For our career series “How I Got My Job,” we’ll be talking to real people, working real jobs across a variety of industries. These people are pushing boundaries and have made their mark. They’ve found success on their own terms, and now we’re extracting their advice on how to carve out your own career path.
Stacie Keenan, External Communications of Groupe Marcelle, has had quite the impressive climb up the corporate ladder over the years; managing the marketing and PR for household names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Reitmans, The Body Shop, DAVID’s Tea and more.
Groupe Marcelle, Canada’s largest manufacturing cosmetics company, is home to iconic brands such as Marcelle, Annabelle, Lise Watier and CW Beggs and Sons.
Stacie believes that communications innovation, positivity, strategy, along with collaboration and team leadership are integral to her everyday. Read on to learn how she ended up in senior-level beauty marketing, a typical (if it exists) day for her and tips for newbies trying to break into the fashion industry.
Full Name: Stacie Keenan
Job Title: External Communications, Groupe Marcelle
First thing’s first, what was the first job you ever had?
My first job while still in high school, was at a local bakery, serving pastry and making deli sandwiches. Truth be told, I lasted only two days. I realized that fashion was my passion and I immediately started working at Le Chateau as a part-time sales associate. It was such an eye-opening experience. Working in the retail industry is not for everyone, but I realized early on that I had been bitten by the retail bug and simply never looked back. My first job out of university was merchandise coordinator for Tommy Hilfiger, which is where it all started for me.
What does an average workday look like for you as the Director External Communications of Groupe Marcelle?
The best part about my job is that there is never an average workday, which is what makes my role at Groupe Marcelle so exciting! PR and Social Media never sleep – so whether I’m meeting an editor for lunch, participating at a social media photo shoot, or attending meetings to discuss a new skin care or makeup launch, the days simply fly by. Sometimes I wish I could press “pause” as I’m juggling so many interesting projects at the same time and I want to savour the moment. I admit that I thrive in this type of environment, so I feel extremely fulfilled at the end of every work day.
Tell us about one of your first “OMG” moments while working with Groupe Marcelle?
Oh wow, I have so many “OMG” moments to share! First off, Groupe Marcelle not only produces and distributes brands such as Marcelle, Lise Watier, Annabelle and CW Beggs and Sons but also manufactures these products right here in Montreal. How cool is that? Also, since Groupe Marcelle is a manufacturing company, we are involved in every stage of bringing a new product line to market. From concept to creation, we have a say in building the entire campaign – from selecting spokespeople, to scouting locations for photoshoots, to creating and producing marketing ads that help raise brand awareness. It’s very invigorating being involved in the process. You feel a huge sense of satisfaction when you see the product line you were working on for two years or more finally hit shelves. It’s very rewarding to say the least.
In terms of strategic partnerships, a key highlight was our FASHION x Lise Watier activation. We partnered with FASHION Magazine to create a “live beauty shoot” where we created exceptional co-branded content for print, digital, video and social media showcasing the launch of our Lise Watier cosmetic collection called “Haute Nature.” The live shoot took place during the day in an editorial set aligned with our Lise Watier campaign. That evening the studio was turned into a live event where we invited 100 influencers to a secret location. The real life photo set, combined with makeups stations, a bar, and several installations, made for an Instagramable secret garden which provided the backdrop for our Lise Watier Haute Nature makeup collection.
What are some of the most challenging things about your career?
As a PR professional, I think the most challenging part about my job is the lack of clarity about what PR is and what it can achieve for brands. In a nutshell, PR is all about building long lasting relationships with media and influencers who organically talk about brands that they connect with. It is third party credibility. PR helps to build new and existing brands and always helps to elevate brand awareness.
Whether I’m introducing a brand to the Canadian market, launching a company on the New York Stock Exchange, or promoting a product by leveraging positive relationships with the media, I’m always looking to influence attitudes, change behaviours, and ignite engagement across social, digital and traditional channels. I believe that to be successful in today’s highly competitive environment, a brand marketing campaign has PR and social engagement at the heart of its strategy.
What do you wish you’d known before you embarked on this career?
You might never figure out the work-life balance. You don’t have to work 24/7, but you do have to be responsive nearly always. Also, you don’t have to major in public relations, but it will be harder to get into the industry if you don’t. Generally, people assume PR is all about glitz and glamour, and you’re working with famous people or planning events all the time. The reality is that a lot of time is spent on media strategy, so it could be anything from building out a media list to building out a specific story line. In my opinion, having a big-picture mindset when planning PR and Social Media campaigns is the way to go! Another unknown is how difficult it can be to find a mentor. Many offices only have one PR person on staff, and this individual is expected to do it all. It can be particularly difficult when trying to come up with a proposal and having no one with whom to brainstorm.
Any advice for newbies in your field trying to break into the industry?
Be patient and be open to learning! I had the opportunity to start at the bottom and work my way up. I’ve had several distinct roles over the years all within the communications and each new job and role has taught me very valuable lessons. Now I see the true value that experience brings.
What is one holy grail beauty product you can’t live without?
You need to be good to your skin as you’ll wear it every day for the rest or your life. That’s why I can’t live without the Lise Watier “Magnifix Make-Up Fixative”. This super hydrating mist ensures long-lasting makeup all the while protecting your skin against external aggressors thanks to the White Tea properties and Chitosan marine extracts. I’m so obsessed with this product that I spray it on every 30 mins as it keeps my skin hydrated and moisturized. It has become an office running gag, Stacie the Watier mist lady (LOL). I simply can’t live without it. Trust me, once you try it you’ll be hooked. PS: You’ll thank me later!
Designers that never disappoint?
That’s an easy one! Louis Vuitton always continues to inspire me season after season, with its lineup of ready-to-wear fashions that are unique, bold and make a statement. It’s coveted signature LV logo that spans across its fashion pieces and accessories is a style that is highly recognizable and a forever classic. When you buy Louis Vuitton you are not only purchasing a designer label but “investment” pieces that never go out of style. If you’re interested in my favourite Canadian designer, Hayley Elsaesser is one to watch! Her pieces offer a bold, fresh take on clean and timeless wardrobe staples and allow you to stand out in a crowd and express yourself – I do so with my “Mouthy Bomber Jacket”. Hayley’s designs are a tongue-in-cheek rebellion against the status quo. Every time I’m sporting one of Hayley’s designs I always receive compliments. If you’re in Toronto, check out her store located at 695 Queen St. West and tell her I say hi!
You can follow Stacie on Instagram @staciekeenanpr to learn more about the latest in Groupe Marcelle beauty.
All images courtesy of Stacie Keenan
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