely part of me and is my passion in life. I don’t just go for the pictures, I love exploring, meeting new people and seeing new cultures. I have lived in a lot of different countries to get the feeling of life and learn as much as I can. I especially love Europe, I love the fact that every single country is so close to each other, but they are so different. Each of them have a different language, culture, food and style – everything changes. Look at Spain, France, Italy, Germany – they are all next to each other and so different. I find this fascinating and I find we can always learn something from each culture.

NakedPRGirl: Do you go home a lot?
Maja Malnar: I try. This year was really hard as I was just always so busy and there was always something going on. I feel like I need a proper holiday back home.

NakedPRGirl: Do you plan your trips far in advance?
Maja Malnar: I am very spontaneous and always go with the flow. As soon as I started living my life like this, I felt totally free and I can do what I feel like. So whenever I take a trip, I just buy a one way ticket. That way, if I don’t like it, I can go somewhere else the next day, or if I like it I might want to stay. For example, in Mykonos I was supposed to stay a few days and I ended up staying for nearly two weeks. In Ibiza I was going to stay longer but I didn’t really feel it so I came back earlier.

Maja Malnar

NakedPRGirl: You are hard working and ambitious, is there any time when you do have to plan?
Maja Malnar: When I have work to do, for example with New York or London Fashion Week, I know I have to plan. In those instances I will be on a tight timetable with return tickets so I would be crazy to waste money.

NakedPRGirl: Tell me about your Instagram images. Do you use the same photographers all the time?
Maja Malnar: No I mix it around and work with different photographers. I really like Rebecca Botin and travel a lot with her but since she moved I am looking at replacing her. The last shoot that I did I was really happy with who was with a young guy called Charlie who has was a really similar style to Rebecca.

Maja Malnar Instagram grid

NakedPRGirl: Do you shoot a few outfits at once? Where do you like to shoot?
Maja Malnar: I schedule and shoot 3 outfits at once? It doesn’t’ really matter. It depends where I am. When I was living around Knightsbridge I shot a lot there. The other day I shot around Mayfair. The other day I met in London Hill and shot around there. It all depends. I don’t have a preference.

NakedPRGirl: But you do have a little bit of scheduling with your Instagram?
Maja Malnar: Yes I do, I used to be very instant but it has to be important how everything looks together so I try and plan how it fits. I use an app called Uno where you put a lot of pictures in and you can move them around and see how it is going to look.

NakedPRGirl: How do you manage all the admin associated with having a business and blog?
Maja Malnar: Recently I’ve hired an an assistant who is a friend of mine who is amazing at organising and always on top of things. For her she is great at keeping on top of admin, replying to emails to brands or negotiating for collaborations. We are a good fit as we are both really passionate and it allows me to focus on what I am good at instead of the organisational elements. I still do all the image uploading and admin all myself although it takes a lot of time because I am very picky and I know how I want it to look. I’ve got four different sections on the blog so I have to update them all and I like to do it properly. For example with the travel blogs, you want to make sure all your trips are descriptive and it all is nicely packaged up so it is informative and easy to read.

NakedPRGirl: For London when you are here, what are your favourite restaurants, hotels and bars? Where do you hang out?
Maja Malnar: I really like Chiltern Firehouse, I like the bar so it’s my most common spot. For restaurants – I like the food at Scott’s, I love Japanese so Nobu, Zuma and Roka is really nice. Sexy Fish has good vibes. I also love all my healthy places too so for breakfast I go to the Good Life and healthy coffee shops, like the Organic Kitchen. I am a bit of a health freak.

NakedPRGirl: You obviously have a lot of friends in the industry. How important is networking and your girl gang?
Maja Malnar: Yes in London I’m closest with LornaLuxe and Tatiania. It is important, for example, it’s good when we do projects together because we can exchange pointers. Also we all know what content we need so it isn’t awkward when it comes to taking pictures and taking ten photos instead of one! Normal people are always like – oh you and your pictures. They don’t get it’s a job and we have to do it.That is why we like to hang around because we all do the same thing and we all get it.

NakedPRGirl:: What advice would you give to a younger you?
Maja Malnar: Just work hard and never lose hope. Believe in it and make it happen.

Maja Malnar

NakedPRGirl: What is next for you?
Maja Malnar: More travel! St Tropez, New York, London, Milan, Paris, home and maybe Mexico.

Read Maja’s Diary –
Follow Maja on Instagram –

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Maja Malnar

Getting Naked With Interview - Kelly Eastwood The London Chatter

Getting Naked With Interview – Kelly Eastwood The London Chatter

Kelly Eastwood - The London Chatter

“I like a Hendricks with some cucumber, and any other gin I’ll take with a helluva’lotta lime!”

Meeting Kelly Eastwood, a.k.a ‘The London Chatter,’ at Mr Foggs Gin Parlour for her DONNA IDA Style Insider, you can tell instantly why she has been so successful in creating her blog and business. She oozes humour and charisma which an easy breezy, down to earth nature which makes you instantly warm to her. Kelly’s personality has perfectly translated into digital, with her witty captions, and bright and colourful images gaining her a loyal fan-base with over 100k followers across her social media platforms, and she also has her own monthly style column in Hello! Fashion Monthly. After our DONNA IDA shoot, where Kelly discusses denim and her favourite London hotspots (which you can read about here), we caught up on all things blogging, business and how to take a good photo!

Kelly Eastwood The London Chatter

Getting Naked With Interview - Kelly Eastwood The London Chatter

NakedPRGirl: Where are you from & how did you come to be in London?

LC: I’m originally from Kenya, and was raised just outside Nairobi. I attended LAMDA after boarding school, and returned to live in London full time after Edinburgh University. With friends from all the above living in London, and wanting to act full time, it was a natural move to be based here.

Kelly Eastwood - The London Chatter

DI: Do you still tread the boards?

Kelly Eastwood: No, although I’m still pretty dramatic! The London Chatter took off and I became so wonderfully busy with my blog that I suddenly couldn’t make the auditions and castings I’d have cut my right arm off to attend a few years before.

DI: How long ago did you start your blog?

Kelly Eastwood: I started over 7 years ago now. I’d been banging on numerous doors for a while before blogging exploded in the U.K., so when brands did realise ourvalue, I luckily popped into a few of their heads.

London Chatter

DI: Why did you start blogging?

Kelly Eastwood: I had worked in a boutique in Notting Hill between acting roles, and I soon started to really love fashion, leading me to find extra part time work at various magazines, and in personal styling and shopping. People would ask me where to find certain things and so starting a blog was initially a forum for me to share where I got my clothes from, and what inspired me.

Getting Naked With Interview - Kelly Eastwood The London Chatter

Getting Naked With Interview - Kelly Eastwood The London Chatter

NakedPRGirl: How important has the brand name and London in particular been to your blog?

Kelly Eastwood: I think that The London Chatter really associates me with the city and I’m very lucky, as a consequence, to be one of the first people to hear about the new and exciting things happening around town to share with my followers and readers. People from all over the world get in touch with me about upcoming trips to the UK for recommendations of where to go and where to stay, so I think I’m now seen as a source of all things London, which is funny considering I’m not even from here!

Kelly Eastwood - The London Chatter

Kelly Eastwood - The London Chatter

NakedPRGirl: I imagine social media has been hugely important in your business and how you convey your messages. How do you approach social media?

Kelly Eastwood: Social media, and Instagram in particular, has been a real game changer. Instagram is now so popular, with many using it if as a microblog itself, and Instastories has been great, especially for travelling as people can now get a far better sense of where you are. I think Instastories has also humanised a lot of the people you follow, by showing a far less curated and filtered insight into their lives, which I suppose has either been a good thing or a bad thing, content and charisma dependent.

London Chatter

NakedPRGirl: What is your advice for taking a good photo?

Kelly Eastwood: I suspect many would say the lightning, or the angle…In all honesty, in my opinion, it’s about quantity!! Take loads, and the odds are, 1 out of 100 might be OK – It’s quantity over quality in this case!!

Getting Naked With Interview - Kelly Eastwood The London Chatter

Getting Naked With Interview - Kelly Eastwood The London Chatter

London Chatter

NakedPRGirl: What advice would you give to someone just starting out blogging now?

Kelly Eastwood: Now that there’s money to be made, blogging is really over subscribed, but like any so called ‘glamourous’ industry, there is always room for a new voice or face, if that person has something new and interesting to say, and willing to show commitment to their content. Read the full interview on DONNA IDA’s blog HERE.

London Chatter

Read Kelly’s Blog The London Chatter.

With thanks to Sophie Gass for nails & hair by Secret Spa.

Book Mr Foggs Gin Parlour here.

Follow Kelly on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook.

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When I was growing up, Halloween was one night a year, you’d carve a pumpkin or a turnip and wear a makeshift witches outfit and off you trotted trick or treating. Now we’ve gone ALL American about it and it practically lasts a whole month with decorations and fancy dress taking more preparation than the BREXIT negotiations. I am ecstatic at the change, mainly because Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker had shown how me how Halloween SHOULD BE DONE as the Sanderson sisters in the Oscar Award Winning *not really* Hocus Pocus – with amazing witchy costumes (SJP: I am beautiful! Boys will love me!) and overindulgence in this spooky time of the year.

Hocus Pocus Revisited

Hocus Pocus

BUT kids, it ain’t just fun, it is also about cash, in 2015 Halloween overtook Valentines Day to become the third biggest ‘event’ after Christmas and Easter with Briton’s spending a staggering £400 million on Halloween related products – and that’s just ME! Anyway, in a SJP way, I got to thinking about how to throw the perfect Halloween party in a marketing sense? So here I am with my tips for a running a spooky party as if it were a PR event.

Max: But everyone here knows that Halloween was invented by the candy companies it’s a conspiracy!

Allison: It just so happens that Halloween is based on the ancient feast called ‘All Hallows Eve’ It’s the one night of they year where the spirits of the dead can return to Earth.
Hocus Pocus

Duh like we all know it is 31st October right? Wrong! Like all good celebrations, this guy now stretches out over a week period. Every year will differ so it is super important to plan accordingly. For example a Friday night might mean more people can come, Saturday is a great time but you’ll face heavy competition from others, and you can always consider mid-week if that is when the 31st falls. Word to the wise though – DO NOT attempt to dress up on 1st November – me and a friend tried to go out once and in the words of Craig Revel Horwood, it was a DISASTER darling. No one wants to be the only one dressed as a runaway dead bride in the middle of Dalston.

Decide nice and early and get the event listed on Facebook so it reminds/annoys everyone and you can start to work who is in or out. It is always good to take your costumes out for a spin so my favourite is a house party/local pub hybrid. As with Christmas, you want LOW expectations and HIGH fun factor. So keep your plans simple with minimal travel required.

“The only two choices for women; witch and sexy kitten.” Miranda, Sex & The City

#HeidiHalloween #2012 @gettyentertainment

A post shared by Heidi Klum (@heidiklum) on

Who will you be? Forget the supermarket outfits and get creative, especially with celebrities like Heidi Klum pushing the boundaries with her epic creations enabled by a team of makeup artists! Pinterest and t’internet is a great place to browse and let your imagination run wild! I recommend planning in advance so that you can order wigs and accessories from Amazon if you can. I rustled up Jessica Rabbit this year and am going to see if I can channel the Mother of Dragons this year.

Claire Etchell Naked PR Girl in Halloween Costume

For makeup – more places and more freelancers than ever are offering professional makeup for Halloween so you can indulge if you want to spend the cash which creates a super professional look, perfect for Instagram. If you’d rather freestyle, YouTube is the place to be – makeup tutorials are addictive and you can watch people transform step-by-step and then pop to Boots to get cheap and cheerful products to replicate on a budget.

Oohhhhhhh my favourite!!!!!! Working in London and especially near Chelsea, you get to see amazing decorations on pure beautiful white houses. I stumbled across this beauty last year near DONNA IDA in Belgravia and Chrissabella took this snap near Selfridges. Oversize decorations are great but be careful spending stacks of cash because where are you going to store your oversized spider all year? I love the simplicity of the pumpkins (usually around £2 per pumpkin), police caution tape (so fresh and modern) and the webs with spiders (also about £2 per pack). I want to go crazy, and buy tombstones and spider shaped sweets but common sense is telling me to keep it simple. Wilkinson’s has the best selection I’ve seen and is great value for money.

Claire Etchell Naked PR GirlHalloween

Help me I’m struggling with this one! I’ve so far got Taylor Swift ‘Look what you made me do?’ and Michael Jackson aka the BEST HALLOWEEN SONG EVER ‘Thriller’ and Spotify thankfully has a pretty good selection of playlists to set the mood. I once went to The Phoenix pub in London and they played old horror films on the screen in the background (on silent) to create the Halloween atmosphere.

Lols. Well you could set a hashtag to group together all your Halloween posts from friends…but this may be ever so slightly overkill – mwah ha ha 😉 Ensure you have plenty of drinks (add red liquor to prosecco to make them bloody) and leave out a dressing up box of halloween guises for your guests to play with and snap away wearing. That way, the whole world will know your PARTY is AWESOME.


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“Claire was my PR and Marketing Manager for four years at Donna Ida so we worked closely together to build a marketing strategy for the Ultimate Denim Destination. Claire’s PR experience led to an increase in press coverage 30% year-on-year with a focus on luxury titles and targeting key editors"

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Claire was very well liked by the press and they felt very happy and comfortable with her, so much so that they were just as happy going to Claire as they were coming to me. We developed a press strategy of one-to-one appointments and special evening press dinners to encourage exclusivity with exceptional results.

She worked closely with our in-house creative team to build the brand and my personal profile within the fashion and business sectors, managing photo shoots and Look Books. Claire is loyal, entrepreneurial and strategic so when presented with a challenge she sees it as an opportunity.