Native New Yorker Nina Stuart cut her teeth in public relations as early as her junior year of high school with Full Picture and eventually landing at Lanvin followed by Karla Otto and most recently, Tom Ford. To top off her chic resume, Stuart has landed at Jennifer Fisher where she will be the first-ever in-house publicist to spearhead the jeweler’s message on a global scale. She fills us in on her career working for the some of the best brands and agencies in the biz!
What is your background? Where are you from/what did you study?
I was born and raised in Greenwich Village in New York City and am the youngest of seven children. After a brief stint at Tulane, I graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where I studied identity and the idea of how time and place form us. Gallatin is a very special place, as students develop individualized programs of study in which the central focus becomes your concentration. It’s an incredibly creative place to think and learn.
What was your first gig in the industry?
The summer after my junior year of high school I interned at Full Picture, my first exposure to public relations. The following year I had a summer job in the East Hampton Alice + Olivia store. One of the best parts about growing up in New York City and then attending college here was that I had so many opportunities to explore the industry long before I knew that this was what I would end up doing.
What was your dream job when you were a kid?
To open up a clothing store.
What did you learn during your time at Lanvin? How is your French?
Comme ci, comme ça.
What did you learn at Lanvin?
Everything! It was my first job after college—I was a sales intern and a few months into the internship they offered me a job as PR Assistant. I jumped at the chance to switch ships. Julia Erdman, who was my boss, taught me so much. Her lessons have proved invaluable over the years as I moved around. It really was a very special time to be at Lanvin. The team in New York was still small and we had not yet opened the flagship store on Madison Avenue, I feel so lucky to have been part of such a magical time at the brand.
Why did you decide to return to Karla Otto?
I was offered a great opportunity somewhere else but I missed my clients and it was like a homecoming when I came back and was given the chance to work with some of them again. The great thing about this business is that you have the freedom to move around and work with different kinds of people. All of my experiences have helped me grow and develop my skills so that I could get the job I have now, and I am so grateful to everyone who has guided me along the way.
After working at agencies, what drew you to working in-house?
I always knew I wanted to end up back in-house because I loved the family I built at Lanvin; when you work in-house the brand is ingrained in you and I loved that feeling. That being said, I wanted the agency experience to help build my skills as there are just some things you only truly learn when you are juggling seven clients at once.
What’s the biggest misconception about working at an agency versus at a brand?
That it’s easy because you feel less tied to your clients – it’s not easy, it’s grueling. Succeeding means coming up with many ideas every day that are not only unexpected but relevant to your client.
What are some of your favorite moments from working at Tom Ford?
Working on the Autumn/Winter 2016 show. We showed in the Seagrams building in the old Four Seasons restaurant after it closed for renovations—such a New York experience.
What’s the best place you’ve traveled for your job?
As someone who loves Paris, I’ve been lucky that my clients have been mostly Paris-based. There is something about traveling there for work that makes you see the city in a completely different way. You feel like less of a tourist when you spend a considerable amount of time somewhere and are on a schedule. It’s fun to pretend you’re a local!
What drew you to Jennifer Fisher?
Jennifer is a powerhouse in every sense of the word! I am constantly in awe of her talent, determination, and strength as the brand’s momentum continues to build.
What was your first introduction to the brand?
I had always loved Jennifer’s jewelry and years ago I wanted to buy something and a mutual friend connected me with Jen on email. I remember thinking it was so cool to be on email with her and I never imagined in a million years we would be working together!
What was your first meeting with Jennifer like?
I was so nervous! I read many of Jennifer’s interviews leading up to our first meeting and I knew she was quite a force. Jennifer showed up to our first meeting with homemade banana bread. I was hooked! And immediately I felt like we would be a great team.
What’s your first call to action?
This is the first time that Jennifer will have someone in-house running her communications. While I know her and the brand quite well, I will definitely need to take the next few months to really acclimate myself and understand the ins and outs of Jennifer Fisher—the person and the business. I want to spend some time looking at her customer base and putting together a communications strategy that we can deploy globally so that we have one voice speaking to all of our customers, no matter where they are based. I always tell Jen that she is her best asset so I am very happy and excited to be by her side as she embarks on the next chapter of her business.