On February 11, a public relations team from the PR Management class got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work for a client whose unique line of clothing was featured during the New York Fashion Week.
The students – Elana Steinberg, Johnathan Povsic, Jessica Mertz, Derek Dalonges, Lisa Marcellari, and Kelly Szczerkowski — chose as their semester long project the development of a strategic plan for Doctor Katie Deming, an oncologist for the Kaiser Permanente hospital system in Portland Oregon.
A radiation oncologist specializing in breast cancer, Deming was frustrated by the lack of clothing options for her patients to wear during treatment. Radiation causes a sunburn-like reaction over the breast, making it extremely painful to wear traditional bras. For years, Deming modified her patients’ bras to make them more comfortable. Ultimately, she decided to open a company that considered the needs of women undergoing cancer treatment. The company, MakeMerry, would offer a line of bras and underwear that are stylish, sexy and feel luxuriously soft against the most sensitive skin. Special fabrics and construction techniques were employed in the design and construction. Deming has partnered with AnaOno through a licensing agreement to make her product available to more women undergoing cancer treatment.
Deming agreed to allow the students in the PR Management class to develop a public relations plan that would help her make more women aware of her line of clothing, and, upon their first Skype meeting, she revealed to the group that she would be displaying her line of undergarments during this year’s New York Fashion Week, which ran from February 8 – 16.
In anticipation of the fashion show, the team helped Deming gain press coverage and create gift bags for distinguished guests. During the show, students took over all of MakeMerry’s social media pages, creating a Snapchat filter and live streaming the event on multiple platforms. After the show, they completed a social media audit, collected the metrics from the Snapchat filter, created new social media content and followed media coverage surrounding the event. In addition, they taped a video news release about the event.
According to team leader Elana Steinberg, “This opportunity to work with MakeMerry has been a life-changing experience. We were able to work with inspiring models who survived breast cancer treatments. We worked with a real client and gained an immeasurable amount of experience. We helped spread the empowering message that fashion is not only about celebrities but about celebrating all different bodies.”
In the words of Deming, “Fashion can be transformative for women facing all kinds of challenges, including cancer.”
Regarding her experience so far with our SCM students, she stated, “I was so impressed by the students. They were eager, insightful, and very professional. I am excited to work with them!”