Janis Galloway is the founder and Agency Director of the boutique lifestyle public relations firm, Publicity Room —Alberta’s first PR agency that specializes entirely in fashion and lifestyle brands. After finding success with her fashion blog, Dress Me Dearly in 2009, Galloway decided to shift her focus to working behind-the-scenes of the city’s growing design and retail markets. She recognized the need for a dedicated service that would meet the needs of brands looking to connect with Albertan consumers in a way that utilizes social media, networking, and community building.
(Janis Galloway. Photo Credit Pedersen Photography)
“Big brands come into the Edmonton market, but they don’t have the networks here,” says Galloway. “Publicity Room is meant to be a steward for the larger companies to connect with the community, and when you are working to create a tribe around the brand, people are more eager to get involved with the company.”
(Image from Publicity Room event at Simons in West Edmonton Mall. Taken by Jyllian Park)
For Galloway, the public relations that she does for her clients is not about selling or advertising products, it’s about building a relationship between the consumer and the company. Since launching two years ago, Publicity Room has secured accounts with large retailers like Simons, DKNY, and Paris Jewellers, in addition to partnering with local independent brands including Poppy Barley, Pura, Blushed Beaute, and Gravity Pope. Publicity Room’s tiny team of two works with clients to secure television spots and print media exposure, but they also focus on organizing events and connecting with influential figures across Western Canada as a way to inform the public of the kinds of opportunities available for fashion and beauty conscious consumers.
(Taken at a Publicity Room event for PARK Show. Taken by Jyllian Park)
With her dark brown hair sheared into a short bob, and her uniform of structured black apparel, Galloway looks the part of a young fashion industry mogul. Her iron will, solid work ethic, and slick business smarts have allowed her to become a force in the city and a respected advocate and consultant for independent businesses and designers in both Edmonton and Calgary.
“I think that Public Relations is coming out of the shadows. It used to be associated with ‘spin’ and twisting the truth,” says Galloway of what she sees an increasingly more attractive service for businesses looking to break into the Edmonton market. “Now that we understand what PR is, information about good PR is more accessible. Brands are starting to see the benefit of it.”
(Boy, Bye co-founder Jyllian Park posed with Janis Galloway at a Publicity Room Event)
Galloway — a graduate of MacEwan’s Public Relations diploma program —had an established career in communications and PR in the non-profit sector for more than eight years before stepping out to start her agency. Working her side job as a blogger and editorial fashion stylist, she realized that while her own brand of off-the-wall, high fashion dressing made her a marketable commodity, her talents were better suited to promoting the growing fashion community within the city.
“I realized that Dress Me Dearly was about cheerleading other people. It was never just about me.” Looking to parlay her knowledge of brand building and communicating with the public, she set out to create a career that would allow her to help new and established brands succeed in the city, while also creating a community that would embrace and foster new talent.
Publicity Room is Galloway’s answer to what she sees as a hole in the market for PR that is focused on connecting Albertan’s with the artists and retailers that are starting to emerge in the province. “It is a totally untapped market, and no one has done this before. I think that’s based on the fact that people don’t think that we have business in it.”
(Media coverage secured by Publicity Room. Supplied by Publicity Room)
Galloway isn’t done growing her business yet, and hopes to expand Publicity Room across Western Canada. But for now, she is focusing on maintaining her role as Edmonton’s fashion industry cheerleader. “I am trying to give my clients national coverage, and I want them to be known nationally and internationally, but I think that the way that the fashion community has grown over the last five years, we have the opportunity to build the infrastructure here. We are so lucky that we get to be in such a raw climate, and we get to be at the forefront. We are steering the direction of what will happen in the next 10 to 20 years.”