Co-Founder, Act & React Fashion PR & Advertising
You need to know how to do the hard work before enjoying the spotlight. It is a really demanding job with a very busy backstage.
Did you study public relations?
Actually, I studied fashion design at the London College of Fashion, but that taught me I actually preferred the business side of things. So I went on to work at the press office of Céline and I absolutely loved it! It was a small team and I learnt everything on the job. My director was incredible. She showed me the ropes and gave me a lot of responsibility from early on. I later became a PR manager at Loewe, which was also an amazing school. These experiences led to the right path for me.
What were some valuable lessons from your university years?
University taught me how to make fashion before promoting it. Understanding the product is really important. I still remember pattern cutting classes. That’s where you learn to construct clothing and cut fabric to then shape it on a mannequin. It was like learning a new language and I have to admit I didn’t like it at all! I did not appreciate the knowledge I was getting at the time. Looking back however I see the value practical skills give you. You need to know how to materialize ideas and make products before designing the concepts and ideas behind them.
What work does pr entail?
Public relations do not require so much making as such, but you need to know how to do the hard work before enjoying the spotlight. It is a really demanding job with a very busy backstage scene. People forget this when they see the glamour of the final result. I’ve seen young professionals who are really passionate but don’t understand the amount of work that needs to be done. You need a lot of patience in PR. It can be fun and very rewarding but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It requires a lot of personal input, and it’s definitely not a job for everyone.
What is act & react?
Act & React is a Public Relations and marketing agency, but it is also a wholesale showroom with carefully selected brands. We like to provide a 360 degree approach that covers all aspects of the brand’s development and promotion. I set it up with my sister Aliki Drakouli in 2007, who has a Business and Economics background as well as an MBA degree.
Was is hard starting out?
We started out just before the country’s debt crisis hit, with just one client and built our base from there. Succeeding in a crisis seems impossible, but the Greek financial crisis actually helped us. Large fashion companies were leaving established advertising agencies in search of something smaller and more tailored to their needs. That was our chance to create the perfect model for them, and so we created the business of our dreams.
You have two young children and run your own company, how do you do it?
I know that all mothers find a way to combine their work and parenting. For me motherhood and family always come first. I would never sacrifice my family for my career, so I have to find a balance. Sometimes that might mean working from home, and others, bringing my children to work. My youngest is still a baby so she often comes to the office with me. In fact I brought her in from the first week she was born! I know this is something not all women can do and I feel very lucky. It is one of the perks of running your own company.